Rupert has had life changing impact on his disabled carer, Ben Furse.
He was rescued by The Mare and Foal Sanctuary when he was only 6 months old. Ben’s mum, Caroline knew he was the perfect pony for Ben, who sufferers with a rare form of epilepsy, which makes him unable to walk or talk. Riding Rupert made such a difference to Ben’s daily life.
When he outgrew him, Caroline decided to train him as a driving pony, he was a natural. This beautiful pony who was found traumatised and deemed worthless, has transformed the life of a boy with special needs. Rupert was able to change Ben’s life for the better and in return Ben offered Rupert the unconditional love that he deserved.
Lester’s energy and tireless enthusiasm for the sport of carriage driving has been inspirational. He has educated countless newcomers through his involvement in driving clubs around the country, from young pony club members to disabled and older drivers, always promoting best practice safe driving; significantly increasing interest and participant numbers.
Lester established the Dyfed Carriage Club and was Chair for nine years, running educational monthly club meetings and ‘Intro to Driving’ evenings.
For many years he has helped promote, advise and run carriage driving classes at local, regional and county shows around the country.
Marilyn has been Pippa Bassett’s groom/backstepper and navigator for an amazing forty years, ever since they were at school together. From the age of ten, Marilyn spent all her weekends and school holidays helping with the pony teams.
When she had a young family, she continued to help out whenever she could. When her children had grown up, she became a regular member of Pippa’s first horse team. It was a big step up from the little Dartmoors to full size horses but Marilyn took it all in her stride. At events she is first up in the morning tending to the horses and on returning from international events,she does not leave until the horses are settled, often making her way home as dawn breaks. Her devotion to duty is second to none.
This eight-year-old Hackney stallion has become very much part of the Darkside breeding programme.
He has had a fantastic career and shows how versatile the breed can be. He has been Hackney Supreme Animal at the Breed Show in 2014 and Supreme Horse 2019. He has competed in trade classes and has been amateur champion in the wagons three years running. He has qualified for HOYS three times. In 2017, he was Novice Champion at the Hackney Annual Breed Show and the Hackney Championship Show.
This partnership has competed in Country Turnout classes from the very start, actually within weeks of Smoke being broken to drive, qualifying for the BDS National Championships. They have won the Fell Pony Society Performance award for driving for the last 3 years. In Attelage de Tradition, they have been Reserve Champions at Glamis and 3rd at Sandringham.
They have had nine wins in Private Driving classes and Concours D 'Elegance .
As a Country turnout they are complimented on their 1906 Ralli car built by Morris Brothers from Tavistock and restored around 16 years ago. their matching outfits and beautifully made brown harness epitomise an elegant era of long ago.
Leah’s non-traditional vehicle is from Hartland Carriages, it is two wheeled sprung, finished in black and maroon paintwork. Leah has enjoyed much success with this turnout including wins at the BDS Annual Show and the Osborne BDS National Championships. The turnout and Noddy Vyse Show Girl are so versatile.
The combination won the Concours Exercise class at the BDS Championships in 2018. Leah’s Dunn & Co hat belonged to her great grandfather, her beige wool apron compliments her jacket with a fine maroon highlight to match the vehicle wheels.
This year Kilvey Carriage House are celebrating 30 years in partnership. Having grown from small beginnings when a part time hobby became a full time business.
They believe in maintaining high standards whether it be in the show ring or at weddings and funerals. The yard is an approved BDS assessing yard and the Kesans see education as part of their business. This family business has a bright future with son, Simon bringing fresh ideas so that their business is always moving forward and innovating.
Colette is the new superstar of British Carriagedriving under 25 years. She won the Open Pony Championship at Keysoe last year and was overall Indoor Supreme Champion, at only 16 years old. She always gives 100% to the British Young Drivers’ group. She is someone who is a great role model with her dedication, focus and warm personality.
Colette was selected for the British Team in Hungary last year and won the marathon for her class. Her great dressage and cones driving meant she then won Gold in the FEI European Championship for Young Drivers.
Fred and Beryl help as many people as they can with their never- ending advice and knowledge of both driving horses and carriage driving as a sport.
Fred started driving in the late 1970’s since then he has competed on an international level. Obtaining many wins and titles, with his Welsh Cobs, including, the British Horse Tandem Championship. In 1985 Fred was part of the Bronze medal team at the World Pairs Championships and in 2005. Alongside him throughout his championship wins is his wife Beryl, who is also his backstep. The titles Fred and Beryl have gained over the years shows their dedication to the sport. Throughout their careers Fred and Beryl have also maintained high level of care for their horses, Welfare and care are always at the front of their minds.
Many drivers have been inspired by Judi Rawls, she is passionate about carriage driving and all things that go with it, always working and striving to help people to reach their goals. Unique in many ways as a carriage driver, participating across a broad range of disciplines from driving trials to private driving. She is certainly an inspiration to many drivers, particularly through the support she gives, encouraging both children and adults through her work with Riding for the Disabled’s carriage driving groups and through her role as Chairman of the Sanders Watney Trust, which assists and enables drivers with disabilities.
Judi developed Ankylosing Spondylitis at the age of 10. She was pony mad and rode with the West Kent Pony Club. Peter Felgate, Team GBR trainer, Sarah Howe’s father and her Pony Club instructor suggested she tried riding side-saddle when riding astride became difficult, but when she had to give up riding at the age of 22, Peter said there’s always driving. Judi says: “I have now had seven hip operations - one more and I’ll be an octopus.”
She was self taught but has gained much experience over the years and now gets immense pleasure from sharing her love of driving with others especially her grand daughter, Amelia who this year won the BDS Junior Driving Championship at Smith’s Lawn.
There isn’t much that she hasn’t tried and achieved yet she is also a paradriver - proving how driving is a an all inclusive sport. Judi says, “Driving out in the carriage is the only thing that keeps me mobile. It also gives me a wonderful interest and great enjoyment.”
Judi is currently Regional Driving Rep for Greater London and just won the Over & Above Award at the RDA coaching conference for helping to set up carriage driving at Park Lane Stables.
Cherry Park Driving Group has seven adult disabled drivers and 12 regular volunteers, and all this is carried out by their hero of Jim a New Forest pony.
Their drivers embrace many driving activities, they practise cones, obstacles, dressage and driven showing. Incredibly despite only having one pony the group has had excellent results in RDA competitions.
Their drivers love their time with Jim, most come every week even if they are not driving, they enjoy seeing the pony, the tea, biscuits and chat. The volunteers at Cherry Park are invaluable, mucking in, mucking out and going above and beyond. We have a website and a Facebook page all managed by volunteers.