Latest News - Traditional Driving
Obituary : HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh
The Carriagedriving Community is saddened
The passing away of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, saddens us a lot, even if this was apprehended since quite a while.
This news generated a lot of statements in grieving for the Duke and of highest acknowledgment, too, not only in Great Britain but also round the world.
On behalf of the Association Internationale de l’Attelage de Tradition (AIAT) I like to express my deepest condolence with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and also to manifest the sorrow of the driver’s community worldwide. They all felt the highest respect and veneration for Prince Philip.
I like to emphasize Prince Philip’s achievements in favor of driving. When he ceased his Polo activities at the end of the sixties it was quite clear for him to pick up with driving, having horses, coaches, and the most elegant harnesses at home, including all the competent experts within the Royal staff. In consequence he dedicated himself to the new driving, his new field of activity, with a very good sense of proportion and gentleness.
„New Driving“ means that just at that time this sport was about to be newly defined.
Taking over the presidency of the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI), Prince Philip has yielded driving by adapting the existing set of rules of the cross-country competition:
the presentation and dressage, the cross-country and long distance driving referring to the Marathon, and the cone driving as equivalent to the jumping competition.
In those days the competitions first were driven with the existing coaches. But quite soon it turned out that the coaches needed to be adapted to the requirements of the modern type of Marathon driving. In consequence the old coaches were replaced by modern replicas for the dressage competitions, and very versatile metal carriages were developed for the Marathon obstacles.
I was given several occasions to discuss the developments of our sport with Prince Philip, in particular during the competitions held at Windsor Castle. He always kept his ears open for any kind of innovations and was all set to get them done.
In particular I am thinking of the topic how the reins were to be held in the driver’s hands. The “purists” would only accept “four in hands”. The Prince, however, quickly had understood that the evolution of the course and the obstacles would make the “Hungarian method” eligible for the Marathon competition, especially as no regulation existed about how to hold the reins. Hence the drivers were free to deploy their favored method.
Modern driving did absolutely not get along with just the traditional techniques.
When I presented my concept of rules and standards for “Attelage de Tradition” to Prince Philip at the turn of the millennium I was more than happy to find him giving his blessings to this new setup right away. He was very much aware of the importance to reintegrate the elements of tradition into a sport which had become very technical.
During the last International Traditional Sandringham Carriagedriving Trials in 2019 Prince Philip was attending the entire presentation, and he had a lot of questions and comments on the judgement criteria. He was pleased with the judgement scheme applied.
At the award ceremony I could take the opportunity to express my public address of appreciation to the Duke of Edinburgh about what he had achieved to the benefit of our sport, being the founding father of the modern driving sport, and we owe all to him.
From his pony turnout on which he followed the entire event he gave me a sign of appreciation. This gesture touched me deeply, and it should become our last face-to-face encounter.
We all, the friends of carriage driving worldwide, owe endlessly much to Prince Philip, always being so much at ease and accessible, intelligent, and with such a good portion of humor – just a model for style and class.
Baron Christian de Langlade,
President of AIAT
Good news : Inauguration of a new carriage museum
In the old Tatoï Palace in Athens
The creation of a carriage museum is quite exceptional nowadays. This is why we rejoice in the opening of a Greek royal carriage museum in the historic Tatoï Palace.
The Greek government has started the renovation of this palace, the former summer residence of the Greek royal family, for 1 400 000 euros. It had been deserted since the coup of the colonels, which chased away Constantin II, the last King of the Héllènes, and replaced him by a military dictature.
Abandoned since 52 years, twelve carriages, the property of the Greek royal family, were found in an old shed on the Tatoï estate during the renovation. The Greek authorities decided to exhibit them to the public in a special museum on the very place of Tatoï. This new museum has been inaugurated by Mrs Lina Mendoni, Minister of Culture, on 27th December 2020.
This collection of carriages is composed of a d’Aumont Chariot cut eight springs, three State Coaches, a Landau (in fact a State Coach transformed into a landau after the drawing of the interior designer Leandros Spartiotis), a Shooting Break, three Broughams, a George IV Phaeton, a Tilbury gig, a light two-wheels carriage.
One of the three State Coaches was built by the Frères Binder. In 1962, it was used for the wedding of Princess Sofia of Greece, the sister of King Constantin II, with Prince Juan Carlos of Bourbon, who became King of Spain in 1975. This State Coach is specially linked to the history of the French carriage building industry. After the fall of Napoleon III and the end of the Second Empire, the restauration of the French Monarchy was contemplated. The Count of Chambord, the last representant of the eldest branch of the Bourbon family, was approached to become King of France, under the name of Henry V.
For his solemn entry in Paris, eight carriages were ordered in 1872 to the Frères Binder, the most celebrated Parisian carriage builders of their time, called by the critics of the time “the princes of Carriage building”: a State Coach, a Dress Coach, a d’Aumont Coach, three d’Aumont Barouches, a d’Aumont Landau, a State Chariot.
These carriages were never delivered, as the Count of Chambord finally renounced the Crown of France in 1873. The Binders kept them carefully in their stores until 1891. Four of the were then sent to the château de Chambord, at the request of Robert of Parma, new owner of the castle. Four others were sold by Binder : a State Coach to the Duke of Brissac, nowadays kept in Chambord, too ; a State Coach to the Khedive of Cairo, now at the Royal Carriage Museum of Cairo, another one to George Ist, the King of the Héllènes. This last one was used for the wedding of Princess Sofia of Greece with Prince Juan Carlos de Bourbon and is today the most splendid piece of the Royal Carriage Museum of Tatoï.
The only UK AIAT event – Euston
Dicky Jim recalls
It was only the resolve and bulldog attitude of Wally and Eunice Binder that allowed nineteen traditional carriage drivers to gather together (respecting social distancing) on the Duke and Duchess of Grafton’s glorious estate in Suffolk for a CIAT event. It was a CIAT event with appropriate safe-guards but still following the well-established AIAT format and rules but held over only one day.
Stabling was the first challenge for the Binders – there wasn’t any! Instead, the AIAT enthusiasts were allocated areas in the spacious “stabling area” with suitable space for their lorries and vehicles beside a separate “corral” area for the equines, all well attired for the unfortunate damp weather.
The President of the AIAT, Baron Christian de Langlade was unable to judge because of the pandemic so Colin Henderson joined Richard James and Elizabeth Cartwright-Hignett on the judges' panel, and what a challenge they had, not in finding their winner in the Presentation but in splitting them up, it may be a corny comment but the majority were all winners. The standard is getting higher and higher, judges needing to knit pick to reach a result.
Jessie Dudley Apicella took the Show Championship, winning the Best Harness and also the Best Presentation awards driving her pair of Hackney Ponies to a four-wheeled Ralli Car, and top of her class despite coming second in the cones.
Two heavy horses put their toe in the CIAT scene, John Latham and Hazel Chapman’s Suffolk Punch and David Curtis and Emma Scotney’s Percheron to a Stud Cart.
James Jeffrey took the Horse Pair class with his Friesian x Highland to a varnished Dog Cart from Colin Varle’s Wagonette and Roger and Gill Derryman, up from Cornwall, with their Sporting Dog Cart.
In the hotly contested singles classes, Liz Harcombe won the top pony slot with her Canterbury Cart despite coming fourth in the Presentation, her driving skills coming to the fore. James Foley with his Hackney horse Crowside Gay James put to a classical Stanhope gig won the horse singles and took the Reserve Championship in addition to the Best Newcomer. Ben Lawless was the best Young Driver, a clear round but just a few time penalties in Paul Mill’s flowing cones course, pulled him up to third in the horse class.
The Euston event proved that a very satisfactory and enjoyable AIAT event can be held over one day with the three full sections completed, no stables but sadly lacking the hospitality and social element but with a grand collection of prizes and rosettes.
The GB AIAT enthusiasts are most grateful to the organisers, the volunteers, the exhibitors and support crews for ensuring that we kept traditional carriage driving going during these most difficult of times.
1. CIAT in Kromeriz (Czech Republic) from September 27th - 29th, 2019
It was a long way...not only to Tipperary but also to the setting up of an Association for Traditional Drivers in the Czech Republic. But all’s well that ends well, eventually the newly established association, under the direction of Dr. Olejnicek, Milan Novak and Lenka Gotthardova, managed to organizing its first CIAT in its first year! And a great success it was, too!
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
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...
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