YORKSHIRE riders excelled amid international competition for the North Eastern Driving Trials Group’s premier event at Allerton Park.
After impressing at the event near Knaresborough, Wakefield’s Steve Hoyle and Huggate’s Steph Milner can now look forward to a trip to the National Championships at Cirencester Park in September.
Over 70 horses and carriages competed at the two-day event, including competitors from Kent, South Wales and as far afield as Australia.
Chasing championship qualification for the first time this year, Hoyle chose exactly the right time to put in his career-best performance in the Novice Horse section.
Starting with a dressage score of 39 – which equates to 75 per cent in the ridden world – Hoyle underlined his intent by performing one of just three double clears of the entire competition in the cones phase.
Junior driver Milner then shone in the Intermediate Pony class, pulling out all the stops to score a 42 dressage (72 per cent) and also a double-clear in the cones.
The following day, a fabulous marathon route laid out by course designer Alwin Harrison meant that drivers never once had to touch a public road.
Seven obstacles within the park, including Allerton’s spectacular water, provided the challenge and Hoyle managed to increase his overnight lead to win his class with one of the five fastest marathons of the day.
This success booked Hoyle’s trip to the National Championships with Milner also claiming a date at Cirencester Park by recording the fastest marathon of the entire day and thereby taking home the rosette for the lowest overall score.
In Novice Pony, Ripon’s Marnie Summers scored a personal best in the dressage followed by a solid performance across the other two phases to seal victory.
Jane Wilson, the North Eastern Driving Trials Group’s spokesperson, says the Yorkshire success story in carriage driving is going from strength to strength.
Wilson said: “We’re enjoying record entries this year and within our club we have two junior drivers who are shortlisted for this year’s World Championships for Young Drivers in Poland in August as well as another long-listed for the World Single Horse Championships in Hungary in September.”
Club, Introductory: Melody Jones, Holme-on-Spalding Moor; Novice Pony: Marnie Summers, Ripon; Intermediate Pony: Emma Jones, Flintshire; Open Pony: Tony Mould, Northumberland; Novice Horse: Kate Upsall, Sunderland; Intermediate Horse: Leslee Wilkinson, Halifax; Open Horse: Caroline Weiss, Mansfield; Pairs: Mark Winder, Cumbria.
Regional, Novice Pony: Paul Ramage, Morpeth; Open Horse: Peter Bennett, Cheshire; Intermediate Pony: Steph Milner, Huggate; Horse Pairs: Angela Flanagan, Melton Mowbray; Open Pony: Kim Usher, Richmond; Horse Tandem: Fred Pendlebury, Bolton; Pony Pairs: Sara Bower, Barnoldswick; Pony Tandem: Jeff Ormerod, Bury; Pony Teams: Peter Shanon, Chorley; Novice Horse: Steve Hoyle, Wakefield; Intermediate Horse: John Wilkinson, Halifax; Horse Teams: Mark Peel, Australia.