coaching


If you have (or had) a copy of the October 2012 issue of The Carriage Journal, do you remember that issue’s “The Road Behind” column? Here’s what it said …

[CAA member] Marc Kelley sent us this photo of his great-great-grandfather, along with a great many newspaper clippings, where we found the following story.

.

.

In the summer of 1900, Albert L. Johnson, a Cleveland-based owner and promoter of electric streetcars, took his Brewster Park Drag and six horses to London. On July 7, New York’s Herald newspaper printed this story, submitted by the paper’s European correspondent.

“Considerable sensation would appear to have been created yesterday afternoon when Mr. Albert L. Johnson, the American coaching expert, drove a team of six horses out of the small yard where he keeps his coach, at Knightsbridge. It had been suggested that he should put on the leaders outside, but this very remarkable driver would have none of that. A large crowd had gathered to see what would happen, and people lined the streets in Hansom Cabs at the curbs, expecting evidently that there would be at least a tangle up.

“Mr. Johnson drove out undisturbed by the amount of attention paid to him and with apparently the same ease as though he were driving a four or even a pair. The team consisted of a shapely lot of bays, three American and three English, with a swing bar connecting the pole and the leaders and running between the swinging team.

“Amid gaping policemen and people, and buses and cabs, stopping to watch Mr. Johnson drive into Hyde Park, there began a series of tests in driving figures of eight and short turns. Then, through the green park he drove through the crowded traffic of Pall Mall, drawing up in fine style at the Carlton Hotel. From there, he turned short round in the street, and through congested traffic, amid the same scene of attention and apparent amazement, drove with fast speed through Knightsbridge, turning in and out, and finally driving through the narrow gate of the Rutland Yard, under an archway in which all on the roof had to bend low, with scarce six inches to spare on either side of the hubs.

“Even with four-in-hands it is customary in the Rutland Yard to put on the leaders in the street, so you may judge how Mr. Johnson astonished them by calmly driving in and out, and all through the journey he never scraped a bit of varnish.”

Check back here tomorrow afternoon to learn more about Mr. Albert Johnson …

Misdee Wrigley Miller’s turnout — a Holland & Holland Park Drag put to a team of four Dutch Warmbloods — was picked by the judge and the Carriage Festival show officials and organizers as the most elegant turnout of the entire weekend (the winner of the show’s Concours d’Elegance – Tom Ryder Memorial Trophy).

Here are “before” (in the rain), “during,” and “after” photos, one of each, of Misdee and her team, from Saturday evening’s Coaching Division: Best Team class …

.

.

.

.

Here are a few “getting ready,” “warming up,” and “on the road” photos from yesterday evening’s coach run, which kicked off this year’s CAA Carriage Festival at the Kentucky Horse Park…

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

And, coincidentally, there were HUNDREDS of Model A Fords — in town for their national meet — in the parking lot of the same arena where our horse show is taking place. So here’s a look at a slightly different form of horsepower …

.

.

To see more (mostly “behind the scenes”) photos from our Carriage Festival, follow the link above to the CAA’s Facebook page.

From the recent Devon Horse Show: here’s a four-minute video of one of the (beautiful!) coaching classes … courtesy of our friends at Driving Essentials.

.

.

If the embedded video won’t play on your computer, click here to go directly to it on YouTube.

The small(er) CAA group that traveled from Windsor up to Norfolk enjoyed a coaching run today, with John Parker driving his beautiful mail coach through the countryside surrounding John and Susan Townsend’s Swingletree Driving Center.

Susan and Rosie took these photos:

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

I now have a bunch of photos from the CAA group’s visit to this year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show. In the three photos below, I believe the first one is of Mark Broadbent, who won the Coaching Championship and the Jack Pemberton Trophy for being the best turned out. The second and third photos are of U.S. drivers: Jim Fairclough and Misdee Wrigley Miller, respectively. It looks like they had perfect weather for the event (unlike last year, when the ground was so muddy from the previous days’ heavy rains that the coaching was canceled!).

To see more photos, click on the link (at right) to visit the CAA’s Facebook page.

.

.

.

.

Here’s another story from Mr. Reynardson:

“‘Hallo, Peter. How about that ‘strange gentleman?” said a brother coachman as he pulled up alongside the above-named Peter Hilton, who drove the Hirondelle from Shrewsbury to Birkenhead, from which place the passengers crossed by a ferry-boat to Liverpool. ‘All along with that strange gentleman’s driving, eh, Peter?’ ‘If that is all you’ve got to say,’ said Peter, ‘you’d better mind your own business.’ This was a mighty sore subject with Peter, who at the best of times was not famed for his affable manners, if anything put him out. He was not very fond of chaff; and the incident I am about to relate afforded a grand subject for banter on the road and with many of his brother coachmen, who all knew me pretty well.

“The facts were these: Peter, for some reasons best known to himself, for I could never make them out, was not vastly fond of me. I knew him less than any coachman on the road, and certainly had never given him any cause for either liking or disliking me. He never much approved of my driving, though he knew I was in the habit of driving any of the coaches out of Shrewsbury and elsewhere in that part of the country. It happened one day that Mr. Isaac Taylor, of the Lion Inn, in Shrewsbury, who horsed most of the coaches, was in the yard when the Hirondelle was about to start. He had given me leave to drive any team of his, and seemed surprised not to see me lay hold of the reins and mount the rostrum. ‘Aren’t you going to drive, sir?’ said he; ‘you’ll find them a fairish team, I think.’ ‘Well, to tell you the truth,’ said I, ‘Peter Hilton don’t seem much to like my driving.’ ‘Nevermind Peter Hilton,’ said Mr. Taylor, ‘jump up, sir; I’ll make it all right,’ calling out at the same time, ‘Hilton, Mr. Reynardson is going to work today.’ ‘Very well, sir, if you like it,’ said Peter, looking as sulky as he could look, and he could look it to perfection.

“Off we started; a horrid day, I well remember, raining and blowing great guns, so that I could hardly keep the horses in the road, the wind dead in my teeth, and the rain driving up the road, till reins, whip, and everything else were as wet and soddened as if they had been boiled or were made of tripe.

“Having arrived at Wrexham, where a Dog-cart was waiting for me to take me to a friend’s house about two miles distant, down I jumped, gave Peter a ‘douceur,’ which I hoped would make him think better of me for the time to come, and said, ‘Good day, Peter; don’t look so cross. I’ll come and drive for you again some day ere very long,’ and with this I jumped into the Dog-cart, and was off before the horses were out of the coach.

“Some time afterwards I met my old friend Mr. Kenyon, or ‘His Honor,’ as he was always called. ‘Hallo, old friend,’ said he, much to my surprise; ‘how came you to let Peter Hilton’s horses get away from you the other day?’ Of course I was all amazement, never having heard of any occurrence that could give rise to the speech. ‘I don’t know what you mean,’ I said. ‘I never let Peter Hilton’s horses get away, nor did I hear of anything of the kind. I can’t make out what you mean.’ ‘Why,’ said His Honor, ‘did not you drive the Hirondelle on such a day from Shrewsbury, and did not they run off with the coach from Wrexham?’

“To this I replied that I had never heard of anything of the kind having taken place, and stated, as I have before said, that as soon as I got off the coach at Wrexham, being wet and miserable, I got into the Dog-cart and made the best of my way to my friend’s house, before the horses were even taken out of the coach. ‘Well, Peter said you did, and it’s all over the country; so, as you did not do it, you will know what to say if anyone chaffs you about it.’ It would seem that whilst they were putting the horses to at the Feathers Inn, at Wrexham, my friend Peter and the three or four passengers that were on the coach — for I remember we had only a light load that day — slipped into the inn to ‘whet their whistles,’ and Wrexham was famous for its good ale in those days. From some cause the horsekeeper left the horses for a moment, and when he returned, to his surprise, he found the coach gone, and, to his greater surprise, friend Peter and his passengers in the bar.

“The horses had started off first in a walk, then in a trot, then got into a gallop, and away they went with the empty coach at any pace you like to call it, till they got to the bottom of Marford Hill, about five miles from Wrexham. How they were stopped, why they stopped, whether they were stopped by anyone, or whether they stopped of their own accord, I never heard; but stop they did, and the coach and horses came to no grief.

“Will Jones, who was driving the coach from Liverpool to Wrexham, met them about halfway down the hill, and seeing something was wrong, there being no one on the coach, pulled almost out of the road, and avoided being run into. He said they were going a real good pace, and he could not for the life of him make out what could be up till he got to Wrexham, and found how matters stood. Peter Hilton, to get the blame off his own shoulders and avoid the chaff which he must go through, and thinking that he should never hear any more of it, laid it to my driving, and said, ‘Oh! it was all along that strange gentleman driving.’ He was soon, however, found out, and the chaff he got was without end. He never passed a coach without being reminded of the strange gentleman.”

« Previous PageNext Page »