|Carriage Driving is a display of the elegant and graceful coaching skills of days gone by. In modern times the coaching skills are no longer seen on the roads, but the sport has progressed into Combined Driving Trials.
Combined Driving Trials are based on a three-phase event. The competition consists of the following tests:
The Dressage phase is a test of obedience, freedom and regularity of paces, and overall appearance of the equipage.
The Marathon is a cross country course of approximately 20 kilometers incorporating 8 natural or man made hazards that are driven in sequence. Within the hazard there are 6 labeled “gates” that have to be driven in alphabetical order. The driver is given time allowance, and there after penalties are given. The Marathon is exciting to watch, as it is the ultimate tests of fitness and stamina of both horse and driver.
The Obstacle phase is driven on the last day. It is a test of both fitness and obedience after the marathon. A course is set of 16 pairs of orange traffic cones with tennis balls balanced on top. The driver is given a limited clearance calculated on the measured width of the carriage, and penalties are given for dislodging balls.
The scores of all three phases are added together to determine the winner.
Carriage driving became a recognized equestrian sport in South Africa in the early 1970’s. A team has represented South Africa at two world events in Gladstone, America and Poznan, Poland, with four drivers having been awarded the National Colours.
Show Driving is found mostly at the Agricultural shows. These shows normally feature all types of Breeds. Everything from the Miniature Horse to the Percheron are shown for their movement, beauty and grace for their breed.