Liz Harcombe 

May 2024

Plans are well underway and your hardworking event. committees are planning routes and putting things in place for our wonderful half dozen venues acrosss the UK. Glamis Castle is on the horizon and promises to be th eusual lovely start to our season of traditional carriage driving.

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Attelage de Tradition Workshop USA

Lester Dagge 

February 2024

In early February 2024, Lester Dagge AIAT Judge & Technical Delegate and Sarah Dance AIAT Judge were invited to the USA to talk about the work of the AIAT and to advise potential competitors and prospective judges about the rudiments of the competition.

A chance conversation with international driving supremo David Saunders discussed the possibility of delivering a seminar about the success of the AIAT in Europe based on our knowledge of establishing the competition format in the UK. It was 12 years ago that Lester first introduced an AIAT Attelage de Tradition event at Picton Castle in Pembrokeshire with many issues to overcome.The early days were a steep learning curve for event management with the challenges to develop a new relatively unknown competition format. Thanks to determination and a willing pool of enthusiastic competitors, the CIAT competition format has taken off and grown to become one of the most popular carriage driving disciplines in the UK.

Much of the experiences that CIAT event organisers have encountered in the UK have been been replicated in the USA with their initial foray into Attelage, so we were happy to help address these issues and appease their concerns. David arranged an Attelage Training weekend at the Grand Oaks resort in Wearsdale Florida, where the trip would coincide with the Four in Hand driving weekend. This followed on from the AIAT AGM in Italy the weekend before, so we were well briefed on current AIAT activities. We travelled to Florida in early February and delivered a couple of classroom seminars with  live practical critique to potential competitors and judges.

The seminars proved invaluable resource as the presentation showed the history, reasoning, purpose and level of interest and success throughout Europe. The delegates were transfixed with both Sarah’s and Lester’s delivery ably supported with Davids encyclopaedic knowledge of carriage driving. It was rewarding to hear delegates comments of astonishment, aspiration and intention! Many didn’t realise this type of interest was happening in Europe, many were amazed at the high standards in Europe and many were inspired to seek ‘new’ antique vehicles to embrace the CIAT competitions.

The Saturday set up day saw the potential judges and Technical Delegates ‘roll up their sleeves’ and help build the router and difficulties. This was a good learning experience with many questions and answers being discussed. ‘Assumption’ was clearly a problem but easily resolved with a reference back to the simple rules. “If it isn’t written down, its not a rule!”

With Sarah’s experience commentating at the previous weekend’s FEI driving Trials competition, she created an encouraging gently flowing Maniabilité (cones) course, adapted to the regulations and practicalities of a CIAT event and American buggies with restrictive quarter lock steering. Again many CDE presumptions were discussed but reference was made back to AIAT regulations which weren’t as onerous as FEI and CDE regulations.

The Sunday Attelage de Tradition competition attracted 10 competitors, with a mixed field of traditional and modern vehicles. Sarah, with newly appointed AIAT judge Tom Burgess, manned two separate judging points chaperoned by the candidate judges. I was good to see that the competitors had embraced the previous teaching seminar and made refinements to their turnouts. The standards were encouraging with modern vehicle owners muting their desire to improve their chances next time with antique vehicles. The after event ‘wash up’ meeting proved a valuable exercise comparing results and opinions with the candidate judges and CAA director Jill Ryder. The information learnt will bode well for the future of AIAT USA

Attelage Workshop at Blandings Farm

What is Attelage de Tradition?

Tempted to have a go at ‘attelage’ or just want to find out what this wonderful sport is all about? A chance to come and find out more and ask questions or bring your turnout for assessment and practise CIAT elements.


10.00: Arrive Coffee Tea and Welcome

10.30: Inspect carriages in stable field

11.00: Observe presentation with Judge Paul Mills Esq

12.00: Lunch and discussion

12.45: Routier briefing

13:00: Observe PC’s

14:00 Cones

For more details or to book a place contact Liz Harcombe on 07516 958787 Come on foot or bring a turnout