The Sunday before the FEI World Driving Pony Championships finds business as usual at Manage Chardon with a slight difference. The Team Chardon rigs sit in the stable yard as the packing begins. The three time driving pony world champions graze in their own private pasture, their last day to be turned out for a week. This time it is Edith Chardon managing the packing instead of her brother Bram. Well organized boxes filled with the Orange Dutch team jackets go in, bicycle tires are pumped and bikes lined up next to the equipment trailer.
Undefeated Driving Ponies
Bram and the ponies were undefeated in the past three Pony Championships held every 2 years. The 24 year old now drives a team of horses as well as his father Ijsbrand, multiple Dutch and World Driving Champion. Edith, both dressage and combined training competitor, made the transition just two years ago with the pony team. She qualified this year after a strong season finishing second in the Dutch Championships to long time four-in-hand pony driver Jan de Boer.
She has her work cut out for her, but has been working towards this transition gaining experience and timing each time out. The all important qualifier was held the same week as Aachen her father was competing in several divisions with up to 10 horses brought to the show. Bram was traveling back and forth to Beesd, helping both father and sister. Another sister Jeanette Chardon was also competing at Aachen in the eventing competition. With the Dutch Pony Championships, and her place on the team secured, Edith made it to Aachen on Sunday to watch her father once agin be on the winning Dutch Team.
Two World Championships in Two Weeks
As soon as Edith and ponies return from Minden, pony carriages and harness unload to be replaced with horse equipment for the European Championships being held in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Bram is in the equipment building working on one of the horse marathon carriages readying it for his father and the next event, the European Championships. In just two years the young Chardon came close to making the Dutch Team, and is reserve driver.
A Quiet Sunday at Manage Chardon
A small dressage competition is going on in the outside dressage arena. With lovely horses and dressage tests being called out in Dutch.
Across the canal the efficient training area is set up with a combination of driving dressage arena, cones course, two obstacles, and an array of Cross Country Eventing fences.
Ijsbrand is working his team horses single. An elderly man on a bicycle coming from the park across as the street stops on the bike trail that runs through the yard to watch. As Chardon works the lengthening and collected transitions, he comments with his hands- "boom, boom, boom" noticing the spring and elevation of the trot. No wonder, as the horse in Chardon's steady hands is by the famed dressage stallion Donnerhal.
There are two large indoor arenas separated by a coffee shop and lounge area. The lesson side is quiet today, while the boarder side has people riding including another Chardon sister and her event horse.
Over 525 lessons are taught a week at Manage Chardon, in all phases of horsemanship. From 3-year-old children learning to brush ponies and pick hooves before riding for the first time to world clas riders and drivers shipping in for guidance. Group lessons on school horses and ponies go on daily and into the evenings.
On Sunday, this is a quiet day.
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