Rules of Combined Driving Events and Show Jumping

Horse Competition 101

Combined driving events feature one, two or four horses pulling a carriage through three distinct events.

Run over several days, the three events test different aspects of horse and driver skill. The events and basic rules of Combined Driving are as follow:

  • Dressage – Judged on how well the horse and driver perform together. The driver and horse should function as a single unit. There should be no sign of resistance from the horse as they execute a number of predetermined patterns at different paces. Appearance and neatness of the horses, carriage, rigging, and dress of the driver and grooms are also judged.
  • Marathon – Horse and driver put aside the finery of dressage to test their horse, carriage and themselves over a long-distance, cross-country course riddled with hazards, fences, twists and obstacles. The driver is scored on how quickly they get the team through the course minus any penalties.
  • Obstacles – Precision and speed are tested in the obstacles phase. Horse and driver must navigate a course made of obstacles or cones. Penalties are assessed for knocked-over obstacles during the timed event.

Whoever has the best average score through all three events wins the competition. These are the basic rules of Combined Driving; a more in-depth look at the rules can be found here. Combined Driving is one of 10 international disciplines recognized by the Fédération Equestre Internationale or FEI.

Show Jumping: A Primer

Show Jumping developed after England enacted fence laws, which resulted in fences that stood in the paths of fox hunters. They started using horses to jump over the fences and the practice eventually morphed into the discipline it is today.

Show Jumping is not judged on the movement of the horse or position of the rider. The winner of an event is the rider and horse combination that completes the jump course with the fastest time and least penalties.

Most penalties are charged for either knocking down the top rung of a breakaway fence or refusing to jump. Each instance is penalized with four points.

There are other ways to get penalties including stepping in the water of a jump that includes a water hazard. Penalty points are also given for not completing the course in the amount of time given.

A more in-depth look at the rules of Show Jumping can be found here.

Show Jumping is also an FEI-recognized discipline and the Live Oak International Grand Prix is one of the events of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League.

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