Stop Press!


Well another month has flown by, during which time a number of activities have continued to progress well.

The presentations for the 2018 Brian Sims Junior Scholarships have now been completed. Following Rachel Cottee’s presentation at Ashfields  Equestrian Trust in late December, Jack Kedward and Llewelyn Chapman were presented at The David Broome Event Centre in Monmouthshire in early March. Many congratulations to Rachel, Jack, and Llewelyn on their success. Additionally, I would like to thanks the following people who were key in making these presentation happen; Roger Hopton, Minta Winn, Andrew Counsell and not least of all Emily Ham one of the Junior Commissioners. Finally many thanks to Terry Chambers and the Broome family for allowing the use of their fantastic facilities.

On April 6th, the BDS Awards Board and the Training Committee are holding a workshop at Ashfields. The aims of the day will be to agree key areas of focus for the future, including what training we provide, and how it is delivered. We now have some great expertise on the training committee so we are in a really good position to  deliver more for the society. Following my previous update regarding the training committee, I am delighted to announce that Colin Pawson has now also joined the committee.

Whilst it is still early days for the recently implemented support structure for the areas, ACs and AACs, feedback has been really positive. The new model sees council members allocated to a number of areas, to which they offer support and an improved channel for communication and engagement.

At the end of February, the judges committee met, with all committee members in attendance; Barrie Luck (Chair), Heather Noad, Caroline Douglas, Gordan Marks and Ronnie Robertson. A wide variety of aspects were discussed including significant focus on how we onboard judges through the probationary scheme which is going through a significant revamp in preparation for 2020.

Preparations for the BDS Annual Show at Smiths Lawn (23rd June), are going well under the excellent organisation of Charlotte Lawson, supported by Barrie Luck (Show Director). They have had a proper ‘curved ball’ of a challenge for this year’s show, as works on the showground site have necessitated some changes to the show layout, but I have every confidence that the show will be a great event and showcase for the society.

Changes are a foot for the Osborne Refrigeration BDS National Championships, which again take place at Addington Equestrian Centre on the 21st September. John Hollister & Julie Elliot are joint Show Directors, John last successfully ran the event in 2015. This year we are planning to make these championships much more of an event, with evening entertainment on the 20th already sorted. A number of other changes are also in plan including new classes, and greater collaboration / input from other harness societies. I have every confidence that this too will be a great show so I strongly urge all to try and attend.

This year’s AGM is being planned for the 19th October, we are planning to move back to the previous format with the AGM coexisting with the BDS Dinner & Dance on the same evening, and supporting meetings taking place throughout the day, such as the; judges seminar, AC & AACs meetings, safeguarding etc. Please make a note of the date, the venue is not confirmed yet but a number of hotels in the Midlands area are shortlisted and currently being reviewed.

The next council meeting is scheduled for the 19th March, where an amount of time is dedicated to reviewing the society financials & controls. Elaine McCarthy has done a significant amount of work in understanding the current position and drawing up proposals on how we can move forward with the right controls in place to ensure the society remains financially sustainable.

As we move forward one thing is becoming increasingly clear, and that is the need for change. Some of the changes I have touched on in this and my previous columns, and some will be shared over the coming months. Whilst some elements are reasonably straight forward to progress, other elements are challenging and introduce concerns not only to members but also to officers of the society. The team who are now in place, I am confident have the best of intentions coupled with the right capability to drive us forward, but please be cognizant of the fact that not every change we make will be without consequence. However, I am confident everything we do will be in the best interests of our members and the society.


2018 Rights of Way training dates advertised for online booking now on our website here:

The training has 3 levels so there is something for everyone, and covers all the essentials on laws and issues surrounding rights to ride and carriage drive.

This is available for a discounted fee of £5 (including lunch and refreshments) for members of the British Driving Society.’