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HAVE A GO AT CARRIAGE DRIVING !

You can try carriage driving for yourself.

We have a list of approved centres where qualified instructors will provide an experienced horse or pony turnout and take you through the paces of a driving trials competition.

FIND A TRY-DRIVING CENTRE NEAR YOU


BC TRAINING

British Carriagedriving have a number of UKCC (UK Coaching Certificate) qualified coaches throughout the country.

Visit theBC training page to help you get in touch with a coach near you.

Tel. 0845 643 2116
email us
 

Wikipedia
CARRIAGE DRIVING

 

  TRY HORSE DRIVING TRIALS !

Fast moving, water-splashing fun with horses in a growing sport with dedicated followers of all ages.

Have you ever wondered what Horse Driving Trials is all about ? British Carriagedriving have put together some driving video clips.

Watch carriage driving
VIDEO CLIPS

Download a promotional
CARRIAGEDRIVING LEAFLET

Horse Driving Trials is unique.

It is the only equestrian discipline where you can compete on an equal footing from 14 to 70+, male and female alike, with ponies and horses.

 

The Driving Trials 3-day competition

DAY 1 - DRESSAGE

First, the competitors must complete the Dressage phase, consisting of a sequence of set movements (driven from memory) to display the schooling and obedience of the animals. The dressage arena is 40 x 100 metres.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT DRESSAGE

DAY 2 - MARATHON

On the second day, competitors drive the three timed sections of the cross-country marathon course. The last challenging 10km stage includes up to eight obstacles, to be negotiated at speed against the clock, which leads to adrenalin pumping, mud-flying action.

The obstacles are often built around natural features (water, steep banks etc.) and are made up of a series of lettered gates which must be driven in the correct order. With different routes within the obstacles, this leads to tight turns which require a great deal of judgement and skill from the driver, in order to complete them with the minimum of time penalties.

DAY 3 - CONE DRIVING

The climax of the three-day event is the Cone Driving Competition, which equates to the show jumping phase of a ridden event, testing the skill and competence of the driver and the suppleness and obedience of the animal.

The objective is to drive, in a set time, through narrowly spaced pairs of cones with only centimetres to spare on either side of the wheels! Cone Driving requires a steady hand, nerves of steel and a well trained horse!

THOSE INVOLVED

Driver

The driver must at all times have his/her concentration on the job in hand, namely handling the horses or ponies. The driver must coax the animals around the course, whether it be daunting marathon obstacle gates or narrowly spaced cones in the final stage. Obedience from the animals is vital as they are controlled from reins and voice and occasional spurring on from a lightly used whip.

Groom and Navigator

Every turnout must carry a groom (four-in-hand teams must have two grooms). During the dressage phase the groom accompanies the driver in case of emergencies (broken harness etc.) But during the marathon stage they are a vital part of the team, helping the driver stay on course, guiding him through the obstacles as well as balancing the vehicle on tight turns and uneven ground by shifting their weight.

The horses

Competition driving horses range

Volunteers

Every competition needs a small army of people who help to organise and run it. Usually unpaid volunteers, they take on jobs like timekeepers at the start and finish and in the obstacles, ring stewards in the dressage and cones, score collectors and scorers, writers for judges, course builders, gate stewards and stabling managers.

Competitors, particularly those with teams of horses, always need grooms and assistants.

There are endless opportunities for anyone who likes to help out and spend three exciting days being part of the competition team.

Find out more about volunteering at:

www.britishcarriagedriving.co.uk

 

Singles      Novice horse or pony  
    Intermediate horse or pony  
    Open horse or pony  
    Advanced horse or pony  
       
Multiples   Open Pairs  
    Advanced Pairs  
    Tandems  
    Four-in-Hand  

CLASSES

Competitors are grouped into classes, according to the type of turnout they drive. At most competitions in Britain, there will be a number of separate classes for horses and ponies. Many driving events will also run extra classes for newcomers and small ponies, who will be allowed extra time and/or shorter distances on the marathon phase.

HISTORY

For years horses have been driven and used as a form of transport for day to day existence, but modern horse driving trials came into existence in 1968 when HRH Prince Philip initiated the formulation of the rules for the new sport. Now, after it's 40th anniversary, the sport is going from strength to strength.

The sport of competitive Horse Driving Trials consists of three very different phases or stages. Modelled on the ridden three day event, a Horse Driving Trials is a triathlon for horses/ponies which tests the overall versatility of an animal in harness.

CARRIAGE DRIVING

&

HORSE DRIVING TRIALS

If you would like to know more about this fast moving
and rapidly growing sport, please contact:
British Carriagedriving,
East Overhill, Stewarton, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire KA3 5JT
TEL: 0845 643 2116
Email : email@britishcarriagedriving.co.uk

VISIT OUR WEBSITE

www.britishcarriagedriving.co.uk

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT DRIVING TRIALS AND HOW TO GET STARTED

The British Carriagedriving website has a wealth of information about driving trials competitions, training and how to get started.

GUIDELINES FOR NEWCOMERS
This article explains how competitions work and what you need to get going

RULES - QUICK REFERENCE
A simplified version of the rules for Horse Driving Trials

TRAINING
Qualified instructors in many parts of the UK will help you to get started.

DRIVING CLUBS
Throughout the country, driving clubs will give assistance to newcomers and let them experience driving trials first hand.

  

The competition in more detail

DRESSAGE

The dressage arena used for driving is larger than that used for ridden dressage. For novices it is 80 x 40 metres and for most other tests it's 100 x 40 meters.

Judges look out for accuracy of the movements prescribed in the dressage test, which includes circles, half-circles and serpentines, driven at various speeds and paces - from walk to extended trot. Other manoeuvres include circles driven one-handed, serpentines, halts and rein-backs (reversing).

Each movement is awarded marks out of 10. At the end, all points are added and the total is subtracted from 150 (maximum score) to give the final mark. The competitor with the lowest mark is therefore the winner of the dressage phase.

Further penalties may be added for errors of course or dismounting of grooms. All turnouts must carry a groom (two grooms for teams of horses or ponies) who must remain seated throughout the test and may not speak or sign to the driver.

MARATHON

The marathon phase of the driving trials consists of three sections (A, D and E) with compulsory halts in between. Some sections can be driven at any pace, others must be driven at a prescribed pace (e.g. walk). Penalties will be given if this pace not maintained. The total distance of the marathon phase shall not exceed 22 kilometres.

All sections have a maximum time allowed and penalties are awarded if this is exceeded. The time allowed is calculated according to the distance and the type of turnout (e.g. ponies get longer times than horses). Some sections also have a minimum set time. 

A typical marathon timetable for the open pony class is shown below:

SECTION

DISTANCE

SPEED

MIN. TIME

MAX. TIME

REST HALT

A

7 km

14 km/h

28 min

30 min

2 min

TRANSFER

1 km

6 km/h

-

10 min

10 min

E

9 km

13 km/h

39 min

42 min

FINISH

There may be a number of compulsory gates on the course, denoted by red and white flags. Competitors failing to drive through these gates in the correct order shall be eliminated.

A veterinary examination may be carried out during the halts, where horses and ponies will be checked for pulse rate, respiration, dehydration or injuries and any which are deemed to be unfit shall not be allowed to continue.

A Compulsory GateSection E of the marathon course includes up to 8 obstacles (sometimes also called "hazards") which are designed to test the driver's speed and accuracy and his ability to negotiate tight turns and difficult manoeuvres. This is undoubtedly the most exciting part of the Driving Trials competition.

The obstacles are constructed using a variety of natural terrain and man-made materials and each obstacle will include up to 6 gates, flagged A to F. There are also start and finish gates for each obstacle. The object is to drive through the gates in sequence (and in the correct direction) in the shortest possible time. Penalty points are awarded for each second spent in the obstacle and further penalties can be added for dismounting of the groom.

CONE DRIVING

This phase of the competition, officially called obstacle cone driving, tests the accuracy and speed of the driver and his horses. A course of up to 20 gates, consisting of pairs of cones, has to be driven within the time allowed. The course is between 500 and 800 metres in distance and the cones are numbered and have to be driven in sequence.

Penalties are awarded for exceeding the allowed time or for dislodging any of the balls. Further penalties will be given for errors of course or for the groom dismounting. If a driver manages to drive the course within the allocated time and without hitting any cones, he will have driven a "double clear" and will incur no penalties.

The spacing between the two cones is 20 cm (8 in) greater that the wheel width of the vehicle - that's a clearance of only 10 cm (4 in) on each side. A ball is placed on top of each cone, which will fall easily if the cone is hit by the horse or the carriage wheel.