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updated: 8/5/2013 11:35 AM

Horse Driving Competition Aug. 17-18 in Gilberts

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  • Jada Neubauer from Ames, IA, negotiates an obstacle on the marathon course.

    Jada Neubauer from Ames, IA, negotiates an obstacle on the marathon course.
    Justine Sokool,

MaryAnn Carter

Who: Indian Hills Equestrian Center is hosting a horse driving trial for drivers from Illinois,

Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, and Missouri. Organizer: MaryAnn Carter

What: A horse driving trial is a competition similar to the human triathalon. It has 3 phases: the first is dressage, a test of the horse's obedience and level of training. The second phase is the "marathon," which is a test of the horse's conditioning and bravery in obstacles placed along the 5 km course. This is the phase that attracted many of the drivers to the sport, and has the broadest spectator appeal. It requires speed, bravery, accuracy, and truly knowing your horse and tests the relationship between the horse and driver. The final phase is the cones course which is a test of speed and accuracy. Imagine traffic cones with tennis balls on top. The cones course consists of pairs of cones set slightly wider than the width of the competitors carriage. The driver must complete the course without knocking the balls off the cones, within the stated time limit.

When: August 17-18, 2013. Dressage and cones will be on Saturday from approximately 8 am-1

pm; and marathon is on Sunday, starting 8 am to approx. noon.

Where: Indian Hills Training Center, 16N503 Powers Rd, Gilberts, IL, west of Elgin.

Why: This event is significant to drivers in the region because of how few recognized

competitions there are. It is the only driving show in Illinois that is recognized by the American Driving Society, and so it is a rare opportunity to compete against others in the region.

The competitors are a diverse group. Many of the drivers are former riders in various other equine disciplines. Some of them have reached a certain age where riding is not as comfortable, or the prospect of falling off a horse is less appealing, but they still want to enjoy their horses. The horses represented will range from

miniature horses to full size equines, single turnouts to four horse teams. Some drivers were attracted to the sport by the speed and adrenaline rush.

Novelty. The sport is new enough that even many horse people have not yet heard of it. It is not your grandfather's buggy driving down the road. The specialized carriage that is designed for the sport looks like the Harley-Davidson of carriages: Chrome, hydraulic brakes, shock absorbers, delayed steering, all engineered into a 4 wheel vehicle.

People who come to watch the marathon on Sunday can expect to see every combination of horse

and driver, from drivers enjoying their retirement years, to teenagers coming up the ranks. They will be driving miniature horses, full size horses, and everything in between. There will be single horse turnouts, pairs, and four horse teams. Some of the drivers will be cautiously driving their first driving event, and others will be seasoned competitors that will be tackling the course at breath taking speed, fishtailing on the turns, and gambling they will stay upright.

Concessions will be available on the grounds.

Contact: MaryAnn Carter

Cell: 847-769-5191


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