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Osborne Refrigerators and Jeff Osborne himself have sponsored the BDS National Championships for more than 17 years but now it is time for that sponsorship to come to an end.  The British Driving Society and all its officers and members are eternally grateful to Jeff and Osborne Refrigerators for this sponsorship which has been the life blood of the Society over the years – after all, who amongst us has not covetted the lovely red and silver qualification rosettes or displayed them proudly on the mantelpiece or in the tack room once won?

Jeff has been a staunch supporter of carriage driving in its many guises over the years with his beautiful Private Driving turnouts, Trade turnouts, Attelage de Tradition turnout and of course scurry driving at which Jeff and his wife Alison excel.  But rest assured, they are not leaving carriage driving and will be continuing with their scurry driving activities so we will continue to be able to see their skill and expertise at events up and down the country and of course at the Horse of the Year show.

Jeff wishes BDS members all the best and looks forward to seeing them at events in the future, as we do him.  Thank you Jeff, you’ve been the best!


The British Driving Society will be lowering the age for Junior Drivers from 10 years to 8 years of age, with all the same rulings as in the schedule, dual reins may be used, any queries please contact Julie Elliott come on all you Junior Drivers come and have a fun day of driving.


The British Driving Society are seeking professional veterinary advice, and consulting with other governing equestrian bodies regarding the recent outbreaks of Equine Influenza.

We will continue to monitor the situation, and once we have considered responses from the above parties, we will be issuing an update with regard to all British Driving Society Events.  Obviously, our primary consideration in this matter is the welfare of horses and ponies.



The BDS has seen some personnel  changes in the recent months, one of which has been the resignation of Stephanie Evans from her various roles within the society and has included her position on the Awards Board, which unfortunately has also lead to John Parker standing down as the BDS Responsible Officer for Ofqual.

The BDS would like to extend their huge thanks for their extraordinary amount of effort put into the education arm of the society and wish them all the success for the future.
Following these changes a full review of the current system has been undertaken and as such the BDS has entered into talks with ofqual with its intention to surrender recognition as an Ofqual awarding body.

This decision wasn’t made lightly and many factors have had to be considered to ensure that the committee works forward with the best interest to the society but also to meet new objectives which includes a comprehensive unaccredited qualification suite built on a valid and creditable quality assurance system to ensure that BDS qualifications remain in the same high regard. For those that have already achieved vocational qualifications under the BDS these will still remain valid despite any changes that may be forthcoming.

More details in regards to the changes with qualifications will be announced in the coming weeks.

Please be advised that the training committee will now take on the functions of the awards board so please pass all communications relating to training and qualifications to the main office for the training committees attention.


Hoste House
Whiting street
Bury st Edmunds
IP33 1NR

Telephone number 01284-630591


Late March and April proved to be a challenging period for the council and I. Although, fortunately almost all of the challenges were predicted and we had plans to deal with them as they emerged.

As mentioned in the April edition, we knew that some difficult changes had to be made, and just like delivering any change there are usually a few issues which occur along the way.

One of the main drivers for the changes that are been made is the financial position. At this stage as 2018 year end accounts are being finalised, it is clear that we made a significant loss. A loss of the scale, which should it have continued in to this year would see the society in an unviable position by the end of 2020. Elaine McCarthy has done some great work with the accountants to get a clearer understanding of the finances, and at the last council meeting, council voted unanimously to implement some additional financial controls around the use of purchase orders and additional rigour around the authorisation of payments. In addition, a number of measures are being progressed to significantly reduce the society’s operating costs (mainly focussed on the administration & management costs), whilst in parallel we are looking at opportunities to increase all our revenue streams. All of which is going a long way to address the financial challenge we face.

One of the other challenges during the period, has been the resignation of Stephanie Evans from the council and the many other offices she held. Stephanie has been a lynchpin for the society for many years. I am personally grateful for the support she gave me during my time on council and my initial period as Chairman, and wish her all the very best for the future.

On a very positive note, Kendall Young, has been co-opted on to council through until the 2019 AGM. Kendall brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the council which will help us tremendously during the coming months.

In the Spring edition of the British Driving Society magazine was the ‘Nominations for BDS Council’ form. Over recent years nominations have been sparse to say the least, I am hoping that this year will buck that trend, as in order to keep progressing we really need a council with the right intentions, who are enthusiastic in driving the society forwards. I remain encouraged and humbled by the amount of support from across the breadth of the membership and beyond, which I have received, I sincerely hope that this continues and it translates in to people stepping forward to play a key role in the management of the society as a council member. Nomination forms require completing and returning by early May.

With Spring comes an increase in the number of events that are taking place, with drives and shows now in full flow. Planning for the society’s major shows;  the BDS Show (23rd June) and the Osborne Refrigerators BDS National Championships at Addington (21st September) is going extremely well, with great teams in place organising both of these prestigious events – make sure the dates are in your diary. Unfortunately, whilst we reached out to the Hackney Horse Society to see if they would like their end of year championships to co-exist with ours at Addington, they felt that to do so for 2019 was not achievable.

Talking of dates, we now have the venue confirmed for the AGM, Dinner Dance, and supporting meetings, such as the; judges seminar, AC & AACs meeting, safeguarding etc. The event takes place on the 19th October at the Bosworth Hall Hotel & Spa, Market Bosworth in Leicestershire (full details are already on the BDS Facebook site). This promises to be a great end of season event and party, so please save the date, as this will be an event you don’t want to miss so book early!

On the 19th March, council voted by a majority decision, to reach out to individuals who had previously been members of the society but through a disagreement at some point in time were no longer members. I am delighted that on ‘holding out an olive branch’ a number have re-joined the society. This really pleases me as I want the society to be recognised as an inclusive society for all individuals who have a passion or interest for carriage driving in any of its many guises.

Finally, I need to inform you that in the coming weeks the BDS office will be relocating to Bury St Edmunds, forthcoming changes at Swingletree (where the office is currently based) and other factors really mean this is the right time for the move. I must thank John Parker for his generous hosting of the office at his establishment and the unlimited support he has provided during the office being at his premises.

I look forward to seeing many of you out and about over the Spring and Summer months, and if you have any ideas or feedback (positive or negative), please get in touch.


2019 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.’