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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Light harness competitors put to the test in windy conditions

ABOVE: Rhiannon Damsma driving Mosman Park Fairytale and Mosman Park Vienna Woods soldiers on through the dressage test in windy conditions. Picture: JANICE GORICK

WITH overseas success from Boyd Exell in teams and Janelle Marshall in singles setting an example, the light harness competitors have a lot to aim for and there’s a lot of enthusiasm and support. The sport has trotted along quietly since it began in 1971 but far more people are now taking notice, are now fans, and are willing to give it a try.

The Woodlands complex at Greenvale near Oaklands Hunt Club in Victoria is the perfect setting for the Victorian Combined Driving Championships, with good dressage sand arenas and a testing cross country that the event shares with the Avenel Horse Trials.

This year the weather had other ideas, with heavy winds giving the elegant turnouts in the dressage arenas an ethereal look as the dust swirled around them.

But competition continued, with the pairs and team classes particularly great to watch.

Rhiannon Damsma, sister of international driver, Andrew Damsma, won the pony pairs section, with her Welsh pair Mosman Park Fairytale and Mosman Park Vienna Woods coping well in the dressage conditions and powering around the cross-country course.

Deb Hoffrichter’s black tandem team Forge Farm Heathciff and Tinker Hill Smokey Jack did the same, and although it always looks more difficult to onlookers to steer a tandem rather than a pair through obstacles, her boys did admirably.

In the singles, Andrew Pollock’s Merricks Stedinger Crusade led from start to finish in the intermediate horse over 149cm, Lyn Callaghan’s Shepherds Hill Dennis won the open horse over 149cm and Matthew Marriott took the novice horse over 149cm class driving his a handsome Dutch Warmblood-Clydesdale cross, Murroka Crackerjack.

The pony classes were the most popular with numbers. Tracey Tuohy won the novice pony 91cm ne 124cm with Mosman Park Foxtrot, Bridie White’s Edition Park Krislynz Fame the novice pony over 124cm ne 149cm, Dawn Walter’s Naringalook Monty the intermediate pony 91cm ne 124cm and long-time enthusiast Rodney Lane the intermediate Pony over 124cm ne 149cm with Duckponds Lucy Van Pelt.

The open pony class winners were Vicki Stevenson driving Naringalook Tim Tam and Yvonne Brown’s Sherbet Lemon.

Action for the harness horses moves on next week to the show driving and driven dressage at Geelong Showgrounds.


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Download results

2023 Victorian CDE Championships results
Download PDF • 51KB

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