Pleasure Driving

Discussion Topic Created:
Monday, April 06, 2015
Carriage driving is a form of competitive horse driving in harness in which larger two or four wheeled carriages (often restored antiques) are pulled by a single horse, a pair, tandem or a four-in-hand team.
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Pleasure driving is a horse show class seen in the United States that features light breeds of horses and ponies hitched to a two or four-wheeled show cart. They are driven at a walk and two speeds of trot, generally designated as a working or regular trot and an extended "strong" trot. Many horse breeds compete in Pleasure driving. Most classes are judged on the horse's manners, performance, quality and conformation.

Driving, when applied to horses, ponies, mules, or donkeys, is a broad term for hitching equines to a wagon, carriage, cart, sleigh, or other horse-drawn vehicle by means of a harness and working them in this way. It encompasses a wide range of activities from pleasure driving, to harness racing, to farm work, horse shows, and even International combined driving competition sanctioned by the FEI. The term in harness often is used to describe a horse being driven.

Horses, mules and donkeys are driven in harness in many different ways. For working purposes, they can pull a plow or other farm equipment designed to be pulled by animals. In many parts of the world they still pull carts, wagons, horse-drawn boats or logs for basic hauling and transportation. They may draw carriages at ceremonies, such as when the British monarch is Trooping the Colour, as well as in parades or for tourist rides.

Horses can race in harness, pulling a very lightweight one-person cart known as a sulky. At the other end of the spectrum, some draft horses compete in horse pulling competitions, where single or teams of horses and their drivers vie to determine who can pull the most weight for a short distance.

In horse show competition, the following general categories of competition are seen:
Horses pulling a sleigh

Combined driving, an internationally recognized FEI competition where horses compete in one, two, and four-horse teams, pulling appropriately designed light carriages or carts. They are expected to perform an arena-based "dressage" class where precision and control are emphasized, a cross-country "marathon" section that emphasizes fitness and endurance, and a "stadium" or "cones" obstacle course.
Draft horse showing: Most draft horse performance competition is done in harness. Draft horses compete in both single and multiple hitches, judged on manners and performance.
Carriage driving, using somewhat larger two or four wheeled carriages, often restored antiques, pulled by a single horse, a tandem or four-in-hand team. Pleasure competitions are judged on the turnout/neatness or suitability of horse and carriage.
Pleasure driving, sometimes called Carriage driving in some nations: Horses and ponies are usually hitched to a light, two-wheeled cart (four-wheeled fine harness carts are also seen, particularly at the highest levels of competition), and shown at a walk and two speeds of trot, with an emphasis on manners. Nearly any breed of horse can be trained for pleasure driving.
Fine harness: Also called formal driving. Horses are hitched to a light four-wheeled cart and shown in a manner that emphasizes flashy action and dramatic performance. Refined pony breeds and certain light saddle horse breeds noted for their action are most often seen in fine harness. Most fine harness competition requires horses to perform a bit of a walk, and two types of a high-action "park" trot, a slow trot with more controlled but elegant action, and a faster, flashier trot where the horse exhibits the most animation possible, often announced by the command "show your horses" (or "show your ponies" in the case of pony shows).

Roadster: A horse show competition, usually for ponies, (a few light horse breeds also offer roadster classes), where exhibitors wear racing silks and ride in a sulky in a style akin to harness racing, only without actually racing, but rather focusing on manners and performance. Roadsters are shown at two types of trot, known as road gait and at speed.

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  1. Samuel Smart
     created a discussion topic
    April 6, 2015 @ 11:38 AM

    Pleasure Driving

    Keywords: carriage, cart, pleasure, driving

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