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Carriage Dogs go for gold!

Carriage Dog Champion Dotty Magic (Healey) owned and driven by Denise Taylor of Essex with husband David as groom, driving their Welsh Cob Sleepy

The 2006 Carriage Dog Trials, held at Germain’s Farm in Kelvedon on 8th July, saw 14 Dalmatians travelling to Essex to compete for a working title writes Anne Dickens.

With our first Gold competitors, this years’ Trials were the toughest yet. To compete at Gold level requires a serious level of fitness in dog, horse and human and demonstrates a huge commitment to training and conditioning prior to the event. Three dogs qualified for Gold titles, three more for Silver and four at Bronze level.

We also had the inaugural meeting of the newly formed British Carriage Dog Society. This Society exists:

To preserve the working heritage of the Dalmatian as a coaching dog

To run National Trials, the purpose of which is to demonstrate and test the Dalmatian's traditional role as a companion to man as road and carriage dog

To encourage common standards for all Carriage Dog Trials and to publish rules under which any Society sanctioned Trials in the UK should be run

To offer advice and support to any other person or organisation who wishes to run a Society sanctioned Carriage Dog Trial in the UK

The Society hopes to persuade the UK Kennel Club to recognise these working titles in the future, as they do in the US.

Disco, owned by Kelly Evans from Wales, retained her title of Road Dog Champion and Carriage Dog Champion this year was Healey, owned and handled by Denise Taylor of Essex. Carriage Dog judge Julie Allen and Road Dog judge Michele Boyes, well known on the obedience circuit and owner of Obedience Dog of the Year in 1998, agreed that both of these competitors did outstanding obedience trials to take their championship titles.

With the other competitors at Silver Road Dog level failing to qualify, there was no Reserve Road Dog Champion this year. Best condition dog was Lucca, owned by Maggie Saunders, who also qualified at Silver Carriage Dog level. Reserve Carriage Dog Champion was Abbie, owned by Alison Burgess of Sussex. Best condition horse was Bumble, owned and driven by Jane Friend.

Highest scoring Bronze Carriage Dog was Splosh owned by Lisa Jane Niemy of and highest scoring Bronze Road Dog was Cynthia Styles-Forsythe’s Daphne. Highest scoring rescue dog was Ron Gallop’s My Darcy, also from Essex.

Alison Burgess is the UK trials chief organiser and founder of the Society. Alison said of this year’s event: "We are delighted this year to have achieved a double first. We had our first Gold competitors, all of whom were successful, and we have formed our new Society. We are immensely grateful to Lord and Lady Kelvedon for allowing us the use of their beautiful estate to run the Trials this year."

Further details of the event and photographs may be found on the