Here is our first World Pony Driving Championships report from Karen & Pat Garrett:

Jennifer posted on the CAA blog on  Saturday, providing details on the Lipica competition and some of the competitors. We thought there might be some interest in additional details.

The six nations that will be competing for team championships are Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, and the United States. Germany and the Netherlands have been the first- and second-place winners in each biannual competition since 2003, with third-place winners being Belgium (2009), the U.S. (2007), Great Britain (2005), and Austria (2003). The host country of Slovenia does not have any competitors in the championships. It did have competitors at the recent Pairs Championship.

Details on the competition are available on the website to which Jennifer has previously provided a link. In summary, the competition is being held at the Lipica Stud, which is a renowned Lipizzaner breeding facility, having been founded in 1580. It is about fifteen kilometers east of Trieste, Italy, just beyond the Slovenian / Italian border and a short distance from the Adriatic Sea. In addition to being a major equestrian facility, the Lipica Stud has successfully branched out into recreational use of its property and has two hotels on the facility adjacent to the competition venue.

Slovenia was part of the Yugoslavian Federation before its dissolution in the early 1990s, and it is the only one of the former Yugoslavian republics to become a member of the EU. As mentioned, it is bordered on the west by Italy, on the north by Austria (in the Alps), on the east by Hungary and Croatia, and on the South by Croatia.

The weather for the competition looks promising. As this is written on Sunday evening, a predicted front has just arrived with heavy rain. It is supposed to rain tonight and Monday but to be sunny with highs in the upper 70s through the week and for the competition over the weekend. Shelly Temple’s blog stated the team was traveling to Lipica today. Hopefully, they arrived before the rain and were not unduly delayed by the road construction in the Slovenian alpine motorway tunnels.

The dressage competition starts on Thursday with the pony pairs. The singles are scheduled to begin Thursday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. and to be completed Friday morning. The team dressage will be completed Friday afternoon.

The trot out begins at 11:00 Wednesday morning, followed by the opening ceremony at 2:00 p.m., and the draw for starting order at 3:00 p.m. Slovenia is six hours ahead of Eastern Time. We hope to have a post about and pictures of the Wednesday activities available by early afternoon Wednesday Eastern Time, as well as any gossip we pick up in the meantime.

For Wendy Ying’s first report, sent while she was in transit to Lipica, see the comment on this blog post from last week.

Also, as an additional update, we’ve heard (indirectly) from the German team that it’s snowing (!!!) there …