Scurry Racing, Monmouth Show.A pair of ponies being driven in the scurry competition at the 2012
Scurry driving is a fast-paced equestrian sport in which a pair of ponies pull a carriage around a course of cones in an attempt to get the fastest time. The full name of the sport is Double Harness Scurry Driving.
The aim is to achieve the fastest time in getting around the track, without knocking any balls off the top of the cones that mark the course. For every ball that is knocked off, a time penalty in incurred. It is almost always done at a gallop. Due to the small distance between the cones (170 cm), accuracy is key. A course contains between 10 and 14 obstacles, such as a box and a slalom.
The ponies are normally given names of famous pairings, such as Tom & Jerry, Bonny & Clyde, Judge & Jury, Dun & Dusted and so on.
Scurry Driving started at the Horse of the Year Show in 1968. It was evolved from the American Rodeo sport of Chuck Waggon Racing, an idea brought to Great Britain by Frank and Cynthia Haydon after competing with a Private Drag and team of Hackney Horses at the Devon Horse Show in Pennsylvania, where the Four in hand teams were invited to drive their Coaches through pairs of Forty five gallon barrels (reference to be added: http://www.britishcarriagedriving.co.uk/news/2005/2005_home/028_obituary_frank_haydon.htm).
This first year at HOYS the competitions were open to pairs of Horses and ponies, the course consisted of pairs of (unnumbered) fibre glass “Watneys’ Red Barrels somewhat smaller than the 45 gallon Barrels (205 Litre oil drums) that were used in the US, the width was altered to give the same width tolerance for each competitor. There were three competitions, a Stakes Competition, with the clear rounds going into a drive off with the fastest clear round to win, the second Competition was a Scurry Class which was a speed competition with four seconds added to your time if you knocked a barrel, with the fastest corrected time to win. The Championship was again a Scurry class. So was born the Sport of Scurry Driving. These Scurry Driving Competitions were specifically formulated in 1968 for pairs of Horses and Ponies with the horse classes dropped out due to lack of support, and the pony class being split into 2 classes one under 12 hands and the other over 12hands and under 14.2 hands, and were not evolved from competitions for single Horses or Ponies.
Scurry driving has become ever more popular over northern Europe during the first decade of the twenty-first century. The very best scurry drivers from Great Britain, such as Philip Litchfield, Lucy Scott, Jenny Bean, Robert Lightwood, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany regularly compete in the European Championships. The first European champion was British driver Lucy Scott in 2007. In 2008 the title was won by Belgian Pieter Van Den Broeck and in 2009 by Dutch driver Youri Otten. 'Carriage Driving Magazine', December 2009. The 2010 European Champion was again Pieter van den Broeck from Belgium with the UK's Philip Litchfield driving Thunder and Lightning in second place. In 2011 Dutch competitor Martien Van Viem won a hard-fought European championship, second was British driver Jenny Mountain with Song and Dance.
The sport was governed by the British Horse Driving Trials Association since the 1960s, but in 2001, the Scurry Drivers Association was formed. Scurry driving was then recognised as a sport in its own right. There are now 2 governing bodies of Double Harness Scurry, running under slightly different rules. These are the Scurry Driving Association, and the Osborne Scurry Group both running national leagues leading to championships at the end of the year, and each crowning a champion for their own group.
Scurry driving takes place in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Northern Europe. In most countries scurry driving is a fun, end of show activity. In Great Britain and Northern Europe it is very skilled and competitive. Currently the high point of the season are the European Championships which take place in the Netherlands. There are roughly 35 major shows in the UK, and 3 main championships. These are the Horse of the Year Show champion as competed for by the Osborne Scurry Group; The County Show series National Champion and the SDA Premier League Points Champion.