Put Yourself in the Driver’s Seat

Carriage driving seems to be somewhat of a lost art.  It harkens back to the beauty of days gone by, when luxury and opulence meant beautifully spoked wheels, festive hats and smooth-stained wood, rather than shiny metal and roaring engines.  As with many revivals of a by-gone era, there are those people who have maintained the beauty and function of carriage driving, both for pleasure and for competition.  Whether in a competitive form where horses are driven in harness in two or four wheeled carriages (usually restored antiques), single, as a pair, in tandem or “four in hand”, or for pleasure competition where classes are judged on turnout, neatness or suitability of the horse to the carriage, it seems that carriage driving has maintained its niche.

Experience the View from the Driver’s Seat for Yourself with Harry Councell

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see the view “from the driver’s seat”, so to speak?  Well, you’re in luck!  A local clinic, held in Arroyo Grande over Labor Day weekend (September 3-4, 2016) will be held by the esteemed Harry Councell, from Gilroy, as clinician.

Harry was recommended as clinician to the Brass Oaks Driving Society – a San Luis Obispo based club dedicated to inspiring, encouraging and educating members in the art of carriage driving, whatever their goals (competition or pleasure) – by new members Larry and Kay Weeks, who just moved to Paso Robles from Gilroy.  They had attended several of his clinics, and felt as though Harry was especially good when it came to teaching beginning driving techniques.  His website gives a little insight into his vision, what he does and how he works with people and horses.  He has specialized in draft driving, but is also versed in fine harness.

Driving clinic Harry

Participants and Auditors will both Enjoy the Driving Clinic

Participants pay the same as auditors and they can bring their own animal(s) and equipment if they wish. There will also be harnesses and carriages to use and likely a horse or two already trained for people to work with. The clinic is scheduled for Sat. & Sun. of Labor Day weekend, but Harry is willing to stay until Monday, September 5, for private lessons. Lessons can include basic handling and adjusting harness, to full-fledged driving practice. The flyer shows two sets of phone numbers with people ready and able to answer any questions or take reservations.


So, if you’ve ever had an itch to get “behind the reins”, this clinic is the perfect opportunity for you.  There really is nothing quite like controlling a horse from a carriage, and it is something that all equestrians should experience at least once in their life.  Who knows, you might just find your next greatest passion on the seat of a carriage!


Additional Information for this clinic provided by Gloria Walter, Brass Oaks Driving Society Secretary.

Main Photo: Deb Hilberg driving her Welsh Cob Larken-Aldrydd.

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Stories sent by SLO community horse enthusiasts for publication in SLO Horse News. Send your stories to Info@slohorsenews.net.

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