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Scurry driving is a fast-paced equestrian sport in which a pair of ponies pull a carriage around a course of cones in an attempt to get the fastest time. The full name of the sport is Double Harness Scurry Driving.
How it Works
The aim is to achieve the fastest time in getting around the track, without knocking any balls off the top of the cones that mark the course. For every ball that is knocked off, a time penalty in incurred. It is almost always done at a gallop. Due to the small distance between the cones (170cm), accuracy is key. A course contains between 10 and 14 obstacles, such as a box and a slalom.
The ponies are normally given names of famous pairings, such as Tom & Jerry, Bonny & Clyde, Judge & Jury, and so on.
The first record of the event was in the 1950s in the United States, using four-wheeled wagons and barrels instead of cones. When it came to the United Kingdom, single ponies were used. It later progressed into using pairs of ponies and red cones. It was mainly done at a trot, with some cantering. Scurry driving has become ever more popular over northern Europe during the first decade of the twenty-first century. The very best scurry drivers from Great Britain, such as Philip Litchfield, Lucy Scott, Jenny Bean, Robert Lightwood, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany regularly compete in the European Championships. The first European champion was British driver Lucy Scott in 2007. In 2008 the title was won by Belgian Pieter Van Den Broeck and in 2009 by Dutch driver Youri Otten. 'Carriage Driving Magazine', December 2009. The 2010 European Champion was again Pieter van den Broeck from Belgium with the UK's Philip Litchfield driving Thunder and Lightning in second place. In 2011 Dutch competitor Martien Van Viem won a hard fought European championship, second was British driver Jenny Mountain with Song and Dance.
The sport was governed by the British Horse Driving Trials Association since the 1960s, but in 2001, the Scurry Drivers Association was formed. Scurry driving was then recognised as a sport in its own right. There are now 2 governing bodies of Double Harness Scurry, running under slightly different rules. These are the Scurry Driving Association, the 'premier league', and the Osborne Scurry Group.
Scurry driving takes place in the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Northern Europe. In most countries scurry driving is a fun, end of show activity. In Great Britain and Northern Europe it is very skilled and competitive. Currently the high point of the season are the European Championships which take place in the Netherlands. There are roughly 35 major shows in the UK, and 3 main championships. These are the Horse of the Year Show champion; The County Show series National Champion and the SDA Premier League Points Champion.