National Clinics 2019
1 March 2019

by British Carriagedriving


British Carriagedriving
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With the weather much improved from last year, when many roads were blocked with snow, the annual clinic at Stow on the Wold got under way with participants from 9 countries including 4 from Australia (must be the complete squad), Austria, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Germany, Great Britain, Poland and the United States.

A total of 61 judges, course designers, FEI stewards and technical delegates were present at the clinic, which gave good representation of all the roles.

Andrew Counsell (GBR), Richard Nicoll (USA), Jan Devaere (BEL) and Philip Bateman (GBR) were the Course Directors.

Friday afternoon started with the official FEI introduction and a joint session for all FEI participants to prepare for the start of the main clinic. This was followed by the “Passing In” Test for all participants.

Saturday began with a short welcome and update of British Carriagedriving rules, then everyone divided to their respective groups. Andrew Counsell took the judges through some theory first and then went outside into the sun for some practical work. Dick Lane generously brought his horse four and Lucy McGill brought a single horse to help and guide the judges through their paces.

Richard Nicoll had 13 course designers and enthralled them all with his vast knowledge and experience of putting on events.

Jan Devaere had 7 FEI stewards to train to his high level of efficiency and all met up to his demanding standards, with those seeking promotion obtaining their respective levels. It was good to see that we had 3 Level 3 FEI Stewards in one place all at the same time.

Philip Bateman took the remaining 11 technical delegates through some intensive training with power point presentations and written tests to achieve their desired levels.

Sunday started as early as possible, with the course designers producing an obstacle cones driving course with some deliberate mistakes. The technical delegates corrected the course and left if for the judges to officiate with Dick Lane and Lucy making as many deliberate mistakes as possible. Then it was time for the final tests and lunch to get everyone on the road straight after lunch, but not before the traditional photograph on the Unicorn Trust steps.

On the lighter side, Unicorn host Sydney Smith was pleased to welcome the conference participants back again and Fran More, with her team of helpers, produced an elegant three-course dinner which was enjoyed by all 45 diners on Saturday evening.

The social and networking aspect of the weekend is a key point, when new friends are made and working relationships are forged. Everyone there could make a contribution and join in discussions based on their own experiences.