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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Carriage driving international 'ashes' a first for the sport

ABOVE: Australian Boyd Exell will lead the Australian Ashes team.

AUSTRALIAN carriage drivers are preparing to take on Great Britain in a world-first “stay-at-home international”.

Carriage driving's own version of the cricket's “Ashes” competition will be held next month, with the Australia taking on Britain in events being staged on opposite sides of the globe.

In Australia, the series will form part of the Australian Short Format National Championships being hosted by the Southern Highlands Carriage Club at Bundanoon NSW on August 12 and 13.

The British Short Format Championships will start 12 hours later on the same weekend at Cricklands.

This televised event featuring countries competing for interantional honours is a first within the carriage driving sport.

Arena-based short format carriage driving lends itself to being replicated at separate venues, even ones in different hemispheres.

To make sure all competitors are on equal footing, the same compulsory figures will be used in each country and supervised via live streaming by international judges. The cones course and obstacles will be carefully measured to ensure they are as identical as possible.

As well as being their nation’s short format champion, the winners of each class in each country will become a member of their “Ashes” team.

If their score is better than that of the opposing nation they gain a point and the nation scoring the most points will hold the “Ashes” until the following year.

The teams will be led by two equestrian legends; the British team by multiple European and World Champion and Olympian David Broome and Australia by multiple World Champion and World Cup Champion Boyd Exell.

Education day at Heathcote

ABOVE: Spectators at the Heathcote education day.

The Victorian-based Tradesmans and Delivery Horse Group held a very successful education seminar at Heathcote over the weekend.

Organiser John Mullenger praised speaker Robert Cockram, who is a well-known Riding Pony exhibitor from the Deanhills Stud. Robert shared his knowledge on conformation, soundness and presentation.

“He was simply amazing,” John said. “He gave 110 per cent to the listeners and was so knowledgeable.”

Bernie Rice demonstrated how to break a horse to harness, and also gave assistance to people on the day to get their horses travelling correctly.

Esther and Mark Goodwin showed people how to fit harness and Peter Lane talked about the all-important dentistry in horses.

The afternoon was dedicated to skills practice, with drivers given advice on showing their horses in the best manner.

The group intends to hold more education sessions throughout the year but its next event will be the annual harness sale at Heathcote Showgrounds on August 27.

Awards for skill and hard work

ABOVE: Janelle Marshall and Irresistible.

Janelle Marshall has been named Equestrian Victoria’s Carriage Driver of The Year.

Janelle and her pony, Irresistible, compete internationally for Australia and recently won the three-star single pony division at the Katydid Combined Driving Event in the US.

They climbed from third place after dressage to claim the lead after cones on a final score of 154.88.

Jenny Martin has been recognised for almost 50 years of service to the sport of carriage driving by the Victorian branch of the Carriage Driving Society.

Jenny is known for her organisation skills and attention to the finer details that make an event run seamlessly.

She has been a supporter of all drivers from novice to international level and been the driving force behind getting international judges to Australia, which in turn has helped some of our judges gain an international accreditation.

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