Carriage Driving is a display of the elegant and graceful coaching skills of days gone by. In modern times the coaching skills are no longer seen on the roads, but the sport has progressed into Combined Driving Trials.
In this discipline, the driver sits on a vehicle drawn by a single horse, a pair or a team of four.
Combined Driving Trials are based on a three-phase event. The competition consists of Dressage, Marathon and Obstacle phases.
The Dressage phase is a test of obedience, freedom and regularity of paces, and overall appearance of the equipage.
The Marathon is a cross country course of approximately 20 kilometers incorporating 8 natural or man made hazards that are driven in sequence. Within the hazard there are 6 labeled “gates” that have to be driven in alphabetical order. The driver is given time allowance and there-after penalties are given.
The Obstacle phase is driven on the last day. It is a test of both fitness and obedience after the marathon. A course is set of 16 pairs of orange traffic cones with tennis balls balanced on top. The driver is given a limited clearance calculated on the measured width of the carriage, and penalties are given for dislodging balls.
The scores of all three phases are added together to determine the winner.
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