Best carriage drivers crowned

Rodney Lane (Fetlocked Photography) 272795_01

More than 50 carriage drivers from across Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania converged on the region over the long weekend for the 2022 Victorian Combined Driving Championships.

Geelong and District Carriage Drivers hosted the championships at the Leighdale Equestrian Centre in Teesdale from Saturday, March 12 to Monday, March 14, bringing together the best carriage drivers from south-east Australia.

Combined driving is carriage driving’s answer to eventing and is comprised of three sections – dressage; the marathon, including roads and tracks and obstacles in lieu of jumps; and cones, the equivalent of showjumping.

Competition started on Saturday with the dressage events, where riders were required to display control over their horses through voice, whip and reins.

The best novice dressage test was by Rodney Lane driving Duckponds Lucy Van Pelt, while the best intermediate dressage test was by Dawn Walter driving Naringalook Monty.

The main event of the day, the best open dressage test was taken out by Michelle Jones driving Lucy, while Rachel Haslau, driving a pair of ponies, took out the best multiple dressage test.

Sunday was marathon day, with the course at Leighdale Equestrian Centre taking drivers on surrounding roads and through beautiful Australian bush tracks.

The course was set with almost all obstacles surrounding a large spectator viewing area, so spectators were fortunate to be able to watch the action up close.

The best novice marathon was again driven by Rodney Lane driving Duckponds Lucy Van Pelt, while Lyn Callighan took out the best open/intermediate marathon driving Shepherds Hill Denis.

Rachel Haslau took her second win of the weekend driving a pair of pones for the best multiple marathon.

The storm on Sunday night settled the dust on the arena that was set for the cones course on Monday.

The course was a challenge and only five double clear rounds were achieved for the day.

Overall winners for the weekend included Kerry Winters and Jestames Hollogram, Rodney Lane and Duckponds Lucy Van Pelt, David Cockroft and Eddy, Dawn Walter and Naringalook Monty, Vicki Stevenson and Naringalook Tim Tam, and Lyn Callaghan and Shepherds Hill Denis.