09.08.17 Peter Dias

British Driving Society’s 53rd Annual Show


My wife Jacey and I decided to attend the British Driving Society’s Annual Show this year for the first time and we were so glad we did, writes Peter Dias. We arrived at Smith’s Lawn at 11am and by then most Coachmakers were in place at their allotted spaces with chairs and tables out and food being set up from numerous cool boxes. The camaraderie was lovely, with food being passed around to all and getting introduced to Past Masters, fellow Coachmakers, partners and the Master himself.

Having set up camp around the Sanders Watney Ring we were presented with a fine display of coach driving and coaches in superb condition. The classes of coaches and horses were very impressive, from rare breeds of horses, country vehicles, four wheel light trade to donkey and mule – a whole spectrum of horses and vehicles.

The trade vehicles were particularly splendid with their painted livery on the carts and the horses looking superb. The drivers were great; racing each other and playing to the crowd.

This year the Carriage Driving Award was won by Richard Carey, carriage builder, wheelwright and competitor. It was presented by The Master, Martin Payne, supported by the Chairman of the Carriage Driving Awards Committee, Mark Broadbent, who is also the President of the Coaching Club; the Immediate Past Master Michael Kimber and the Clerk, Cmdr Mark Leaning RN.

Dick Carey started driving horses on a local farm when still at school and then worked as an apprentice carpenter. He started his own business in 1966 and purchased two ponies and decided to build a carriage in which to drive them. Dick then started to compete in horse driving trials with pony teams and pairs.

He was on the committee that started the Brighton driving trials as course builder, ending up as Chairman. In 1977 he organised a musical drive with eight juniors and this was performed at the BDS show at Smith’s Lawn – this was the start of a sport that has continued to grow. In 1998 he started indoor driving – now in its 20th year.

Dick builds and restores carriages, encouraging young people to become proficient in the skills required to construct carriages – a worthy winner of the Coachmakers Award for 2017.