An Introduction to Carriage Driving

Nedz sponsored drivers Team Rumble give us a little overview on how to get started in carriage driving! 

Lindsey took up carriage driving when her daughter Sam out grew her riding pony William.  William was 15 when he was broken to drive, he went on to compete Indoor and Outdoor Driving Trials as well as showing;  winning plenty of rosette along the way with Lindsey and Sam went Junior Champion driving him.   Carriage Driving gave William a new job which he loved for many years.  Many years later Lindsey taught Sally to drive.  Chloe comes from a driving family with her Dad having competed for many years at The Horse of the Year Show in the Double Harness Scurry Classes.  Chloe has been competing with The British Scurry and Trials Driving Group since the age of 9.

If you haven’t driven before the best thing to do is look up a reputable carriage driving teacher, most will have their own horses for you to learn to drive.  There are lots of groups on Facebook that will point you in the right direction or check on The British Carriage Driving website, have a go see what you think it doesn’t matter your age Carriage Driving is all inclusive.   There are also Carriage Driving Groups for the disabled driver and you can get carriages designed to take wheelchairs.  Watch at shows, volunteer with driving groups and ask questions, we are a friendly bunch.    

If you are looking at having your current pony broken to drive there are things you can do at home to get them ready for the process, speak to whoever will be breaking your pony to drive to see what you can do in preparation.  Lunging in harness, long reining and much more, it all depends on your experience and the preference of the breaker, just ask.

Do your research before jumping in and buying a driving pony.  Take someone experienced with you to view and try the pony and as you would with buying a riding horse get the owner to put them through their paces first.   A novice driver would be best off with an experienced driving pony try to avoid novice driver with a novice pony.

When you get your driving pony or horse, among other things you are going to need a harness, if buying second hand make sure it is in good condition.   Buy right, buy once a cheap harness may cause a costly accident.   New or old keep it well looked after, there are several makes and designs, and everyone will have their own preference.  The type of carriage and harness will depend on what you plan to do.  Are you wanting to just go hacking, do you want to take your horse or pony competing and if so in what discipline.  There are many disciplines to choose from, showing, pleasure driving, trials, scurry etc. as well as many types and makes of carriage both two and four wheels.   Do you want to drive single, pair, tandem (one pony in front of the other), Unicorn (two ponies at the wheel as in a pair with a third pony out in front) or team (four or more ponies) the options are endless.  From the smallest pony up to the biggest of horses can all be taught to drive.

You will need a groom, someone to help you put your pony in the carriage, to stay with you when driving should you need help and when driving at speed to balance the carriage and help keep all four wheels on the ground.  It’s a very sociable sport and great fun too.

Indoor Horse Driving Trials, British Carriage Driving, The British Driving Society and The British Scurry and Trials Driving Group to name a few all have websites that you can have read through and make contact should you have any questions. 

 

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