The Brian Sims BDS Young Drivers Scholarship 2019

Don’t miss out on the BDS Scholarship Day!

I am very pleased to announce that this year’s BDS Brian Sims Scholarship Day will be held at Ashfields with its excellent driving facilities. The date is Wednesday 14th August. Minta Winn is kindly supporting the event and assisting greatly with the all-important organising of assessors, equipment and of course the turnouts for you to drive! I know it will be a very useful and enjoyable day and of course there’s also the opportunity to win a very generous £500 training bursary in each age group. Please consider taking part –  the saying is so true – nothing ventured nothing gained!

As always there are two age categories and your age is taken on 1st January not the scholarship day for both the 10-14 years and the 15-17 years categories.

So what does the day involve?

There are guidelines on the BDS website but the main aim is to see if you have a good grasp of traditional driving. You will have the chance to drive two turnouts, using the BDS coaching hand wherever possible, and there is a wonderful perpetual trophy for the Best Driver on the day. You are asked to show how to put a single harness together, harnessing up, putting to and taking out and also how to care for a horse or pony. There is the chance to talk about your interests and activities in driving and to look at carriages and the harness room and discuss what you see.

Of course you may not win the coveted scholarship this time but you will certainly learn a lot and the experience will stand you in good stead for another try and the possibility of success on a future occasion.

The day is designed to be enjoyable and the assessors and helpers are sympathetic and encouraging. You will meet other young drivers and make new friends from across the country. Dress code is tidy – as if for an exercise class in the show ring and you are requested to bring a packed lunch.

If you can, bring along a portfolio with photos to show us. If you have prepared a more detailed portfolio you can leave it with me and I will put it forward with the others for the Ian Townsend Portfolio competition.

Please send in your form as soon as possible and by the 10th July 2019.

The day will start at 10am. It should be possible for organisers to collect and drop candidates at the train station only ten minutes away, by prior arrangement.

Young Drivers BDS Scholarship guidelines:

Dress to impress! You`ll need a suitable driving jacket , hard hat, gloves and apron.

Bring along a portfolio with photographs and text detailing your personal up to date carriage driving activities.

Demonstrate how to harness up a single horse or pony with breast and full collar, put – to either a two or four wheeler then take out and un-harness with full regard to safety .

Demonstrate and discuss the balance of a two wheel vehicle.

Demonstrate a safe and practical ability to drive a single horse or pony turnout ( as provided ) using the` English coaching` hand .

Be able to completely dismantle a single set of harness and re-assemble it. Be sure you can name all the parts of this harness.

Display a good knowledge of traditional vehicles, be able to name the different types and include the identification of springs, axles, shaft furniture.

You`ll also be interviewed about your driving career so far and what you would like to do in the future. Be prepared to chat to someone about your schooling perhaps, your holidays and maybe your pets and family.

Friendly tips …..
Bring warm clothing if it’s a chilly or wet day.
A picnic and hot drink might be a good idea.
Bring books or magazines to fill any waiting time.
A notepad and pen might be useful too.
A camera ?

Make sure you`ve practised everything listed many times before the day itself !


The Brian Sims Scholarship Day, August 19th  2018

This year there was fantastic support for the Brian Sims Scholarship Day with seven keen young drivers taking part. The day was also supported by experienced assessors who enjoyed discussing all the aspects of driving and traditional knowledge with the youngsters and were impressed by their confident use of the BDS coaching hand and skill when driving a single turnout and a pair.

The day was held at Monnington Court, Herefordshire, by kind permission of the Bulmers, following the three day BDS Wales camp there. It was undoubtedly the opportunity to enjoy a camp leading into the scholarship day that encouraged a bigger turnout for the scholarship – as all the young drivers taking part also attended camp. The BDS is very grateful to all those who helped on the day. Young drivers came from as far afield as Essex with some assessors too making the long journey from the Home Counties.

Gary Docking assessed the show driving using a single show pony and two wheeler, as well as the knowledge within the Carriage House, while Sarah Dance looked at the practical road driving using the roadways within the Monnington Estate. The young drivers had all greatly enjoyed driving Wendy Morris’s experienced Shetland pair throughout camp and so it was a special thrill to use the pair for this assessment.

The youngsters were also assessed on their stable management and competence in harnessing up and putting to and knowledge of harness, including putting together a full collar harness set.

Sarah had the rewarding job of discussing the young drivers’ experiences and hopes for their future driving activities as the final aspect that makes up this very thorough assessment day.

After everything was completed it was a short wait while the scores for each activity were totalled and the excitement of finding out if on this occasion you were a lucky winner of the generous Brian Sims £500 bursary for each of the two age groups, or the Barbara Stoddard trophy for The Best Overall Driving.

The Winner of the 10-14 age group was Jack Kedward

The Winner of the 15-17 age group was Rachel Cottee

The Winner of the Barbara Stoddard trophy for The Best Overall Driving was Llewelyn Chapman

Congratulations to these young drivers who thoroughly deserved their success.

The day is designed to build confidence and to be enjoyable so that everyone feels a sense of achievement. I hope that the enthusiastic response will inspire another strong entry across the two age groups in 2019.


The Brian Sims Scholarship Day by Junior Commissioner Emily Ham

This year of 2016 was the seventh of this particular sponsorship of the Young Drivers Scholarship, in memory of Mr Brian Sims a keen member and supporter of the Dorset BDS, whose love of education and the traditional ways of driving makes it a fitting memorial.

Five eager young drivers came forward for the day and enjoyed a varied programme at Bradbourne Carriages in Kent. Everyone performed very well and results were extremely close.

The Best Driver Award, Barbara Stoddart Trophy, was won by Opal Weaver who also took the overall award for the 15-17 years category. Callum Anthony Jones was so keen to take part that he had made his way independently by train and underground from South Wales and was a mere 1% behind Opal, with Laura Priestly very close behind him. The standard was excellent and these young drivers show a real understanding and knowledge of traditional carriages and harness. They displayed great confidence and competence in traditional rein handling and how to present the turnout to the highest standard.

The 10-14 category was won by Melita Powell just ahead of Jack Kedward. Both young drivers are also keen riders with a good grasp of stable management and in driving share a passion for cones driving as well as being competent in traditional rein handling. Both submitted portfolios showing their enthusiastic involvement in driving activities with Trec also popular. Jack also has an impressive record of success in driven showing.

Sincere thanks to Sara Howe for hosting this prestigious event and giving so generously of her time in assessing practical driving as well as the horses, her staff and wonderful facilities, to Gary Docking for assessing the driving for the show ring and traditional harness, Antonia Gallop for kindly bringing her private driving vehicles and assessing the carriage house elements, Linda Swain for conducting the interviews.
Everyone involved enjoyed the day and the two lucky overall winners will be able to spend their bursaries on further training thanks to the generosity of the annual Brian Sims Bursary.


Please click here to download the 2019 Application form