What is Driving?

As one of the FEI disciplines, Driving Queensland aims to promote the skilful art of carriage driving to all interested people.

Our discipline is mainly involved with the various phases of Combined Driving Events.

WHAT DOES THE SPORT OF EA/FEI DRIVING INVOLVE?

With a single horse, a pair or four-in-hand, Drivers compete in two or three demanding phases, similar to those in the popular ridden sport of Eventing.

These often begin with a DRESSAGE round, in which competitors perform a set sequence of moves in a larger arena than the riding equivalent. Each move is given a score out of ten, with penalties given for errors such as incorrect moves or grooms dismounting.

Another phase in some competitions, known as the MARATHON, is an exhilarating timed course of up to 22km, similar to the cross-country round in Eventing. Obstacles such as water, mazes, gates, steep slopes and tight bends test the endurance and accuracy of both driver and horses in a feat that demands sharp judgment from the driver. Sometimes negotiating different sections that include mandatory halts for veterinary checks, competitors must ensure they adhere to rules on pace and time allowed, completing the course within the time available or receiving penalties for coming in outside the available time.

Anotherl phase, CONE DRIVING, competitors must weave nimbly through a set sequence of up to 20 pairs of cones that form a timed course of up to 800m. Balls are balanced on each of the cones, with penalties given for any dislodged by a carriage wheel or horse.

Penalties are also given for other errors, including exceeding the time limit, or completing the gates out of sequence. As the cones are set with sometimes just 10cm clearance either side of the carriage, this round is a challenging test of the horses’ manoeurability and the Driver’s skill.

Other competitions include Dressage and a shortened Cones course inside a dressage arena and a combined marathon obstacle and Cones course in a short format.  These may be combined with other phases, or held alone.

At EA-Affiliated Club level, there are clinics and events designed to improve Drivers’ skills whilst always putting safety and horse welfare right at the very top priority.

Driving Queensland aims to support Drivers and Clubs that support and promote Driving in absolutely any way possible, and is also seeking input from all interested parties.