To encourage young drivers to the sport of Carriage Driving and develop their knowledge and skills. Our aim is to create the foundation for the future with a progressive structure of training levels that underpins natural talent and enthusiasm.

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BYD "on foot" training day

by Ellie Wallace

The British Young Drivers met at the Unicorn Trust in Gloucestershire on the 29th of January, by kind permission of Sydney Smith, for the annual on foot day.

It was a great day with three guest speakers: Rosanna Walter-Symons, Emily Ham and James Campbell.

The day started with everyone catching up, followed by our first speaker Rosanna. She gave us a talk on ‘Coping with Adversity’. It was great to see how everyone deals with bad times during competition and during training and our everyday routines.

Some of us will fix problems and focus of solving a problem, whereas others would avoid the problem and find ways of not resolving the issue. With the best being facing the problem and dealing with it.

Our next guest speaker was Emily Ham, giving us a talk on ‘Getting the most out of our coaches’. This was informative and gave a full picture of what coaches do.

We also had three activities, allowing us as drivers to think what’s most important to us when competing from fun to winning, health and fitness and more. Some of us found it difficult as all the points are true and all go hand in hand.

Once the two talks had finished everyone sat down for lunch having another catch up before the afternoons activities. After lunch, we had a talk about our views from the 2016 season and for the coming 2017 season. Which this year involves the annual Young Drivers Championships is moving to a new venue, Sandringham. This will give us juniors a chance to drive a national/international course.

Lastly, we had a carriage maintenance talk/demo by James Campbell. This was a great insight on how to look after and check our carriages. He showed us how to change brake pads, bearings and gave us tips on how to maintain our carriages. Not to mention a few spares we should always carry in our lorries!

On behalf of all Young Drivers, I would like to thank Sydney for having us at the Unicorn Trust, as always. Also, thanks to Mary-Jane Campbell for organizing a great on foot day and to the guests Rosanna Walter-Symons, Emily Ham and James Campbell.

By Ellie Wallace


BYD Easter Camps 2015

The BYD Camp with UKCC Coaches Sara Howe, Sarah Jane Cook and Anna Grayston was a great success. It followed on from the National Young Drivers Camp and the cross over evening was enjoyed by all. Advanced Young Drivers Mike Hodgson and Emily Ham were there to assist. There were many new faces and it was great that there was so much enthusiasm. We hope to see you all again!

Parental feed back

“Just got in from Junior Camp. Once again Fantastic Venue, Fabulous Instructors and Very Yummy Food Oh and not forgetting the gorgeous weather. A Very tired but very happy young driver fast asleep in bed who had a great time, learnt lots, made lots of new friends and is already looking forward to next year. A Big Thank you to all those who put so much effort into organising this year after year”

“On behalf of Paul and Emily and Dollar (who all have been tucked up in bed for hours) would like to say thank you to the people who organised a fantastic junior camp.”

“Another excellent BYD Camp comes to a close. Lots of smiling new faces and enthusiastic families....

Many thanks to our wonderful coaches Sarah Howe, Sarah Jane Williams and Anna Grayston. Also a massive thank you to Sydney for having us and Baileys Horse Feeds for their continued support!”

National Young Drivers Camp  5-7 April 2015

Several young drivers up graded to this clinic and learned a lot from instructors Sarah Garnet and Kay Hooper.Following on straight after the Indoor Finals at Keysoe many of the BYDS taking part had just become indoor champions. See article below : The Juniors and Young Drivers Impress at Keysoe.

These talented young drivers have their sights firmly set on winning on the National outdoor circuit this year and thanks to the excellent training in all three phases they will be a serious threat to the adults competing !

Thanks as ever to Sydney Smith and Baileys Horse Feeds for all their input into the clinic. The BYDS are very grateful to all those who support them.



After much discussion with organisers and consultation with parents it has been agreed to change the system for juniors at the Finals to make it much fairer on the genuine novices – both junior and adult !!.

The junior age categories will be scrapped and instead the junior classes will mirror the adults with three categories of novice, intermediate and open and they will move up the junior ranks using the same criteria as the adult classes.

As now juniors can compete in the adult classes if they qualify and choose to do so, however if they win the class they will also move up to the more experienced class the following season.

This allows the juniors to progress through the ranks whatever their age. When competing at regional events the juniors will still compete within the generic classes, and , dependent on the numbers of drivers in any class, the regional organiser will reserve the right to separate or amalgamate classes.

At the Indoor Finals at Keysoe the winner of the OPEN junior class will be able to compete for the overall indoor championship.

At the beginning of the new season a list of Juniors who competed last season will be published, categorising the class they will be driving in …starting October 2015.

This is a progressive move that will enhance the indoor competitions, and strengthen the pool of talented juniors for the future.


Many BYDs took part and thanks to the Indoor Driving Organisers not only had an amazing few days of competition but were also given a table at the social evening to promote the Young Drivers.

The BYD committee and their supporters gathered photographs, video clips and handouts for the occasion and would like to thank all those who expressed support.

The Juniors and Young Drivers Impress at Keysoe What fantastic performances by the junior young drivers at Keysoe Indoor Championships.

Maggie Hick in the Extra Young Class ( under 10 ) led through all three phases to take an impressive win.

It was hotly contested in the Young juniors under 14 years, with the top three drivers experienced Keysoe competitors with international experience even at this young age.

Catherine Wesbroom Warr won dressage and cones only to be overtaken in the obstacles by her twin sister who came up from third to take the class by less than two penalties!

Cerys Gilbert was pushed into third and in fourth was Melita Powell, a relative newcomer to driving, who impressed throughout at her first indoor finals. Hers was an especially gutsy performance as her mum Clare was injured while backstepping at the event and was in hospital while Melita competed.

In the Older Juniors International expertise won out with Tara Wilkinson first and Emily Viller second. Inspirational Lewis Shaw in seventh earned the loudest cheers from an appreciative crowd as he skilfully negotiated all three phases - because Lewis is blind and has to rely on instructions.

As always the young drivers proved a real threat in the other classes too. Grace Smith was 4th in Novice Horse and Emma Jones 5th in Intermediate Pony. Katy Alvis led from start to finish to win the Novice Pony after a superb indoor season.

Likewise Joseph Adams who won the Pairs adding to his many Indoor Championship victories with different multiples. Emily Ham was in third place in Open Pony after dressage and cones but her championship hopes were cruelly dashed after a nasty tip up in Obstacle 1. The BYD training is certainly paying off !

Emily, Tara and Joseph are part of the exciting new Boyd Exell Talent Programme that extends the training for the top young drivers competing nationally and internationally.

International Easter Win for BYD!

Young Driver Roger Campbell won all three phases in the Pony Pairs at Ermelo, Netherlands to build on his pairs win at Breda last autumn. Roger looks a safe bet for team GB at the next World Pony Championships. What an achievement ! In 2013 he was 5th in Single Pony and looks a strong contender to better this in the pairs.


On the weekend of 14-15th March a group of young drivers selected for the Boyd Excel Talent programme had their first training session with the many times indoor and outdoor World Champion.

It was the most productive and inspirational weekend for all of us and it’s true to say that Boyd brought out the best in the BYDs! The training took place at the Unicorn Trust, Stow so we had excellent facilities.

After a welcoming supper and evening socialising it was up bright and early on the Saturday to start work ! The mirrors in the indoor arena allow the driver to see how the horse is performing from different angles and really helped us relate to Boyd’s suggestions and comments.


Right from the start we were focussed on how to get the best from our horse and from ourselves with individual sessions on the Saturday morning. Bitting is Boyd’s first priority and for those of us who hadn’t drive our horses with him before it was the main focus of this initial lesson – to find the best possible bit to get the best from the horse. This was well worth it, as the bit that works well for my Section D Alfie is one that I would never have discovered without this session and I am very grateful to Rosanna for kindly letting me use the bit she uses so successfully for her Section D Bailey.

Working into a good contact and schooling on each rein was better established for most of us in this first session and we all benefitted over the weekend from watching each other’s lessons and listening to Boyd’s suggestions. In the afternoon, after a lovely lunch, we moved on to cones driving in a shared lesson of two drivers.

Boyd’s aim for us was to be forward, regular and rhythmic. To encourage us to focus on the skills aspect of cones driving we swapped over turnouts and could try an unknown horse on the course. This was interesting and worthwhile. It also gave each of us the opportunity to observe our horse being driven which is always enlightening.


After a delicious supper, the evening involved group work designing obstacles and we drove obstacles in groups of three the next day after our individual dressage sessions in the morning.

I was thrilled with how Alfie took up the contact and responded to Boyd’s suggestions for encouraging him to go forward while making the turns.

Times were very competitive and the BYDS were flying by the end of their session! I think we all found the whole weekend the most amazing experience. I enjoyed seeing our progress and that of all the singles and the two pairs of ponies. We all learnt so much and can’t wait to put this into practice!

There will be a lot of very keen focussed young drivers out on the National circuit this season and we still have further training with Boyd to look forward to! The next session is in May.

The BYDs are very grateful for the generous sponsorship they receive as a group from individuals, Baileys feeds, British Carriagedriving and the Worshipful Company of Saddlers as without this financial subsidy many of us could not take up the wonderful opportunities of the BYD training programme.

Emily Ham on behalf of the BYDS


By Emily Curnock

Two days after the Pony Club Championship it was time for The British Young Drivers Camp, which was held at the Unicorn Trust Equestrian Centre.

This was the first time for me to attend this type of camp. We had to arrive by 2 pm on Tuesday for everyone to meet and get to know each other and the instructors.

To break the ice we had a fitness and fun session. After the exercises we had a talk from a lady called Rosanna Walters-Symons about how she had progressed through the years with the British Young Drivers.

Later on in the evening we had a pony quiz and we were put into our groups and introduced to our instructors.

Then we had supper, after which I checked on Dollar to make sure that she had food and water and had settled into her stable for the night. I went to bed early so that I could get up early to make sure Dollar was okay and get her ready for the lessons which would start early in the Morning.

On Wednesday, I was up at 7 am and went and fed, mucked out, and groomed Dollar.

My first lesson was at 9am so I was soon harnessing up, and putting to with everyone else who were also getting ready.

My first lesson was in the outdoor arena, which had a hard surface, which Dollar loves. She will show off with her tail up and produce a flash daisy-cutting trot.

My instructor was Jo Rennison and she said how soft my hands were and also how balanced and how responsive Dollar was.

I really enjoyed the lesson and further improved my driving skills.

After lunch each part of every turnout was weighed. First me, then Dollar and finally my carriage were weighed. I was surprised to find how light Dollar was and how heavy the carriage was.

Then I un-harnessed and put Dollar back in her stable, making sure she had plenty of hay and water. After I put everything away it was time for another talk.

The speaker was from Baileys Horse Feed and the subject was about the Top Line and Condition of a pony. As part of the talk we had to mark everyone’s horse/or pony to a marking grid. Then we all were given a goodie bag, which had some samples of feed and also a booklet to show how we should calculate the top line of a horse.

Then it was time for another lesson, this time on how to drive cones. I shared the lesson with a girl called Hannah who was driving a Shetland.

My lesson was very informative and also explained more about the “Scales of training” which were the same as the riding scales of training.

Once again everything was cleaned and put away ready for the next day.

At 6pm, after the ponies had been settled down for the night, it was time for fun and games. We were put into teams and had to compete by pulling a carriage around and putting balls on cones and also dress up a team member in riding gear.

I was in a team with Cerys, Laura, James, and Hannah. We came second in both games and won a bar of chocolate. Then it was time for supper. ]

After supper I checked Dollar, put her fleece on her, cleaned her stable and gave her some supper. At 9:30pm it was time for bed.

On Thursday, I got up early as my obstacles lesson was at 9am but this time I had a different partner, Laura, who I had been on the same team as in the games yesterday.

In this lesson we had to walk around an obstacle and see where the quickest route through it was. This lesson went really quickly, time flies when you are enjoying yourself.

After I un-harnessed it was time for an individual talk with some of the instructors, about where I would like to go with my carriage driving, and if in the future would I think of joining the British Young Drivers Squad. My answer was most definitely “Yes”.

I spent the evening getting every thing ready for the final day competition, which consisted of dressage, cones and obstacles.

At 8pm it was time for supper after which I did my normal routine of putting Dollar to bed.

On Friday, It was time for the competition. Dollar was covered in shavings and had had a good nights rest by the look of her. I brushed her off and then washed her down. I then got ready for the competition.

First I had to do my trot up, which was at 10:30am, and then my dressage was at 11:45am, followed by cones and obstacles straight after.

Emily Curnock - dressage lesson at BYD Camp 2014.

Obstacle session

Emily, now confident at IHDT obstacles

Emily winning the Junior Scurry & Trials at Broigend

Winning juniors at the World Scurry & Trials
Emily Curnock for Wales, Laura Priestly for Australia and Cerys Gilbert for England.

Emily Curnock qualifying for Keysoe

When it was time to do my trot up, I gave Dollar's passport to the vet and then trotted up and down in an open bridle. Then I harnessed her up, making sure to keep everything clean, as I did not want to waste all the cleaning I had done the night before.

Then I preformed my dressage test, it went very well and I come out feeling very happy. Then my cones followed and I was under the time by 15 seconds with no balls down. Then in the obstacles my time was very fast, about 44 seconds, which was about the third highest.

While waiting for the other competitors to complete their events, we packed everything away ready to leave. The presentation began at 1:30pm. After all the results had been announced I come fifth out of the 12 pre-novices who were competing. I was over the moon with this result, and then it was time to say my goodbyes and head home, for a rest.

Katy Alvis and Emily Viller tell of their involvement with British Young Drivers.

Katy Alvis (16) explains:

“I was introduced to the BYDs five years ago, when I was invited to the BYD junior camp at the Unicorn Trust in Stow.

There I met some fantastic people who I have moved up the ranks with, and of course, the incredible instructors.

I have made some amazing friendships with other BYDs around the country and I look forward to meeting up with them at training camps and events.

Even though it is a competitive environment, we all still support each other. Being a member of BYD is like being part of a team where everyone helps each other with advice, knowledge, experience and equipment.

The help from BYD has been invaluable. Last year the BYD supported my training and preparation for the FEI European Championship in Poland.

This was my first international event and the support and knowledge that we received from the instructors and Chef d'Equipe as well as other team members was invaluable, to make sure the whole competition and the journey was a success.

I couldn't have got where I am today without BYD."


Emily Viller agrees with Katy:

“BYD has provided me with the training and support that I've needed to get where I am today.

It's enabled me to meet some amazing people, including Katy, who I can now say is one of my closest friends.

We’ve been on an incredible journey together. BYD gives us access to some amazing coaches who have helped me so much to develop as a driver.

It has also given me the most amazing experience of going to Poland for the European Youth champs as reserve for the team.

Ryan and I managed to finish 4th, only a few penalties off the podium.

We came third on the marathon and came 2nd in the cones, one of only two double clears in the class.

I've never been so proud of my pony and myself. Crossing the finish line was the best feeling ever.

It was the best experience and I will never forget it. It is thanks to BYD that I got to do this.

Not only has it helped me through training, it's helped me learn how to handle the atmosphere of different situations better.

Without the camps and other activities of BYD I wouldn't be where I am today.”


Katy Alvis training at Stow

Katy competing in dressage in Poland

Katy competing in the marathon in Poland

Katy (left) and Emily at the trot-up in Poland

Emily Viller came 2nd in the Cones in Poland

Emily was 3rd in the Marathon

British Young Drivers at camp in 2014


Dates for 2017

15-17 April
Easter Training Clinic