Driving is one of the disciplines in which athletes drive a horse from a chariot. The team is harnessed by one, two or four horses. It all depends on the class of the team. The team is driven by 2 people, the driver and his assistant groom.
The driver directly controls the animal, and the groom helps to keep the balance of the carriage in the cart. During the race, the assistant constantly crosses his body over the entire area of the chariot and shows the way. You can become a driver from the age of 16, and a groom from the age of 14.
Driving competitions are divided into 3 types:
- dressage (usual riding arena);
- marathon (racing over rough terrain);
- parkour (overcoming a cone of obstacles).
All types are reminiscent of triathlon on horseback riding. The listed stages are carried out within three days. There are exceptions, when driving is carried out only in two types, a marathon is a prerequisite. The winner is the participant who scored the minimum number of penalty points in all rounds.
What is dressage?
It is held on a fenced area with a smooth grass surface, somewhat reminiscent of a defile. There is a nuance, since the animal is not alone, you need to demonstrate the coherence of all the animals in one team.
Judges evaluate the control of the exercise when performing various figures. Jumper management should be invisible to others, but lightning fast for the stallion. The judges take into account the appearance of the crew, the costumes of the participants and the appearance of the horse.
For leaving the site without a headdress and an apron, the referee is awarded penalty points. An essential attribute in horse racing is the whip in the hands of the driver. In driving, grooms do not play an important role, but create the role of a passenger who keeps the balance.
Marathon is an integral part of driving
The marathon tests the endurance, fitness of the horses and the coherence of the crew. The marathon is divided into five segments:
- cross-country cross-country with an average speed of 15 km per hour, the length of the segment is 7 km;
- a straight walking section, where the crew slows down to 7 km per hour for rest;
- a high-speed segment with a length of 4 km, which must be completed at speed;
- 800 meter walking distance for stallions to rest;
- the most spectacular section of obstacles is 9 km long, the number of obstacles contains from 5 to 8.
The competitions involve special teams made of steel using polymer alloys and extra strong metals. Each team takes into account individual engineering and technical features. Their main feature is the presence of hydraulic brakes.
For the passage of all segments, the rules set a time limit, otherwise the judges will throw penalty points.
Parkour part of horse racing
Parkour tests the relationship between driver and horse after a marathon. The route is represented by obstacles of a different nature, the width of which is slightly larger than the chariot. Obstacles are special traffic cones. They are built in such a way that at the slightest touch they fall to make it easier for the judges to fix errors.
Harnesses and their types
The official classes of harnesses include:
- single teams – 1 horse;
- paired teams – 2 horses harnessed in parallel;
- tandem – 2 horses harnessed one after another;
- quadruple – 4 horses harnessed in pairs.
In driving, aesthetic types of teams are fixed, which are not used in competitions, but only as amateur ones. Let’s consider some of them:
- quadriga – 4 horses harnessed in one line, which resembles ethnic chariots. In ancient Rome, they were used for military leaders;
- unicorn – a pair of horses in the carriage and a leading horse in front;
- hammer – a couple of the crew and three in front, they found their purpose only in moving heavy loads.
There is a type of driving that is not intended for competition. There is only a driver in the crew. The most important attribute is appearance. it is popular in European countries especially in UK, Switzerland.
The mentioned countries often organize private driving parades where they arrange demonstration runs to show their superiority. Thus, I honor my countries, culture and history