It’s 2014 and the new season is about to start, weather permitting. The Park has been very wet, the wettest I have ever seen, but it seems to be drying out slowly.
With the move of the driving lorry park onto the north end of Smith’s Lawn, we have made plans for the new water supply and for the Driving Office, the Scorers and the Chuck Wagon to be in place for the first meet in April. Members should have been informed of the change when they were sent their vehicle passed, which are for Blacknest Gate now, as we are no longer able to use Bishops Gate. There is a new map on our web site to show the various routes to follow to the new lorry park. We have planned routes to the Cannon Ground for both horse drawn vehicles and road vehicles for access for inspecting the dressage arenas and marathon obstacles.
The Club has its own Facebook page, which has been created by Sarah Louise Oxborrow, which should be full of useful information, Competition times and final results. It can also be used to communicate between members and the committee. We are arranging for a quick link on the website.
British Carriagedriving (ex BHDTA) has produced a brand new rule book, based on the new FEI rules, for this year. This replaces the last one originally produced in 2009 with amendment added each year since. Most of the changes are to do with international events but there are a few that affect club and national events. B C has this on line now, in draft form. It is hoped to have the final version available in second week of April or shortly after. I understand that there will be a National version and a full International version available.
Suzan Bailey, one of our founder members and former single pony competitor was awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s honours list for services to charitable giving. She was a founder member and chair of the club’s Sponsored Drive and raised in excess of £500,000 for various charities over a period of 25 years. Since retiring from the organising committee she continued to raise further monies through other means. The club honoured her at our recent AGM where she was presented with flowers.
I have some sad new concerning the death of two of our ardent supporters. John Shoesmith died just before Christmas, following an accident at home. He has supported us for many years as a steward and will be greatly missed. Mavis Wilson died during the first week of March following a long illness. Those who did not know her, she was our club secretary for many years and always seemed to take an interest in the club since her retirement. I am sure you will join with me and offer our condolences to their respective families.
Our plans for winter maintenance was a little thwarted due to the wet autumn and very wet winter so now things are drying out a little I hope to organise some work soon. We were due to loose the use of The Drive obstacle but the Great Park has altered their plans so we have a reprieve of a year or two. In the mean time the Park’s management have indicated that we will be allowed to build two or three new obstacles soon but I still need to discuss their sites, plus I also hope to discuss some new routes. My plan is to make more use of the western edge of the park so we do not come into contact with too many horse riders and other public that use the Park, plus there are some fantastic tracks available and even some hills.
The training day went ahead on 30th March and we had 22 drivers of all levels entered. There were two dressage arenas, two different types of cones courses, one tailored towards indoor driving trials with 10 or 19 gates and a more standard 20 gate type with a zig zag etc included. And to finish we had a temporary obstacle, similar to an indoor type along with one of our permanent ones flagged up. We also offered a 7Km road drive for anyone who found their animal had any puff left to round things off. I believe that everyone had a great day and left with some extra knowledge and food for thought. The atmosphere was great and the sunny weather also helped. Let me thank all the trainers for offering their knowledge and time they gave to educate and encourage the attendees.
The event also helped to check if there would be any problems with the new lorry park arrangements.
Let us all hope that the weather stays dry. Do not forget to keep an eye on the web site and our Facebook page for news and views.