Carriage Driving Championships
See some of Australia’s most experienced carriage drivers will demonstrate their skills to the public including some who have competed overseas. One of these is Gavin Robson, who drove for Australia at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky USA (2010) and Caen France in 2014.
This exciting Carriage Driving Obstathon will consist of a course of 10 cones and 2 marathon obstacles, all numbered and drivers will be required to navigate the course in number sequence. The course will be built as a fast flowing course to show the speed, agility and sure footedness of the ponies and horses and skill of the drivers. Time on the course is converted to penalty points as are other penalties such as knocking a ball off the cones, putting a groom down, rolling a carriage over, with the lowest score the winner of the competition. The competition will consist of single ponies and horses, pairs of ponies and horses and teams of four ponies and horses.
Carriage Driving Championships
Rowville Competition Arena
Friday 3.30pm – 4.15pm
Friday 4.15pm – 5.15pm
Hero Jump & Drive Challenge
Friday 6.15pm – 7.00pm
Carriage Driving became an official FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) discipline in 1970. It is an equine sport without riders, but rather drivers (or "whips" as they are often known) taking a seat behind either one, two, four or six horses.
The stories follow that horses were driven far before our cultures began to ride them and "driving" is the oldest competitive equine sport tracing back thousands of years. Throughout the ages, carriage driving has been used as a key method of transport. Just as there are many different categories within the riding disciplines, Carriage Driving is much the same.
There are many different areas which one can compete in and within those areas, there are many classes. Some of the disciplines are Show Driving, Pleasure Driving and Driven Dressage, although the official driving as classified by the FEI is:
Much like the Three Day Eventing, the modern Combined Driving competition consists of three phases with penalties being awarded in each phase. The competitor with the lowest penalties is declared the winner. Presentation and Dressage Driving is much similar to ridden dressage. A sequence of compulsory movements must be made in a defined area, usually 100 x 40 metre or 80 x 40 metre rectangle. Tests must show the horse’s impulsion, obedience and correct paces; the rider must show his control through voice, whips and reins.
Presentation is very important and the driver must be neatly attired in street wear, including gloves and driving aprons, and the grooms must wear riding attire. Period costume is not suitable for Combined Driving Events. Marathon A course is planned up to 18km, where the horse and driver will encounter a number of sharp turns and natural hazards. In this challenging phase of the competition, the utmost care is taken to ensure the health and wellbeing of the horses. Both horse and driver need to be physically fit to undertake this gruelling course.
Obstacle Driving or "Cone Driving"
Whilst the showjumping in a Three Day Event will test the fitness and suppleness of the horse after cross country, so Obstacle Driving tests the same attributes of the carriage combinations. The "cones" are similar to traffic cones and each has a ball balanced upon its top. The course, mapped out by these cones, must be driven in correct numerical order and against the time allowance. Each ball displaced will cost the team 5 penalties.