Combined Driving ruled November 5-8 in Windsor, SC (population 100) just outside of Aiken at the Katydid Combined Driving Event, a qualifier for the Advanced four in hand teams for the 2010 Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games. In an area better known for its foxhunting with the Flat Branch Hounds, Windsor was alive with the clip clop of trotting horses and the squeak and rattle of carriages as the property of Katrina Becker and her generous neighbors hosted the Katydid CDE this past weekend.
The work of the many volunteers from the Aiken Driving Club was clearly in evidence as one entered the property- from the decorated Carousel hazard and vendor areas to the exquisitely manicured Advanced dressage arena. No small feat on the latter- a full FEI sized driving ring is 40 x 100 meters! Compared to ridden dressage in a 20 X 40 M ring, a driven dressage ring may appear like a football field to the uninitiated. But it fills up quickly when a carriage and four horses are thrown into the mix! Competitors were greeted by Vermont deserter, Peggy Dils as they collected packets of info and goodies from this efficient secretary of the show. Despite storms of the past, a beautiful weekend with temperatures in the 70s was a warm welcome to the many Snowbirds who made the trip South for a respite from the seemingly unending ‘season’ of rain.
For the competitors and spectators alike, including local polo players, foxhunters and eventers who opted for sponsor passes, the view of Advanced and Intermediate dressage as well as the first and last hazards and the cones competition plus wonderful food could not be beat in the Aiken area in the fall! Outside the sponsor tent and around the hazards were carefully placed bleacher seats from which one could view all but one of the seven challenging carriage mazes and Saturday’s marathon did not disappoint! And on Sunday during the final phase, the cones competition, a sumptuous Sunday brunch was served throughout the day.
Vendors lined the spectator areas offering not only driving equipment and carriages but jewelry, saddles, hay and more food! If you are in the Aiken area in mid November- mark your calendars now for a truly wonderful experience on the box of the carriage or on the bleachers! Katydid is a must do!