Wonderful carriage driving afternoon


Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
Surrey Hills
It's nearly a year since I got it, but I cashed in my birthday present from my best friend today - doing a half day's carriage driving with Dan Brown the Surrey Hills Horseman danielbrownhorseman.com.

I went with my friend & groom Carol - he had kindly said she could come along for the ride - and we arrived at his friendly tatty yard deep in the hills above Dorking, where he introduced us to Tookey, his forestry horse, a lovely 15.1 Comtois as wide as he is high.

He showed us how to harness Tookey, which was instructive because he uses the same harness on lots of horses so there was lots of adjusting to do. Tookey was very gentle and sweet and liked fuss, but if you wanted him to move for you you had to project quite a lot of energy.

We took him out and put him to the carriage (as they say) and I was amazed by how much there was to remember. I loved all the safety stuff, like the quick release clips for the traces and the shafts, and I had to laugh when we attached the breeching with several wraps which would rather put paid to quick release!

Then Dan said, "Go on, then, hop up, it's a lovely afternoon, we'll go out around the lanes."

Startled, I said, "Don't you want to show me how to do it?"

"Nah," says Dan. "You got a pony, you long rein him, I'll sit next to you, don't worry."

So off we went!

We had a wonderful 2 hour drive around the lanes and logging tracks, mostly narrow, some very steep, and with some difficult small bridlepaths, rutted and muddy. I was quite surprised by how much direction Tookey needed - I sort of expected that he would keep to the middle of the track unless otherwise instructed, but no, he drifted to the right. Dan said it was because he is French! But I did OK - once I realised how much contact I needed and how much force I needed to give to my directions - and Tookey was delightfully forward, we had some great spanking trots when we were really bowling along. It was fantastic.

I had such a lovely time. The picture Dan took of us all is brilliant, I look so happy.

If anyone local wants to give driving a try - @Ale ? I'd recommend Dan, but he's not so hot on the old Health and Safety, which is right up my street but might not be for everyone.

Anyway, we got back to the yard and then went to meet all his other lovely horses, who all live out in a big herd and seem as happy as clams. Dan's favourite is Ed, a black and white cob; he said he nearly gave me Ed, who would indeed have taken me around all on his own, but thought as I was horsey I would enjoy a bit more of a challenge. He wasn't wrong!

Just a wonderful afternoon. Thanks bestie Liz!Tookey.jpgTookeyharness.jpgtookeycarriage.jpgoffwego.jpghappydays.jpg
That looks absolutely brilliant!! Tookey looks really sweet and kind too. I will start dropping hints to my boyfriend now about this as a Birthday present idea!
Wow, sounds great. Love the pics too, what an amazingly chunky and handsome chap Tookey is. I'm very envious.
How super!!! Looks like you enjoyed so much. It's harder than it looks isn't it? I was allowed by my neighbour who has a carriage driving place to take the reins - it was fun - but I had to concentrate quite hard too. Tookey looks fab!
That sounds like such an amazing day. Tookey looks a real gentle giant.
Glad you had lots of fun and thank you for sharing. :D
I need to visit this place, I love driving other horses and Surrey is a lovely part of the world.

You look like you had a lovely time !