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Latest News - Traditional Driving

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

News from the Carriage Association of America

For the first time in its thirteen-year history, the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance (benefiting the Kentucky Children's Hospital) invited carriages to participate in this prestigious car show.
Class 17 was called "Coach Built Autos and Carriages" and featured those carriage makers who later went on to produce bodies for automobiles.
A Studebaker Pony Wicker Phaeton owned by Steve and Kathy Paul was exhibited, along with a 1931 Studebaker Sedan. Misdee Wrigley's 1901 Brewster Station Brougham was paired with a 1933 Rolls Royce Phantom II. Gail Austin showed her Healey & Co. Ladies Wicker Phaeton next to a 1911 Locomobile.
The Kimball Brothers Park Phaeton owned by Marilyn Macfarlane was awarded the prize for "Best of the Class."
The carriage judges were Colonel Davis and Roger Murray. Staffing the CMA / CAA booth at the event were Kathy Courtemanche and Virginia Goodman, the CMA's new director of operations.

Impressions of ANDALUSIA - February 2016


90 participants from 14 nations met from the 5th to 7th February 2016, for a wonderful weekend in Seville for the General Assembly of the Association International d ’Attelage de Tradition (AIAT).

Seville is the delightful city home of José Juan Morales, Ramon Moreno, Raimundo Coral and many of our Spanish friends, we were to visit remarkable local collections of carriages, participate in a very interesting judges’ conference thanks to the multiplicity of turnouts we were privileged to inspect. Everything ensuring that all delegates took home a dazzling memory of this stay in beautiful Andalusia.

After a warm reunion on Friday night at the Hotel Inglaterra, we set out on Saturday morning for a busy visit to the very important collection of D. Gregorio Aranda Alcantara. What a surprise it was to see upon our arrival at Monte Lirio an array teams warming up in a huge courtyard, preparing to test the AIAT judges! But first we toured the collection and we were impressed by the number and quality of carriages and exhibits - quite unique.

Then came the exceptional opportunity for judges to test their skills. 16 turnouts in English or Calecera harness put to a single horse, a pair, in tandem, then four and five-in-hands came forward in turn before the official judges and candidates-judges. This allowing everyone to establish a standard and then compare opinions under the leadership of Christian de Langlade. This was also an opportunity for delegates to meet and discuss the practical traditional aspects of the competition.

Our gratitude and thanks was enormous to all the owners of these wonderful teams, the coachman and their grooms, for all their efforts in presenting such an outstanding collection.

After a great lunch enjoyed seated in the middle of the collection, we warmly thanked the three generations of Aranda family for their hospitality, quite matchless, before our return to Seville.

On Saturday evening, we socialized and enjoyed dinner at the Museo dos Carruajes of Seville, the base of the Real Club de Enganches de Andalucía. The former monastery makes a perfect setting for such an occasion.  Before the meal we enjoyed our aperitifs in the reception area surrounded by carriages before taking our place at table - sunset in Spanish time!

The next day, we set off for Salteras in Miguel Ángel Gutiérrez Camarillo, where we again found a friendly welcome and a collection of high quality types of carriages, before returning to the Museum in Seville for the AIAT Annual General Meeting.

Denmark, under the chairmanship of Henrik Koïer Andersen, generously offered to host our 2017 AGM. Henrik’s proposal was accepted with enthusiasm.






Event in Tasmania

Attelage de Tradition in TASMANIA

We held our annual event at the end of November, this time at Clarendon House which is owned by the Tasmanian National Trust.
It was a terrific day, the weather was good, plenty of spectators, wonderful surroundings, generous farmer who allowed us to drive across his fields for the R&T.
Michael MacDonald, with his Palouse Pony at the presentation in front of Clarendon House. Saskia with the Clydesdale, won the horse section and Linda with the Shetland won the pony section.
Everyone came away very happy, competitors, National Trust, judges and stewards, even myself - once it was all over and proved successful. People are already talking about next year.



Feria de Seville 2014

" Seville, capital of Traditional Carriage-driving during the Feria,

first week-end of May !"