I hope that everyone has a great Christmas and wish you all a happy and successful New Year.
It only seems a few weeks ago we were organising the clear up following the end of our season. We are now organising things for next season. You will find our 2015 rules, schedules and entry forms on the web site.
There have been a small number of rule changes for the new season. One of the main one is that if you are intending to compete at a Novice Qualifier, Regional or National event this year, the driver and the groom are required to wear a correctly fitting back / body protector on the marathon section (competition B). This rule will include club events from 2016. The transfer section rules have been clarified and we will now go back to having a start and finish steward, like the old walk section. The FEI have renamed the dressage tests and these have been included in our schedules along with the old numbers. The only class to have a new test is the pony fours who will use Test 11. There may be further changes, as I have not had confirmation of any further FEI rules yet there may be others to come. BC has informed the club that all rule changes will be published in the BC Yearbook.
Along with your membership reminder you will have been sent information about the forth coming AGM on the 8th February along with reports from the Chairman, the Treasurer, the Ridden Dressage Organiser and from me on Driving. There is a copy reproduced below for those who are not members. There is also a questionnaire asking for your views on our club. Please reply to this as we would like to organise events to satisfy your requirements. It would be nice to see more members attend the AGM. You do not need to have lunch, but it is a good opportunity to talk to one another or officials and air your views.
The Crown Estate have asked us to ensure that all road traffic traveling from the Lorry Park, on Smith’s Lawn, and the event field, the Cannon Ground, have their vehicle passes on view through the windscreen. If these are not on view you will be stopped and not allowed through Cumberland Gate. All full members will be issued with two passes so your lorry can have one and your car or road legal motorbike can have one. Day members will be issued them also.
It will not be too long before we will have to prepare the grounds for the new season. This can be difficult to organise as we are at the mercy of the weather as the contractor cannot mow the grass if it is too boggy. I hope that March will be relatively dry so we do not have to panic just before the training and the first meet.
I look forward to see you at the events, even as I hope to bring my ponies along.
Annual Driving Report for AGM February 2015:
Last season was a reasonable success, notwithstanding the odd hick-up here and there. Overall the numbers of competitors were similar to last year, apart from the Regional Event in August which had a better attendance than the last. The new Lorry Park on Smith’s Lawn was a little problematic to start with but most people were happy with the new arrangement. Initially it was a case of try it and see but by the latter half of the season it was working well. It has been the first year that our contractor took on the set up, breakdown and all the maintenance of the grounds. It was a steep learning slope for them in the beginning but as the season progressed things seemed to improve.
All the competitions followed the same pattern as they have for the last two to three years with our early events reasonably well attended with the entries dwindling during the latter half of the year. I have tried to make these latter events more attractive but without too much success. We are always looking for ideas to make these events more attractive. Let us know if you have any suggestions. This year’s Regional Event requires a special mention as it has, in my opinion, the best so far. I must thank all the sponsors who gave either cash or goods and services to add to the great atmosphere that we had. Great effort was given by everyone involved especially form Gloria Parker and her Red Hatters for the party meal and for Denis Williams for organising the entertainment and the judges and stewards lunches. I also think that the competition was great too with a very nice marathon and some interesting obstacles.
Looking forward to the future; The competition calendar has been published with the same number of events as this year as well as spring and summer training and our Charity Drive. Our Regional Event is to move from August to June and we expect to build on the success of this year and have the greatest ever. If club members are interested in other things we can organise the committee is always interested to hear about and we always consider them, fun days, TREC or picnic drives perhaps?
We are always looking for new venues for obstacles and new tracks to drive on and I hope some effort will be put into looking for these although we will need to liaise with the Crown Estate to establish them. We will also continue our maintenance programme improving the tracks and our facilities. I believe that we will keep our present contractors into 2015 now they know what services we require.
I took on the job of driving organiser in January 2007 on a “temporary basis” as I had decided not to compete that year and to concentrate on bring on a new pony. In the end the pony did not make the grade and it was sold on. I do still have a pair of ponies and a retired one and I have decided after 8 years I wish to retire as Driving Organiser. I am not leaving the Club though as I am a National Course Designer and am happy to continue with this work but I want to spend more time with my ponies and drive them. As you all know keeping horses and ponies is time consuming and expensive and they, and me, are not getting any younger. At the time of writing we have not had anyone volunteer to take on the roll although it could be split up into separate parts, so if you may be interested in getting involved in helping run the club, please contact me and I will be happy to discuss the various aspects of the job.