This years New Zealand Carriage Driving Society’s North Island Combined Driving Championships saw an impressive turnout of over 30 entries competing at the National Equestrian Centre at Taupo over weekend 6th – 8th May. Among the Open Competitors was Lloyd Weal and Mt Tulloch Royal Legend, a 7 year old 15.1hh Part Morgan Gelding. Legend was shown in hand and under saddle at this years Morgan Show at Ohaupo, by Yvonne Weal.

Legend was purchased from Sandy and Frank Hooper as a yearling, as has been brought on slowly by both Lloyd and Yvonne. Legend went straight into the Open Horse class, and competes against some of the very best New Zealand combinations, including, at the recent championships, Draytown Trooper and Yvonne Weal, who recently competed with great success across the ditch at the Australian Championships, and Picasso and Alison Cameron, who consistently score high in the overall standings.

This years NZCDS NI CDT open horse winner was Yvonne Weal with Draytown Trooper, with Alison Cameron, and Lloyd Weal coming in second and third respectively, with impressive scores for all three competitors. Legend, in only his first full season has produced performances that the Weal contingent can be proud of. Legend and Lloyd, have an extra something to be proud of as well, the combination was awarded the ‘Best Performance by a Morgan Horse or Pony’ award. An outstanding achievement by both Lloyd and Legend, both of whom have never driven or competed at a championship CDT.

Morgan horses and ponies make ideal partners for driving, their kind accepting nature, and their can do approach shines through, making for a competitive combination. Legend, like many Morgan horses, has a close bond with both Yvonne and Lloyd, and seems willing to please at all times. His performances continue to improve, and will be a force to reckon with next season.

At this year’s championships, breeder, Sandy Hooper groomed for Lloyd in the marathon phase of the three phase event, (Dressage, Marathon and cones). Speaking to her after the completion of the most demanding phase of the competition, I could tell that Sandy was proud of the horse that she had breed, as to are Lloyd and Yvonne. “Hes just such a kind horse, you can do anything with him, and he’ll just get on and do it”.

Carriage Driving, and in particular, Combined Driving, is a great sport for those wanting to be involved with horses. The people are friendly and welcoming, and diverse! Throughout the weekend, men, women, young and old all compete against each other, in a fair and tight competition. Members of the NZCDS are a generous ‘lot’, Lloyd Weal built the course in a limited amount of time between returning from Australia, (where he was grooming for his wife Yvonne) and handing the course of to Chief Judge, Isabel Cochran, who gave up the reins to officiate, and TD, Brent Penman, who has dedicated so many weekends this season to officiating at the numerous CDTs held throughout the county. For more information about the sport of Carriage Driving, visit, www.carriagedrivingnz.co.nz, where you will find contact details for people in your region.

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