At Tismans Farm we welcomed 16 competitors to the first CIAT Tismans, with the prefect weather forecast it was set to be a fabulous August weekend at this stunning venue.

Caroline Court reports

Friday evening saw a welcome dinner enjoyed by all competitors & organising committee, a relaxed affair at the secretaries tent, competitors brought their own chairs and enjoyed a bar with a twist - a converted old fire engine complete with Tismans themed cocktails on offer & a plentiful sausage & bun salad meal.

Saturday morning commenced with our drivers briefing, a very in-depth briefing carried out by technical delegate Caroline Douglas. All drivers were driven around the routier that they were to drive on Sunday morning, also shown the presentation areas for Saturday afternoon & the PCs they would have to complete during the routier.

There was a lot of anticipation as this is a new venue & all competitors were looking forward to driving the route on Sunday & taking in the back drop of the house for the presentations.

Saturday afternoon presentations commenced, the sun came out & smiles were plentiful. We even had a number of spectators come to watch which added to an already buoyant atmosphere. Competitors enjoyed a walk down the main tree lined drive from the lorry park to the first presentation on the drive with President of the Jury & Judge Richard James. Followed by another short walk to the front of the house, making fabulous pictures with Judge Elizabeth Cartwright-Hignett & to the third in front of the period barns beside the house having to duck away from a willow tree along the way with Judge Lester Dagge. This was followed by another walk up & around the buildings to have their wheels measured & back to the lorry park via the back drive.

Saturday evening all competitors were invited to our Farmers Supper with champagne reception on the front lawn of Tismans House. This was a fabulous relaxed affair & competitors had a chance to marvel at the private gardens & also met & mingled with our hosts David & Stephie Trafford. After drinks, a short walk across the cones field & in to the cow barn, spectacularly decorated commmenced the dinner. ‘Alfresco with a roof’ was all competitors were told prior to the event. Again the bar attended along with a full hog roast supper & a fantastic singer commenced a rather brilliant party with some fabulous dancing. A very merry time was had by all until late.

During the evening a raffle took place, with fabulous prizes all donated by local businesses & people of which half of the proceeds was donated to the resident Driving for the Disabled Group at Tismans Farm - ‘Happy Landings’. In total we raised £365 for the group to go towards new equipment. Thank you to all who contributed.

Sunday morning started early with 2 presentations for competitors who had prior arrangements & couldn’t attend the Saturday presentations. Also a stewards briefing for the huge numbers of stewards we required for the PCs & also out on the route on road turnings & junctions including 2 major road junctions.

Followed the start of the routier. 13km of fabulous West Sussex & Surrey countryside, access through 2 private farms by kind permission of Mr Neil Harrison & back to Tismans to complete. Fortunately all cows had been moved away from fences directly along the route to the organisation of their herd managers.

The first PC was the wine glass challenge, set at the beginning of the routier down the front drive, just to catch the drivers out before getting settled.

2nd was a right handed rail to be driven with the right front wheel between the lines.

3rd was a one handed left handed circle, around an oak tree with a fabulous view of the South Downs Hills

4th was the put away - carriages to be reversed into a coach house marked on the ground.

5th was a 20m salute one handed with tractor & JCB telehandler parked beside it, enhancing the farm theme. This didn’t prove a problem for any of the drivers or horses.

All competitors completed the routier being welcomed back by our hosts with French breakfast, with beaming smiles & happy ponies & horses.

Sunday afternoon commenced the Maniabilite. The cones course, 20 sets with an a, b & c element, complete with plastic cow & straw bales for decorations & flower planters sponsored by Southern Carriage Driving Club, the arena shone. With only one double clear by Katie Cooper, the cones were the deciding factor between the competitors.

For the prize giving, all competitors were welcomed back in to the cleared cones arena for the class sections to be announced & the champion & reserve to be crowned.

Tismans also had a ‘Best Gentleman Whip’, ‘Best Lady Whip’ & also a ‘Best Novice’ sponsored by Hartland Carriages. These were chosen by the president of the Jury - Richard James.

Our hosts Mr & Mrs David Trafford were delighted to present the prizes & goody bags to all of our competitors, taking their time to chat to all the competitors.

Our final line up was;

Champion - Sharon Wooton

Reserve - Ruth Martin - Scotland

Single horse

Jessie Boden

Modris Kesans - Wales

Liz Jarman

Kimberley Titmus

Helen Anema Hughes - Best SCDC member Horse.

Single Pony

Sharon Wooton - Best Lady Whip

Ruth Martin - Scotland

Antonia Gallop - Best SCDC member pony

Katie Cooper

David Pritchard.

Horse pairs

Joanna Broadbent Driving on behalf of Amanda Hawley

Michael Hartland - Best Gentleman Whip

Pony pairs

Rosemary Neale

Wendy Johncey


James Jeffery - unicorn

All of the competitors went home with a bumper goody bag, including the fabulous AIAT Tismans plaque with the host family crest present.

Every competitor left the event beaming, with results & presentation sheets to ponder over on the way home.

The feedback for this event has been outstanding & for many of the competitors at this first event, this will be a firm date for their event diary.

With 2019 being such a resounding success, we are very pleased to be able to release next years date. 1st & 2nd August 2020.

So here’s to an even bigger and better event next year