Last weekend a small but dedicated group of NSW carriage drivers travelled to Greenvale Victoria to compete in the Victorian Combined Driving Championships under very trying weather conditions, gale force winds and very cold temperatures.
Local driver Peter Dunn, driving Nanardine Danny Boy, a 14-year-old hackney, came away with a win in the large novice pony class of the championships, beating a large contingent of Victorian drivers.
Combined driving consists of a three-part competition: dressage, marathon and precision cones. It is the carriage driving equivalent of ridden eventing.
The dressage is held in a 100m by 40 arena where the participant is judged on level of training, paces and precision of patterns. The cones are 20 sets of cones just wider than the wheel width of the carriage with balls balanced on them and penalties for knocking balls down.
The marathon component of the competition is the fast and most exciting part with timed obstacles to be negotiated.
Peter won the dressage component, fourth in the cones and was narrowly beaten by less than 1 point in the marathon. Overall he placed first for the event.
Hill Tops Carriage driving club will be holding a two day qualifier for the Winter indoor/outdoor series on June 1 and 2 at the Tumut Show Grounds.
This series is a fun filled off season competition consisting of dressage, cones and two obstacles in a scaled down arena 50 metres by 20 metres so the action is fast and furious.
Spectators are most welcome so come and have a look.