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70 Mile House wagon-racing competition a success despite rain

Competitors from all across BC competed, including one with rare pony breed

The 19th annual Cariboo Trails B.S. and Drive Field Driving Trials took place at 70 Mile House on Saturday afternoon.

The yearly event attracts competitors across British Columbia and consists of pleasure driving classes, dressage, cones and marathon runnings. Dressage is the highest form of horse training where horse and rider are expected to perform, from memory, a series of predetermined movements.

Meanwhile, the cone segment was held in a hay field consisting of 14 gates participants had to drive through in a set period of time. In contrast, the marathon segment took place in an adjacent area over uneven ground, trees and slopes, featuring four obstacles including three gates for training and four gates for preliminary.

The driving event has been taking place since 2007 and was established by Ken and Dennis Huber, who both previously competed in carriage driving events in the Lower Mainland. Both have since moved to 70 Mile House, where they established Huber Farms in 2004 where they host races annually

Dennis Huber, the technical adviser of the competition who helped design the course, said that the event went well despite the rain, noting they’ve only had to cancel the event a few times due to weather in the past.

Cat Armitage, who hails from Lone Butte and served as one of the judges of the event, said that this year the performers did far better than last year especially when it came to the dressage competition.

“They’re more accurate. The horses are going and the horses and ponies are going better. They’re just giving an overall better picture to look at while you’re scoring them.”

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Armitage loves judging dressage and the other competitions and has been helping the Hubers run the event for almost a decade now.

“I’ve been coming and judging for probably about nine years.”

Rosalie Turcott came up from Mission down in the Lower Mainland to compete in the event. She brought her fell pony, Birdy, to the show. Despite a not-so-good performance during the dressage, she nevertheless still enjoyed herself.

“I want to give a big shout-out to all the volunteers that came out and sat through all the bad weather to put on the event.”

Fell ponies are a rare breed of horse that originates from the Westmorland farms of northwest England. This breed of horse is still used to drive carriages by the Royal Family, including the late Queen Elizabeth II.

“I think there’s only less than 800 of them registered in all of North America,” said Turcott about the numbers of those horses.

Dennis Huber said that there are plans for more competitions later this year.

“We have one in July - the last weekend of July, and one on the last weekend of September. And they are larger events than this, with more distance and more challenge to it.”

About the Author: Misha Mustaqeem

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