driving trails 1 Driving Trials


29th June - 1st July 2018

The Royal Estate, Sandringham, Norfolk PE35 6EN
By gracious permission of Her Majesty The Queen

Carriage Driving is a fast exciting sport for all age groups. It is the only equestrian sport/discipline where you can compete on an equal footing from 14 years old to 70 plus, with or without disabilities, male or female alike, using ponies and horses.

carriage driving marathon
Day 1 – Dressage: The first part of the competition, athletes (competitors) must complete the Dressage phase, consisting of a sequence of set movements (driven from memory) to display the schooling and obedience of the horses. This is modelled on ridden dressage tests, but in an arena size of 100 x 40 meters. The Judges are looking for accuracy of steering, both one-handed and two-handed, correct use of voice and whip, smooth transitions from one pace to another and regularity of paces of the animal. This is an opportunity to watch the elegance and harmony of the lovely horses and carriages, immaculately dressed athletes and grooms with gleaming harness and beautifully turned out horses. All striving for that precious ten marks for their presentation while on the move.  (Picture by kind permission of Kingswood Associates.)

Day 2 – Marathon: Athletes have to complete the first two sections of the cross-country marathon course, (up to 9 km) twisting and turning its way around part of the glorious setting of the Sandringham Estate, which is a demanding test of stamina of both athletes and horses, after which they have a 10-minute rest where the horse & ponies have a Vet Inspection, before embarking on the last challenging 8 Km stage; which includes Eight Obstacles to be driven at speed, against the clock, which leads to adrenalin pumping, mud-flying action. These obstacles are often built around natural features (water, banks etc.) and are made up of a series of lettered gates which must be driven in the correct order. (A to F) With different routes available within the obstacles this leads to tight turns which require a great deal of judgement and skill from the driver, in order to complete the obstacles with the minimum of time penalties. Completely missing a gate leads to elimination. Other mistakes, such as getting stuck or having to put a groom down earn penalty points.

Day 3 – Cones Driving:
This is the climax and final phase of the competition . The Cones driving equates to the show jumping phase of a ridden three day event, testing the skill and competence of the driver and the suppleness and obedience of the animal. Cones Driving requires a steady hand, nerves of steel and a well trained horse! The objective is to drive the course in the correct order, within a maximum set time, through narrow spaced pairs of plastic cones with only centimetres to spare on either side of the wheels, without dislodging the Balls that are set on top of the Cones, trying to complete the course with the least amount of penalties, at a fairly fast trot or even canter. If any part of the wheel or even a hoof touches a cone the ball falls off and costs the driver 3 penalty points. Penalties are also amassed by completing the course in excess of the time allowed.  (Picture by kind permission of Kingswood Associates.)

The winner in each class is the Athlete with the LOWEST TOTAL PENALTY SCORE over the three phases of the competition.

Free parking and entry for the public, ‘come and picnic in the park’.  There will be catering stands for refreshments, plus a bouncy castle for children.

CIAT Concours Internationale d'Attelage de Tradition – will be having their Meet and Drive Saturday 1st & 2nd July.


Equestrian Sports can be dangerous. Members of the public must look out for oncoming Carriages and horses, and keep children and dogs under constant supervision and control. (Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on leads at all times.) Please keep outside all fenced or roped areas.

For more information

Telephone:  Jeannie Lane 07860  822396 or
Email:  Jeannie Lane or
Visit:  The Carriage Driving website at www.britishcarriagedriving.co.uk