National Training Clinics report

 9 March 2022by British Carriagedriving

The annual National Training Clinics took place at Unicorn Trust Equestrian Centre, Stow-on-the-Wold, on 5th and 6th March 2022.

With last year falling under the spell of Covid-19, like so many events, the annual clinic at Stow on the Wold got under way gently with participants from 6 countries including Australia, Belgium, Estonia, Ireland, Great Britain and the Netherlands. Unlike some years the weather was more clement, although the outdoor area was somewhat moist to say the least, but was usable for the Judges.

With the number of attendees at 30, a smaller number than we have had for many a long year, the Judges, FEI Stewards, Technical Delegates and the Course Designers got under way with the same rugged determination as always.

Andrew Counsell (GBR) Andrea Webb (AUS) Johan Jacobs (NED) and Philip Bateman (GBR) were the Course Directors for the FEI and BC attendees.

The new FEI Education Format for 2022 was presented with an on-line examination of 40 questions, posed by the Governing body in Switzerland. All FEI officials and potentials, have to carry out the test along with an English test, which many found rather taxing.

Friday afternoon kicked off with the official FEI introduction, the FEI rule changes and a joint session for all FEI participants to prepare for the start of the main clinic. Saturday, itself, began with a short welcome and update of British Carriagedriving Rules, then everyone divided to their respective classes.

Andrew Counsell took the Judges through some theory first and then went to the indoor school and the outdoor arena for some practical work.

Karen Bassett generously brought her Four in Hand and Harriet Bradford brought a Single Horse to help and guide the judges through their paces; this included the new FEI Tests on show for the first time.

Johan Jacobs had 5 Course Designers for his highly interesting course and some obstacle cones driving on Sunday, with all the attendees.

Philip Bateman took the remaining 4 technical delegates through some intensive training with power point presentations and written tests to achieve their desired levels.

Sunday started as early as possible, with the Course Designers producing an Obstacle Cones Driving Course with some “deliberate mistakes” and interesting variations. The Technical Delegates corrected the course and left if for the Judges to judge with Harriet Bradford driving the course. Then Final Tests and lunch to get everyone on the road straight after lunch, but not before the usual photograph on the Unicorn Steps.

On the lighter side, Unicorn host Sydney Smith was pleased to welcome the conference participants back again and Betty, with her team of helpers, produced an elegant two course dinner which was enjoyed by all 24 diners on Saturday evening.

The social and networking aspect of the weekend is a key point, when new friends are made and working relationships are forged. Everyone there could make a contribution and join in discussions based on their own experiences.