Amanda Nisbet is the new national champion open pony pairs driver and her husband John Nisbet is national reserve champion intermediate horse driver. They achieved this success at the British Carriagedriving national championships held at Cirencester Park 19-21 Sept 2014 The third member of the Chariots of Fire team was Louise Kaiholm who was also competing in the pony pairs class. She was champion in 2013 but this year had to settle for 3rd place

Drivers from across the UK compete all summer to qualify for the national championships. Therefore Amanda, John and Louise were competing against the top drivers in the country in each class.
At a national level the competition consist of 3 separate phases:
>Dressage – to display the schooling and obedience of the animals;

>Marathon – the three timed sections of the cross-country marathon course. The last challenging 10km stage includes up to eight obstacles, to be negotiated at


speed against the clock, which leads to adrenalin pumping, mud-flying action.
The obstacles are often built around natural features (water, steep banks etc.) and are made up of a series of lettered gates which must be driven in the correct order. With different routes within the obstacles, this leads to tight turns which require a great deal of judgement and skill from the driver, in order to complete them with the minimum of time penalties; and

>Cones driving – testing the skill and competence of the driver and the suppleness and obedience of the animal. The objective is to drive, in a set time, through narrowly spaced pairs of cones with only centimetres to spare on either side of the wheels! Cones driving requires a steady hand, nerves of steel and a well trained horse!

Amanda, very ably assisted by her groom Stephie White, was driving her Dartmoor Hill ponies, Haggis, Firecracker and Foxy – Foxy & Firecracker in the dressage & cones phases and Haggis and Firecracker in the marathon. Amanda was 3rd in the dressage but won the marathon and cones phases which made her overall champion in pony pairs class.

John was driving his Arabo-friesian horse Otto with his father David as his groom. He was 5th in the dressage, 2nd in the marathon and and won the cones driving phase making him reserve champion in the intermediate horse class. John was also top of the national points league in the intermediate horse class.
Louise was also driving pair of Dartmoor Hill ponies – her own pony Sinatra together with Liza Pern’s pony Icarus – assisted by her groom Kimberly Porteous from Corrie.


Amanda operates Chariots of Fire Driving Centre in Boreland and together with John, Louise and other colleagues at Chariots of Fire coaches people of all ages with a disability in the skills of carriage driving and riding in partnership with local charity Sports Driving Unlimited.

For more information on the Chariots of Fire Driving Centre or any other aspects of driving for those with disabilities go to: www.chariots.org.uk or www.sportsdrivingunlimited.org.uk

Latest Articles