Julie is set for the 2007 World Championships

Julie Hoskyns is a determined lady to say the least. Julie who originally come from Hambledon in Hampshire used to show jump in her early 20’s on the mainland.

Like most women she got married, had children and got stuck in the house. “I was bored senseless, I nagged my husband for months and eventually in 1992 he gave in and bought me a pony & trap, Oh yes! I nearly forgot he also included an instruction manual, as I had no idea at all about carriage driving. Why pony and trap I asked, because the whole family can get involved, my husband replied.”

Julie is a highly competitive person and because of this her pony had to be better than all her competitors. Julie started entering local shows and winning. “We got better and better and eventually we got to the stage where a better pony & trap were needed in order to proceed further in the sport.”

Julie moved to the Island in 1996  and soon got bored driving one pony, so she decided to invest in another pony, this decision enabled her to  compete in the pairs class. “In 1998 we started to enter local shows and ventured further afield onto the mainland to compete in pairs competitions.” In 2000 Julie again was itching, so she sold her pair of ponies, which broke her heart and bought bigger and better ponies. Julie spent the year of 2000 breaking her new ponies in and in 2001 started to compete at National level during 2002, throughout this period Julie did not have the time to compete locally.

2002 was not a good year for Julie “I had a serious accident, which smashed most of my ribs and broke my pelvis which was really painful, also one of the ponies was quite badly injured, so we all had to take a year off to recover.”

Julie started carriage driving again in 2003 and although she was good enough to represent Great Britain she had not completed all the selection events in order to qualify for the championship due to her accident.

Julie was left with no option but to loan her ponies out for the World Championship in Austria. “It was a nice trip for me, and the team came 4th overall which was a good result.”

Throughout 2004 Julie had to deal with various family issues which made 2004 a quiet year. “I did not really get any time for carriage driving for most of that year, however at the end of the year I did purchase a spare pony which was a new challenge for me.”

During 2005 Julie started to compete with the new pony and one of her original ponies. “Again I lent one of my ponies out for the 2005 Championships and it won the Marathon, I was over the moon, and the team won Bronze overall, I was very happy.”

In 2006 Julie upped the anti and came either 1st or 2nd in every competition she entered on the mainland. Currently she is Reserve National Champion and National Points League Champion. “Rachel Stephens and myself are way out in front for the 2007 World Championships, we have been unofficially told that we are at the top of the short-list for the 2007 World Championships.”

“I could not have achieved any of this without the help of my family and backstepper Zoe Ameson. My employer Staples have been very understanding as they have allowed me so much time off work, and I must also thank Wightlink as they now sponsor all my ferry crossings.”

If you fancy carriage driving Julie had some words of advice, “buy the best ponies and equipment you can afford, take it slowly don’t rush, it can take up to 3 years to get a pair of ponies working together. It’s a great hobby/sport because you can share the experience, it’s like Rally Driving of the equestrian world.” If you fancy carriage driving then there is a club on the Island that currently has around 50 members, it would be a good idea for anyone starting off to maybe get in touch with the Vice Chairman. (Tel: 01983 730743).

Currently Julie is desperately looking for sponsors as competing at this level is very costly. “I need to raise between £8,000 – £10,000 a year for me to continue, I do have a lovely lorry which company logos would look very good on.”