News Letters

Presentation evening and charity night 2018

On the 22nd September, Chester Horse Driving Trails Ltd held their annual end of season presentation evening at the Crooked Horn near Holywell. This was to be a change from the norm, as over many years they have held the awards at the last outdoor event of the season. However, the committee acting on feedback from members decided to hold at an indoor venue and out of season. This turned out to be a very successful evening with nearly one hundred attendees, made up of members, friends and families. The fact that the owner of the Crooked Horn allowed wagons to stay overnight was also a welcome bonus (not that having a wonderful warm room with its own bar swayed anyone’s decision)!

An excellent buffet was served prior to the presentations taking place which then lead onto an evening of dancing and celebrations.

The awards covered three aspects of CHDTL, the winter indoor season, the one day Dressage and Cones (small pony) and of course the traditional two day Trials Driving. The awards were all done to music and slides, along with the occasional humorous “caption” photo’s.

CHDTL has always supported different charities and this year the nominated one was to be MacMillan Cancer Support, a charity close to many members and the club for personal reasons. Funds were raised via donations for the buffet, a tombola on the night and a kind donation from the venue and the DJ on the night. This resulted in raising a total of £936.80 which was then added to by a company that one of our members works for, resulting in a total donation of £1936.80.

The cheque was handed over to Eleri from MacMillan last week on a very cold and windy day at the Crooked Horn.

CHDTL would like to thank everyone that attended and supported this event and next year’s promises to be bigger and better.



The week before Chester’s Llanymynech Driving Trials on Sunday 22nd July, John Lloyd, ex-President of CHDTL sadly lost his battle with cancer, supported throughout by his lovely wife Sue. Their good friend Ann Connolly had organised this year’s event which John had made his own for many years as Chester’s Novice Qualifier. He always liked to choose his judges: Edwina Hart, Penny Wear and Lesley Goodden (who sadly lost Andrew her husband suddenly in April before our first event at Backford) all judged again this year with Philip Reeves joining them judging for the first time and his wife Janet judging Presentation. Carol Fearnley who he liked to design his cones again did a great job. It was so poignant John died the week before his and Sue’s event. Everyone pulled out all the stops to make it a success. He was missed very much by friends old and new.

John originally was into showing prior to 1990 and it was Josie Evans from Anglesey who suggested he join Chester and try driving trials. He was a very skilful driver and competed all over Britain for many years with Sue and their amazing Hackney cross pony “Willam” – winning British Champion Single Pony in 1993 and representing Great Britain three times at Windsor. In 1993 they won at Lowther with the fastest marathon of the weekend with Willam . They were truly a force to be reckoned with!

Competition was fierce with “The Three Musketeers”, John Lloyd, John Garlick and Colin Walmsley pulling out all the stops at various events and remaining friends!

He was a feisty Welshman and told the most wonderful stories in the marquee on Saturday nights. A couple of tales Colin recounted were John and Sue’s first event at Cholmondeley Castle where they came up to the top of a bank to go into an obstacle to find a couple having a picnic with a rug all set up in the middle of the obstacle! Willam was like lightening and John yelled like mad for them to get out of the way! At the same event there was a post and rails running alongside the dressage arena with an electric fence on top of it which his pony would go nowhere near – somewhat frustrating for dear John!
These were the days of 5 section marathons with often 18 or 19 in one class and scoring done manually with obstacles not for wimps. It was all great fun and a true challenge.

John was a perfectionist when it came to carpentry and building and one of his favourite expressions friend Ann Connolly said when it came to measuring it had to be “within a gnat’s wing!”

He had great knowledge which he freely shared and as Edwina said he and Sue really put back into the sport with John as President of Chester until two years ago and often judging for the club with Sue as his writer. He was always fair in his comments and helped people improve their driving. At the Qualifier he would ask Fred and Beryl Pendlebury to come for the weekend and Fred would impart much wisdom and use club member’s animals to demonstrate how to get the best out of them – Fred a real wizard with horseflesh.

Despite his illness bravely fought his interest never flagged. Their close friend Ann Connolly drove his pony and he loved to hear how it went at competitions.

Chester is a very friendly club, like one big family and John will be so much missed. He was a real character and made a good President. All our love and good wishes go to Sue and the family. She was the most wonderful support as he valiantly fought to keep going. R.I.P. Ex-President John.

(Sally Massey 31.7.18)



Andrew Goodden

As we are sure many of you will have heard, the club has recently lost a dear friend Andrew Goodden; loving husband of Lesley and father to Zoe.
Andrew passed away on the 22nd April having suffered a heart attack. The Committee, and I am sure, all it’s members, sends its deepest sympathy to Lesley and Zoe during what must be a very difficult and harrowing time for them and their family.
For those that may not know, Andrew and Lesley were that wonderful couple, who more often than not, did the harness check and setting off for the Marathons at our club events. Andrew also often took on the role as TD at our competitions, including Novice Qualifiers at Llanymynech.
So, what can we tell you about Andrew and Lesley that you may or may not know? They both joined the club in the early 1990’s and it really was a family event, with Andrew’s parents and niece Gayle often helping out as obstacle (or hazards as they were called back in the early days) stewards, and of course his beloved Daschunds.
Andrew was well acquainted with Halkyn Mountain, having attended the first event there. Now, was it the wildlife or the stunning scenery that made him so fascinated with the terrain? No, it was the fact that, when they were ready to leave, on the Sunday, Andrew realised that he had lost the wagon keys, probably somewhere up on the mountain. It turned out that the wagon keys had actually gone off home in Ursula’s lorry. Colin kindly accepted Lesley and Andrew into a family party, and provided a stable for pony Joe, until Lesley’s Dad could bring the keys back for them.
Andrew and Lesley first competed with their little spotty pony Joe and soon moved onto driving Tandem with ‘the boys’ their Eriskay ponies (who they often showed at rare breed events).
Andrew was always more than willing to share his knowledge and offer support to new drivers and was especially supportive of our Junior members for whom he always made time to share any advice and offer encouragement. On one occasion, when acting as TD at Llanymynech Novice Qualifier, Andrew was more upset than Emma when he had to tell her she was eliminated due to missing a compulsory gate on the marathon.
As a couple, they also founded the ‘Blinkers’ indoor driving club at Hunters Gate. This led to the club getting involved and developed into the creation of the indoor events that you all know and support during the winter months.
It is certainly going to be strange starting out on the marathon not seeing them both there and will certainly bring a lump to the throat of many of our competitors as they set off on a Sunday….

R.I.P. Andrew you will be sorely missed


Indoors 21/10/17

The new season got off to a flying start at Reaseheath despite Storm Brian causing a number of withdrawals. The club was delighted to welcome a number of new faces as well as some familiar faces with new ponies.

Largest class of the day was the Novice Pony.  Speedy obstacle times saw Heidi Weijburg and her popular pony,  Popeye,  move up from fourth to first place, with Julie Neary a close second, birthday girl Jodie Bennett third and Sally Massey with new pony Bob in fourth. The challenging cones course proved to be the deciding phase in the Club Novice class having the biggest impact on final scores. Less than 5 penalties separated eventual winner Debbie Blakemore from Kirsty Regan in second.  A good cones round saw Paul Lawton move up from sixth to third and some good obstacles times kept him ahead of fourth placed Helen Naden. Kelly Rush took fifth just ahead of  Loraine Jones in sixth.

“If you want to get ahead get a hackney” was the clear theme in the combined open pony class with 4 of the 5 entries forward being hackneys.  Leader of the pack was Ruth Lancaster with Stapleford Stepping Out, a rare solo outing for this pony who usually makes up one half of Ruth’s hackney pair. Second by the narrowest of margins was Ruth’s sister Rachel. We’ll be watching this sibling rivalry with interest as the season unfolds. Three exciting new Intermediate Pony combinations took 3rd to 5th places. An accurate and timely cones round pulled Kacie Lawton ahead of  Oliver Bennett to take 3rd and 4th respectively.  Ondine King took 5th place with her 4 year old hackney stallion who behaved impeccably on his first competitive outing. Julie Tomasik took the Club open pony class ahead of Emma Jones with her promising young cob, Billy, and our other  birthday girl, Carole Redgrave, and her Welsh cob Jerry finished a creditable third at his first indoor event.

Libby Castle had the Novice Horse Qualifier to herself.  Meanwhile Miriam Parker and Chris Taylor battled it out in the Club Novice class with Chris the eventual winner. An even closer competition between Rebecca Taylor and Fiona Aslaksen for third place was finally settled in Rebecca’s favour with less than one penalty separating them.

The combined Open Horse class was won convincingly by Colin Walmsley with a 15 point lead over Mark Riley who was also highest placed Intermediate Horse competitor just ahead of Ondine King in third. Ann Connolly was the sole entry in the Club Open Horse, but had a very competitive P&P score of  31.75.

Sole multiples turnout on the day was Rachel Reilly whose flying small pony pair drove some of the fastest obstacle times of the day.

We look forward to seeing you all again in November for another exciting event!


A message from John and Sue Lloyd:

“Would you please convey our thanks to all (underlined) club members for their kindness and best wishes.
We are very grateful to Anne and all who helped make Llanymynech this year and understand it was a great success.

John had a very difficult hospital appointment on the Friday just prior
to Llanymynech and hope you can all understand us keeping a low profile over the weekend.

Thank you again for all your good wishes”

John and Sue

The usual organisers John and Sue Lloyd were greatly missed at this years Llanymynech event, however, Ann Connolly and her team stepped up and did an excellent job in their place. The water obstacles were stunning as usual and the decorations of the other obstacles were fabulous, especially the Castle Lloyd with it’s towering nights and damsel in distress! Congratulations to our President, Colin Walmsley for achieving the lowest score of the weekend! We hope that John is feeling better soon and wish him the best!


Please don’t forget to get your entries in early or on time for the evolution event (12th August) and Henbury Hall (26/27th August) other wise they may fall to the same fate as Gwysaney and risk cancellation!


A very successful novice qualifier event was completed at our brand new venue, Plas Newydd, Pontblyddyn, this weekend. The new venue exceeded expectations, providing an excellent setting for the qualifier in the rolling Welsh hills. Congratulations to Lyn Riley for achieving the lowest score of the weekend and to Elsa Herriman and Mark Riley for qualifying for the National championships. Thank you to all who helped to organise, set up and run this event, as new venues always produce challenges, however it all ended in a very enjoyable weekend and we have kindly been invited back next year.


Dont forget our next event at Llanymynech, on the 15/16th July. Entries close this Friday the 30th June (please see entry form for details)! We look forward to seeing you there.


The beginning of the season has kicked off to a strong start with our first two day trials event at Home Farm, Backford. There was a good entry of 34, welcoming new faces from other regions as well as being well supported by our own members. Despite showers on Saturday making the cone course slightly more challenging the event was greatly enjoyed by all, especially the newly designed obstacles and marathon course, particularly the new water obstacle. Thank you to Nigel Torrens Photography for attending on the Sunday, some fabulous photos were taken and can be found on his Facebook page if anyone would like them. Nigel will be with us again at our next event at Erddig Hall on the 3-4th June (Please see entry form for details).


Finally thank you to all of the organisers and volunteers that ran this event making a wonderful start to the season. We are looking forward to seeing you all at Erddig.


A successful training weekend at Home Farm, Backford was held last weekend. Many thanks to Chris Ainscough and Fred Pendlebury for providing lessons. Turnouts were able to test three of the new obstacles including the new water obstacle, in preparation for our first two day trials event to be held on 13/14th May (entries closing on the 28th April). This event will be a good start to the season, providing six brand new obstacles and approximately a 12km marathon, with hot meals available on the Saturday evening. Watch this space for further information.


Congratulations to all Chester members who competed at the British National Indoor Championships, Keysoe this weekend.

All did fantastically well, making the club proud and the results are as follows:

Colin Walmsley – 6th – Veteran

Ruth Lancaster – 7th – Pony Pairs

Rachel Lancaster – 10th – Open Pony

Trevor Wear – 14th – Open Pony

Oliver Bennett – 1st – Novice Junior

Kacie Lawton – 5th – Novice Junior

Ondine King – 2nd – Novice Horse

Jill Pickup – 6th – Novice Horse

Sean Lewis – 2nd – Intermediate Junior

Mark Riley – 3rd – Intermediate Horse

Julie Wedgbury – 1st – Pony Team

Well done to all!


Thank you to all of the volunteers pictured here, creating new obstacles at Home Farm,  Backford on Sunday 3rd April. Special thanks to the people who left before the photo shoot who were, Diana Rimmer, Carol Fearnley and Gordon and Miriam Parker and Tim. Here’s to the start of the 2017 outdoor season! Your committee.

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 “At the BC AGM , it was announced that Affiliated Clubs must fall into line with regard to the BC ruling on Back/Body Protectors or they risk falling foul of BC Insurance requirements. Therefore, from January 1st 2016, both Driver & Groom must wear one for the Marathon phase of Outdoor Comps. Under 18’s have to wear one at all times when on a carriage. We were also led to believe that we could be acting negligently if we do not insist on them for Indoor Driving Trials as well so, from Jan 1st 2016, all Drivers & Grooms must wear one for all phases of Indoor Trials- this is the same as the ICD Ruling. “