Thisyear’s South of England Carriage Driving Fair (23 March) at the South of England Showground, Ardingly, West Sussex, promises to be a great day out for driving enthusiasts of all abilities with one lucky visitor taking home a carriage driver’s ultimate starter kit, worth more than £1,500.
The owner of the winning ticket in the grand prize draw will receive a Bellcrown carriage, Tedex harness, driving whip, liverpool bit, book and video, all donated by J Martin Johnson of Bellcrown Carriages, plus a series of training sessions with triple European pony team champion Georgina Frith.
Visitors can look forward to a packed schedule of main ring entertainment with drivers of all ages and abilities in action as well as plenty of trade stands and shopping opportunities.
Competitive drivers can look forward to tips from a masterclass with Britain’s top female team driver Karen Bassett, while newcomers interested in getting started in this growing sport shouldn’t miss Gary Docking’s “suck it and see” hour, where they can enjoy their first carriage driving experience.
Georgina Frith will be driving a pony team to a pony-sized stagecoach, as well as demonstrating her teaching methods as she introduces international event rider Lucy Thompson to driving for the first time.
Some of Britain’s top international four-in-hand drivers, including Karen Bassett, Dick Lane, Philip Bowen and Wilf Bowman Ripley will be going head-to-head at the event, which will also see eight junior drivers, sponsored by Baileys, tackling a scaled-down version of the obstacle course.
Other areas of the driving world represented are expected to include scurry driving, private driving, hackney horses, driving for the disabled, trade turnouts and heavy horses, while the British Reining Association will be demonstrating the skills and excitement of western riding.
Tickets are available on the door: £10 (adults); £5 (12-16yrs); under 12s free. For more information, or to book tickets in advance at a discounted rate, contact (tel: 01483 276936) or visit www.brockhamharnessclub.co.uk