Welcome to the East Aurora Driving Society
The East Aurora Driving Society was founded in October of 1976, to promote interest in the sport of pleasure driving and horse-drawn vehicles through public education, driving clinics, pleasure drives, and the annual driving competition.
For thirty-eight years, the driving society has celebrated East Aurora’s storied history as the world’s trotting nursery: when the town was known for the large Standardbred breeding farms of the Hamlin, Jewett and Knox families. Cicero Hamlin’s “Mambrino King” was judged to be the “The Handsomest Horse in the World”. This was also a time when it was not uncommon for village drivers to challenge one another to a spirited race down Main Street, while spectators cheered and waged bets on the action! Today, the tradition of carriage driving is alive and well in East Aurora, even though racing down village streets is no longer a feature. Then and now, members of the East Aurora Driving Society come from all walks of life… what they all share is a love of horses and driving
The Annual East Aurora Carriage Drive & Competition takes place at the Chur Family Equestrian Center at Knox Farm State Park. Entrants from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Ontario, Canada compete in the two-day competition that features pleasure driving and obstacle classes, in six divisions. The highlight, for many competitors and spectators alike, is the Carriage Drive class that winds through the beautiful Knox Farm State Park. Admission and parking are FREE. Show programs, educational brochures, and refreshments are available in the Hospitality Tent. For more information about this year’s competition, click on the Competition tab at left.
For anyone interested in learning to drive, the East Aurora Driving Society can be a valuable resource: We can help you find a trainer or driving instructor, and suggest sources for carts, carriages and harness for every budget. For drivers of any level, the friendly support of other carriage driving members can be the most valuable resource of all. For more information, click on the Driving Resources tab at left.
Membership in the club is open to anyone interested in advancing the “art and sport of pleasure driving.” Some our members drive competitively, many others simply drive for pleasure. Some do not drive at all, but enjoy participating in Fun Days, pleasure drives, sleigh rallies, carriage trail clean-up at Knox Farm State Park, or social activities like a barn dance and barbecue. Many members serve as volunteers during the annual competition held in late July. Juniors and novices can join in all of the club’s activities. For a membership form, click on the Calendar and Membership tab at left.
KNOX FARM STATE PARK
East Aurora, NY
Knox Farm State Park: In 2002, the State of New York acquired the Knox Family’s beautiful 633 acre EssKay farm property in East Aurora, renaming it Knox Farm State Park. In 2010, when the state budget shortfall threatened to close the park, a coalition of interested groups, that included The East Aurora Driving Society, The Friends of Knox Park, The New York State Horse Council, and Aurora Trail Riders met with representatives of the Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. What followed was a commitment by all parties to work in partnership to insure continued equestrian access to the park. The park is now open for passive use, including horseback riding and carriage driving.
Regional equestrians can help to insure that these unique equestrian facilities remain open for public use by obtaining a Knox Farm State Park Equestrian Permit.
An approved equestrian permit is required to horseback ride or carriage drive at Knox Farm State Park or the Chur Equestrian Center. Equestrians should familiarize themselves with the park rules and trail maps. The permit is FREE. The permit form may be downloaded below, or obtained from the Town of Aurora. at their website-www.townofaurora.com.