FEI Driving World Championship for Ponies

 

Le Pin au Haras (FRA)          16-19 September 2021

DRIVERS REPRESENTING BRITAIN

Angela Smith

Angela Smith, from Lincolnshire, started carriage driving with her old riding pony a number of years ago. She worked through the different levels, first competing in club classes, then progressed to nationals driving pairs and teams of ponies.

She is now representing Great Britain in her first international competition abroad (which just happens to be a World Championship) driving a pony four.

As carriage driving does not receive any Government or lottery funding, she has launched a JustGiving campaign to assist with the cost of transportation of five ponies and two carriages to France.

Angela drives grey Welsh Section A geldings: Crumpwell Chase (16yo), Justin (16yo), Rayrose Hurricane (10yo), Rayrose Tornado (9yo) and Roscoe(14yo), the newest addition to her team.

She is supported during the competition by her grooms are Lucy Scott and Philippa Scott on the marathon and Lucy Scott, this time with Chantelle Hrnryk, in dressage and cones.


Photo: Vic Kusin

Averina Snow

Averina now lives in Surrey but was brought up in Zimbabwe, surrounded by ponies and took part in all equestrian activities on offer. She first thought about driving when she was ten years old, when her parents made a very basic cart for one of the ponies. However, before she could take the reins the family moved to Zambia, taking the pony but not the cart.

She vowed to have a go one day and says, “it took 30 years but was well worth the wait.” She started driving a pony pair in 2015 and, with the encouragement of Rowena Moyse of South Wales Carriage Driving Centre, progressed from club to international competition and represented the GB pony team at the 2019 World Championships.

After those Championships, Averina had intended to retire from international competition but, during some lockdown training sessions, realised that her competitive desire was still very much alive. She rebuilt her support team and found a spare pony.

With lots of help behind the scenes, Averina was ready to go and build on her 2019 success when she won the Pony Pair UK National Championship, the Advanced Pony Pair National Driver of the year and three National events at Ashfields, Cricklands and Sandringham.

Her groom, Dani Wheatley, is new to driving trials this year but has significant experience with scurry ponies, so is proving to be very competent on the backstep. Averina drives three Welsh Section C geldings: Capitola Mr Houdini (aka “H”) at 17 years old, Menai Lone Ranger (aka Ranger) at 16 and Talyllyn Golden Sunshine (aka Flash), owned by Julie Camm, who is only 7 years old.


Photo: Evelyn Radnai

Linda Hill

Linda Hill, from Kent, competes as an individual in the Single Pony class with her 15 year old Welsh cross gelding, Timothy.

Linda has ridden all her life and competed in dressage and eventing at lower levels. She started driving in her late 50s when asked to give a home to a Shetland pony who came with a 2 wheel carriage. As she had a broken ankle and couldn't ride, she decided to try driving.

She progressed from a single to a pair of Shetlands, then to a larger pony and onto National competitions. She bought Timothy 7 years ago and they have worked their way to Advanced level and now a World Championship.

She met Lesley Bagley, her groom, 9 years ago when she asked her to backstep for a friend and she has groomed for Linda ever since. Linda says, “She is my rock and I would be lost without her.”


Photo: Tim Bagley

Phillipa Howe

Born and bred into carriage driving, Phillipa from Kent has become a successful athlete. In 2018 Phillipa welcomed her first child Edward into the team and then in February this year two new members were added, with the arrival of twins Henry and William.

With a huge amount of determination and belief, Phillipa was able to bounce back and qualify for the Pony World Championships.

This year will be the first time Phillipa and her mother Sara are on the same team; an event that has been Phillipa’s goal for the past six years although she did contest the World Pony Championships in Hungary in 2019, where she finished a very respectable 13th. This year she has won the National events at Ashfields and Hopetoun.

Sarah McLaughlin, Phillipa’s very experienced groom (and friend) has been a member of the team for many years, and brings a wealth of knowledge along with an eye for detail and a huge amount of fun into the group.

Phillipa is very grateful for the support received from her sponsors Saracen Horse Feeds and Botanica International. Dan Foley Phillipa’s fiancée is the eyes on the ground and the man who puts the “va va voom” into the shoes. Phillipa says, “Sox, my 17 year old Welsh Section C gelding, is the star of the show and a pocket rocket that keeps making our dreams comes true.”

Keep up with Phillipa’s progress on Facebook where she posts as “Phillipa Howe sportsperson”.


Photo: Amy Mundell

Rebecca March

Rebecca March, from East Lothian, will contest the Single Pony class as an individual at the forthcoming World Pony Championships.

She got into driving trials as the result of a bet between her mum (well known tandem driver Carol Boswell) and Jamie March (now her husband) at the National Championships back in 2015. Driving runs in the family as her granny was Gladys Dale, a household name in driving and Welsh breeding circles.

Rebecca says, “I had to sell my ‘proper horse’ as I was unable to continue ridden eventing due to work commitments and I thought a driving pony would be simpler. However, that soon went out the window once we started competing and moved up the levels.”

Rebecca drives a 14 year old cob gelding called Elwood (aka Woodie) who she found by complete chance. Her mum was asked to take him from his previous owner, who had bought him off the road from travellers passing through Kelso. They believe she bought the whole turnout, including the gypsy caravan he was pulling.

Woodie started out with a few ridden shows, club driving trials and then the RDA driving camp. Rebecca’s mum said she would have the most fun with him and that’s how it all started. They began at Novice in 2016 and progressed through the levels together, slowly managing to replace and improve equipment as they have gone. This included adding brakes to their original orange carriage before they were allowed to tackle the Lowther Bridge!

Rebecca says, “The reason we have continued to drive is because we are able to combine the family and social element with the competitions - it really is a family affair”. Rebecca’s mum will be her groom for dressage and her husband, Jamie, will be on the carriage for marathon and cones.

Rebecca is sponsored by Ideal Equestrian and Riding and Harness Stuff and lists her top result so far as qualifying to be part of the GBR Pony Squad! Follow Seacliff Carriage Driving on Facebook to keep track of Rebecca and Woodie on their first international journey.


Photo: Amy Mundell

Roger Campbell

Roger Campbell, now based in Germany, will be contesting the Pony Pairs class as an individual.

Roger has a great deal of international experience, having won the FEI Top Driver award for pony fours in 2019, finished in 4th place at the Pony World Championships in Kisber in 2019 and won Royal Windsor in 2019, again with a pony four.

Roger’s sister, Clare, who is also attending the European Youth Championships to backstep for Phoebe Matthews, has a busy schedule this year.

Christof Weihe is the owner of the ponies Roger drives and he is sponsored by Gewe - Christof Weihe. There are five ponies from which Roger will select three to compte: Arvalon Braint, Dango 9, Dipsy 21, Montie 3 and Rock Felix .

Keep up with Roger’s progress on Facebook where he posts as Team Campbell.

Rosanna Walters-Symons

Rosanna Walters-Symons, a psychology lecturer from Plymouth, Devon, started driving and competing at indoor events age 9yrs old with her mum’s Dartmoor pony, Lightning. The British Young Drivers programme and, in particular the Easter camps at the Unicorn Equestrian Centre, always inspired her to keep driving.

This will be her 5th time representing Team GB at the FEI World Driving Championships for Ponies. Her past results are impressive at this level with a win in 2018 at the CAI3* in Le Pin, team bronze and individual 4th in 2015 at the FEI World Driving Championships for Ponies in Breda, individual silver at the 2013 FEI World Driving Championships for Ponies in Pau and individual bronze in 2012 at the FEI European Youth Driving Championships.

Ben Freer, now her husband, has backstepped for her since 2011. He will compete in the marathon phase while Rosanna’s mother, Anne, will be on the carriage for dressage and cones.

The final member of the team is Hurricain, a 17 year old German Sports Pony gelding Rosanna is sponsored by Succeed Equine, Stringer Equine Vets and Helen Tompkins Veterinary Physiotherapist.

Keep up to date with Rosanna’s progress on Facebook and Twitter using “@TeamRosanna”.


Photo: Amy Mundell

Sara Howe

Sara Howe, who is based at the Bradbourne Carriage Driving Centre in Kent, has represented Great Britain at the past 8 world championships since 2005 where she was part of the bronze medal winning team. She took individual silver, again in the Single Pony class, two years later in Denmark and Team bronze, this time with a Pony Four, in 2015 in The Netherlands.

Sara started driving in about 1980, working for Peter Munt with his coaching horses, assisting with the film work and acting as the competition groom. Sara went into carriage driving after a childhood spent with the pony club eventing, show jumping, hunting and riding in the Prince Phillip mounted games teams.

She set up her own driving yard in 1986, utilising the facilities at her father’s riding school. She bought some unbroken Welsh ponies at the sales and took them home, trained them to harness and then set up her driving business. Her carriage driving centre has taught many people to carriage drive, offers a wedding service and trains ponies to harness.

More recently Sara has been the trainer for the Young Drivers and Para Drivers who compete abroad. Sara is an RDA assessor and Coaching Certificate Level 3 coach and loves helping the children and para drivers compete to the best of their ability.

Trish Jones has been grooming for over 30 years since Sara first began competing as a single, then became navigator on the team. Trish will backstep for the marathon and cones in France and Cody Zammit will be on the carriage for the dressage phase. Sara is supported by Saracen Horse Feeds.

Sara drives Welsh Section A geldings, owned by herself and Trish: Dolf at 16 years old, Windhoeks Wynston (aka Dino) who is 14 years old and Eslandia’s Alexander (aka Xander), the oldest member at 20 years old.


Photo: Amy Mundell

THE SUPPORT TEAM
  • Chef d'Equipe - Marisa Pinnock
  • Team vet - Anja Walker
  • Trainer - Anna Grayston

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