Leading a Drive: the Drive Leader’s responsibilities

Drive leaders must be members of the Club and have taken a safety test before the day of the drive.

Drive participants must be members of the Club and have taken a safety test before the day of the drive.

If you have guests who wish to join in a drive, please explain our safety rules and ask them to show proof of their third party insurance (BDS or BHDTA membership is sufficient). The Club’s BHDTA insurance only covers paid up members of the Club - so be careful.

Your drive leader must:

Know the organisers' agreed route and stick to it unless in emergency.

Be a responsible person who will look after the drivers and horses following.

Have an active passenger or groom in the carriage, and carry a mobile phone with all necessary numbers keyed in beforehand.

Ensure that the lead horse is happy driving with other turnouts and will lead willingly.

Match the drive’s pace to the distance of the drive, the terrain, the fitness of the horses/ponies and the experience of the drivers following.

Ask the groom to look behind frequently and listen for requests from the drivers behind.

Give frequent walking breaks if horses are becoming badly blown, particularly in hot weather.

Know the short ways home in case of a turnout having difficulties for any reason.

Be aware of and warn followers about difficult conditions underfoot: stretches of slippery tarmac, or rough going.

Always signal clearly what you are going to do, particularly slowing pace. The vertical whip position to warn following turnouts of a drop from fast trot to walk, or walk to halt, is much more visible than any hand signal to people driving behind you.

After descending a slope remember that all turnouts behind must be clear of the slope before anyone increases pace.

On narrow roads where it is unsafe for traffic to pass, hold the crown of the road until you reach a stretch of road where there is room and visibility for it to pass safely, then move over.

When leading a drive through gates, remember that all turnouts behind must have cleared and closed the gate before you move off. The groom or passenger should be asked to look back and confirm that this is the case.

If you really can’t avoid travelling on a busy road, split big drives into groups of two or three. Let car traffic behind you “leap-frog” the drive safely by driving into the gaps. This splitting-up of the drive can also be helpful if coming out of gateways or road ends onto busy roads, but it must be discussed beforehand (eg at a briefing) so that the job/s of leading the smaller group/s can be delegated.

Leading a Drive | Organising a Drive | Back to Safety Page