No horses no four-in-hand driver

Three world championship titles in a row, back-to back-winner of the World Cup, World’s No.5: Australian Boyd Exell continued his impressive career, dedicated to the sport of Driving at the World Equestrian Games in France. Based in Great Britain since 1993, he is involved with driving since he was 8 and won the Australian pairs championship when he was 16. We talked to him after the competition:

No horses no four-in-hand driver
© Sindy Thomas

Like a rider, a driver is nobody without his horses. Can you describe your team?

“The oldest, Spitfire, is the one that looks like a small pony. He is 21 and my speed machine. He had helped me at the world cup, went with me five times. In the cones I lost a second because he had focused on the wrong one. Like a good jumping horse he is always looking out for the next obstacle. I don’t need to tell him anything, just point him in the right direction. The only thing you can’t use him for is prize givings. He is too spectacular for those. We call him the crouching tiger. He sits there and then is leaping in the air.”

And the other horses?

“Winston (Wilco at home) and Capone are my wheelers. I used them in all three phases. They are the real stars of the show. Wilco was only six in Lexington and Capone is now 16. Everybody talks about leaders, but the wheelers are the hidden jewels. And Rambo  – he is 14 and been with me for three world, consistently clear.”

And the newest addition:

“Curios is only 7 and did very well in the dressage. He gave the team more presence. He was not in the marathon. I needed more experience and rather relied on Rambo again.”

Are there more at home?

"We have 46 horses at home and only five here. That is a lot to keep going. But I have 14 people in my team to help me."

Can you describe your World Equestrian Games 2014?

“The organizers did what they could for the drivers. The marathon was great. But my preferred footing will still be gras. Unlike it was mentioned often, the conditions did change in the arena for dressage and cones, depending on the weather or the amount of watering. But it was an electric atmosphere in the stadium. That was definitely good.”

Was it fun to compete at Normandy2014?

We have to concentrate on what we are doing. We don’t have time enjoying ourselves. But that will come tomorrow when we are home again.”

What is the next goal?

“Working towards building up the next world cup team, of course.”

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