Sapphire have long had connections to the “horsey world” & now we’re proud to announce “Team Sapphire”.
What is Carriage Driving?
Carriage Driving is a varied & exciting sport little known by many but, here’s a quick primer, for the uninitiated, Combined Driving, also known as Horse Driving Trials is an equestrian sport involving carriage driving. The sport has three phases, and is most similar to the mounted equestrian sport of eventing. It is one of the seven international equestrian sport horse disciplines recognised by the FEI (International Equestrian Federation). The sport is carried out at different levels in the UK, with 100′s of drivers competing at national level. There are 10 events at national level in each season and these generally run between April and September and are held at some of the most prestigious country estates in the UK including Sandringham and Windsor, there are also a number of club or local events in Northern Ireland, which you’ll see Team Sapphire at in late 2012/early 2013! Each major event lasts for 3 days (Friday, Saturday & Sunday) with a phase on each day, smaller events are often held on a single day with shorter phases. Each event will generally have up to 100 drivers competing across the different classes. HRH Prince Phillip is a patron of the sport and a keen driver and until recently also a competitor, so we’re in good company!
Who are “Team Sapphire”?
We’re a bunch of Sapphire team members & interested others, who have come together to build a driving team to be proud of – like everything Sapphire, we want to do it right & be the best. The team is led by Sapphire’s MD, Nik Fox, who is a keen carriage driver, some also call him somewhat “fearless” for his driving style in marathon phases – just ask any of the Team Sapphire backsteppers & they’ll show you the white knuckles!
Learn to Carriage Drive
We love the sport so much that we want to share our passion for it with you – maybe you’re already “horsey” & want to add a new discipline to your repertoire, or have been injured so can no longer ride but you still want horses in your world – you might also be completely new to the equestrian world, perhaps you love horses but have always been to scared of falling – whatever your reason, we’d love to share our passion with you.
We’re happy to teach anyone who is willing to listen & learn, so why not take an introductory lesson to carriage driving?
An introductory lesson lasts for approximately 2 hours & is completely “hands on” – it lets you take the lead with our help – it will involve:-
- Introduction to “Ozzy”
- Explanation of the driving harness & how it works
- Correct fitting of harness
- “Putting to” – attaching the horse to the carriage
- Using the Reins – riders may find this odd at first
- Correct use of the whip
- Using voice commands
- Road Driving & Signals
- “Taking out” – unhitching
We’re based in a picturesque part of the East of Northern Ireland – You’ll learn an amazing skill & feel the tranquility of a pleasure drive, taking in some of the Eastern shores into the bargain. Maybe you’ll even return for more? We hope so!
Single Person: £69
2 People: £55 per person
Half Day Lesson: £90 for a single person, £70 per person for more than one
When there is more than one person, the training time on the carriage is shared between the participants, as there is one trainer. This gives an opportunity to listen, watch, absorb and reflect on the training given which aids the learning process.
Want to sightsee?
We’re just as in love with the scenery of Northern Ireland as anyone else, but the difference is we get closer to it & can feel the wind in our face. Want to share that experience? We’d love you to join us on a pleasure drive around the picturesque lanes & hills of our area, taking in the sights & sounds:-
Tours last approximately 4 hours, taking in some of the most breathtaking & beautiful views around, in tranquil surroundings. We can accommodate reasonable requests to take in certain locations too – just ask. Photographers will love our tours
For up to 3 people – £250
Subject to weight, on certain drives, two people may be asked to walk up short hills to avoid putting too much load on the horse – don’t worry, its nothing personal!