|There are three distinct phases to a Combined Driving Event or CDE and competitor with the best cumulative score over the four tests, wins the competition. The first part of phase one is known as PRESENTATION- in this phase the entire turnout is judged on cleanliness and eye appeal. The carriage and harness must be immaculate and technically correct in every way. Horses are evaluated for cleanliness, overall condition and to some extent behavior during the examination. From presentation, competitors go directly to the second part of phase one known as DRESSAGE. Driven dressage is a series of compulsory figures performed from memory in the same arena as that used by ridden dressage riders. The same training principles apply in driving except the whip is used in place of the rider’s leg/seat and voice commands are appropriate and encouraged.|
|The sport of Combined Driving was developed by the FEI in 1969 under the guidance of HRH Prince Phillip. The international rules for carriage driving were patterned after the Badminton Horse Trials or three-day event. This page shall describe the common 2 day event.|
|Following dressage the turnout moves on to the CONES or OBSTACLE competition which is patterned after the show jumping phase of the three-day event. The turnout must negotiate generally 20 sets of traffic cones with balls balanced atop them. The course will incorporate serpentines, bridges, L or U shaped chutes and lots of twisty turns which must be negotiated at speed (fast trot or canter) in order to make the allowable time. Knockdowns, refusals, circling and completing the course too slowly will all incur additional penalties to be added to the presentation and dressage scores.|
The second day of competition is the exciting cross country marathon during which horses must traverse a prescribed course which incorporates 4 to 7 HAZARDS or mazes. The day begins with a safety check by an ADS judge to ensure that the turnout is fit enough to continue and harness and carriage are up to the rigors of the long cross country test over rough terrain. Section A of the marathon is a 1 to2 kilometer fast trot at the end of which the horse’s temperature, pulse and respiration are measured twice during a 10-minute rest period. Miniatures must travel at 9 KPH or one kilometer in six minutes and thirty seconds. Competitors wear timers/stop watches and must monitor the horse’s pace and condition throughout the marathon to avoid being eliminated at the vet box. After ten minutes the competitor begins Section E (generally 4-5 kilometers in length) with one hazard in each kilometer. Hazards may incorporate natural elements such as rocks, trees, banks and water enhanced with large timber fences/barricades and gates through and around which competitors must find their path through a series of 4 to 5 compulsory gates. Gates must be negotiated in alphabetical order without passing through any other gate out of order. In other words a competitor may not pass through gate D in order to provide an easy route to gates A, B or C. Passing through any lettered gate out of order incurs elimination. Every second spent in a hazard incurs penalty points so competitors go as fast as possible often cantering or galloping around solid fences and through water. It is truly amazing to watch the communication between horse and driver during the marathon phase of a CDE. At the conclusion of the marathon (which must be negotiated at a trot or faster throughout) the horse’s temp/pulse and respiration are again taken and he may be held by the vet for further evaluation or eliminated due to lack of condition. There is an optimum time window within which competitors must arrive at the finish or incur additional penalties.
| Combined driving requires a significant commitment on the part of horse and driver to develop the skills/stamina needed to do well in all three phases. Drivers must be a good judge of pace and condition as well have the reinsmanship to develop the self carriage and precision demanded by the dressage and cones tests. It is a demanding but exciting way to spend time with any horse. If you have an interest in seeing a CDE consider coming out for The Laurels at Landhope CDE this fall near Kennett Square, PA.
Written by Linda Willis 2003
Linda and Commander successfully completed the Lord Stirling, Garden State and Gladstone CDE’s and won the high point miniature championship at Brandywine Carriage Driving Show.
Linda often scores in the low 40's on her dressage test driving single and pairs on the preliminary level.
|Watch those curves!!!|
|Deb and River 2003|
|What is Combined Driving?|
|Breanna Sheahan and
Tanglewoods Sweet Fascination
|Julie Forsyt's Pair|
|Jay and Kidlet from Regency Performance Mminiatures|
|Merridy Hance and Velvet 2009|