Bookmark and Share


vHORSES continued from page 7 he cares.” The way Jake responded to Michelle’s verbal commands, and how little she needed to use the reigns was impressive. Basic carriage driving is judged in three phases of presentation, which includes dressage, marathon, and obstacle cone driving. One of the historical aspects of carriage driving involves fashion. In the past, when people went out for an afternoon ride to socialize, it was expected that they dress up and look proper. This meant that for women, they always wore gloves, a nice hat, jacket, and apron. In carriage riding competitions, this is part of the presentation judging, what’s called their turnout. Michelle shared that, “The fancier the carriage, the fancier the clothes should be. It’s good if the accessories of the driver match those of the horse’s equipment and the carriage, too.” For example, if there are silver embellishments on the horse’s tack, then it’s preferred that the carriage has matching silver accents, too. The driver should ideally have good posture and barely move their hands while holding the reigns, making the drive look effortless. Another part of turnout judging is how well the driver is able to control their horse using only their voice, reins, and whip. Not only is the appearance of the driver and groom judged, but also the cleanliness and health of the horse, and the carriage too. The carriage needs to be in good working condition and appropriately sized for the horse that’s pulling it. The best turnout in the presentation phase of judging should be a harmonious combination of all the elements. Dressage basically means training, and it is the part of the competition where the driver can showcase their ability to communicate with the horse. In basic carriage driving, there is no cantering or galloping, but instead uses more controlled movements like the walk, slow trot, working trot, and extended trot. Michelle tells me that “The judges look for very specific things. For example, they will expect the horse to stop and stand quietly for five seconds and then to back up three steps. This is followed by advancing three steps. There is a pattern competitors follow, and they change the types of trots at different predetermined markers.” Michelle recollected how a little girl at a competition had asked someone, “Why are you whipping your horse?” It was explained to the child that the whip was used to touch or tap the horse, which means different things when it touches in different places, such as to tell him which way to go. The longer the horse, the longer the whip needs to be, so it can reach up to the horse’s shoulders. One of the things about carriage driving that especially appeals to Michelle is how it’s much harder than it looks. She pointed out, “A lot of people don’t really understand, they think you just drive your horse around a ring and whoever looks the prettiest wins. It’s actually a lot more complicated, especially in the obstacles and cones classes.” In this part of the competition, the driver and horse work together to maneuver the carriage around an arduous course, trying to stay within orange traffic cones topped with tennis balls. If the cone is knocked over, or a tennis ball falls, points are deducted. This is a timed event that requires speed and accuracy. A strict requirement in carriage driving competitions is the need for a groom that essentially acts as the pit crew for the driver. The groom is an invaluable source of safety. They stay with the horse while they are hitched, unhitched vHORSES continued on page 22 0n%reOFaFnd 30-5ur itu F cessories Ac LD BACK! OTHING HE GO! SALE! N US W E STORE ONHING MSAVET HILE EST! TIR EN RYT WAIT... N IS B EVE Horse Love DON’T IO SELECT Pet Love • Living Room • Dining Room • Bedroom • Entertainment • Home Office • Mattresses • Accessories • Flooring 109 East Third, Yankton 605.665.4416 • 800.798.4663 Monday-Friday 10-6, Saturday 10-5, Closed Sundays, Evenings by Appt. www.hatchfurniture.com HERVOICEvMAY/JUNE 2018v19

© Copyright 2015 Her Voice Online