The weather was perfect on 23rd June for the Trec in West Wood, Sparsholt. The flies, unfortunately and as always, seemed to have advanced notice of a horse gathering. Twelve turnouts arrived and set off at roughly five minute intervals to navigate through the wood following a series of arrows. Rumour has it that at one place there were three carriages going in different directions trying to find the next arrow.
“Seeing the carriages has made my day.”Member of public who stumbled upon our event
Signs had been placed at the entrances of the wood to notify other users that there were carriages about and to encourage them to talk to the drivers if they had any questions. Quite a few did and also enjoyed the sight. A little boy who has apparently been fascinated by horses since he was a baby was in his element and someone else said that “seeing the carriages has made my day”.
There were four challenges to overcome on the way round.
- The first made use of a handy gate by the car park. Drivers had to stop and wait for the backstepper to get off, open the gate, drive through and shut it without the horse moving. Everyone was excellent at this.
- The second challenge was to collect numbered tags from some of the marker arrows. Most people found them all.
- The third challenge was to throw balls into a bucket. The grooms had four balls and only a couple of people got two in the bucket. Accuracy wasn’t a feature of this event!
- The fourth task was to drive a figure of eight around two markers on the ground. There were some excellent scores here.
The whole course had an optimum time of 1.17 and points were deducted for being either side of it. Only the eventual winners Elaine Brown (small pony) and June Waterman (large pony) managed to get close enough. No one exceeded it.
Sadly Ursula Wainwright had a blowout in a rear tyre which meant she couldn’t complete the whole course and Irene Baker was back sooner than she expected as she missed an arrow. Irene was accompanied by Martin Crisp due to being short of a groom – thanks to Martin for stepping in at the last minute.
A huge thank you to Clare, Chris and Willow Holland for scoring the ball throwing and circling, for checking the course first thing, taking down the signs afterwards and manning the entrance/exit. To Gail Johnson for her help in getting the access originally and marking the gate task. To Jonathan Turnbull for scoring and keeping tabs on the times everyone started and finished. Finally to the Forestry Commission for letting us use the venue.