Editor in Chief
The Carriage Commentator’s founder and editor in chief Sarah Dance (Needham) is an authority on all areas of carriage driving having been involved in it all her life. Raised on a farm in Aberdeenshire, she has always driven and ridden, and aged sixteen won the British Driving Society’s Harpers & Queen junior scholarship. She was also the Scottish Junior Whip champion on several occasions. Her mother is senior judge Jane MacInnes LHHI and stepfather is Ewan MacInnes, who drives the ‘Royal Highlander’ coach. On her father’s side, she is related the coaching legend, Sylvia Brocklebank. After working with coaching teams in Bavaria during her gap year, Sarah studied History of Art at London University then joined Christies in Glasgow. She approached Thimbleby & Shorland in Reading who run the world-famous carriage sales and suggested she take over from John Mauger when he retired – which she did. She was in charge of the specialist auctions for sixteen years – their first female auctioneer, and the youngest partner of the firm – and studied again to become a chartered surveyor. Having married her business partner Richard Dance in 2005, she had two daughters, Gabriella and Francesca, and withdrew from the day to day running of the sales in 2009, but remains as a consultant to T & S. In 2015 she went to Oxford and studied creative writing and has finished her first novel. She is a well known commentator on driving and coaching classes, occasional judge and a sponsor. She is on the Court of the Worshipful Company of Farriers and their PR Steward, and Assistant District Commissioner to the Vine Pony Club. In 2019 she competed her home produced tandem at the Indoor Driving finals at Keysoe. Both her daughters drive and ride. She lives in Hampshire with the family, ponies, dogs and many chickens.
The Carriage Commentator’s co-pilot and chef d’equipe Araminta Winn is one of the country’s most successful carriage drivers and an authority on all areas of horsemanship and carriages. Born in the south of England but raised in rural Ireland, she had an unconventional upbringing, being home schooled. Having always had a ‘gift’ with horses, she and her brother Jasper rode and drove as children. As a teenager, she brought her tandem of ponies over to England and competed at the BDS Show at Smith’s Lawn and soon after won the overall championship with a team of ponies. She also trained in Ireland as a harness maker and has recently returned to the craft having set up her own leatherworking business three years ago. As a protegee of Sallie Walrond, she has trained and driven many horses and ponies and won all the major showing titles and many national driving trials titles, with all combinations from single to teams. For 10 years she ran the driving centre at Dounhurst in Sussex and there she raised her son Rupert who after studying at Warwick University now works in the motor industry – he is also a course builder and still drives. She is a LHHI, UKCC level 3 coach, senior BDS and BC judge, President of the Tandem Club and currently chef d’equipe to the British single horse and horse pairs teams. She is an event organiser as well as being a much sought-after trainer, teaching both newcomers and seasoned competitors, and is especially interested in the psychology of both the horse and driver. She also specialises in teaching and bringing on junior drivers. Based at Ashfields in Essex she enjoys travelling, having recently toured the USA and Canada.