The Carriage Association of America’s Carriage Festival

From Very Small Equines to powerful Friesians, over 70 turnouts were welcomed by the Carriage Association of America for its annual Carriage Festival. Utility vehicles to Road Coaches, Bonneted Phaetons to a carriage pulled by a dragon, the variety was endless and the quality was exceptional. The weekend of June 26-28, could not have been a more pleasant one for those who expected a summer sizzler.

Added to the regular pleasure show classes of Turnout, Reinsmanship, Working and a few obstacle classes, the Showcase of Carriages and Picnic Turnout Class offered unhorsed competition as well.

The weekend began with a celebration on Thursday evening: the Grand Opening celebration of the Carriage Association of America’s new office. (See accompanying article.)

At many shows, the spectators are isolated from the competitors, but the organizers at this show planned activities to bring the two groups together. The driving competition part was held in the impressive Alltech Arena, offering air-conditioned comfort from the usually hot Kentucky summer. The fairly new (2010) large barns with inside facing stalls also provided space for carriages to be under cover. Those carriages that were being used both in the driving competition and in the Showcase, could be judged in the barns. Carriages not being driven were on display on the mezzanine level of the Alltech Arena. Once the judging was completed, time was allowed for the Showcase judges – Joe Jennings, Steve Olsen and Jack Day to give their critiques and an attentive group followed them around inside, outside and around the barns.

On Friday evening, in the two hours between the afternoon and evening sessions, several groups offered wine and cheese, Pimms cups and fruit, Hungarian sausage and refreshments, and even pizza. Carriages were again on display following the judging for the Coaching Appointments, and their owners graciously answered questions and posed for photographs.

Karen Homer Brown was the judge, Ed Young the Technical Delegate. Matt Ferro served as ringmaster. The quality of the turnouts was impressive. The Single Horse division brought 11 into the spacious arena. Some classes were sparsely filled, but competitive nonetheless. VSEs were welcomed with their own division, and a division for Utility Vehicles gave those without traditional or antique vehicles an opportunity to attend the show.

Sunday morning could not have been more pleasant for the Presentation Pleasure Drive. After setting off by class, the drive followed a route through the Kentucky Horse Park, into adjacent Walnut Hall Farm, and back into the KHP. This was the final event of the weekend, allowing for an early departure for home.

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Driving Digest Magazine
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