Corbiewood Stadium races its way to a new generation
Harness racing, one of Britain's most exciting equine sports, takes place right on Falkirk's doorstep yet many have never heard of it.
The unique sport, also more commonly known as ‘trotting’, is a form of horse racing in which the animals race at a specific gait.
Either a trotter or pacer then pulls a two-wheeled cart, known as a sulky, and its jockey/driver round a track at speeds of up to 35mph over distances of one mile or longer. All this while the driver is barely two feet from the ground.
It is also one of the few sports that allows men and women to compete together on an equal level.
Corbiewood Stadium, near Bannockburn, has been host to the Scottish Harness Horse Racing Club for over 50 years.
It has offered American-style harness racing to members since 1966 and many Falkirk horses and trainers have come to call it their home.
Falkirk members of the club, Wilma and Davie Morton, have been heavily involved in harness racing for decades.
The couple have owned Corbiewood three times, and been members for 34 years and 60 years respectively.
Along with the sense of community that the club brings, members are very competitive and strive for the highest standards of horses to achieve national awards.
Wilma and Davie have trained numerous top level horses who all went on to win renowned races in the UK.
Most recently, their horse, Stoneriggs Mystery, won British Harness Racing Club Horse of the Year.
Wilma is also the former UK champion Lady Driver, a prestigious nationwide award.
She said: “I married into the world of harness horse racing.
“Until I met Davie I had never heard about the sport. It’s such an incredible and fascinating sport yet many people don’t realise it exists.”
Over the years the track has changed hands and its other purposes, such as greyhound racing, have ceased to exist, however, harness racing remains a permanent fixture.
There was an uncertainty over the track’s future due to land redevelopment in the surrounding area but in 2016, Corbiewood celebrated its golden anniversary, making it the longest running harness racing venue in the UK.
The club is a non-profit organisation made up of local members and it is run only by those directly involved in the sport.
Now the club is reaching out to the people of Falkirk to get involved and support them.
James Patterson, club member, said: “The club is always open to having new members as it is great to have fresh faces bringing fresh ideas for the sport.
“We’re eager to open it up to a whole new generation of trainers and drivers.
“It’s great to see the success of the club still going strong after 50 years and we’d like to keep that going.”
Those looking to get involved in harness horse racing can visit their website www.BHRC.org.uk for more information and news on the full race calendar. Admission for spectators is £10 and children under the age of 16 go free.