Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2024

Driving Horseman Of The Year: Miranda Cadwell

It was a bittersweet year for the driver who won the FEI World Combined Pony Driving Championships but lost her pony to a virus shortly afterward.

When Miranda Cadwell stood on the podium to receive her individual gold medal at the FEI World Combined Pony Driving Championships held at Dorthealyst in Morkov, Denmark, July 18-22, it seemed only natural that it would be a family affair.
PUBLISHED

ADVERTISEMENT

It was a bittersweet year for the driver who won the FEI World Combined Pony Driving Championships but lost her pony to a virus shortly afterward.

When Miranda Cadwell stood on the podium to receive her individual gold medal at the FEI World Combined Pony Driving Championships held at Dorthealyst in Morkov, Denmark, July 18-22, it seemed only natural that it would be a family affair.

Joined by her parents, Mason and Jennifer Cadwell, and older sister, Keady Cadwell, the win came as her biggest to date after a life devoted to horses and driving.

 “My father had a four-in-hand coaching team when we were little, and he’s the one who got us into this sport,” Randy explained.

Randy’s journey toward her eventual gold medal seemed to happen all by chance. She originally competed in the jumper divisions at horse shows until her sister needed her help. In 1991, Keady began competing in combined driving events. Randy became her sister’s navigator and stayed with her for the next seven years, including competing at the 1993 World Pairs Championships (N.J.).

“After the championships, Keady was away and I took one of her horses and began competing as a single,” said Randy. “After she came back, I started driving with a single pony.”

That single pony was Red Robbo, whom Randy took to the 2003 World Combined Pony Driving Championships (Austria). In 2005, she found 17-year-old, Welsh section B palomino ponies, Toby and Topaz, or “Taz”.

“Even though I was looking for a single pony, the moment I tried Toby and Taz I knew instantly they had to stay as a pair; there was no question about it,” she said.

The strength of Toby and Taz stemmed from a life spent together: both were bred at the same farm and later purchased as 3-year-olds by Trevor Kimba, who kept them at his farm in England for the next 12 years. “If one did something, the other followed and that was what worked so well,” Randy noted. She also has Rambo, a 10-year-old, gray German Riding Pony whom she uses for the cones phase and dressage along with Toby and Taz.

Originally from Unionville, Pa., Randy and her sister now reside in Southern Pines, N.C., and base their training out of Tremont Farm with their parents. The sisters train together with Boyd Exell, an international driver originally from Australia who is now based in England.

ADVERTISEMENT

Personal Profile

Age: 39

Home: Southern Pines, N.C.

Family: Older sister Keady Cadwell, parents Mason and Jennifer Cadwell.

Key Players: Boyd Exell, trainer, and Tristan Aldrich, navigator.

Ponies: Toby, 17-year-old, Welsh section B palomino; Kabam, 4-year-old German Riding Pony; Rambo, 10-year-old German Riding Pony.

In preparation for the World Pony Driving Championships, Randy and Exell’s main concern was dressage. “The ponies are quick, so the cones were good and the marathons always felt pretty good,” she said. “I wanted to try and make them more focused in dressage.”

The hard work Randy put into her pair was evident throughout the qualifying season, as she gathered wins at major combined driving events throughout the United States, such as Sunshine State (Fla.) and Live Oak (Fla.). At Live Oak, Randy earned the best FEI marathon performance, claimed one of the only two clear cones rounds in the FEI division, giving her the division win and the best overall FEI award.

Before the championships, she spent more than four months traveling throughout Europe, competing at different venues. With the aid of her navigator, Tristan Aldrich, Randy turned in a victory at the CAI-A in Saumur, France.

“When I won at Saumur, I thought that I might have a shot for a medal at the Championships. But I definitely didn’t think it would be gold,” she said. “Saumur was one of my first really good international competitions.”

Randy was confident in her ponies when they arrived in Denmark for the Championships and credited the competitions in Europe as her training toward victory. “Going to a CDE at Dorthealyst in May, I knew what to expect from the course, and I felt ready,” she said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Randy’s knowledge and her ponies’ speed helped her win the marathon phase; all that stood between Randy and the individual gold was the cones phase.

With Toby and Taz, she drove a cones round with one ball down and took the lead from Lars Dau of Denmark. “Being prepared for this type of event really paid off when it was down to the cones phase,” she said.

But the excitement didn’t last for long—when Randy returned home she lost Taz to viral hepatitis. “It was determined that he had it for a few years, and there nothing we could do,” she said. “He had been competing with it all along.”

Because Toby and Taz had such a strong bond, Randy knew it would be difficult to find a replacement. She said she was lucky to find Kabam, a 4-year-old German Riding Pony, who was the 2007 Dutch Pony of the Year in dressage. “I’m still looking for a match for Toby, and it’s pretty hard to match palominos,” she said, chuckling.

As for the upcoming season, Randy plans to invest most of her training with Kabam. “I have big plans for him, but at the beginning of the season I’m just going to be doing him as a single,” she said.

After Keady groomed for Randy at the World Pony Championships, Randy returned the favor to her sister and followed her to the World Pairs Driving Championship, held in Warka, Poland, in September to help. The sisters’ parents were along for the competitions throughout Europe as well, cheering on their
daughters and taking photographs.

“Our life is driving, and we all do it together in our family,” Randy said with a laugh. “We literally eat, sleep, and drive every day!”

Beth Johnson



2007 Competitive Highlights

Individual gold—FEI World Combined Pony Driving Championships (Denmark), pair.
Team bronze—FEI World Combined Pony Driving Championships.
1st—CAI-A Saumur (France) pair pony.
1st—Live Oak CDE (Fla.) advanced pair pony.
1st—Black Prong (Fla.) advanced pair pony.
1st—Katydid CDE (Texas) advanced pair pony.
1st—Sunshine State (Fla.) advanced pair pony.
Winner—The Whitney Stone Cup

Categories:

ADVERTISEMENT

EXPLORE MORE

No Articles Found

Follow us on

Sections

Copyright © 2024 The Chronicle of the Horse