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From the Chair...

Mrs Smartie Pants by Jane Hendy

Flossy Hughes! by Maggie Martin

Alfie's Summer by Emily Ham

Scurry and Driving Trials by Jane Hendy

British Carriage Driving National Championships 2015

Getting underway again after our setback at Keysoe - By Emily Ham

Black Beauty by Maggie Martin

Hereford and District Driving Group - Forest of Dean Rally 24 May 2015

Walking the course

Angela's song

Backstepping and Steward Training - 10 January

From the Secretary

Carriage Dog Trials



Congratulations to James Broome!

Winner of the Advanced Horse Pairs at the British Carriage Driving National Championships 2015

CONGRATULATIONS to James and his team for winning the Advanced Horse Pairs at the National Championships at Cirencester Park on 18-20 September. It was a joy to see him driving his lovely pairs of horses.

Although his win was published on the British Carriage website, as National Champion 2015, this was an error as apparently he isn't actually National Champion! This title was awarded a few weeks earlier to a driver at Raehills in Scotland, who was in a class of her own! We can only ask BC WHY? Maybe they will clarify their reasoning in due course!

We would like to ask members of the public to report anything suspicious to our non-emergency number 0845 090 1234

so that an incident can be created and any enquiries can be followed up, or

contact Melanie Campbell on the number below:

PC 695 Melanie Campbell

Horsewatch Co-ordinator at Gloucestershire Constabulary Gloucester South Police Station - (Quedgeley)


Phone: 0845 090 1234 ext 4182


Start Times for 20th December 2015


From the Chair...

Summer Camp

Carriages and carrots, harness and hay nets, buckets and BBQs - yes it's FODDTG ' s summer camp ! What a wonderful two days of fun, learning and socialising. Yes, there were tears and tantrums - well that was just me ! - but such a wealth of experience to learn from and every single one of us took away many pearls of wisdom to enhance our driving.

Day one consisted of three individual sessions for each driver - Janet with her witty one liners turned everyone into a lady - well maybe not Eddie and Peter ! - but the others will know what I mean. She steered us - mostly successfully - through her maze of cones, cunningly off set to make us think. Tony calmed everyone in the dressage arena with his quiet manner and reassurance, and more than a touch of wry humour, though I think he had a lot of fun driving Maureen's delightful pony. James was full of positive, dynamic advice - " Yes, you CAN " was his favourite line ! Everybody helped each other, sharing back steppers and banter, and we all agreed that by the end of the first day we had learned such a lot.

In the evening, Peter Edwards brought along a selection of back protectors for us to try. There was much laughter as we tried on a variety of types and sizes, climbing on our carriages and doing our "turtle" impressions ! Many of us ordered and I was able to collect them three days later - excellent service.

The evening BBQ could have been a disaster as everyone had brought food, but only Sue had the foresight to bring an actual BBQ ! In fact she brought several, and as the shadows lengthened and the sun went down, there was a communal cooking and sharing of sausages, steaks and burgers. (Won't mention the wine !) A shame not more could stay.

Day two was again warm and sunny. We each had a session with one of the trainers, then in the afternoon, a mini competition. For me, this was the first time I had competed as a driver, and I absolutely loved it ! Any success has to be due to dear Blackie, so well schooled, not to mention all the trainers who had helped me over the two days. My personal thanks to Tony and Viv for lending me such a super pony, and to Jane Hendy for backstepping for me at the last minute. She had no idea where I was going in the obstacles, but took it all in her stride.

I think everyone had a fantastic time, and the great thing was that we ranged from real novices to international competitors ! Everyone mucked in and helped each other and that's what is so good about the driving community and our club in particular.

Many, many thanks to James and family for the use of such wonderful facilities, to James, Janet and Tony for their excellent training, good humour and patience, and to Sue for organising.




Mrs Smartie Pants By Jane Hendy

Whilst I have been taking a rest from Driving Trials (as Tiff was poorly) it gave me an opportunity to work with one of my Shetlands and get her into driving.

I am such a Shetland fan and am constantly in awe of Ainsley and what she's achieved with Leo and Woody as well as watching the Shetland teams that come to Cricklands. Smartie, or Mrs Smartie Pants as she's known, is my standard Shetland and I also have Crunchie who is a miniature and just started her training.

The story over the summer goes like this.... Angela Cherrington and I picked up a lovely Bellcrown carriage from Wells back in April and with that the work started on the long reining which Smartie took to like a duck to water. After quite a few weeks it was then time to start working her in the carriage. Again she seemed to take it all in her stride.

What I find so amazing about this little pony is that her start in life wasn't an easy one. I picked her up from a rescue centre after she was found abandoned as a yearling in Devon. They nicknamed her Quiver as she wouldn't stop shaking when anyone came near her. Over time I managed to work with her and the nerves disappeared and her character started to come out. She now let's my other horses know she's the boss !

Mum and I decided to bite the bullet and take Smartie to the BDS show at Badminton Park It was fantastic to finally compete after all the training and she did a cracking little show. We came 6th which we were thrilled with so although there were 7 in the class it was all about getting her used to the environment. Nothing phased her and she stood so quietly in the line up. The BDS judge gave us such encouragement which was lovely.

Driving coachman style is my nemesis but I gave it a go - however in my faffing about with the driving whip I managed to smack my poor mother in the face with the end of it ! She has forgiven me. Smartie's showing career will be fairly short lived as I am planning an indoor driving trials life for her and potentially get Crunchie going in Tandem once I am confident with how both ponies are going. Anyway, we are looking forward to some winter indoor events with her and see how it goes....




Flossy Hughes! by Maggie Martin

At long last we now have Megan's new pony in harness. Flossy did not 'fit' the strict criteria we set ourselves when looking for a pony to replace Tiny who had to be put down at the end of last year. We intended to search properly and had a long list of requirements for the prospective new equine member of our team.

These were the following:-

a) a gelding (we ended up with a mare!)

b) an older pony (we ended up with a four year old!)

c) an experienced pony (we ended up with a very green pony!)

d) certainly not a light coloured pony...(we ended up with a lemon and white pony!)

Well, despite not ticking any of the boxes, Flossy has fitted in well. She is a lovely riding pony despite her young years. She has already taken Nanny Darling (me, of course!) around the New Forest with Beauty where we made some new friends and are visiting there again in October.

She has an amazing temperament and Megan and her have already become best buddies. Getting her back into harness has taken some quiet handling and with the help of Mandy (her breeder and original Mum) and Pete Finch we have a little mare with much more confidence who is 'going well'.

Our goal is for Megan to be able to take Floss to the young drivers camp in April and with a bit of luck we may join in the winter events towards the end of the season. In the mean time I suppose we ought to find something to do, perhaps this is the time we offer to do some stewarding......



Alfie's Summer by Emily Ham

It's been a quiet summer with just a few events on the National Circuit: Sandringham where Alfie and I qualified in Open Pony by coming second in a big competitive class and then the high point of the BYD Championships at Onely.

Alfie put his best hoof forward and after a lovely dressage test did a faultless cones round taking us up into the top spot. The BYD classes are hotly contested and especially as this was a selection event, for the Young Driver FEI European Championships in 2016, the top contenders were out in force.

Alice Pritchard whizzed round to win the marathon but Alfie was less than a penalty behind over the course and we kept our good lead, winning the class by 8 pens and getting the best overall score of the event. Alfie also won the Cones Cup going double clear 23 seconds under the time allowed!

I intend to bring Alfie to the winter events at Broomes - and a secret other pony….. whose identity will be revealed soon !



Scurry and Driving Trials by Jane Hendy

I've now been bitten by the Scurry Trials Bug having competed in my first competition at the end of September at Bowood House in Wiltshire which was part of the Living Heritage Country Fairs. Tiff and I rocked up to Bowood early one Saturday morning, the weather was fantastic and we met the rest of the British Scurry Trials Team in the lorry park.

After the course walk and briefing we got ready and followed the rest of the group down to the main arena which was packed with crowds ready to watch and cheer us all on. It was great to get Tiff used to the atmosphere and the flags and lots of different sounds, so we trotted about with the others just taking it all in, I must say the adrenalin was pumping as it felt very exciting to be in a huge arena with people smiling, waving and wishing us luck.

Alison Dascombe, who I have to blame for getting me so hooked on this ! did a cracking round with Rockwood Lady and Rockwood Dreamcatcher, she makes it look so easy !

After a few of the pony pairs had competed it was then our turn. Josh, my fabulous backstepper and I went into the arena and just trotted around to check our lines and the course we were going to take. Before I knew it the buzzer sounded and we were off ! Tiff took a great line down through the first three cones and a tight left hand into the elbow, at this point she was really picking up speed !

We then had to negotiate our first obstacle and as it was tight we came back to a trot and pushed on around the corners, having managed that successfully we drove through some more sets of cones including a fantastic slalom down the right hand side of the arena right past all the crowds who were really getting behind us at this point. The next obstacle was on us before we could really think so we negotiated that in trot but pushed on again for a very speedy finish through the last 4 sets of cones and through the timer. It was only then that I managed to put a smile on my face and the concentration seemed to have taken over ! I've never asked Tiff to go that fast before but having done it now I know I have the control I need and can ask for a bit more in the obstacles section of the course.

As she'd done so well we were then asked to take on the Isuzu Challenge and race a 4 x 4 through a cones course for the crowd to watch. Tiff just loved this although the 4 x 4 beat me !!

Josh and I were thrilled to have been placed 6th in our very first event and what was even more exciting was being able to do a lovely lap of honour at a fast canter for the crowds to clap and cheer us on. Something I got told off for at showing !! What gave us such a buzz is the music you are driving too which is up tempo, the crowds and the fact you can ask for a bit more speed but without losing contact and control.

Sadly, that one was the last of the season but can't wait to start the 2016 season and fit some events in around my driving trials events too. It was so exciting and I am so thankful to Alison and Tony for being so supportive and encouraging and to the British Scurry Trials Team for letting me be part of their family.

Jane and Tiff


British Carriage Driving National Championships 2015

The Forest of Dean Driving Trials Group were asked to act as stewards at Obstacle 4 of the marathon course during the British Carriage Driving National Championships which were held on 19th September at Cirencester Park. The team in the image enjoyed the gorgeous weather and the chance to see nearly a hundred of the best carriage drivers in the country negotiating the course.

The 19th September dawned cool and foggy but, as is often the case at this time of year, the fog was patchy and gave way to beautiful sunshine as the morning wore on. Our team of seven set out from various places to meet up in the marquee in Cirencester Park, keen to steward an obstacle for the day.

Five of us arrived and hung around waiting for the stewards briefing, which we under-stood was to take place at 8am. After getting complimentary bacon butties, or whatever else suitable, for breakfast we sat round the table, with our box of equipment in the centre and waited. Erica and Mo had not yet arrived but we felt sure they would be along soon. Eventually we enquired when briefing would start and we were told that briefing would take place at the obstacle we had been allocated, which was number 4, "The Garden".

It transpired that Erica had followed the sat nav to the wrong entrance gate (which was locked!) This was unfortunate for her as she had her horse trailer in tow in order to collect her new Bennington carriage which had been brought down to Cirencester for convenient collection. Driving up to the wrong gate Erica then needed to unhitch and re-hitch to get back on the correct road. This all made her late so she was feeling a bit frazzled.

As it happened the event was late starting – maybe because there were some withdrawals, we weren't told. Our team consisted of Josh Neate, Gina Ready, Mo Bingham, Jane Hendy, Erica Rye, Kathy Reynolds and Angela Cherrington. We had the briefing and familiarised ourselves with the obstacle, its gates, and any potential problems, then we decided how we would divide up the responsibilities. Josh, Gina, Mo and Jane took responsibility for the approach, entry, exit, timing and any hold ups of competitors – as it turned out there was also a lot of policing of the public who sometimes wanted to cross the in front of carriages. Strange how irate people can be when one is only trying to ensure they don't get injured!

Erica, Kathy and I were tasked with recording the correct driving of the gates and any errors or irregularities. The obstacle looked like it might be a bit difficult to judge at the start but the driving routes were quite tight, apart from one longer stretch directly from one end of the obstacle to the other, so the driving was not as fast as in some obstacles, and one side of the obstacle had no exits into the adjacent woodland. This meant it was not as difficult to judge as we had anticipated.

It drove very well all day and only one competitor made an error, going through a gate backwards, which was then corrected. However, we did have a few competitors drive the wrong side of compulsory flags on the immediate approach to the obstacle. This was a costly mistake for them. Our obstacle was a little unusual in that the start gate was at the end of a long straight 'ride' and then the obstacle was around the corner.

The four at the start were soon in glorious sunshine, while the other three of us were in the shade of the woods and it was really very chilly and damp until late in the afternoon. We kept warm with hot drinks and 'grazing' all day on the lovely packed lunch which was provided. At around three o'clock we had the unusual experience of watching a bride and groom travelling down the long grass 'ride' from the church to their reception on the Polo ground, passing through the central area between the obstacles. They were in a carriage drawn by a lovely pair of greys and supplied by 'Catherine's Carriages' of Gloucester. The crowd clapped and cheered and I'm sure it was a very special journey for the newlyweds.

After that brief interlude we returned to our stewarding duties. We had some fun together during the day and we made a good team together. It has to be said that we had a few dissatisfactions with organisation and information flow, but we have formally sent feedback on these issues and there is no need to air them here.

We really enjoyed watching some very skilful driving and seeing people we know come through, including a number of FDDTG members, who had mixed fortune. It was good to see fewer really tired horses than there were last year, with more getting round successfully I believe.

I feel I must make special mention of James Broome who drove beautifully in our obstacle (and I'm sure in the others, but I didn't see those). His driving was smooth, sympathetic, accurate and fast, a real joy to watch. James won the Advanced Pairs Class but this year, this class was not the National Championship class, as this had already taken place elsewhere. Those of us not 'in the know' didn't realise this until it was announced, but James drove like a true champion anyway.

It is a great experience to watch the turnouts competing and spectating is free, so I would encourage people to pay a visit next year if they can – maybe we could have a big FODDTG picnic?



Getting underway again after our setback at Keysoe - By Emily Ham


Black Beauty by Maggie Martin


Hereford and District Driving Group - Forest of Dean Rally 24 May 2015

Many members of our Club joined the HDDG for an 11.3 mile drive around the Forest of Dean from Speech House fields. The route was very well planned as there were no road crossings and it was all on forest tracks which were very well marked using wood shavings piles to indicate the directions. We travelled past the Arboretum along Spruce Ride towards Perry Hay, then towards Mallards Pike Lake before a refreshment stop half way round for the horses and drivers to have a break which was much appreciated. After this, we headed off into the heart of the forest along Staple Edge before gradually turning back towards Speech House. Once the horses and ponies had been unharnessed and settled the whole group got together to recount their drive and socialise. A good day was had by all!




Walking the course - how long is it?

Have you ever wondered how long the course is? Have you ever tried to estimate how much walking you do when checking out your routes?

Here are some GPS maps which were done on the 20th May 2015 to give you an idea!


This is the Cones course but only walked once - double or triple the distance if you walk it more!


These are the two obstacles in the main field and each of them were walked 3-4 times


This is the full course, including the dressage arena and warm up area, recorded on the back of the carriage during the competition.


Angela's song


Backstepping and Steward Training - 10 January


From the Secretary

Carriage Dog Trials


22 Feb 2015

by Jane Hendy



Whilst my pony, Tiff, has been recovering from Laminitis, I paired up with Angela Cherrington and took my lovely spotty dog called Bella over to join a group of about 10 other Dalmations to have a go at Carriage Dog Trials. The events have been run by Vicky Brennan and Josiane Kaal for the past four months on a Sunday at Greenlands Farm near Devizes which is owned by Jemma Lucas.

My Dalmation is very used to being around horses so she didn't seemed phased at all and it was wonderful to watch her instinct develop as she trotted behind the carriage doing loops and circles behind, Angela's lovely pony, Jack. I must say Jack was a star, he wasn't phased at all with dogs running behind him and took it all in his stride.

My Dally, can be a bit of a handful at home so needs plenty of exercise and loves to come out for rides with me but she's not great around other dogs at all, so being in an indoor school with other Dalmations did worry me slightly ! However, she behaved impeccably and I was very proud of her. Guarding the carriage didn't seem a problems as she's very adept at guarding the fridge at home ! I had treats hidden away but she was happy to just sit there when she was asked to !

When Angela moved Jack forward, Bella just walked slowly behind and as she grew in confidence and seemed to 'lock on' to the carriage, so when we progressed to trot she stayed dead centre behind the carriage and started a beautiful working trot with her tail wagging like mad, head forward and following the carriage like she'd done it for years. It was lovely to see.

There are some summer events planned so when Tiff is full recovered I aim to go and try a few of the actual trials and see how we get on but it's great fun and I can't wait.


Further information can be found at






General Information and Club Rules:

New Members:
If you have never completed as a driver in a BC-affiliated event or IHDT event, you must have an assessment before you compete. This rule applies to everyone and is for everyone's safety. Assessments forms can be downloaded from Our club assessors are Janet Macdonald and James Broome, or you can have the assessment done by any other appropriate person as long as they are attached to a BCaffiliated club. There will be a charge for this.

About sharing:
If you are sharing a carriage or groom with another competitor, please let us know on the entry form. Scheduling takes a long time, and we will always try to accommodate your needs. This is usually done the day before an event; if you make any changes please let the organiser know in good time.

Late entries:
Entries received after the closing date may be accepted if there is space. A £10 late entry fee will be charged.

Please let the organiser know you are withdrawing, so we won't worry about where you are when you don't turn up!

Weather factors are beyond our control, and we will do our best to tell you as soon as we can if things change significantly. If in doubt, always check the Cricklands weather watch on for events at the David Broome Event Centre and at other venues, check with he organisers.

Your details:
If your contact details change, please make sure you let the club secretary know, especially changes to telephone numbers and email addresses.

Some "do's" and "don'ts":
 Don't bring any horse or pony to an event if it is not entered in the completion, unless you have first asked the organiser's permission.
 Children are welcome, but must be supervised.
 Do not take your dog into the dressage, cones or obstacles arenas.
 Hard hats must be worn at all times when on the carriage.
 Wear a helmet if you use a quad or motor bike.
 When warming up please be considerate of other drivers especially to those with less experienced horses/ponies.
 Drivers must have third-party insurance which covers them for attending and taking part in our events. Being a driving member of the   FODDTG or of BC covers the driver.
 The groom may not speak or communicate with the driver whilst in the dressage or cones arena. Except under special circumstances - see the BC rule book.
 Drivers should report to the steward 10 minutes before the start of the dressage. Failing to do this will incur penalties.
 Do not lunge or long-rein any horse or pony in the lorry park. Ask the organiser where you may do this if necessary.
 Do not trot from the lorry park to the practice areas. Keep on the tracks in walk.

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