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Carriage Driving

Carriage Driving

Like many equestrian activities, carriage driving is done for pleasure, work or glory, and when it comes to competitions, this activity is better known as a horse driving trial.

Carriage driving is one of the oldest forms of equestrianism in the world and it is still practised today by many people from all walks of life. Ranging from simple horse and traps to the decorous carriages used to attract tourists on city streets, carriage driving is alive and well.

Image by Juncala from Pixabay

In terms of competitions, horse driving trials test the skills of drivers - in control of a carriage hitched to one, two or four horses or ponies - in a series of trials that are usually split into three phases:

  • Dressage – involving a sequence of set movements that have to be completed from memory;

  • Marathon – whereby drivers guide their horses through a cross-country course, navigating obstacles such as water crossings, steep hills, tight turns, and challenging terrain. The driver must navigate the course within a specified time;

  • Cone Driving – designed to test the horse's responsiveness, agility, and obedience in a precise and timed manner. The driver must guide the horse through a series of narrowly spaced cones or gates within a designated time. Knocking down cones or exceeding the time limit results in penalties.

As well as the trials, points can be won and lost on presentation. Yep, this part of the competition is all about the looks. Participants are judged on the cleanliness and appropriateness of their equipment, the neatness of their horse's braiding, as well as overall elegance.

Image by Ron Porter from Pixabay

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