CARRIAGE DRIVING: Try out new sport at season’s highlight

Sandringham is popular among carriage drivers.
Sandringham is popular among carriage drivers.

Another outdoor season of Horse Driving trials has started – and the competition that many of us have been waiting for has arrived.

Sandringham is one of the best venues of the country and the record number of entries (127) this year prove that this is recognised worldwide.

From today (Thursday) through to Sunday, this brilliant venue will be hosting one of the national horse driving trial events as well as an East Anglian Carriage Driving Group club event on Saturday and Sunday.

Horse driving trials consist of three different phases: dressage, cones and a marathon. Dressage in a Carriage is similar to ridden dressage, it is set movements that a driver has to complete in front of at least two judges.

They are judged on precision and paces. The cones phase requires accuracy and steady hands as the course consists of approximately 20 pairs of cones.

Each pair is a specific distance apart and every cone has a ball resting on top. A driver must steer the turnout between each pair of cones in order, without knocking a ball off.

The marathon requires a combination of speed and stamina. It is a series of obstacles spread across approximately 15km.

Sandringham is one of the highlights of the drivers’ calendar. As well as being a great sport to compete in, horse driving trials is a brilliant and thrilling spectator sport.

Due to the scheduling, anyone visiting the event on Saturday will see all three phases – and thanks to the brilliant facilities of this beautiful venue, all obstacles are visible from the one place.

Parking is free and well behaved dogs are welcome on leads, meaning that it could be a great day out for all the family.

You don’t need to worry about food as there will be a burger van, ice cream stall and a beer tent close by.

Don’t miss out on a great day out surrounded by this stunning estate, it is also a great way to learn about the sport if you are interested in having a go.

Competitors aren’t just coming from the UK, but from as far as Belgium, France, Ireland, Australia, Sweden and the Netherlands to take part in the event.

There is also a para class and all three phases will be taking place all day on Saturday with various turnouts. from horse teams (four horses) to the small pony class (any pony smaller than 11:2hh).

It is going to be a brilliant event with great facilities, so if you are interested in having a go at carriage driving then there will be plenty of friendly and experienced drivers that would be happy to talk to you.

For more information on this event or to find out about any other events across the region, visit the East Anglian Carriage Driving Group website at www.eacdg.co.uk or find us on Facebook.