Fairies and Father Christmas braved the chill at our indoor Christmas event, competing in a variety of fun classes. Carriages were decorated with tinsel and tree lights; horses with reindeer antlers and glitter. Our guest judge for the day was BDS Panel Judge Mr John Snowdon from Ipswich, Suffolk. John judged our first long-reining Agility and Driven Agility classes and remarked on what fun they were to judge.
The courses for the long-reining and driven agility were fairly similar, with just a few changes to the tasks between the two competitions. Being new competition, drivers appreciated the communal course walk that was given for both classes. In the long-reining there was an Arch that proved a sticking point for some of the horses, with extra time given at the end of the round to those that wanted a to practice it a couple more times. It is good to put these types of obstacle in because an arch is sometimes used in the Indoor Driving Trials final and in Scurry and Trials events. Despite a few anxiety attacks when walking the course, everyone managed the long-reining circle about some cones without any problems. The eventual winner was Linda Porter-Cohen in the singles class and Claire Bourne took the winners rosette for the Multiples in long-reins.
The Driven Agility saw a couple of changes to the course, the arch replaced by the water carrying task, where driver and groom had to walk a distance before placing what was left of the water back into the measuring jug. Some very wet drivers and grooms. The long-reining circle become the cone and bucket challenge where the groom had to keep the rope off the ground whilst driven about a circle of cones, of course pulling the cone over in the middle put an end to the task. Graham Cooper performed well throughout the competition and was judged the best Christmas Turnout, winning him the M&S voucher.
The cones challenge was a Take Your Own Line competition, where competitors made up their own course (cones numbered for judging purposes only). There were some interesting routes taken, with some getting a little lost as to what they had driven and what they had not.
Last class of the day was Santa's Little Helpers race, where the grooms did most of the work, collecting all the balls from the cones in the arena and placing them into santa's sack. Some grooms worked out a good technique for collecting the balls, one groom just sat down and leaned from side to side, and those with small ponies kept their unmounted grooms busy running up and down the arena.