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Springbridge Carriage Driving Day a great success

(April 09, 2010)

Driving demoThe training day at Springbridge Carriage Driving Group on 9th March was a

great success. All the volunteers from the region who participated are

looking forward to returning in June to show how Ben Hur should have driven

in the Chariot race!!!

Linda, Jane, Dennis and the volunteers at Springbridge made us most

welcome, and after registration we were split into two groups.

Group 1 was sent off to a workshop on "Harnessing Up & Putting To" with

Martin Atkinson. First we watched and discussed the various components of

the harness as Martin fitted it on to a very patient "Sam." Then Sam and

Martin showed us how to "Put to" and this all seemed fairly straight forward,

until it was our turn !!

We were paired off and allocated a pony to harness up, I was with Jean and

"Harry" a Welsh Cob, with Linda supervising. There were collars and saddles

(nothing like we were used to) breeching and crupper, shaft tugs, near and off

side and belly bands and a girth.

Then there were rein hooks and terrets and reins and all before you put the

bridle on, which apart from the brow band and blinkers is near enough normal

(to us). Lo and behold we got it on and it was right !! We then had to take it all

off again in the reverse order. "Putting To" is covered in Lesson Two in June.

Group two had joined Dennis Cotterill in the barn to see the various

Carriages and discuss the pros and cons of 2 or 4 wheelers. and the various

methods of mounting and clamping wheelchairs into place.

Elevenses ! most welcome and followed by the groups swapping over.

An excellent lunch was followed by “Rein handling with “Woody” a wooden

Trial drivehorse who turns his head and flexed his neck if you get it right and a hands on

simulation of a disabled driver with eyes closed and ears muffled being loaded

in a wheelchair onto the carriage, we do expect our clients to trust us and I

must say that its not the best experience I have had, but Dennis and the

volunteers were very confident and reassuring all the time.

Will I go back in June, You bet, I am looking forward to a trundle round the

field with Harry.

Pat Bishop

Leicestershire County Chair

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