Driving can be four-in-hand, pairs or singles – this refers to the number of horses the driver is controlling at a together. Driving is competed at a European and World Championships - at a World Equestrian Games the combined driving event in competed by four-in-hand drivers. Each driving Championship is split into three phases: Driven Dressage, Marathon and Obstacle Cones.
The dressage phase is competed for over the first two days of competition. The set tests are performed in a 100m x 40m arena and require the drivers to showcase their skill in front of five judges - each judge gives a score out of ten for each section of the test; the scores are then added together, and divided by five to give an average score, before being converted into penalties.
In the marathon phase (not too dis-similar to the eventing cross-country), drivers must pass through marked flags (with the red on their right and the white on their left) within a set time – if they exceed the optimum time they incur penalties which are added to their dressage score.
The marathon course is divided into three sections, with a number of obstacles (each containing a number of gates that need negotiating through) situated in Section B of the course.
The cones section is performed in an arena 70x120m. Drivers are required to drive through a course of obstacles (cones with balls positioned on top); if a driver goes off course, knocks a ball off or exceeds the time allowed they will incur penalties, which are added to those carried forward from the previous two phases. Drivers start this phase of the competition in reverse order of merit.
Up to three combinations per nation can participate in the team event; the final placings are determined by the competitor or team with the lowest number of penalties over all three phases. In the event of a tie, a drive-off will occur – this is against the clock and will happen over either the same obstacle course or a slightly shorter one.
WORLD EQUESTRIAN GAMES