The Club was formed in 1983 to promote both pleasure and competition carriage driving in the South West of England. It has a membership of around 50, covering a wide area extending from Penzance to Wiltshire.
We organise a variety of activities each year from pleasure drives and training days, to two day driving trials. The club seeks to be inclusive at all times, and everyone is encouraged to take part, whatever their driving ability. Even if you do not have a turnout, there is much to be gained by coming along on foot. Extra help with stewarding at events is always welcome, and gives a good opportunity to learn more about carriage driving. The club organises a taster day most years.
Our continued aim is to provide a range of activities, spread across our region, and we are always seeking to increase the number and range of events. If you feel able to run an activity, the Club can help. Events are run under Club Rules, for Club members, or members of other Affiliated Driving clubs. Our events have to comply with current Health & Safety regulations.
There is an annual points championship and a “Groom of the Year” award, both of which are presented at the AGM, which is usually held in February.
Driving trials competitions c Pleasure drives Training Social events
What Are Horse Driving Trials?
To learn more about competing please click here
Horse Driving Trials is unique. It is the only equestrian sport/discipline where you can compete on an equal footing from 14 –70 +, male and female alike, with different classes for ponies and horses. At club events all the phases are staged over either one or two days. One day events usually have a shorter marathon.
DAY 1– Driven dressage
First the competitors must complete the Driven Dressage phase, consisting of a sequence of set movements (driven from memory) to display the schooling and obedience of the animal. Different tests are driven by open and novice competitors.
DAY 1 – Cone driving
The Cone Driving Competition which equates to the show jumping phase of a ridden event, tests the skill and competence of the driver and the suppleness and obedience of the animal.
The objective is to drive, in a set time, through narrowly spaced pairs of cones with only centimetres to spare on either side of the wheels! Obstacle Cones Driving requires a steady hand, nerves of steel and it helps to have a well trained horse!
DAY 2 – Marathon (up to 15 km)
Competitors then complete two timed sections of the cross-country marathon course. The first is usually done at a brisk trot, and the second section is a 1km walk. There is then a 10 minute halt before embarking on the last stage; this includes six to eight obstacles to be driven at speed. These obstacles are often built around natural features (water, banks etc.) and are made up of a series of lettered gates which must be driven in order. With different routes within the obstacles this leads to tight turns which require a great deal of judgment and skill from the driver, in order to complete them with the minimum of time penalties. The overall winner in each class will have successfully completed both days with the lowest number of penalty points.
Detailed Guides to Competing and Back Stepping can be found on the documents page
The club’s object is to encourage and promote Carriage Driving as a sport and recreation and improve it through education. We are all beginners when we take up a new sport or activity and the club does not what you to be put off by the proceeding rules and regulations. We are here to help you get started and help educate you so that you can participate in the sport safely and enjoyably.
Rules for competing must be abided by but rules in relation to vehicles as to vehicle widths, lamps etc are not rigid. You will be obliged to undergo assessment of your driving before you take part in any competition. This is to ensure that you are safe and as a consequence everyone around you is also safe.
You should expect initially to simply be taking part in the competitions you enter and your aim should be to get around safely and enjoy yourself. Competing to win will come when you have learnt more. This is a sport in which you should take your time.
Please contact the Organiser of any event you wish to enter and ask whether they are permitting non-standard vehicle widths and what other rules may be waived for your benefit. We have all been beginners without the most appropriate carriages so don’t feel that you cannot enter a competition if you do not have an up to date carriage or one without an extending axle.
There is a wealth of experience amongst the membership, which is available to you. We all enjoy taking about driving and we enjoy helping and advising. Please ask. This is potentially a dangerous and expensive sport and a little advice could save you damage to yourself and your pocket!
We want you to be safe and enjoy this sport as much as we do!