CIAT Mostyn 2022
- Lester Dagge -
Report by AIAT Technical Delegate Lester Dagge
The foundations of the Concours International d' Attelage de Tradition competition format is firmly set in its French origins, but in comparable Rugby world terms, it takes the Welsh to give our French cousins a run for their money with the running of the first CIAT at Mostyn in North Wales. Bon Homme, cordialité, l'amour were replaced with undertones of Hiraeth, hwyl and cwtches where the friendly Welsh welcome expounded flavours of traditional Welsh culture, heritage and fun.
The new CIAT venue at the ancestral home of Lord Mostyn, Mostyn Hall nestled in the foothills of North Wales, offered astonishing coastal views where the imposing Jacobethan mansion was the perfect backdrop for a remarkable competition. With ever changing vistas over a 11km course, carriage drivers enjoyed a spectacular routier negotiating a number of natural and architectural challenges, from driving through a specimen arboretum, formal parterre gardens, an original carriage weighbridge, open landscaped parklands, wooded boulevards, lime tree walks, arched lodges, dry bridges and quiet estate tracks. As this was a private venue, the public were not admitted, but the estate workers and the surrounding villagers on the routier rose to the occasion and held their own village green parties watching the carriages drive past to great acclaim.
Inspired by the regular English and Scottish CIAT events held on the great estates, Lester Dagge set about trying to search for a suitable venue in Wales, returning the competition to the Principality where the first AIAT event was held in 2012 at Picton Castle in Pembrokeshire. With a distinct lack of suitable venues in Wales, he realised there may be better opportunities in North Wales and conferred with Janet Prytherch who had attended a number of the events in England. Janet soon responded with a venue and set about the first steps of investigation at nearby Mostyn Hall calling on the support of Attelage stalwart Alan Prescott and his daughter Linda Prescott-Williams. Local private driving enthusiast Rob Parry was also approached and a small team was created to plan their first CIAT event. With regular meetings with the estate manager of Mostyn, Janet, Rob and Linda managed to formulate their way through a myriad of challenges and opportunities, including working with the estate, its managers, gardeners and tenants to offer a promising new venue. With a final proposal presented to Lord Mostyn, the full event went into full production planning. Sponsors were approached where a few kind sponsors offered extraordinary support to enable us to proceed with the event.
Many sleepless nights, worrying discussions and severe doubts were the food of nerves, but with goodwill and sheer determination, the Dream Team made it happen. Original concerns were if we would be able to get enough interest and support for this unknown venue, but with determination and driven focus, the event attracted an original field of 21 competitors, 11 newcomers two from the Republic of Ireland and one from the Ukraine. Sadly last minute plans saw 4 withdrawals. Competitors travelled far and wide with the most amazing turnouts from single ponies to large teams, and quality was exceptional as every single turnout presented remarkably high standards.
The AIAT judges included Claudia Bunn from England, Richard Lanni from Scotland and Herr Hartmuth Huber from Germany. They exclaimed at the high standards, variety of imposing vehicles and sheer pleasure to take part. We learn to of the huge effort all the competitor and newcomers had employed to taking part, from travelling long distance, acquiring new carriages exclusively for the event, all done in the true essence of the CIAT event. The evening socialising included two nights of celebrations of good food and drink with music from Welsh Harpist, Welsh Folk Band to a traditional Welsh Twmpath Dawns folk dance, such astonishing fun was had by all.
The three stage event of presentation, routier with Difficulties and the cones saw some incredible driving with Russell Hand and Eleanor Stevens exhibiting their prowess with a team and tandem respectively around an ever changing course. CIAT Stalwarts Kymberley Titmus won best lady whip, best single horse whilst Gilly Chippendale won best Single Pony, the Welsh Pony & Cob Society Performance Medal with her Welsh Section B pony, Russell won best multiples, Jess Hart won best local driver, Alan Prescott won Best Welsh Competitor, Steward Favourite was Eris the Dalmatian following Jimmy Jeffrey and best presentation score was won by Jimmy Jeffrey. Overall supreme Champion was Jimmy Jeffery. The 2 best newcomers winning the Salisbury Fund award went to
Final thank you's must go to event Director, Rob Parry, Janet Prytherch and Linda Williams, the huge team of volunteers from the local Chester Driving trials Group and BDS area 37 our generous individual sponsors volunteer stewards, score keepers and helprs.
Diolch yn galon i chi gyd!, Thank you all so much x.
Official event photographer: Nigel Torrens pictures can be seen here.
Official event photographer: Alan K Payne Photography here.