Team GBR Selection
20 August 2019


by British Carriagedriving

FEI World Pairs Championships
The World Pairs Championships take place in Drebkau, Germany on 11-15 September 2019.

The selection panel nominated the drivers to represent Great Britain at the Championships 2019. The team comprises of Libby Priest, Chris Smith and David Matthews. The three individual places will  be taken by Graham Heath, Joanna Charlesworth and Lindsay Falloon.

Libby Priest  

Libby Priest lives on the Isle of Man. She has been driving since 1993, when a livery introduced her to the sport of carriage driving. She entered her first competition with Rocky, her little Shetland Pony. First place and hooked!

From that moment the passion began. Libby's biggest supporters from the very beginning have been her parents Graham and Susan. More recently she has been joined by partner Michael Sloan (now back stepping), Maria Hough and Jacqui Jennings, great friends and competition grooms.

When competing at the World Championships, Libby has assistance with the driving of the horsebox from friend and fellow competitor Fred Pendlebury. Libby's international competition horses are Acoord (Ace), Eenzaam Ann De Top (Ollie) and Fiktor. Libby bought all three from Peter and Emily Bennet as 3 and 4 year olds. She has produced them all herself.

Libby's journey to team selection over the last 2018/19 seasons has been very successful. Most notably, in 2018 she won the FEI 3* horse pairs class at Haras Du Pin International and later that year, she became the National Advanced Horse Pairs Champion.

In  2019, she won at Ashfields National and Sandringham International 2*, with a 7th place at Royal Windsor International 3*.

This will be Libby's third time representing Great Britain. She also competes her horses in ridden dressage to Elementary level. She has dressage training under the watchful and experienced eye of Ivan Kelly, which has proved invaluable. In Libby's day job she is an Equine Dental Technician and also Chairman of the Manx Harness Club Ltd.

Chris Smith  

Chris Smith will be well known to many as the current Chairman of British Carriagedriving and has to fit driving around his demanding day job as a barrister.

Chris started driving 16 years ago, after he saw scurry driving at a local show and liked the look of it. He was then given some lessons for his birthday. He has also done some showjumping and cross country, and used to hunt regularly with the East Anglian Bloodhounds

He won the horse pairs class at the Indoor National Championships three times and has been Reserve Champion outdoors twice. Being selected for the GB team is easily his biggest achievement.

Chris' daughter Grace has been on the junior GBR Team three times. They train together and Chris is using one of her horses as his spare. They backstep for each other, so it will be a nice change for Chris to be driving rather than backstepping at a Championship.

David Matthews  

David Matthews is a farrier based in Berkshire, with a client base spanning from Tetbury in Gloucestershire to Newmarket in Suffolk. He works with top stud farms and competition yards as well as general riding horses.

He is a veteran of World Championship events, having represented Great Britain on 7 occasions. Driving a Single Horse, he competed in France in 2002, Sweden in 2004 and then won Team Gold in Italy 2006.

In horse pairs he has been on the team in Hungary 2009, France 2011, Slovakia 2013 and finished 12th at Lipica (Slovenia) in 2017.

David drives combinations of his own and Wilf Bowman Ripley's horses, all of which are currently competing at the European Four-in-Hand Championships. David says, “sharing is caring!”

He will be assisted at the Championships by Geoffrey Bailey (head of logistics), Sarah Cooke (professional assistant) and David Rockall (on the top backstep and horse fodder for one of David's marathon horses).

David's mother, Gerry Matthews, is a dressage groom and his father David Matthews will be in charge of carriages. Amy Mundell will be in charge of early morning refreshments and media.

Joanna Charlesworth  

Joanna Charlesworth lives in Zomergem, Belgium. She works as a Director of Orchard Investments Ltd. and Technology-4-Therapy.

She has represented Britain at the World Pairs Championships in Kecskemet (HUN) in 2009, Topol'čianky (SVK) in 2013 and Lipica (SLO) in 2017. She was 10th in the World Rankings in 2012.

Living on the continent, she mostly competes at international events and this year her best result was at the CHIO 4*H2 in Saumur, where she finished 3rd in dressage and 5th overall.

As always, much help is needed to compete and Jo is fortunate to have a strong back up team which includes Jan Timmerman (marathon groom & training support), Shany Van Houtven (dressage groom & training support), Elfriede Berger-Timmerman (team support) and Sue White (team support).

Graham Heath  

Photo ©Krisztina Horvath/

Graham Heath is based near Louth in Lincolnshire in the summer and Western Australia in the winter. He is lucky to be able to devote half the year to driving, then for 6 months he runs a fruit and veg shop in Western Australia. He job shares with his business partner and is grateful to his wife who puts up with his very chaotic life.

Although he has no previous team appearances, he's driven at international events at Valkenswaard and Kronenberg this season and at Beekbergen and Valkenswaard in 2016 and 2017

He has been a past National Champion in the intermediate single class and open horse pairs .

All the horses Graham has are relatively inexperienced, having done only a handful of shows. He has had them since they were 4 yrs old .

The support team includes Graham's wife Allison, who got him started in driving and without who he couldn’t do what he does. She is a very knowledgeable horse woman and has produced show ponies and eventers to European level. She is his eyes on the ground and also backs steps for him in dressage and cones as well as plaits, cooks and keeps everyone organised.

Graham is to be helped this season by international four-in-hand driver Ed Simonet from Belgium who he will be back stepping for him in the marathon.

Fiona Stewart Johnstone rounds out the team. She has helped Graham all through his driving career and has been invaluable over the years.

Lindsay Falloon  

Lindsay Falloon completes the line-up of British drivers making the trip to Germany. She drives a pair of 13-year-old Welsh Cobs Caederwen Taran and Killan Santana.

Originally from Northumberland, Lindsay started carriage driving with her father and uncles as a child and continued until she moved to London to join the Metropolitan Police.

After concentrating on her police career, she moved to Oxfordshire where she is still based, and started driving again in 2004 with a single at club level. A move to Horse Pairs saw Lindsay move rapidly up to international competitions and she took a civilian role with Thames Valley Police in 2017 to concentrate more on carriage driving.

This will be her first World Championships, and she has Mike Barr and Vicky Irwin as her support team.

Chef d'Equipe : Minta Winn
Trainer: Wilf Bowman Ripley
Vet: Antony Collins
Physio : Hazel Potter