Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Driving Miss Kelly

Sam Kelly is one of our newest team members, so new in fact we haven’t cut the labels off her yet. Sam, along with her husband Matthew and daughter Hannah, are involved in the sport of driving – something a little new and unusual for the primarily SJ and dressage HM team.

A couple of weekends ago they entered a competition, and Hannah has written all about it for us…

Matthew and Hannah after winning the Junior Whip

“June 15th was Father’s Day, and this year, instead of buying my dad the usual pair of socks and a bar of chocolate, I decided to treat him to something a bit different. This year we entered for the BDS (British Driving Society) Kent Area Show, where various carriage driving enthusiasts flocked to Under-River to show just how beautiful their horses and carriages are.

“We took our Hackney stallion Paddy (Stapleford Enchantment) to compete in the variety of classes held. The first class of the morning was the Private Drive, which we regularly compete in. The Private Drive has to be a traditional carriage in the best condition – spare parts of harness must also be included in the event of an emergency and the harness must correctly fit the horse, not rubbing or hurting him in any way.

“Paddy and dad worked hard and showed Paddy’s wonderful Hackney movement in the class to secure first place. And that was only the start of dad’s Father’s Day present.

“After a bit of convincing, I was trusted to take the reins and take Paddy into the Junior Whip, which I won last year. The pressure was on to hold my title. Luckily I couldn’t make a mistake as Dad was sitting right next to me, as until the age of seventeen you must have a responsible and capable adult on the carriage with you. Paddy was superb and behaved himself, allowing me to keep my title as Best Junior Driver at the show.

“Paddy progressed through the day to become Champion and Supreme Champion. By the end of the day we had two sashes, a trophy, a shield and rosettes. We had and excellent day, and qualified to go to the Championships later in the year. Our hopes are resting high on our yard star and Dad went to sleep that night with a smile on his face – something that a pair of socks can’t deliver.

“Hackneys aren’t always driving horses they can also be ridden too. Last year dad helped me to break Paddy to ride – he seems to enjoy this new found activity and loves going hacking, although it took him a while to get over the fact that he can fit through a one horse gate as there is no carriage behind him to get stuck.

“There would be no team without Paddy – he’s one in a million.”

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