Britain’s first ever carriage dog trials are to be held at Rockbourne, Hampshire on the 5 July2003.

Based on American Road trials, the concept is being introduced in this country next year with the idea of making it a regular and permanent fixture.

In the trials, competitors ride or drive their horse accompanied by their Dalmatian dogs, which take part in five obedience tests over varying distances depending on the level they are competing at.

All the dogs that take part are vetted throughout the day and points are then awarded for obedience and fitness.

There are three levels of competition:

  • Carriageroad dog bronze: an obedience test and 10 km run (dogs must be at least 12 months old)
  • Carriageroad dog silver: an obedience test and 20km run (dogs must be at least 18 months old)
  • Carriageroad dog gold: an obedience test and 40km run (dogs must be at least 18 months old)

History of carriage dog trials

Road Trials began in America in the early 1900s. Their purpose was to demonstrate the use of pure-bred Dalmatiansas a companion to man. The Dalmatian was tested in its ability to run beneath the coach, one of the main purposes it was bred for. In the 1940’s the rules were changed to include riders on horseback.

War and recession ended the trials until they were started again by Linda Myers of Washington in 1989. Updated regulations and the availability of hired horses have made the trials accessible to enthusiasts all over America.

Anyone wanting more information on this event should contact Alison Burgess (tel: 01435 813267) or email