Since prior to the Industrial Revolution the horse and buggy represented the primary mode for both public and private transportation, it is no surprise that driving has established itself as one of the oldest and most popular disciplines within competitive equestrian sport. Carriage pleasure driving classes pay tribute to this heritage, and the vehicles used in competition are either actual antique or replica carriages of the day. Classes may be divided by type of hitch: single, pair, tandem, unicorn, or four-in-hand, and can be further categorized by the criteria with which they are judged.
Although overall performance is evaluated in every class, the driver’s skill and ability take priority in reinsmanship. Conversely, in a working class the performance of the horse or horses is most important. A turnout class is primarily evaluated based in the appropriateness and quality of the vehicle, harness, and driver appointments. Additionally, there are obstacle classes which test the driver’s ability to negotiate a series of cones set in a particular pattern and order, with speed and accuracy becoming the determining factor. Marathons may also be included at driving competitions along with driven dressage.
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