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.
History tells us that "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 jumping 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.
Rowville Competition Arena
Saturday 3:15pm - 5:00pm Carriage Driving