The Coaching Club weekend of the Smith's Lawn Dinner Drive and the Polo Drive turned out to be one of the highlights of the season. After an early evening drive through Windsor Great Park which is always delightful, we attended a splendid dinner at the Saville Gardens. We had had some discussions beforehand about whether or not we could attempt to drive the horses back to their stables at Windsor Castle after the dinner in the dark. Before dinner commonsense and a bad weather forecast had made us think better of the idea, however, a couple of bottles of wine later and it seemed like a great idea.
A phone call was put in to Paul and Suzanne who were minding the horses and thus as the guests departed the dinner, there waiting outside was the coach with lamps lit and four very patient Hackneys with Paul on the box (drinking and driving is definitely not to be encouraged) waiting to take us all back to Windsor. It was the most magical experience, you really could not see very much at all but the horses knew where they were going and we only had the sound of the hooves and the tooting of our horn blower Peter breaking the silence of the night. I am not sure the residents of Windsor High Street were impressed as at midnight a coach and four with the horn blower in full voice to alert the sentries on the gate sped past their doors but it was a fantastic experience.
The next day saw the Hackney team drive to the Queens Cup Polo match with the President of the New York Coaching Club and his wife as honoured guests.
Ascot week followed which is a real test
of fitness with approximately sixteen miles a day being covered, and the teams having to cope with a serious amount of traffic. Once again the Hackneys took this is their stride.