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Latest News - Traditional Driving

Welcome to a new member in our international AIAT family: the Czech AIAT

Welcome to a new member in our international AIAT family: the Czech AIAT

As the President of AIAT, it is my privilege to welcome our Czech friends in our international association, as a new national association. The Czechs have a high equestrian reputation, and they have founded their national Czech AIAT section recently.

They have shown interest in AIAT activities since a couple of years. We are aware that there are excellent Czech whips, and we do hope that we can welcome them at our various CIAT occasions all over Europe.

They are going to hold a beautiful CIAT with 21 turnouts being registred already, to be held at Kromeritz on September 28/29 this year. It is quite a striking result having this quantity of participants for the first event like this. Some Polish turnouts will give international flair to the first Czech CIAT, and we can be confident to quickly integrate the newly founded Czech AIAT section into the international AIAT family, with their tournouts as well as organizers of international tournaments.

Baron Christian de Langlade 

BAD ISCHL Gala 2019

Emperial Carriage Parade at Bad Ischl (Austria)

A typical Hungarian Hunting Carriage and Austrian Dress...

On Friday, August 16th in Bad Ischl, Austria, there was a parade of unusual character for this area. Martin Achleitner, Felix Rothauer and their team organized a cavalcade of traditional turnouts through the town centre. They made short stops in the Imperial Villa park, in a prominent area of the main promenade, and in the park belonging to the town’s spa. Here the turnouts were presented and their particular characteristics explained to the public by popular experts...


Kutschenmuseum in GALOWICE - H. HUBER (EN)

AIAT-Meeting in Wroclaw 2019, the visit to the Carriage Museum at Galowice

When entering the cobbled court through a beautifully restored baroque gate, built in 1721, the visitor walks straight up to a large historic building of well-balanced dimensions. It is a half-timbered structure with small windows and a double-hipped roof. At first sight the visitor realizes that it has not been used to live in, though it was well designed. The narrow-gauge rails leading from the road through the gate into the building hint of an earlier warehouse belonging to a large noble estate in Galowice; the remains of the stately home still recognizable nearby. A commemorative slab put up by Emil von Lieres und Wilkau in 1888 is evidence of the family who formerly owned the estate.

Realizing the beauty and quality of the building Tadeusz Kolacz, an entrepreneur from Wroclaw, bought the building and diligently had it refurbished.The building was exactly what he was looking for, a spacious home for his carriage collection, Muzeum Powozow Galowice near Wroclaw. Read more ...




CIAT reigns supreme


 A wonderful range of turnouts from across the globe and a perfect setting on the Royal Estate. Lester Dagge reports.

AIAT Great Britain hosted its premier Attelage de Tradition during the last weekend of June at the Sandringham Festival of Carriage driving in association with the Coaching Club and British Carriagedriving with grateful permission of Her Majesty The Queen.
With an illustrious field of 30 entries, the event basked in glorious sunshine with competitors taking part from all corners of the United Kingdom as well as guests from the Netherlands and USA. “This was our second year here at Sandringham” explained event organiser Rosemary Neale “with a noticeable improvement and a display of the very highest standards. Attelage de Tradition is all about preserving and using our heritage in the best way possible, by driving the carriages in...

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7th CIAT CELLE Cancellation

Unfortunately we have to cancel the historical driving competition (CIAT), that was planned at the State Stud Celle from August 26th-28th. There was another strangles-positive tested mare in our stock, which caused the prolongation of our quarantine to prevent the spread of this disease.

We deeply regret this step and ask the participants and visitors to be sympathetic about our decision.

In any case this successful event will be continued in 2017.

Yours sincerely

Dr Brockmann

Let's get ready for Attelage - Carriage Driving EN

Attelage de tradition is fast gaining popularity in the UK, and with four competitions to enjoy this year we explain what’s involved.

Firstly let’s get one thing straight, Attelage de Tradition is NOT showing! It is a competition in its own right, the fusion between driving trials and traditional private driving. It was created about 20 years ago to help stem the dramatic demise of original traditional vehicles that were being abandoned and castigated to the back of barns, no longer wanted in favour of modern competition vehicles.

Increase in popularity
Today, Attelage de Tradition is becoming increasingly popular right across Europe, particularly in France, Spain and Italy where events are experiencing record entries of up to 90 traditional turnouts at each event. Contrary to some beliefs, the standards on Europe are far outweighing anything seen in the UK, and that is thanks to the popularity of the competition. With its origins created in France, the competition format is strictly set and governed by the AIAT (Association d’International d’Attelage de Tradition) so any competitor in Europe can be assured of the same criteria at any event in any nation. Currently, 16 nations subscribe to the AIAT, offering 27 CIAT Attelage de Traditions through the year, from February right up to December.
In the United Kingdom, 2017 will see four affiliated CIAT Attelage de Traditions; at Glamis Castle in Scotland, Sandringham in Norfolk, Erddig in Wales and Euston in Suffolk. The Erddig competiton is a step forward, working with the National Trust, the country’s largest landowner to hopefully pave the way for other properties to welcome carriage driving.
In the last six years, Attelage de Tradition in the UK has seen a steady growth in interest. Picton Castle in Pembrokeshire, despite its far westerly location, was the first CIAT affiliated venue hosted by the Dyfed Carriage Club, and, thanks to the support of enthusiastic club members, helped Attelage de Tradition gain a foothold in the UK. What Picton taught us was that this new kind of event to the UK beats to a different drum from everything else. Attelage de Tradition isn’t just about carriages, horses and turnout, but a social weekend break for its participants. Competitors travelled far and wide to enjoy the event and with the treat of a spectacular venue, relaxing atmosphere, the beautiful original turnouts and plenty of socialising made it a real destination event. This popular event saw returning competitors come back each year with vastly improved turnouts, newly acquired original vehicles and markedly enhanced standards. The residual effect also inspired a new league of interested participants to take up Attelage de Tradition with around eight new turnouts being planned this year.
Sadly, Picton has now completed its tenure with Erddig flying the banner for Attelage de Tradition in Wales, but from that we have learnt a lot to offer an accomplished and enjoyable competition programme.

Competition format
The Attelage de Tradition competition format is quite simple. It’s open to any traditional vehicle that has to negotiate three stages: a standing presentation judged three times by different judges, a road drive (Routier) where you will negotiate five simple tasks (Difficulties) and then a final cones course over a gently sweeping optimum timed course (Maniabilité). All stages are heavily scrutineered and scored, and it’s only until the very last competitor has completed the cones course that the prize winners are revealed. There are a number of classifications in the competition for the variety of turnouts, including singles, pairs, tandems and multiples for all equines. All competitors receive prizes, and these are often sought after plaques and goody bags.
As the competition is about promoting the use of traditional vehicles, ANY traditional vehicle is welcome, including country vehicles, trade and coachman driven. It is not uncommon to see teams of six competing at Attelage de Tradition events on the continent. Those vehicles that are often out of favour in the show ring will in fact gain favour at an Attelage. There is a preference for vehicles built before 1945 as they will gain more points at Presentation over a modern reproduction. For example, a 1905 varnished game cart could gain a maximum 180 points over a 2016 reproduction Mills Phaeton that would only gain a maximum of 60 points. This promotion of original vehicles has seen a healthy rise in their value on the continent, in total contrast from the UK where values have plummeted in recent years. The work of European artisan carriage related craftsmen has thus been encouraged busily restoring original vehicles.
What is important is that all vehicles that take part have to be in a safe and roadworthy condition to negotiate the 15km road drive. Individual turnouts will be judged on the correctness of the complete equipage including harness, horse carriage and passengers (this is a dressage half topper free zone!). The rest of the competition is down to driver skill, so all turnouts share the same scores. Whether you have a fast paced trials horse or a dinky Shetland, you both share the same chance of winning, thanks to the class and scores’ structure.

A warm welcome to all
The principles of the AIAT are shared with the British Driving Society where safety and best practice carriage driving is a prerequisite of the competition. The competition runs in tandem with the work of the BDS and openly welcomes BDS members to take part at any AIAT event in Europe. For 2017, the BDS has stepped back as a paying affiliate to the AIAT opening the competition up to non BDS members such as British Carriagedriving, The Coaching Club and the Road Club. This should allow some of the magnificent coaches and coachman driven turnouts to take part at the affiliated events. The BDS are meanwhile free to encourage their members to take part in their own Carriage Driving Challenge events with modern exercise vehicles, where a number have already been inspired to migrate up to traditional vehicles and take part in Attelage de Tradition events. (Remember a vintage carriage and harness can still cost less than a new modern competition carriage!)
So, in a era of uncertainty with dwindling private driving turnouts in the show ring, it’s encouraging to see a new generation revitalising their interest in traditional carriage driving and raising standards back to where they once belonged. We look forward to seeing you this season!

•  Further information can be seen online at www.attelagedetradition.co.uk
•  Dates for the 2017 British Attelage de Traditions are CIAT Glamis 3-4 June, CIAT Sandringham 1-2 July, CIAT Erddig 15-16 July, CIAT Euston 26-27 August.

Harmuth Huber's impressions of AIAT AGM 2017 in Copenhague

The AIAT Annual General Meeting in Copenhagen,
February 03rd – 05th, 2017

Hartmuth Huber (D)

Carriage and horses enthusiasts at Christiansborg Castle

Around 3 degrees centigrade and fog was just the kind of weather suitable for a sleigh ride. However, there was no snow in Copenhagen. Braving the elements but resisting the temptation to shiver, the AIAT judges assessed 23 turnouts whose drivers had been invited by Henrik Koier-Andersen, the very competent organizer of the meeting, to appear in front of Christiansborg Castle for this very purpose. And they bravely did so, after which the judges fled to the warmth of the castle’s stables.

The judging and the tour of the stables and indoor riding school was watched with interest by H. R. H. Prince Henrik, prince consort of Queen Margarethe II. of Denmark. It may be that his particular interest arises from his family history. The Prince, née Count Laborde de Monpezat, himself a celebrated sculptor, is a descendant of Henri Auguste d’Ainecy comte de Monpezat who was a famous and passionate gentleman driver and painter. He left us many fine paintings of accomplished gentlemanly turnouts, presumably from his own stables and coachhouse

Everybody was glad to be able to withdraw to the stables and was most impressed by the high vaults of the stables, resting on 76 columns of Norwegian marble. They are well designed in the style of mid 18th century guaranteeing good ventilation, which is important for the horses. (The Crown Equerry had demanded the marble columns, as the horses tended to kick sharp fragments out of brick pillars.) The stables used to house up to 250 horses at one time, today stabling is required for some 13 greys only, bred in Kladruby, in the Czech Republic. Although daily exercise is compulsory, many of the beautifully designed historic stalls have been converted to loose boxes to comply with animal welfare regulations. Therefore, the stables offer much additional space now, which is used to store the historic royal carriages.

The oldest and most grandiose vehicle is the Dowager Queen Juliane Marie’s State Coach (a seven-glass coach), which dates from 1778.

What is more, the ornately handcrafted original State Harness for eight horses belonging to that coach is also on display.
The finest carriage still in use is the Gold State Chariot (a five-glass chariot built by Henry Five, London, in 1840). It is used e.g. when the royal couple is driven to and from the New Year levee at Christiansborg Palace.

The wedding carriage was used for the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary in 2004. It is a beautiful and well-restored barouche built by Neuss, Berlin, in 1906 and is best suited for weddings as it permits the onlookers a clear view of the royal occupants.

Other carriages, such as the landau and the State Coach are used for the royal couple’s annual tours of their country, or the reception of newly appointed ambassadors.

Many interesting exhibits, such as old photographs, sets of state harness and saddles, together with historic uniforms and liveries are displayed in show-cases in a showroom adjacent to the stables.

Suddenly the sound of a horn was heard and everybody was called to the front of the stables: the carriages were at the door! All the representatives and judges taking part in the meeting were asked to get into the carriages that were waiting there. The stunning view of a cavalcade of 12 turnouts filled everybody with enthusiasm (Pic 7). Getting into the carriages the passengers were glad to find warm blankets ready for them as the temperature had fallen to near zero by then. And off they went! The cavalcade was headed by two carriages driven by royal coachmen (and women) in full Royal Livery, an arrangement that turned out to be extremely advantageous as the cavalcade crossed so many red traffic lights but was respected as a royal procession and all cars stopped patiently. The cavalcade toured almost the whole of downtown Copenhagen including such sights as the Rosenborg Castle and the famous little mermaid, they thundered over the wooden bridges to and from the historic Castellet and ended with two laps of honour around the courtyard in Amalienborg Castle (not in honour of the drivers but in honour of the royal couple who watched the carriages from one of the upper windows with interest). Everybody enjoyed the drive very much but was nevertheless glad when they could get off at last and stomp back to their hotel, crawl under the shower and thaw out! When everybody had recovered and dressed decently in tuxedo or cocktail dress, they crossed the street to the Odd Fellow Paleet where the Gala Dinner then took place.

                        Hartmuth Huber

The 2017 AIAT AGM in Copenhague 2017


The 2017 AIAT AGM in Copenhague

 Richard James (GB)


The initials “AGM” often creates an immediate “turn off”.  Not when it’s an AIAT AGM involving a weekend at a special location, in the company of a friendly and enthusiastic group of folks and organised by the Selskab for Traditionnel Hestevognskorsel I Danmark lead by Henrik Koier-Andersen.  

This was the case in the first weekend of February when delegates from the 14 nation family of the Association International d’Attelage de Tradition met in the royal historical city of Copenhagen Denmark. The 91 traditional carriage driving enthusiasts centred on the Phoenix Hotel, in the town centre, on Friday evening, to renew acquaintances, meet new friends and enjoy a welcoming buffet and drinks. The talking and camaraderie continued into the early hours!

Saturday was a typical cold Danish February morning, not so in the mind of the delegates who enjoyed a fascinating visit to the Danish Royal Stables at Christiansborg, directed by the Danish Crown Equerry, Mr Per Thuesen. This is one of the few remaining working stables in Europe, and the home of the Danish Royal Kladruber State horses.  The tour included a visit to the magnificent Royal indoor riding school built on the style of the Spanish Riding School’s riding hall.   Then invigorated by very generous glasses of appropriate spirits the judges and technical delegates were put to work while the ladies were given a tour of the stunning Christriansborg Palace.

Three of the AIAT more experienced judges, Raimundo Coral Rubiales (ESP) Richard James (GB) and Koen Depaepe (BEL) were privileged to judge, as a stand alone CIAT presentation phase, twenty three turnouts produced by the very sporting members of the Danish carriage driving community.   The equipages ranged from singles, pairs, tandems, and four-in-hands put to country vehicles, gigs, phaetons, barouches, hunting carriages, roof seat brakes, park drags, road coaches and a six horse postilion driven state coach.    A wide range of breeds were represented, from Fjords to Oldenburgs, a remarkable demonstration of the enthusiasm of our Danish traditional carriage driving friends – in midwinter!

After the exhibitors had come before each of the three judges, the AIAT President, Baron Christian Langlade (FRE) oversaw the delegates as they also assessed the turnouts, discussing each turnout to compare judging standards as an educational and learning exercise.   An interesting and worthwhile process.

During the formal judging the AIAT were honoured by a visit by HRH Prince Consort Henrik who took a great interest in the appraisals of each of the three judges, both flattering comments and the not so flattering!   His Royal Highness’s participation highlights the interest he has in traditional values.


Delegates then retired to the Royal coach house to view on a big screen a slide show of all the morning’s turnouts (photographs used were taken during the morning) to enable the three judges to point out good, and debateable points on each turnout.  This style of participation by all the delegates generated an interesting and constructive discussion in a jovial and friendly atmosphere.

A Royal Welcome
After an excellent lunch in the royal coach house, (sitting at tables amongst the carriages), delegates were invited to take seats in one of the 12 carriages, wagonettes, roof seat brakes etc assembled in the Royal Mews court yard for a tour of old Copenhagen.   The carriages passed numerous historical buildings with magnificent imposing architecture, including the iconic “The Little Mermaid” the bronze statue inspired from the fairy tale by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.   It was a unique and special experience for us all when the carriages passed the Royal Palace and HM Queen Margrethe II and HRH Prince Consort Henrik were at one of the Palace windows to greet and wave to us. We also saw the Palace sentries changed guard.

After a cup of tea back in the Phoenix Hotel (especially for the British!) and a change of clothes, on to the Odd Fellow Palacet for a black-tie dinner in the spacious dining hall. This provided a great opportunity to exchange views and opinions of the international traditional carriage driving circuit while experiencing a delightful Danish gourmet dinner.

After a cup of tea back in the Phoenix Hotel (especially for the British!) and a change of clothes, on to the Odd Fellow Palacet for a black-tie dinner in the spacious dining hall. This provided a great opportunity to exchange views and opinions of the international traditional carriage driving circuit while experiencing a delightful Danish gourmet dinner.

Sunday started with a tour, through Old Copenhagen, this time by motor coach, to the Frederiksberg Slot, a magnificently restored old palace now the home of the Danish Military Officers Academy where we received a very warm welcome from the principle of the establishment Major Kim Birger Reisz.  He gave us an interesting insight into the history of the Palace and its current role.

The AGM and more
The tour was followed by the focus of the weekend, the AGM.  After the formal business of the meeting and the re-election of the comite a lively debate ensued mostly on the amount of penalties awarded and/or possible elimination during the cones phase of an CIAT competition.  It was resolved that nothing materially was changed. The number of events being offered during the coming season, over 65, indicates the popularity of CIAT format competitions in 14 countries.  

Next stop, after a buffet lunch, was the Carlsberg Brewery where we enjoyed a drink of Carlsberg in the stables, watched by the brewery horses. These horses were bred originally from the native Jute utility horse crossed with a Shire stallion some 100 years ago.  This produced a very stocky chestnut with a blonde mane (a glass of lager with a blonde head!). Carlsberg still use the horses for delivery of their lager to Old Copenhagen.

A packed, interesting and happy weekend thanks to the exceptional organisation of our Danish friends, headed up by Henrik Koier-Andersen, the presence of the Danish Royal family, the hospitality of the Royal Stables and the friendly, jovial company of traditional carriage driving folk – a perfect recipe.

We look forward to the 2018 AGM possibly either in Poland or Germany.

Richard James