A couple of weeks ago on Sportsround I made the mistake of letting it slip that I was a bit scared of horses. What a dumb thing to have said!
I knew it was only a matter of time before I had to do a sport with horses!!
I'm sorry to anyone out there who loves them, but horses really don't appeal to me. You have such little control over what the animals are going to do, especially if you're an amateur like me!
The sport of scurry driving originated way back in the 1960s - and involves two ponies pulling a carriage at full gallop through pairs of cones round a course, in the quickest time possible.
There are two people involved. The driver steers the horses and controls how fast they gallop and the groom, who sits on the back of the cart and leans over to the left and right to help it get round the tight corners. It looks fantastic - and is VERY fast!
Training is crucial
I tried driving and wasn't very good! But being the groom is where the fun is at - and I got that hang of that much more quickly!
Gavin wasn't too hot at driving a cart
You throw your upper body over the side of the kart as you go round the bends to get more speed! But there is a big risk - if you don't do it in time, then the kart could topple.....leaving you and the driver in a crumpled heap with more than a few injuries. That's why getting the training right is so important.
I did well enough for my coaches to enter me into a big scurry driving competition at the Great Yorkshire Show! Was I really that good? Surely not...! This was the first time I'd ever tried it, and the reason I was enjoying it so much was because we were only going slowly - a mere 10 miles per hour! How would I be in a race?
On the big day, I watched the some of the horses gallop round at full speed and I honestly thought about bottling out. What if I missed a turn and sent the kart flying? There were thousands of people watching too, so I didn't want to embarrass myself, or hurt myself, or let down my coaches.
Turn up the speed!
I walked the course before we competed with my driver Lucy. She helped to train me, and was very reassuring as we memorised the turns, saying stuff like "it'll all be fine" and "don't worry, you'll be great" but I didn't quite believe her!
Gavin makes a new friend, sort of
Pulling up to the start line, I was dreading it and my heart was racing. But then we were off!
The ponies broke into a sprint and I could feel the difference in speed straightaway - when we got to the first bend, it was a sharp right, and I threw myself over in the kart as if my life depended on it! Then there was a tough slalom to get through, which meant jumping from side to side - and finally, just a few blurry seconds later, a dash to the finish line! It was over! And it was such a relief!
It was all a bit like going on a big theme park ride - you're really scared when queueing up, but then the excitement of doing it and and the joy of when you actually complete it! And to top it all, we ended up finishing seventh out of 13 on the big day - so I was really proud of that! All in all, I'm just delighted I did it!
But no more horses ... Please!