Horses were driven long before they were ridden!

Categories: Alltech WEG, Equestrian, Equine
Feb 07
Horses were driven long before they were ridden! Driving discipline. Photograph © Rinaldo de Craen

With the final of the FEI World Cup™ Driving Series taking place this weekend in Bordeaux, France, we take a look at the sport of Driving to see what it entails. Driving is one of the oldest competitive equestrian sports. It is a discipline without a rider but with a driver, who drives a carriage drawn by between one and four horses. Modern Driving competitions consist of three phases:

  1. The Driven Dressage Test: The driver performs a test with his carriage which is essentially a sequence of compulsory figures performed within a 100 x 40m rectangle. During the test the jury will assess the momentum, the style as well as the smoothness of the manoeuvres.
  2. The Marathon Course: The competition consists of a sequence of several timed sections on a cross-country course. A truly spectacular trial, the marathon is a course over a maximum of 18km, which includes natural hazards such as sharp turns, water crossings, steep hills as well as constructed obstacles.
  3. The Obstacle or “Cone-Driving” Course: This is carried out on a narrow, winding track which is outlined by cones topped with balls. Penalties are given for every ball that is knocked and for exceeding the time allowed. This phase tests the fitness and suppleness of the horses following the marathon.

The final ranking is determined by adding together the penalty points accrued during these three competitions. The main competitions for Driving are the Alltech FEI World Equestrian GamesTM 2014 in Normandy, FEI World and Continental Championships and the FEI World Cup™ Driving Series.

FEI World Cup™ Driving Final 2013

After eight thrilling events during the series, six of the top four-in-hand drivers have qualified for the final as well as one wild card entry. Over the series, the competition has become very exciting with the difference in points among the drivers decreasing. For the final, the points accumulated throughout the season will not be taken into consideration and the drivers will start with a clean sheet, so they all have good chances of being crowned champion!

The first competition will commence tomorrow, Friday 8th February and the World Cup Final will take place on Saturday 9th February. The drivers taking part are:

  • Boyd Exell (AUS)
  • IJsbrand Chardon (NED)
  • Koos de Ronde (NED)
  • Tomas Eiksson (SWE)
  • Theo Timmerman ( NED)
  • Jozsef Dobrovitz (HUN)
  • Thibault Coudry (FRA) - wild card

We're looking forward to the final and would like to wish the Drivers and their Equine Heroes the very best of luck!

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