Members of the Brae carriage driving team took part in the BDS drive in Tentsmuir Forest on Sunday 19th August. It was a beautiful sunny day and we all enjoyed the outing. O’Reilly also seemed to be quite keen to have the opportunity of a longer drive.
On 3rd July we had a Carriage Drive and Picnic in Tentsmuir Forest for the clients who have been driving with us over the last couple of years. Weather was not too bad, a bit misty but at least not raining or cold. O’Reilly was on top form and seemed very happy to be out somewhere different and everyone involved enjoyed themselves. The following photographs were taken on the day
Liam Ritchie raised the amazing sum of £1,010 by cycling across
the Tay Road Bridge one cold and windy November morning.
Here he is presenting his cheque to The Brae, who plan to put the donation towards
the purchase of a new carriage driving pony. Well done Liam you are such a star!
Congratulations to Katie Horne and John Messeter who recently became RDA Whips, and will in future be sharing the carriage driving with Alison and Joan.
Photo shows Katie and John receiving their certificates from Ruth Skinner, Regional Driving Representative accompanied by Alison Macintosh, RDA Whip.
21 August 2011
Katie and John joined the 10 mile drive around Tentsmuir forest which was organised by the British Driving Society. We had a most enjoyable drive and O’Reilly behaved extremely well. We would like to thank, in particular, Kate Godfrey, Bob Carse and Harry Nunn for their help on the day. Also a big thanks to everyone else who came along to lend a hand, and thanks to Joan and Alison who worked so hard to make the day possible.
Here he is looking alert and ready for his first outing with other drivers
John driving from the half way point after refreshments which were provided for all the drivers
O’Reilly at the end of the drive with his well deserved rosette.
He behaved so well the whole day, we were very proud of him.
Everyone having a relaxing lunch after the event.
Thanks again to everyone who helped make it such an enjoyable and successful day out.
14 August 2011
The carriage driving team went on an expedition to Tentsmuir Forest, a “trial run” for the British Driving Society drive there on August 21st.
Kate very kindly drove us there and back, and Ann met us at Kinshaldy Stables and helped us harness up O’Reilly and put him to.
Alison, Joan, John, Katie and Harry all took turns to drive, with the non-drivers cycling.
We had a very pleasant drive in perfect sunshine, and once he settled down, O’Reilly was very well-behaved. The drive was slightly longer than we had anticipated, as we got ever so slightly lost in the forest!
This was the first outing for the Sinclair trailer which the Brae has just bought. It is perfect for our needs, as it will take two horses, and also takes both horse and carriage.
We duly hanselled it by drinking a bottle of champagne (see photo).
Mid May 2011
Now that the light nights have arrived we have started carriage driving on a Wednesday evening at 5.30pm. Our first Wednesday client is Liam Ritchie, who is no longer able to ride. So, from riding O’Reilly, he has progressed to driving him.
Liam’s verdict? ‘Wow, that was amazing’. And Alison’s verdict? Censored after she fell off her bike into a bed of nettles.
12 May 2011
Katie and Alison were invited up to Maryculter to drive with George Masson.
We had an excellent afternoon driving his four wheeler around his field, then out on the roads and through the forest. We appreciated him giving us his time.
11 April 2011
Alison, Joan, Katie, John and Judy Young attended the Carriage Driving Conference in Stirling.
Many interesting topics discussed in the morning, followed by cone driving and dressage demonstrations in the afternoon.
10 April 2011
Jock McFarlane, the current British Driving Champion, gave a demonstration at the Brae.
It was a most enjoyable and informative afternoon.
31 March 2011
On Thursday March 31st, Alison and Joan went to the Bannockburn RDA Centre to watch their carriage driving training. They were rehearsing their Musical Drive, and Alison and Joan joined the backing group of can-can dancers – in their riding boots, in the outdoor arena, in the pouring rain. [You need to read this sentence slowly to grasp the full horror that it only inadequately expresses.]
Unfortunately, no photos are available.
30 March 2011
On Wednesday, March 30th, Jane MacInnes, one of the leading carriage driving experts, came down from Maryculter to the Brae to give us a day’s training. She gave us invaluable hints on adjusting the harness, and drove with all four of us.
27 March 2011
On Sunday, March 27th, Alison, Joan, Katie and John went over to the Howe of Fife Equestrian Centre for a training day run by the British Driving Society.
The morning consisted of instruction in harnessing up, putting to, and rein handling. The latter skill was taught by means of a wooden horse’s head with reins attached (called Woody). John took photos of Woody, so we may soon have our very own Woody at the Brae.
In the afternoon, there was a chance to drive. Katie drove one of the three Shetland ponies which Richard Lanni had brought, and John drove one of Zoe Sanders’s ponies, Tiffany.
Alison and Joan didn’t get the chance to drive, but they got lots of ideas about driving Trixie and Boris.
- Sunday 20th February RDA Assessors’ Clinic, Sauchieburn.
- Monday 11 April RDA Carriage Driving Conference at Stirling.
- Sunday 27 March BDS Event at Howe of Fife. Leaflets for this event will be handed out at the Taster Evening.
John went out to Invergowrie and , under the supervision of Joan, drove Irene Croft’s horse Tamara.
As you can see Joan and Alison couldn’t resist having a wee shot themselves!
Thanks to Irene for giving us a good day out.
So far, this has been a disappointing year for the carriage driving team. Since March 9th, we have been unable to offer carriage driving as an option due to Paddy’s lameness, and all our plans for evening drives in the spring and summer and the RDA drive at Glamis came to nought. Paddy is still with us, but on a year’s rest, in the hope that he will become sound by next March.
We have not been idle in the meantime, however. We have been training two potential drivers, Katie Horne and John Messeter.
We have also been training O’Reilly. He was a driving pony when he came to us, but in order to be passed as an RDA driving pony, he needs to be very safe and well-behaved. His training was unfortunately interrupted due to his laminitis, but he is now back in work. Ruth Skinner, our regional driving representative, came to assess him last week, and she was delighted with his behaviour. However, she said that he is too fat at the moment, because in order to pull a carriage with a wheelchair in it, he needs to be at the peak of his fitness. As a result, O’Reilly is on a strict diet! Ruth plans to return once he has lost some weight, when hopefully she will be able to feel his ribs! She will then assess him properly, and provided that he has lost the required amount of weight, that should be a mere formality.
We are therefore hoping to offer carriage driving again some time during the next block of lessons, on a Tuesday morning and a Thursday afternoon.
Watch this space!
As trainee whips, John Messeter and I attended a training day at Maryculter Carriage Driving Centre on 10th June 2010. There we met Jane MacInnes with whom we spent a most interesting day.
Jane MacInnes is a Light Harness Horse Instructor (LHHI) and an International Judge. She holds the British Driving Society Stage 4 level of Competence (Teams and Tandems) which is the highest qualification attainable for carriage driving.
Firstly we looked at various types of harness which she had in her well stocked harness and teaching room, and discussed the proper method of handling the reins and whip. We then viewed her excellent and comprehensive collection of traditional and modern carriages. After lunch we harnessed up a horse and went out driving.
All in all a very enjoyable and worthwhile day.
Our RDA centre opened in 2008 and was officially opened by HRH The Princess Anne in February the following year. We added carriage driving to the services we offer in 2009 and are indebted to Zoe Sanders of Kingdom Carriage Driving in Fife for her help and encouragement. At present, we have two RDA Whips, Alison Macintosh and Joan Jack, and are in the process of training two new drivers, John Messter and Katie Horne. Our driving pony, Paddy, is a piebald cob.
We started slowly, with one driver, Hannah Craig. Hannah was so severely phyisically handicapped that she was unable to hold the reins, but she was able to give voice commands, and it was thrilling for her and for us to see Paddy responding to her voice.
Our second client, Sharon Smith, practised giving voice commands at home, and was overcome with shyness when it came to actually giving them. She did eventually manage to to ask Paddy to walk on, which was a great achievement for her, and she loved to get out and about on the tracks surrounding the centre. She, as well as Hannah, was wheelchair bound, so would not otherwise have had the opportunity of riding at our centre.
We have been training a a group of new volunteers and are also hoping to have a new pony, O’Reilly, in the group soon. We take our ponies to BDS drives and are hoping that there will be an RDA Drive at Glamis next year, which our drivers would love to go to.
“Ever since I saw Doris Day galloping across the silver screen driving the Deadwood Stage in “Calamity Jane”, I have wanted to learn to drive a carriage. The Brae has made that possible, providing me with a lot of fun along the way, and a feeling of satisfaction on seeing the pleasure it gave Hannah, our first disabled driver. It was also a great thrill for me to be the driver of the Brae’s first-ever carriage drive on Tuesday, 27th October, 2009, as I had also led the Brae’s first-ever rider into the arena on Wednesday, 16th April, 2008.”Joan Jack, RDA Whip:
“Learning to drive has been a very steep learning curve which sometimes felt like one step forward and two steps back, but I have loved almost every minute of it, even when I’ve been freezing or soaking or frustrated at knocking down the cones yet again. Passing my RDA Whip assessment felt like such an achievement, and seeing the smile on the face of our very first disabled driving client has made it all
worthwhile.”Christina Whyte, Former Yard Manager/RDA Whip:
“What can I say about carriage driving? It was like learning to tack up and ride all over again. A big challenge. But a great sense of achievement when we all passed our assessment. I am really looking forward to passing on the knowledge I have acquired to our trainee drivers.”John Messeter, Trainee RDA Whip (after his first attempt at driving a carriage):
“I feel like a kid in a sweetie shop”.Avril Henderson, Former Volunteer:
“It’s great fun, and a good laugh. I enjoy it immensely.”Steven Boag, Former Volunteer:
“I find it really interesting, and you keep learning new things.”Hannah Craig (first disabled driver):
“I really enjoy being up high in the carriage and telling Paddy what to do. I can feel Paddy walking and he trots when I tell him. It’s fabulous and I love Paddy to bits.”Carole & Scott Craig (Hannah’s Parents):
“The whole carriage team are great with Hannah. She looks super sitting beside Alison or Joan with a big smile on her face. They really encourage her to partake in the lesson, giving voice commands and telling Paddy where to go. She now has carriage riding to add to her list of achievements. A BIG THANK YOU to everyone involved.”