We are up, ready and going for this season and our first outing was at the recent Carriage Driving Fair at Merrist Wood. We were asked if we would like to take up the challenge of defending our title as the winning team from last year’s team challenge. For those of you  unfamiliar with this style of competition it means that when we are all harnessed together in our carriage there are four of us (a team) with two in the lead and two in the wheel. Our driver then has to drive around the indoor arena and navigate some cones which have knock down elements on the top (equivalent to show jumping but in a carriage!) and also drive an obstacle with lettered gates in the correct sequence. This has to be done as fast as possible because we receive penalty points for every second commenced in the arena. Obviously we wanted to defend our title and to show that just because we are a year older, and all in our late teens, we still have the energy!

This year they decided to change the format and paired up a small pony team like us with a big horse team so that the combined scores from both turnouts would be amalgamated to give the overall winning team score. We had some fierce competition against the current indoor pony team champion and also a very well respected horse team. Our partner was Karen Bassett’s horse team, who are probably three times as big as us at an incredibly 16-17hh! I think it was probably fair to say and that Karen did not mind that we were the underdogs this year. However, never underestimate the speed and determination of Team Gringers and also our feisty lady drivers who were not going to be beaten! We stormed around the arena and had the fastest clear round times of the day and, combined with Karen’s score, came back home victorious! A fabulous start for our 2016 season.

We really do want to say a huge big thanks to Saracen for our feed. We have just started on our summer rations of our Saracen Sports Horse Pencils as we are now allowed a bit of extra feed to get us going! We also have a little bit of Essential Balancer and some Equi-Jewel when we are really lucky! We firmly believe this combination is helping to keep us fit and strong in our more senior years!! Pity there is not something our driver can take in the Saracen range - now there’s a thought!

We are hoping that Catton Park will be our first national outing this year closely followed a week later by Royal Windsor. We are busy keeping up our dressage practice and lots of fitness training at the moment. We have a new member to our team called Harry who is another grey and he is learning to go in the lead and the wheel of our team. We don’t know where he is eventually going to end up yet as it is early days but he is proving very adaptable. It does mean extra washing and bathing with another grey so our grooms are preparing for another busy season!