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The Carriage Commentator




We report back on Glamis CIAT, the most northerly of the British AIAT events, organised by Richard Lanni. Thank you to Fiona Brims Photography for the images - July 2022

Since it first hosted an AIAT event in 2017, with the notable exception of 2020 which was cancelled, Glamis fast became one of the UK’s most popular driving events for a celebration of all things traditional.  The backdrop of the stunning castle, home to the late Queen Mother’s family, and the lush parkland of the estate, coupled with warm Scottish hospitality, makes for a winning formula and helps to justify the long journey to Angus for many competitors. 

Organiser Richard Lanni has surrounded himself with a capable team, not least Clive Rushton-Green as technical delegate and Difficulties designer, Alex Hogg as cones course builder, and veteran judge and competitor Jane MacInnes on the commentary.  However, one of the hardest workers is Richard’s wife Sandy, who is in charge of all the hospitality and catering, providing sit down meals for all throughout the weekend.

This year, as the second CIAT in the UK following Elveden, 24 competitors travelled from all over the nation to this beauty spot in the heart of Scotland’s arable terrain.  Diehard Glamis fans, Modris and Alison Kesans must break up the long journey from their base near Swansea in south Wales to get to Scotland and this year, incorporated the trip with their foray to Elveden in Norfolk where Modris was a judge.  

For one of the furthest travelled entrants, Jimmy Jeffery, it was well worth the diesel as he ended the weekend as overall champion with his horse pair – a rare achievement to end on lower penalty points than the singles.  In reserve, and winner of the pony class, was another of AIAT’s most loyal supporters, Ruth Martin with the evergreen and versatile Mr Storm.  They were also the recipients of the Best Traditional Scottish Turnout, Best Lady Whip and Best Registered Native Pony prizes.  On a score of 9.98, Ruth was some way ahead of second placed Gilly Chippendale on 18.62, driving her relatively young bay pony, Bunbury Sandringham, now in its second season.  In third was Vicky Largue, who does so much behind the scenes for the BDS in the Grampian area, on 25.07.   Vicky was also the recipient of one of two £150 Salisbury Fund Special Awards for first-time AIAT competitors, the other being Elinor Bosanquet, from a possible nine eligible entrants.  The award was organised by Richard James, chairman of AIAT GB, and someone who has done so much both domestically and internationally to promote the movement.  Elinor, who is usually associated with her speedy team of Shetland ponies, has taken to driving a Cob and for the event, borrowed Ewan MacInnes’ much loved Manchester Cart, coming a respectable second in the horse class.  A seasoned trials and indoor driver, Elinor was also one of seven drivers to complete the Routier without incurring any penalties. 

Long term AIAT competitor, Alan Ross from Aberdeenshire, with his striking skewbald Trotter mare, Woodhouse Maggie, took first place in the horse class on a low score of 12.33, which gave him a placing of fourth overall.  Alan was also responsible for designing the Routier and was one of several participants proudly showing his Scottish vehicle, his one by the Croall & Croall of Edinburgh.  Other Scottish manufacturers of note were Blue of Glasgow who built Gilly’s Spindle Back Gig, Kinross of Stirling who made Ewan’s varnished Four-wheeled Dog Cart, Scott Stirling & Co. of Hamilton, builders of Alan McIndoe’s Luggage Cart, and Jacksons of Edinburgh, the name behind Jimmy’s varnished Four-wheeled Dog Cart. 

In a class of her own (as the only entrant) was another well known AIAT figure, Rosemary Neale, who took the pony pair class with her Dog Cart built by Yerbury of Frome, and was awarded Best Traditional Rein Handling prize.  Ahead of organising the Sandringham CIAT weekend, Rosemary must have relished being a competitor and not an organiser, which brings different pressures.

AIAT promotes the use of all shapes and sizes of equine, and part of this is the separate class for very small ponies and donkeys.  With three entrants forward, Laura Chaffe was the winner with her Shetland Almondell Crusader, put to a Panel Cart by George Kay of Dunfermline, also gaining the Best Shetland prize.  A varied class, second placed Morven Meston’s donkey, Lady Winifred, got the Donkey Breed Society rosette.  In third was Sophie Moore who took the Best Young Driver award driving a Shetland pair, Clothie Humbell and Clothie Night Idiot.

However, the weekend belonged to Jimmy and his pair of striking Friesians Jesse & Piet.  With the best presentation score, a remarkable 3.17, they had a faultless Routier and only a few cones penalties.  Finishing the weekend on 9.77, both he and Ruth attaining rare sub-10 scores, he was also given the Best Gentleman Whip award.  Ever the showman, Jimmy filled the Quaich he was given for his presentation win full of malt whisky and passed it round for all to enjoy at the gala dinner. 

With the social side of an AIAT weekend always a priority, there was the obligatory reception on the Friday night followed by a black tie gathering in the Castle’s State Dining Room on Saturday, with 83 guests.  Making the most of the iconic setting, the judges, Andrew Counsell, Paul Mills and Spain’s Raimundo Coral Rubiales, had their three presentation judging stations in front of the castle.  The Routier was about 13km, with the option of a shorter 6km route for the smaller equines.

These sorts of events are not feasible without the generosity of the sponsors, and Richard was grateful to Halspan, Argyle Consulting, and the Scottish branches of the British Horse Society and the BDS.  It takes many hours of planning and a stack of unpaid time to run a weekend such as this but Richard and his team, with their charm and ready smiles, make it look easy.

For photographs, please go to


Thank you to Richard Lanni for providing some ‘snippets’ in aid of this article.