A weekend at the Sandringham Horse Driving Trials

A weekend at the Sandringham Horse Driving Trials
Pictured: The driven dressage (Photo credit: Ian Burt)

A gloriously sunny weekend at the end of June saw the Sandringham Horse Driving Trials return for their annual competition and carriage driving extravaganza.

A truly international event with competitors from across Europe gathered in the grounds of the Sandringham Estate to compete in dressage, cross country and cone driving. Hundreds of spectators were also treated to the driving of gorgeous ornate coaches and were able to get up close to a group of Suffolk Punches, an endangered breed of draught horse.

Technical Delegate Jeannie Lane said: “We have been going for something like 30 odd years and this event traditionally always follows on from Royal Ascot. Obviously, when Prince Philip used to drive he used to go to Ascot and then come here.”

“We have our FEI 2* Pony Drivers who are trying to compete to be selected for the world championships in Hungary in September. So if you watch them going through the obstacles they will be driving very fast!”

“We’re amazed actually this year because it’s the first time for many years we’ve had so many competitors doing the driving trials. We had 102 entries and 101 forward which means people have withdrawn for some reason, for lameness, sickness, the heat etc.”

“And then plus the Suffolk Punches—this is the first year we’ve invited them here because it’s a rare breed and it would be nice for people to know about them.” The Suffolk Punch is Britain’s oldest native breed of horse and are now critically endangered, their population declining due to the mechanisation of agriculture with experts predicting that the breed could become extinct by 2027.

On the 22 attelage and 9 coaches involved in the event, Jeannie said: “The this is the attelage’s third year here and it’s the same for the coaching that were here yesterday, because the coaches are 100 odd years old plus and it’s very nice to see these wonderful rare coaches being driven.”

“The attelage are carriages that are pre-1945, because don’t forget during World War I we were still using horse-drawn vehicles. Even though it’s only 100 odd years ago, it still seems strange to see them.”

Full competition results are available from www.hoefnet.nl.

Ian photo 6

Ian photo 3

(Pictured: The driven dressage. Photo credit: Ian Burt)

Driving 1

Driving 2

Driving 4

(Pictured: The cross country carriage driving)

Suffolk man


(Pictured: (top) A Suffolk Punch from Banham Zoo and (bottom) a young Suffolk Punch filly.)

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