New event planned for Tamworth's  AELEC

THE Romans were known for it, Colin Farrell made it look really good in the 2010 movie Alexander and now Tamworth will play host to its own version of carriage driving events on February 16 and 17. 

AELEC operations manager Mike Rowland, met with members of NSW Carriage Driving on December 18 to discuss the possibility of hosting a carriage driving event in the city in the near future. 

As part of those discussions the group, which included Jessica Meredith – a former regional local – who now lives and trains in England with world champion Australian carriage racer Boyd Excell, how to create an appropriate racing eventing track at the venue was discussed. 

Ms Meredith was brought in to look over the course using her knowledge of international courses.

She told The Leader she has been surprised and delighted with the quality of AELEC as a venue. 

“This event will be a starting point and will provide the opportunity of a trial run before the main event that will be hosted at AELEC in November,” she said. 

The two-day February event will include dressage, a marathon obstacle course that will see competitors travel between 18km and 21km on tracks throughout the centre, and another event which will involve participants driving in and out of a series of more than 20 cones. 

Ms Meredith said she believed, all going to plan, that AELEC could be the perfect venue to host international events into the future.

“The base for a really good foundation is there to build on,” she said. 

Ms Meredith grew up in Armidale and began carriage driving at the age of eight. 

In the time since she has competed her way to the top across Australia and only after achieving all titles in both pony singles and pony pairs did she make the decision to move  to Scotland in 2005. 

Her overseas career began as a groom in a professional carriage driving yard where she had the opportunity to broaden her knowledge on the eliteness of the sport at an international level.

After two years she was given the opportunity to take the reins and drive at her first World Championships with a pair of Irish Cob crosses in Denmark in 2007, narrowly missing out on a bronze medal in the dressage phase. After this wonderful opportunity she relocated, with her ponies to England to move closer to where the British and European competition circuit was.

She said the sport was a wonderful way to enjoy one’s love of horses.

“It’s a sport that can be enjoyed by all the family from beginner to professional,” she said.

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