Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Showing Musings for the Future

Having had a few weeks to reflect on the BVX, I've found myself unwilling to down-play just how proud I am of my little pony. It may be boastful to continue to babble on and replay the events, but the honesty in Spud is just too hard to ignore.

Like I had mentioned in my show recap post, the BVX was a stepping stone to a much bigger game-plan. Now that I have a clear, concise idea as to how he handles the hustle and bustle of show grounds, reacts in and out of the ring, and the level of performance I can muster out of him, it's time to do some serious show planning for next year.

First things first - knowledge on all of the classes, events, and what the exact expectations are.

I am more geared towards the Combined/ Field Driving Events (much like Andrea with her mare O-Ren) rather than the classically formatted driving shows where classes are more "on the rail/ in a group" and are similar to ridden English Pleasure and Eq classes.

Not a fan of this...
I avoid the AMHA and ring-type shows for a few simple reasons:

1) Spud isn't registered (although I have the option to enter Open classes) so there would be no point chasing.

2) Spud is much stronger in the cones/marathon type events. We can do the Dressage, but he enjoys the tight turns and technical terrain more than a boring rectangle. ;)

3) I do not agree with the normalcy of utilizing side and over-checks, and in some classes, they are mandatory.

4) CDE's seem like much more fun.

We like doing the cones thing.
In this area, there are a few different events that run - Field Driving Trials, Combined Driving Events, and Arena Driving Trials. I did not mention in my previous post about the BVX that the way they formatted the classes, they were able to execute an Arena Driving Trial.

To simplify and break it down, FDTs, CDEs, and ADTs are much like Eventing in the riding world. You have three phases, but each may be vastly different depending on which type of event or trial you decide to enter.

For information purposes, here are the top three types of trials and what they really mean:

Arena Driving Trials
  • Much like the name implies, all three phases of the ADT are held in an arena. (The arena may be indoors or outdoors, but it must be in an enclosed area). 
  • The format runs as following: Driven Dressage, Obstacle Cones, and Marathon Cones. You will notice that it is dependent on the show organizers on what to really *name* the events, but for the BVX we had Dressage, Obstacle Cones and Cones/Barrels Marathon.
  • Most ADT's have cantering limitations, depending on the size of the arena used and at the discretion of show management.
  • Two levels: Level 1 (Beginner), and Level 2 (Intermediate). At Level 1, pneumatic tires are allowed.
  • In larger competitions, horses will be divided based on height (ie. VSEs (minis) will be in competition with other VSEs, horses will be against other horses) AND type of vehicle/hitch (two wheel vehicles, four wheel vehicles, and  single, or multiple hitch)
  • Drivers are not required to carry a spares kit. 

Field Driving Trial
  •  To form as a "bridge" between ADT's and other forms of combined driving including the CDEs and 3 Day Events.
  • Format: Dressage, Obstacle Cones, Marathon. Cones does not need to be in an enclosed area, Marathon will be out in the open.
  • Drivers of both levels in the Marathon must trot between the start/finish obstacle, BETWEEN the obstacles and from the last obstacle to the finish line. (Once you are IN the obstacle, you are allowed to canter, but once you leave the obstacle you must trot.) (Note: Some shows will only allow Level 1 drivers to trot the entire marathon course.).
  • Pneumatic tires are still acceptable in Level 1.
  • All competitors must carry a spares kit.
  • Cantering the cones course is allowed, provided there is no mention against it in the prizebook.

Combined Driving Event
  • Is the same format as the FDTs, but is 2-3 days long.

Second thing?

We will need to upgrade our cart.

It's a good cart, but we need something safer!
I can technically get away with utilizing my current cart for driving trials if I stay at Level 1 and I fasten boards over the grating in my cart (the rule book states carts must have solid floors).

The cart itself was great when I was branching out and toeing blindly in the test-waters of Driving, but now it's time to get something that is more well-constructed, lighter, smoother, and safer for Spud and I.

An entry level easy-entry cart often sports small bicycle tires that "taco wheel", explode, or leak during driving. Malfunctions in equipment whilst driving is immensely dangerous, as even the most saintly of horses can lose their noodle and react violently to the noise or feeling. I've read tons of stories of people who have had their tires malfunction and the prime reason they are not allowed past Level 1 is simply due to the fact the tires and spokes cannot put up with the stress of terrain, tight turns, and speed.

Taco wheels.
I'm sure Andrea will agree with me that there is a startling difference between a rickety easy entry cart and a pre-fabbed, hand-crafted one.

The cart that I have settled on is the Frey Sprint (VSE size) and I can speak from experience that the quality of materials used, detail, and hundreds of potential add-ons available make these carts one of the most popular and widely known across the driving world. The ability to adjust several different pieces in the carts makes them capable of customizing not only to the horse, but the driver as well.

Uhm... YES.
(the shafts are detatchable and not pictured).
And while I am in the midst of deciding all the options and add-ons I'd like featured on my potential cart, I am also keeping track of the price-point - above all, being practical and ensuring our bases are covered is my intent. There isn't a need to go overboard, especially when I intend to add a third equid member to the family sometime next year.

Things to think about and plan for.


  1. He is adorable and I am looking forward to the future show posts!

    1. Thank you :)
      I am looking forward to planning my show season out!

  2. You will LOVE the Frey cart! I've been oogling over their Stingray model. But I can't afford it!

    1. I actually have imagined O pulling a Stringray a few times... and yes, they are certainly pricey! Get yourself a winning lotto ticket!!

  3. I love reading about driving- it sounds like so much fun!

    1. Yay - I'm glad the information is helpful, as well as interesting!

  4. Well, that's not overwhelming at all. P.S. So glad you don't look like the girl in the blue dress...

    1. Haha! Right!?

      Agreed... it reminds me a lot of the Big Lick industry and how their horses go.

  5. Ha omg there are so many considerations! Spud is doing so well tho - you guys are gonna be great!

    1. Budgeting 101 is what I need because like most equestrians, I'm like "ALL THE FANCY THINGS PLS AND MOAR PONIES"

  6. I'm learning so much about driving from your posts. That last cart looks super cool, but I can only imagine how expensive it must be.

    1. I am glad!! It sure would be cool to see your mule being driven ;)

      It is, and it isn't. The price is quite comparable to a custom Dressage saddle (around the 2-5k mark depending on how many add ons you want, how much shipping and freight costs, etc. Also factor in I am paying USD currency.)

    2. I second this, must teach All The Mooles to drive!

  7. Thanks for explaining a lot about driving. I really don't know much about it but it does sound like fun.

    1. I am so glad everyone is enjoying my driving posts - I was afraid they'd be boring!

  8. I love all the driving info! One day Mystic is going to drive :) And then I will constantly pick your brain about this stuff haha