QUEEN OF THE ARENA
Scurry Racing at Jumping Amsterdam – January 2011
The Osborne Scurry Group now has the royal seal of approval!
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands was among spectators as our elite scurry group wowed capacity crowds at the prestigious Jumping Amsterdam tournament.
Equine fan Queen Beatrix was so enthralled by our daring drivers and high-speed carriage racing that she specifically asked to visit the scurry ponies in the stables at the RAI arena, where the four-day event was held.
The Queen met Jeff Osborne and his large ponies, Zig & Zag and later spent a few minutes chatting to Jemma Millman about her ponies, Eeyore and Piglet.
Jemma says: “She wanted to know how the ponies were bred and she said that she had loved the scurry driving; it was fun, speedy and a bit frightening!”
Moments earlier the Queen, in her seat close to Obstacle 7 – the box, visibly gasped as first-to-go Su Ridley’s small pair Prancer & Dancer charged towards the wall before pirouetting a U-turn at the gallop and charging back out at full throttle.
In fact, on practice night the arena crew who had not known what to expect were convinced the first pair in the ring had taken off and couldn’t believe that speed of the ponies’ into the box had been deliberate.
The crowds, who had never experienced the spectacle of double-harness scurry driving, agreed with their Queen and shouted, stamped, hollered, waved flags and gave standing ovations at every one of the six races in the tournament.
And they hailed Charlotte Adams-Lane – with her pair Balanced Rip & Tear – as the Queen of the Arena.
Charlotte – with husband Ian as groom – won four races in a row clocking up ever- faster times over the fast-flowing course of 11 obstacles, built by Kevin Millman.
The astonishing times clocked up by all the racers – culminating in a clear round of 42.38 seconds by Jemma Millman, driving Piglet & Eeyore and was the result of the amazingly firm surface created by Ton Agterberg and his team at Agterberg b.v, who watered and rolled all the surface at every opportunity.
The ground was so firm that the ponies – racing for the first time since HOYS – felt totally confident of their footing.
Jeff Osborne’s Zig & Zag ran some amazing times but lacked accuracy at times, which robbed him of a couple of first places. Apart from nudging a ball in the box on the first round, Alison Millman ran clear every time, continuing the consistency Branston and Pickle became known for throughout the 2011 season.
The scurry racers who made the 12-hour drive from Dover had expected to take part in five races. (See our results page)
But we were asked to take the ‘running ponies’ as they became known into the arena early on Sunday – ‘Children’s Morning’.
Not sure what to expect, it was like being in the kids show, Crackerjack! as hundreds of screaming children lifted the rafters with their hollering and cheering.
The scurry ponies loved it! Spurred on by the children – who are encouraged by the event organisers to nurture a love of horses – the ponies galloped for all they were worth, notching up the fastest times of the whole tournament.