driving trails 1 Driving Trials


29th June - 1st July 2018

The Royal Estate, Sandringham, Norfolk PE35 6EN
By gracious permission of Her Majesty The Queen

Carriage Driving is a fast exciting sport for all age groups. It is the only equestrian sport/discipline where you can compete on an equal footing from 14 years old to 70 plus, with or without disabilities, male or female alike, using ponies and horses.


Day 1 – Dressage: The first part of the competition, athletes (competitors) must complete the Dressage phase, consisting of a sequence of set movements (driven from memory) to display the schooling and obedience of the horses. This is modelled on ridden dressage tests, but in an arena size of 100 x 40 meters. The Judges are looking for accuracy of steering, both one-handed and two-handed, correct use of voice and whip, smooth transitions from one pace to another and regularity of paces of the animal. This is an opportunity to watch the elegance and harmony of the lovely horses and carriages, immaculately dressed athletes and grooms with gleaming harness and beautifully turned out horses. All striving for that precious ten marks for their presentation while on the move.  (Picture by kind permission of Kingswood Associates.)


Day 2 – Marathon:
Athletes have to complete the first two sections of the cross-country marathon course, (up to 9 km) twisting and turning its way around part of the glorious setting of the Sandringham Estate, which is a demanding test of stamina of both athletes and horses, after which they have a 10-minute rest where the horse & ponies have a Vet Inspection, before embarking on the last challenging 8 Km stage; which includes Eight Obstacles to be driven at speed, against the clock, which leads to adrenalin pumping, mud-flying action. These obstacles are often built around natural features (water, banks etc.) and are made up of a series of lettered gates which must be driven in the correct order. (A to F) With different routes available within the obstacles this leads to tight turns which require a great deal of judgement and skill from the driver, in order to complete the obstacles with the minimum of time penalties. Completely missing a gate leads to elimination. Other mistakes, such as getting stuck or having to put a groom down earn penalty points.

Cones Driving

Day 3 – Cones Driving:
This is the climax and final phase of the competition . The Cones driving equates to the show jumping phase of a ridden three day event, testing the skill and competence of the driver and the suppleness and obedience of the animal. Cones Driving requires a steady hand, nerves of steel and a well trained horse! The objective is to drive the course in the correct order, within a maximum set time, through narrow spaced pairs of plastic cones with only centimetres to spare on either side of the wheels, without dislodging the Balls that are set on top of the Cones, trying to complete the course with the least amount of penalties, at a fairly fast trot or even canter. If any part of the wheel or even a hoof touches a cone the ball falls off and costs the driver 3 penalty points. Penalties are also amassed by completing the course in excess of the time allowed. 

The winner in each class is the Athlete with the LOWEST TOTAL PENALTY SCORE over the three phases of the competition.

Free parking and entry for the public, ‘come and picnic in the park’.  There will be catering stands for refreshments, plus a bouncy castle for children.

CIAT Concours Internationale d'Attelage de Tradition – will be having their Meet and Drive Saturday 1st & 2nd July.


Coaching Club at Sandringham

The Coaching Club was formed in 1871 at the instigation of Lt Col Henry Armytage, and originally consisted of 50 members. The reason for its formation was that the Four in Hand Club, established in 1856, was limited in membership and it was desired to form an overflow driving Club to meet the growing enthusiasm for Coaching; for those wanting to keep the traditions of four in hand driving alive since the demise of the skills due to the advent of the railways and then the motor car.

The first President was His Grace the 8th Duke of Beaufort, who held office until 1897. At the first meet on 25th June 1872, 21 coaches turned out, and the record attendance was at the meet held on 2nd June, 1894, when 39 coaches paraded.

The Club livery and colours were established at the inception of the Club, and permission to wear them was granted by the first President, The Duke of Beaufort, being his hunting colours of a blue coat and buff waistcoat. Reference was made in 1872 to “the wearers of the blue and buff”. The practice of members wearing button-holes of cornflowers dates back from the second meet of the Club, and has been a tradition ever since.

The current President of the Coaching Club is Mark Broadbent; he instigated the meet at Sandringham in 2017 and due to its success and popularity, it is becoming an established event in the Coaching Club calendar. Mark is keen to expand the meets and awareness of the Coaching Club, and The President's meet at Sandringham is the first new meet in addition to the Club's traditional established meets at Windsor and London.

The keeping of traditions and high standard of turnout are high priorities for the President, and this will be evident at Sandringham.



Trec originated in France as a way of testing and improving the skills of trail ride leaders, and was introduced into the UK in the early 1990s. It is now a very popular equestrian sport, in this country, intending to test the skills of horse and rider in planning and executing a long distance ride in unfamiliar country. It is a very friendly and sociable sport, competitors either compete as a individual or in pairs, and camp, with their horses corralled over the weekend.

Any rider and horse/pony can take part in Trec, whether you want to aim for the national championships, at the end of the 'summer' season, or just enjoy hacking in a different area - with a bit of orienteering to tackle. Trec competitions are run throughout the summer months, usually over a weekend, with up to 4 different levels competing.

It is a three phase competition, the POR, the PTV and MA. Usually the POR - Parcours d'Orientation et de Regularite - orienteering ride takes place on the first day. Depending on the level at which you are competing, distance covered range from 15km long to 40km, and riders loose points, (each competitor starts with 240 points) for using an incorrect route, or riding too fast or slow, between check points. At the higher levels riders may have to navigate using grid references or compass bearings only.

The PTV - Parcours en Terrain Varie - the obstacle phase and the MA -Maitrise Des Allures - control of paces, take place on the second day. The MA is ridden in a corridor up to 150 m long. You have to canter down it as slowly as possible, then turn around and walk back as fast as possible without leaving the corridor or breaking pace. Points ( out of a maximum of 60) are determined by the time taken for each pace. The PTV is a course of 16 obstacles, following a timed route that can cover up to 5km, over natural terrain. The obstacles are to test the skill and partnership of horse and rider, and are meant to simulate 'difficulties' you find when hacking out, these vary from water crossings, narrow corridors to ride through or back up, inclines/declines, gates, log jumps, ditches, mounting etc. Each obstacle is judged and marked out of 10. At the end of the competition the points gained in each phase by each rider are added up and the highest total wins.

Trec competitions take place all over the UK, during the summer months. One weekend you can be competing in the Welsh mountains and the next in the Lincolnshire Wolds. We are very fortunate to be able to come and compete at the Sandringham Estate and look forward to its fantastic countryside and woods. If you would like to enter the Sandringham Event or want any information about Trec please go to TrecGB website.


Equestrian Sports can be dangerous. Members of the public must look out for oncoming Carriages and horses, and keep children and dogs under constant supervision and control. (Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on leads at all times.) Please keep outside all fenced or roped areas.

For more information

Telephone:  Jeannie Lane 07860  822396 or
Email:  Jeannie Lane or
Visit:  The Carriage Driving website at www.britishcarriagedriving.co.uk