Driving is an all encompassing equestrian sport, not only because all horse breeds and sizes can be used, but also because it appeals to people of all ages. There are four basic divisions: recreational driving and sanctioned competitions specifically for Pleasure Driving, Combined Driving and draft horses.
Pleasure Driving competition is open to all breeds of horses and ponies. Classes may be offered in divisions based on the configuration of the turnout (i.e. Single, Pair, Tandem, Unicorn, and Four-in-Hand); the size of the animal (horse or pony); age or gender of the driver; or number of ribbons won by the horse or driver. Open Carriage Pleasure Driving classes may also be offered in conjunction with breed restricted classes at a breed or multi-breed competition.
Combined Driving, modeled after ridden three-day eventing, has an extra challenge generated by the addition of the carriage. Horses and ponies, without benefit of a rider’s aids, must exhibit the highest level of training and willingness to perform by voice command and reins along with just a touch of the whip instead of leg. Drivers must first present their horses or ponies in the dressage arena to demonstrate obedience, suppleness and the skill of the handler. The marathon, equivalent to ridden cross-country, is the phase that draws many participants to the sport and provides the most excitement for competitors and spectators. It is on the marathon that the driver must be able to gauge speed and pace in order to finish each section within the time allowed. The final phase, the cones, tests the ability of the driver to clear a course of up to 20 gates at the required pace without incurring penalties. Combined driving cones are wedge-shaped, with hollow tops, on which are placed balls. The merest touch is enough to cause a knock-down and a five-point penalty. Like three-day eventing, combined driving is scored by a system of penalty points with the winner earning the lowest score.
Competitor Membership Requirements
|OEF Membership||Equine Canada
|Equestrian Skills Development|
Equine Canada Rules – Section A General Regulations (Download)
Equine Canada Rules – Section C General, Pleasure, Driven Dressage, Draft, Recreation (Download)
Equine Canada Rules – Section H Combined Driving (Download)