CIAT at Ksiaz Castle, Poland
Daisy Princess von Pless, née Cornwallis-West, was probably the most celebrated beauty of her time. When she married Hans-Heinrich XV. Prince von Pless, she was presented a string of pearls the price of which was one million goldmark. It matched with her clothes as well as with her lifestyle,as her husband was one of the wealthiest noblemen in Germany. Her parties at Ksiaz Castle were so elegant and much sought after that even kings endeavoured to obtain an invitation.
Though she died in 1943, the flamboyant Princess is still well remembered by the people of Silesia and therefore they took her as a model for the driving festival that took place on 20th and 21st July 2013 at her former home, Ksiaz Castle. Many of the turn outs that appeared in the park of the castle reminded the lookers on of the days of the Princess: Horses with much presence and action, stylish carriages and drivers and passengers in garments well adapted to the turn outs.
Fifteen drivers had registered for the CIAT. One participant came from Germany, one from France and even four participants came from Swizerland. The horses were accomodated in the well designed and well kept mews of the castle (today a National Stud), the drivers in a five star hotel nearby, a very practical arrangement.
On Saturday the turn outs were presented in the gardens of the castle where they were judged by Mr Huber (D), Mr Novak-Zemplinski (PL) and Baron de Langlade (F) who was the technical delegate of the AIAT and chairman of the jury. The judges were very pleased with the efforts of the drivers who had tried hard to set an international standard in their turn outs. These efforts were pretty ambitious as the concours was the first CIAT ever held in Poland. Several turn outs were town turn outs that should be coachman-driven but were not, some turn outs had obviously a distinct FEI-driving background. But all their horses were well kept, well trained and fit for their job and the drivers had a feeling for and interest in elegance and a stylish appearance.
The following Sunday was a very hot day. Fifteen kilometers to go at thirty degrees centigrade is a difficult job for the horses but they managed to do it as well as the drivers were able to negotiate the PCs skilfully.
The stud has a show ring with terraces where in the afternoon many hundreds of spectators had gathered to see the cone driving. It turned out to form a challenge for some of the drivers but all of them were able to reach the finish – no matter how many balls were down.
The prize giving in the end under the trees overshadowing the show ring was a scene worth painting. The parade of so many well bred horses, stylish carriages, elegant clothes and –last but not least – beautiful ladies on the carriages caused an uproar of enthusiasm from the audience. They clapped their hands and felt set back to the days of Princess Daisy von Pless when the traffic of elegant carriages in the ground of Ksiaz Castle was the order of the day.
Overall champion: Christian Mettler (CH)
Singles: Jacek Janton (PL)
Pairs: Christian Mettler (CH)
Tandems: Wieslaw Sadowski (PL)
Unicorns: Ireneusz Kozlowski (PL)
Teams: Edwin Burge (CH)