Brockham Harness Club is celebrating the start of the new driving season with its annual South of England Carriage Driving Fair at Ardingly Showground, West Sussex this Sunday (21 March).

Now in its eighth year, the fair caters for newcomers to the sport, as well as established carriage driving enthusiasts, with a combination of competition, informative displays and entertainment covering all aspects of carriage driving.

The event also hosts a grand prize draw to win a Bellcrown Superbantam Deluxe Carriage, kindly donated by J Martin Johnson of Bellcrown Carriages, plus a Tedex Harness.

“The fair is always really popular,” explains international four-in-hand driver Dick Lane, who is part of the organising team. “It heralds the start of the driving season. Many people attend to view the latest products and meet up with friends who they haven’t seen since the end of last season.”

This year’s main arena attractions include an international horse team competition where top drivers, including Karen Bassett and Boyd Exell, will drive indoor obstacles against the clock.

Driving’s stars of the future will then take centre stage in the Baileys Junior Challenge, with six top junior whips from north doing battle with the south’s top young drivers.

Other displays in the main area include:

  • stunt driving with the “Chariots of Fire”
  • masterclasses with Karen Bassett and Boyd Exell
  • Scurry competition
  • Ridden dressage
  • Private driving
  • Trade turnouts
  • Heavy horses

Top private driving producer Gary Docking will also be in action, despite his decision to stand down from private driving competition in 2004, with top tips on how to turn a show ring disaster into a show ring success.

Visitors can try taking up the reins under Gary’s expert eye as his popular “suck it and see” sessions return, while a wide range of trade stands, plus a bar and catering facilities, will help ensure this indoor event is a success, whatever the weather.

Tickets can be purchased on the door (£12 for adults and £6 for children) or in advance by phone (tel: 01483 276936) (£10 for adults and £5 for children).

For more information about the event visit: www.brockhamharnessclub.co.uk