Hi everyone…So for me carriage driving is a way of life, I work with driving horses and have my own. I truly love this sport. I turned to carriage driving after my dreaded work experience week, thankfully mine turned into what is now my hobby.
Carriage driving is a very vast sport, ranging from one-day indoor competitions to 3-day outdoor competitions, also known as driving trials. There’s something for everyone, whether that be showing, or trials or even scurry…this is the fastest!! Carriage driving also caters for anyone, whether that be a young driver or disabled driver.
Personally, I love the driving trials aspect of carriage driving, this also happens to be very popular over in Europe, America and even as far as Australia! (I know right!!!)
I know you all want to know a bit more about the sport. There are many levels to compete at in driving trials, in some ways it’s like the riding format of show jumping and eventing. With driving trials being based upon the 3-day eventing format this is the highest level of competition at national level, which would like affiliated shows. But let’s start at the beginning, so with driving trials everyone starts out at club level, which is a 2-day competition over the weekend. Consisting of dressage and cones on the first day. So, for everyone that’s going that an earth is cones, in simple terms it’s like the show jumping but instead of jumping fences (which would be slightly bonkers with a carriage behind!) you navigate your way through a pair of cones, which dependant on class has a set width. For cones you are timed for the fastest round, but there’s a catch also like show jumping where you get faults for poles down, you get penalised for knocking off a ball.
On the second day you have the marathon, usually this is about 12km for a club level event. With the marathon, like cross country, you are timed for the whole duration of the course. the twist being that you are also timed while you navigate each obstacle.
There are many classes with carriage driving going from Novice up to advanced. At the advanced level you are also able to represent your country at championships. Next comes the four-in-hand horses/ponies. At this level you can compete at shows like WEG, Olympia and Royal Windsor Horse Show, which I will be attending this year as a groom.
It's easy to get involved just head over to our website www.britishcarriagedriving.co.uk for more information and a list of all the affiliated clubs in your area to get stuck in!!
Peace and Love