Every year the Championships grows more exciting, inclusive, exhausting, thrilling and above all, the friendliest sporting event that Gillie Drapper has ever been involved with.
There is little time between the qualifiers and the championships to really get your head around the whole experience but for those travelling from Scotland, Northern Ireland and the furthest South Western reaches of England, it is like mounting a major expedition. Groups need to sort out ponies, transport, support teams, accommodation, fundraising. I am delighted to say that in 2017, Carrick, Equipower, Forth Driving and Forth Valley all rose to the challenge from West & Central Region.
We all know that when horses are involved nothing is a certainty and when the horse that Janette and Bernadette were sharing, went lame just days before the event, they thought all was lost. However, the owner of Dramatist, who Janette had ridden at the Qualifiers, stepped into the breach and said that Dramatist could travel. The Unicorn Centre kindly came forward with Thunder for Bernadette to ride. Janette and Dramatist rose to the occasion for both their tests. Having just been introduced to her ride the night before her test, Bernadette was rather thrown in at the deep end. However, she put in a mammoth effort, with little assistance from Thunder, just to make sure that all her hard work had not gone to waste. The camaraderie and working together in the light of adversity was to me the essence of the National Championships and RDA.
My congratulations to all the West & Central participants. It was fantastic to see you all at Hartpury and I hope that your enjoyed the ‘Championship Experience’ as much as you appeared to.
The results were:
- Linda Farquhar - Ozzy - Forth Driving - Novice - 1st
- Alison Colvin - Ozzy - Forth Driving - Open - 3rd
- Johanne Picken- It’s Bobcat - Carrick - Championship Grade 4 - 10th
- Johanne Picken- It’s Bobcat - Carrick - Freestyle - 7th
- Janette Lightbody - Dramatist - Carrick - Championship Grades (1-6)(Walk & Trot) - 11th
- Janette Lightbody - Dramatist - Carrick - Freestyle - 1st
- Bernadette Leslie - Thunder - Carrick - Championship Grade 1 - HC
- Anne Brown - Basil - Equipower - Championship Grade 3 - 4th
- Anne Brown - Basil - Equipower - Best Turned Out - 4th
- Millie Smith - Ozzy - Forth Valley - Championship Grades (1-6) (Walk) Junior - 4th
- Millie Smith - Ozzy - Forth Valley - Countryside Challenge - 79.75%
Linda Smith of Clydesdale Group entered two beautiful pieces of art into the Arts & Crafts Competition.
If you are interested in volunteering or want to loan a pony to your local RDA contact: Gillie Drapper on 01360 860 243