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Exuberant stallion secures win with high stepping style

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 27, 2013

By Athwenna Irons

  • Gail Palmer and her horse Victory, who were winnners of the pleasure driving and driver's dream classes

  • Champion Baldwin's Artillery, driven by Ernie Eveleigh, left; and, above, Maureen Ryder-Gordon and her pair of Dartmoor ponies Shilstone Rocks Hazelnut and Murphy

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An exuberant hackney stallion held his fire to claim the championship at the Devon Branch Area Driving Show, held last Sunday at Upcott Cross, Beaworthy.

Baldwin's Artillery, put to a 1904 Studebaker Spider Phaeton and in the hands of 17-year-old Ernie Eveleigh, impressed both the judge and spectators with his unmistakable high stepping action and striking presence.

Owner Greg Dowle, from Barrington, watched proudly from the ring side as foster son Ernie guided the 14-year-old stallion to win the junior whip and private driving for hackneys or hackney type classes, and come second in the Concours d'Elegance.

The combination has had a great season, with wins at both Yealmpton and North Devon Show already under their belt.

Gail Palmer had a fantastic day with the aptly named Victory. The 11-year-old KWPN, out in the reproduction Spider Phaeton, showed impeccable manners and versatility to take the pleasure driving and driver's dream class, which consists of an individual three minute display.

'Vic', as he is affectionately known, was imported from Holland as a two-year-old by Gail and husband Nick, who run Easter Hall Park Stables in Petrockstow, where they offer both astride riding and carriage driving tuition.

Gail was delighted with Vic's performance: "I was really pleased. He is a versatile and laidback character, which is ideal for that class [pleasure driving]. He's quite well trained now at 11 so he suited the class nicely."

Maureen Ryder-Gordon from North Petherwin was frequently in the ribbons, with her charming pair of Dartmoor ponies Shilstone Rocks Hazelnut and Murphy, put to an 1898 Alexander Dog Cart.

Hazelnut, 10 and Murphy, 19, worked in perfect harmony to take the top honours in the Concours d'Elegance, mountain and moorland private driving and pairs classes, and went on to stand overall reserve champion.

It has been a fantastic season for the combination, with numerous wins including Best Cornish Driving Exhibit at the Royal Cornwall Show.

Despite a temporary delay that required a hasty change of judge, organisers Brian and Mollie Colebrook-Clark were pleased with the number of entries on the day, in an area which has a very active driving community. The show was originally scheduled to take place in July this year, but had to be postponed due to the outbreak of the equine herpes (EHV-1) virus in the region.

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