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In Memory of ‘Madge’ Edwards

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 Those of you of a certain age will remember ‘Madge’ Edwards who passed away in December 2023.  I met Madge when I started carriage driving with the Wolverley Driving Club and enjoyed her guidance and enthusiasm for weekend driving rallies, traditional driving and, most of all, driving trials. Madge was later elected Honorary President of Wolverley Driving Club. In the 1990’s we drove our lorries, sometimes in tandem for reassurance, throughout the summer months to compete at the excellent two-day trials, run by the then Midlands Driving Trials Group, to venues like Chatsworth, Frog Hall and the Silverstone area. This was Madge’s heyday, a keen single pony driver and regular winner with the excellent Georgie. Madge delighted in getting her ponies fit in the forest behind her home and, when she hung up her harness, her enthusiasm transferred to my ponies, grooming for me in the forest and country lanes of Worcestershire. Madge was the manufacturer of ‘Forest Harness’, arguably the best

Midlands enjoys a solid 2023 and looks forward to next season

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 Midlands Carriagedriving held its AGM and Conference on Sunday 26 November, attended by around 20 members. The club’s finances remain in good health, having made a small profit on the year thanks to a tremendous entry for the Onley Regional, Para, Club and British Young Drivers’ Championship classes. Dave Wheeldon stood down from the committee and Jon White was duly elected as his replacement, there being no other candidates; both Ben Smith and Angela Flanagan were re-elected for a further term. Jon White has joined the MC Committee (Credit Kingswood Associates) Chairman Paul Hart gave a summary of the year, saying it had been a challenging time for all concerned since the loss of Dave West and with Lesley moving away as they had done so much for the club. He thanked Dave Wheeldon for standing in as chairman for an interim period, ably supported by his partner Tracy and daughter Megan. Midlands is very grateful to several ‘old stagers’ who had returned to support the club, not only as

1-2-3 for Midlands’ ponies at the National Championships

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 It was a clean sweep for three Midlands Carriagedriving ponies at the 2023 British Carriagedriving National Championships, held 15 to 17 September, at Ashfields Polo and Carriage Driving Grounds in Essex. Cath Brockie held her nerve in the final cones phase to take the Open Pony crown with Robert Buck driving Elisabeth Greensmith’s Charlee in second and Megan Wheeldon completing in third place. Cath was lying in sixth place after dressage but a scorching drive through the obstacles put her in the lead prior to cones by just 0.71 of a penalty from Robert who, after coming fourth in dressage, also put up a strong obstacle performance. However, his 14.27 added penalties in cones gave Cath some breathing space and two down inside the time were enough to secure the 2023 title. Megan, who languished in an unfamiliar 12 th place after dressage, pulled herself up to overnight fifth after the obstacles and added 1.71 time penalties to make it a 1-2-3 of Midland ponies. Photo: Cath Brockie Phot

Glorious weather at Oasby

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Glorious weather greeted competitors and stewards alike at Midlands Carriagedriving’s final event of the season, at Oasby in Lincolnshire, over the weekend of 2 and 3 September. This was the club’s third visit to the venue and the new organising team of Chris and Jenny Doughty and Bob and Ruth Auton had gained permission from the landowner to open up new tracks for Section A of the marathon as well as creating three new obstacles on Section B. While one or two drivers opted for shortened marathons with the imminent National Championships in mind, the Open Horse class provided a close finish between Sue Mart, with her promising new horse, and Wendy Wyatt. Sue took the lead in the dressage phase with 43.53, ahead of Wendy on 50.75 and Paul Hart on 55.12. Wendy closed the gap on Sue after a better cones score but Sue kept her nose in front with marginally faster obstacles times to finish just over four penalties ahead of Wendy with Paul third and Graham Clements in fourth. Photo: Sue Mart

Pop-Up ODE at Anslow

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 Sunday 20 August saw a Pop-Up ODE held at Anslow, Derbyshire, to replace the sadly cancelled 2DE at Brailsford. Midlands Carriagedriving’s (MC) chairman Paul Hart and his wife Ann kindly organised the event at short notice, enjoyed by several competitors, stewards and volunteers in glorious weather. Cath Brockie kept herself busy, giving her victorious pony pair from Onley an outing to sharpen up their dressage as well as driving a single pony in the Open class. Here she notched up the Best Dressage of the day and had just one cone down in the second phase. She was well on target to produce the fastest obstacle times until running foul of Gate F in the third obstacle, driving it backwards, to complete with a big ‘E’. Steve Trebble made the most of her error to take the class. Cath Brockie Steve Trebble Sandra White turned the tables on husband Jon, driving her own pony at its first competition. She took the striking, forward-going, black gelding very carefully to win the Novice Pony c

Brailsford cancelled; looking forward to Oasby

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 Midlands Carriagedriving has announced that, with great regret, it has cancelled its next event at Brailsford on August 19 and 20, due to receiving a low number of entries which made running the event unviable. Competitors who have entered will receive a full refund of their entry fee. Instead, MC Chairman Paul Hart has arranged a one-day-event on Sunday 20th August at Anslow, in Derbyshire. Competitors are welcome to arrive on the Saturday and use the arena, cones and obstacles for practice and schooling. This offer is open to all, not just those who had entered Brailsford. Please contact Paul Hart directly on 07779 922506 to book for the ODE; payment to be made on the day. Onwards and upwards! MC’s last event of 2023 is at the Oasby eventing site, near Grantham in Lincolnshire, from 2 to 3 September. Organisers Ruth & Bob Auton and Chris & Jenny Doughty have set a new marathon course, all on grass tracks which are mostly flat bar two short hills on section B. There will be s

Perfect going at Onley Grounds

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 Almost 60 competitors across Regional, Para-Equestrian and Club classes enjoyed perfect going at Onley Grounds, Rugby, from 29 to 30 July. The event was hosted by Midlands Carriagedriving, which also held the British Young Drivers’ National Championships, managing almost 80 entries. In the Regional classes, Chris Ainscough headed Open Horse with Joanna Broadbent second and Lynda Christian third. Chris led the dressage on 45.05 while Sue Mart and her new horse were second on 54.17, a fraction ahead of Joanna on 54.36. Joanna had the better cones score, adding 2.58 time penalties, which put her ahead of Chris, separated by less than a penalty, while Lynda was in sixth overnight. With all to play for, Lynda attacked the obstacles to win the marathon phase and claim third place. Chris wasted no time either, leap-frogging Joanna to win by 2.14 penalties. Photo: Chris Ainscough The result was almost as close in the Open Pony class (2.26 penalties), won by Louise Kaiholm ahead of Lesley Tilb