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Win Tickets To The North of England Equine Fair
Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate on 29 and 30 November.
Courtesy of Contour Exhibitions & Events Limited you can now win tickets to attend the event!
For a chance to win one of 4 family tickets worth £25 each, please send an email to including your name and address.
Closing date 13th November 2003.

Winners will be the first entries drawn at random after the closing date.

Your details will not be disclosed to any third party.

Carriage Driving Star Step Out At Equine Fair

Carriage driving star Gary Docking will be showing the crowds the full extent of his skill at this year's North of England Equine Fair, Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate on 29 and 30 November.

Gary Docking is one of carriage driving's most colourful characters who has earned himself the title Mr Private Driving.

From a start far removed from carriage driving - as a red coat at Butlin's - Gary now runs a superb yard with 16 boxes, 40 acres of land, an outdoor school and a soon-to-be indoor one as well. As a Light Harness Horse Instructor (LHHI) Gary is qualified to teach carriage driving. He is also a respected judge and has judged as well as given lectures and clinics in the USA and Australia.

Horses have been used as transport for centuries, but the modern sport of horse driving trials only came into existence in 1968 when HRH Prince Philip formulated the rules for the new sport.

Horse driving trials take place over a three-day period, and according to the British Horse Driving Trials Association it is the only equestrian sport where competitors can compete on an even footing regardless of their age, sex or the horses or ponies they drive.

The first day is devoted to dressage, which consists of a sequence of set movements driven from memory: these are designed to display the schooling and obedience of the animal.
Judges look out for accuracy of the movements prescribed in the dressage test, which includes circles, half-circles and serpentines, driven at various speeds and paces - from walk to extended trot. Other manoeuvres include circles driven one-handed, serpentines, halts and rein-backs (reversing).

Each movement is awarded marks out of 10. At the end, all points are added and the total is subtracted from 150 (maximum score) to give the final mark. The competitor with the lowest mark is therefore the winner of the dressage phase.

Further penalties may be added for errors of course or dismounting of grooms. All turnouts must carry a groom (two grooms for teams of horses or ponies) who must remain seated throughout the test and may not speak or sign to the driver.

The marathon takes place on the second day, when competitors drive the five timed sections of the cross-country marathon course. The last stage is 10 kilometres in length and includes up to eight obstacles which must be driven at speed. The obstacles are often built up around natural features and are made up of a series of lettered gates that must be driven in order. Different routes within the obstacle course leads to tight turns that require a great deal of judgment and skill from the driver if the course is to be competed with the minimum of time penalties.

A veterinary examination may be carried out during the halts, where horses and ponies will be checked for pulse rate, respiration, dehydration or injuries and any which are deemed to be unfit shall not be allowed to continue.

The third and final day consists of cone driving. This element of the competition equates to the show jumping phase of a ridden event and test the skill and competence of the driver as well as the suppleness and obedience of the horse. The objective is to arrive, in a set time, through narrowly spaced pairs of cones with only centimetres to spare on either side of the wheels.

Penalties are awarded for exceeding the allowed time or for dislodging any of the balls that are laced on the cones. Further penalties will be given for errors of course or for the groom dismounting. If a driver manages to drive the course within the allocated time and without hitting any cones, he will have driven a "double clear" and will incur no penalties.

The North of England Equine Fair will take place in Flower Halls 1& 2, the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 October 2003, 9.00am to 5.00pm on the Saturday and 9.00am to 5.00pm on the Sunday. Ticket costs are: Adults, £9.00; Under 16's £6; Under 5's free; OAP's £7.00; Family Ticket (two adults and two children) £25.00. Advance booking discounts are available. Please call 08700 115007 or log on at

Please click here to learn more about the North of England Equine Fair


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