Brian Worrell is the ROW Officer for the Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire area & has been a keen BDS member for many years.
What’s your favourite colour and why? And red, because it’s your favour rosette colour is not acceptable!
Rioja red because it was our partnership colour and reminds of Kath. Plus it is a lovely rich warm colour.
What time is breakfast and what do you have for breakfast?
8.30am and cereal usually.
How, and when, did you first get into carriage driving?
When Kath gave up riding in 1991 and we used the same horse for driving.
Tell us about your most memorable carriage driving moment?
Controlling a rearing Fells being eaten alive by a swarm of horse flies. Other than that, it was appearing in front of the Queen at the Royal Windsor.
Who was your favourite driving pony/horse?
Henry welsh section A as he knew it all, had been there and done it. Wonderful pony.
If you couldn’t drive any more what would you miss most?
The people who are all generous with their knowledge and great company.
What is your favourite type of carriage and why?
These days it is the Bennington 4 wheeler as it does everything I need, and more.
If you could meet someone who inspires you who would that be?
George Bowman. I would love to see live the way he reverses a team of four into a barn.
What is your worst carriage driving experience?
See above (I didn’t read to the end of the exam question before I started to answer – big mistake).
Where would you like to see carriage driving going?
Firstly, stop telling whips that the only way to drive is to use the one handed carriage style, when it is obviously not – see scurry, hackney etc. There is a place for traditional rein handing, but purists put would be whips off (incidentally, in case you ask, I can and do drive one handed as well as two handed).
Secondly, a more robust defence and promotion of carriage driving, particularly with ‘townies’ (and I am one) so that we don’t have to make excuses for being on the roads. Why did it take three years of persistent lobbying to get horse carriage signs erected on a main road? We have as much right to warning signs as any other user. We need to stand up for our sport, not compromise in the face of others. The 2026 cut-off for routes on the Definitive Map should/must be a great starting point if only the BDS can mobilise the troops (difficult one but must be tried). There will never be another opportunity to make our case heard.
Thirdly, embrace all forms of carriage driving and where fun is a crucial element, then encourage it. It would help if carriage driving was put back into the Highway Code. I made a case for it time before last, but one voice in the whole consultation is meaningless.
Sadly, like most of you, I have seen the gradual decline in numbers and the multi vehicle drives are very much a thing of the past in most parts on the country. We can largely blame ourselves for that by giving in to the health and safety lobby instead of confronting it and ensuring they continued. I know suitable parking areas are increasingly hard to come by and are no longer offered, but again, by promoting the need for such areas, we may be able to re-instate these drives. They are the most sociable of events and need to be encouraged.
The decline in youngsters is worrying (and I have exactly that issue with my granddaughter and the need for university studying and part time work to make ends meet). How were they attracted in the past? Perhaps it is back to the drawing board.
Cost of getting to events is also a factor but if it worth doing, then the money and time is found. So what makes an event worth going to? Even the carriage driving classes in county shows are not what they used to be. From my own experience, this is partly because judges rarely go down the line beyond 6th and so the new comer is made to feel a bit superfluous. Also judges should be more generous with their comments and say it how it is. This way we will all learn a bit more and feel included.
A bit of a rant but might be useful.