During 9-10 September 2023, the premises of the National Stud became a place of a driving national competition at the level of two stars in the category of singles and pairs, which were also the Championships of the Slovak Republic and the qualifying round for the Golden Horseshoe driving series in 2024.
The jury committee was commanded by an experienced international judge from the Czech Republic Jiří Kunát, the technical delegate was Josef Trojanec (CZE) and the other members of the ground jury were Anna Virágová, Martina Kredatusová and Silvia Poláková. The course designer could not be anyone other than the experienced designer, trainer and at the same time former representative of the Slovak Republic Pavol Gašpar from the National Stud. The result service was provided by Darina Kosařová from the Czech Republic.
The event was opened on Saturday at 8:00 a.m. with a veterinary inspection. All horses passed the watchful eye of MVDr. Dušan Solár and the ground jury members, passports, identity of the horses and of course their overall fitness to compete were checked.
At 10:00 a.m. the start was allowed for the first rider in the technically demanding dressage test. Driving dressage is ridden similarly to saddle dressage in a dressage arena, but the driving has dimensions of 80x40 m. In addition to the performance of the prescribed exercises, the overall presentation, grooming of the carriage, rider, co-driver and horses is also evaluated. Marcela Viochnová with the black stallion Nonius XIX-20 Šarkan from TJ Žrebčín Motešice won in the single category. The second place was taken by Miroslav Matúška with the horse Conversano VI-51, and the third place was won by Jozef Mašír and Pluto XX-19, both from JK by NŽ Topoľčianky. In the pairs category, where the dressage test 3* HP2-P4 was ridden, the home driver Miroslav Matúšek was the most successful, the second place was won by his colleague Jozef Mašír, and the third place belonged to Jozef Bučkuliak with horses of the KWPN breed from JO Martin Záturčie. A competition with a dressage test 2* HP2-HP4 was also opened, in which newcomer Pavol Kemencei from the home team took part.
In the afternoon, after the reconstruction of the main arena and the preparation of the obstacle course, the inspection of the course was allowed. Driving cones consists of several goals made of cones. There is a throwable ball on each cone, penalty points are added for dropping it. The rider must complete the entire track in the shortest possible time and without dropping the balls. Pavol Gašpar built the technically very demanding course. Not a single participant managed to pass it without a penalty point and within the time limit. Miroslav Matúška gave the best result among singles, Marcela Viochnová was right behind him, and the home driver Jozef Mašír took the third place. In pairs, the order remained the same as in dressage – Matúška, Mašir, Bučkuliak.
Sunday was marked by a marathon. It usually has two phases. The first is phase A, which serves to warm up the horse and prepare before phase B. Between these two phases, there is a veterinary check and a 10-minute rest. Phase B consisted of five obstacles including water. Each obstacle has the appearance of a kind of labyrinth, in which the course designer marks the track. The competitor must complete the track of the obstacle in the shortest possible time and, if possible, without penalty points. The marathon is the most demanding part of the driving competition, it requires the physical but also the mental strength of the horses, good condition and of course the dexterity and maximum cooperation of the entire team. In the single category, Jozef Mašír won the ahead of Miroslav Matúška and Marcela Viochnova. In pairs, Miroslav Matúška secured victory. The second place belonged to Jozef Bučkuliak, and Jozef Mašir finished third in the order. Debutant Pavol Kemencei also achieved a good result, finishing without a penalty point.
Combined competition and championship
After adding up all the results, Miroslav Matúška with the horse Conversano VI-51 from JK pri NŽ Topoľčianky became the champion of Slovakia in the single category. The silver medal was won by Jozef Mašir with the mare Pluto XX-19 and the bronze went to TJ Žrebčín Motešice thanks to Marcela Viochnová with the horse Nonius XIX-20 Šarkan. Fourth place went to Ladislav Hána with his horse XXX-VI-1 Sk Vašo from TJ Žrebčín Motešice. In pairs category, Miroslav Matúška confirmed his qualities and many years of experience with the victory with the horses Favory XII-6, Favory XII-8 and Maestoso XV-8. The title of first vice-champion was won by Jozef Mašir with the horses Maestoso XV-6 and Pluto XX-9. Jozef Bučkuliak from JO Martin Záturčie became the second vice-champion with KWPN horses Louvre and Lars.
Pavol Kemencei successfully completed the entire competition, thereby obtaining the first part of the qualification necessary for the start at international events.
At the end of the festive prize giving ceremony, the director of the National Stud, Michal Horný, thanked Pavlo Gašpar for his lifelong contribution and development of equestrian sports in the form of a letter of thanks and a commemorative plaque.
We heartily congratulate all the winners and placed and wish them many more successes.