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Mixed fortunes at the Aachen CHIO World Horse Festival
Boyd Exell and his team
Doing the Ostable (Cone) Test at the 2006 CHIO Aachen
Photograph:Marie de Ronde-Oudemans
Boyd Exell finishes in 5th position after the third test in the Four-in-Hand Driving event at the biggest and most prestigeous European horse show.
Boyd was in 6th place before the obstacle (cone) driving competition with 124.46 penalties after placing 8th in the Dressage and also 8th in the Marathon (cross-country) tests. The obstacle driving competition is the Driving equivalent to the Jumping test of the Three-Day Event.
The CHIO Aachen Press Service wrote after the Marathon:
Australia's sole competitor in the Dressage, Kristy Oatley, blamed herself for the not as good as expected result with Quando Quando in the CHIO Grand Prix. They finished 26th with a respectable score of 66.5%. The pair came 17th in the Grand Prix Special. Kristy placed 9th in the CDI Grand Prix with her mount Don Bolero on 68.167% and another series of Olympic qualifying scores.
A report from Karen Everett, Boyd's assistant and Chef.
Boyd was 5th at
We arrived on site on Wednesday with the first inspection on Thursday which went smoothly for us going first. However, for the later nations we had teams of horses warming up to use the practice arenas where horses were being walked prior to the trot up and it was chaotic. This will be address before WEG!
Practise arenas were an issue as there was not enough space. We had one set up dressage arena with times allocated to the various nations and there was another arena similar size next to this dressage arena. The only other area was behind the stables which was rough, and this was all we had for 26 teams (they are wanting around 50 for WEG) so they are planning to create another training area.
We were on sixth in the dressage but thankfully we had a couple of good dressage drivers on before us and parts of the test were superb, but Boyd's halt and rein back need working on. However, people were muttering that this was a team that would win the dressage in the future!
Despite the weak halt , rein back and subsequent walk, Boyd was still 8th after the dressage so we were very pleased and as prize giving was down to 8th place the horses got the chance to go in the main arena, which is quite an experience. The atmosphere is electric so great training for the horses!
Friday night they issued a severe weather warning, the weather was dire but coming from
5 of the 6 obstacles drove really well and fluently, but on obstacle 3 he came in a little fast and pulled a turn too late and he also missed another turn in the same obstacle. However, although Boyd was a little disappointed what he didn't realise is that every driver had a mistake somewhere on the marathon and we finished 8th, but the marathon scores were extremely close only three points between the top eight!
Back to the show ground for another prize giving ceremony although Boyd only took in a pair as three of the horses had each lost a shoe on the marathon so we were getting those replaced!
We were now lying in 6th place and Saturday evening we were all hoping to go and watch the dressage, but were all too tired!
The cones course was very tight on time, but Boyd and I worked out the split timings and he drove the best round I have ever seen him drive. He was spot on with his timing, the rhythm never varied and he drove cleanly - there had only been 2 or 3 double clears when he went in the arena! There were a total of 6 double clears by the end, but we had moved up to 5th place and definitely put pressure on the leaders! There was a drive-off, in which we were fourth, but Boyd took it steadily - thank goodness! And other prize-giving ceremony. Then time for packing up before the final prize giving-ceremony. I think it is all these prize-giving ceremonies in the main arena that takes it out of you. The horses’ harness and carriages are constantly being prepared! However, we are not complaining!!
Boyd drove home through the night so should be back home for now giving the horses who were superb a well-earned rest!
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