The First International Competition of Traditional Carriage Driving at Celle took place at the famous Haras de Celle, near Hanover, on the weekend of the 21st and 22nd of August.
It was an integral part of the magnificent 275th anniversary celebration of this superb headquarters of Hanover horse breeding, framed by majestic buildings and historic stables.
Non-stop parades and processions animated the weekend in honor of the famous stallions which constitute its pride and fame. These very same magnificent horses demonstrated their versatility….mounted in top quality dressage, jumping as well as driven ….in all variations; singles, pairs, teams….and more, demonstrating their great and varied talents..
The idea of organizing a traditional driving competition within the framework of the Celle celebration…. was the brain-child of Count Günzel von der Schulenburg, faithful supporter of CIAT and regular participant at Cuts, who obtained the kind consent and cooperation Dr Axel Brockmann, Directeur du Landgestüt Celle. It was a famous first!
Five countries participated in this already famous “ first”. Belgium, Spain, Britain, Holland and Germany. It’s quite a feat of courage, abstinence, and heroism to undertake such an enterprise. Think of the Spaniards who set out gaily, to face the 5000km, from sunny Seville…and, for example, Elizabeth Cartwright-Hignett (from her less sunny Wiltshire).
Everyone really wanted to be present at this promising event…and also to get more familiar with German drivers who had rarely been exposed to the joys of an International Driving Competition experienced under the auspices of the AIAT.
The horses were splendidly lodged and the welcome couldn’t have been warmer or more generous.
A terrific dinner was prepared for those who had arrived by Thursday evening including the numerous organizers and volunteers.
Friday night there was another dinner to which participants contributed abundantly their national specialties… from honey and Belgian chocolates, Tio Pepe and Spanish ham. It was evident that cooks of each nationality had poured heart and soul into the gastronomic preparations as well as horses, carriages…and maps!
Saturday afternoon, the “presentation” scintillated in the courtyard at the foot of the chateau. The weather was gorgeous and the more appreciated because of the period of diluvian rain which preceded it. Nearly 3000 people were mesmerized watching the succession of beautiful horses and carriages in such an ideal setting !
That night was the summum.
A candlelit dinner took place in the Grand Manège du XVIII century. The most elegant we have ever had for a CIAT. . And the next day, in the pretty surrounding countryside the routier took place finishing in the center of Celle where the pave streets terminate on a triangular square surrounded by 17th and 18th century houses.
In the afternoon the cone driving competition was installed in the midst of the haras’ celebrated courtyard followed by the prize giving. Hennie Hagen (NL) won with his Holsteins, Matthias Pfeifer (D) was second in pairs and Matthias Pfeifer (D) and third in the overall classification, Elizabeth Carwright-Hignett won the presentation, Antonio Gutierrez (E) won the category followed by Heinrich von Senden (D) in the same category, Pepin Varo was third with his pair of pure blood Spanish horses, Mark Matthys won with his tandem (the tandem of Celle should be mentioned ).
A great bravo to all those who contributed to the organization of this first CIAT at Celle which resulted in such an excellent atmosphere and owing to the passion and competence of the volunteers. Considering that this sort of competition had never been tried before, it was a triumph to achieve such a spectacular result and one can only hope there will be a second edition soon.