Skip to content

The Carriage Commentator




We are delighted to publish the first news item for The CC from Jeff Osborne, chairman of the Osborne Scurry Group. Images kindly provided by Paul Orchard Photography - March 2024

Alison Osborne

2023 HOYS Report

The final of the Osborne Refrigerators Scurry Driver of the Year is held at Horse Of the Year Show, and it’s the one everybody wants to win. As October 2023 came around, the in-form driver, and favourite to take the title again, was Alison Osborne with Woody & Buzz. They had won 10 of the 12 qualifying championships through the season, but Jemma Millman was hot on her heels.

As Saturday evening arrived, nerves were high, and the excitement was off the scale.  Ten pairs of ponies went to post, all with a chance of the win. The competition was fierce, and several fast, clear times were completed in the opening rounds. As it reached the final four pairs, not a second could be wasted. Alison took the lead with Chip & Dale and the gauntlet was down, then Jemma snatched it back by a tenth of a second with Piglet & Roo. The penultimate driver to go was Nelson King with Fred & Barney, and he took top spot by just another two tenths of a second. That left Alison and Woody & Buzz as last up, in defence of the crown that they had held for the previous three years, and the only answer was to throw all caution to the wind. The phenomenal pace came to an abrupt end at Cone 3 – a left hand bend in front of the viewing restaurant. The ponies made the turn, but the inside wheels came off the ground, centrifugal force took over, and both driver and groom were unceremoniously thrown from the vehicle. All the wheels came back down, the ponies just carried on and were eventually caught in by the course-builder after some 20 minutes. Woody & Buzz loved their time in the ring and, amazingly, only knocked one ball off, which begs the question – do the ponies really need a driver?! After a thorough vet examination at the stables, Woody & Buzz were given a clean bill of health.

Congratulations to Nelson King, his groom Gareth Roberts and, of course, Fred & Barney for taking the title in 2023.

And then back home with our amazing ponies to take their winter break.

Spring 2024

The daffodils are blooming in the woods, the grass is starting to grow, and the days are getting longer – spring must be in the air. I’m sorry to be repetitive, but I will repeat my annual comments:

It’s time to prepare for the season.

Let’s start with the harness. Check thoroughly for worn stitching and that all parts are in good condition. Bits do wear out, so make sure you check them too.

As for the vehicle itself, check all round for loose bolts and cracks (easily identified in steel by rust stains). Remove the wheels, wash out all of last year’s sand and muck, repack with grease and replace, making sure that all the wheel nuts are torqued correctly.

Next, your apparel. Is your helmet still sound? Look out for loose stitching on aprons etc. and ensure that your footwear is in good condition.

If you tow a trailer, it is advisable to have an annual check carried out by an approved agent. For peace of mind, obviously, but it can also save a lot of trouble in the event of an accident. If you drive a lorry, don’t forget the MOT. Waiting times are still far too long at the moment.

Finally, check that your third party insurance is up to date and of a high enough value to meet current claims.

The ponies are all in the field having their winter holidays, but they have started some gentle work. The season will soon be upon us, so now really is the time to make sure you are good and ready. With any luck, some of the computerized entry systems will have improved since last year.

Wishing you all a trouble-free season and here’s hoping that all the balls stay atop their cones. A full set of show dates will follow soon.

Jeff Osborne

Chairman – Osborne Scurry Group

Jemma & Grace Millman