Combined Driving (or horse driving trials) is an equestrian sport involving carriage driving of a single, a pair or a team of four horses, the driver and groom(s). The sport has 3 phases; dressage, cross-country marathon, and obstacle cone driving.

Photo of French driver Benjamin Aillaud with his team at the final of the FEI World Cup Driving competition in Leipzig, Germany in 2008.

The dressage test is similar to dressage under saddle. The test is performed in a 40x80-100 meter arena with letter markers, where transitions in speed and gait are to take place.

The cross-country marathon tests the fitness and stamina of the horse(s), and the driver's knowledge of pace, over a 10-22 km course of 3-5 sections. It is similars to the second phase of eventing, with speed and endurance.

The obstacle cone driving phase is a test of accuracy, speed, and obedience, equivalent to show jumping - competitors walk the cones course before they drive it.

On you can find over instructors teaching driving and instructor and trainers teaching ALL disciplines.

The groom is the indispensable to the driver who must stay on the carriage to hold the reins while they are hitched or put to the carriage. The groom sits with the driver for the dressage and cones phases and may stand on the back for the marathon. He or she must be able-bodied and quick to jump off the carriage to correct any problem.

Combined Driving is one of the 10 international equestrian sports disciplines recognised by the FEI and it became a FEI discipline in 1970.

George Bowman (GBR) during the Dressage phase of the Hopetoun National Horse Driving Trials (Edinburgh, Scotland) in May 2005.Photo credit: Vickusin

Some quick facts:

• A carriage consisting of two horses at the back, one at the front is called a Unicorn.
• Horses should be of similar height, build, and movement, and preferably same colour
• The current World Champion is Boyd Exell from Australia

If you want to see the World Championship in 2019 it will take place in Aszár Kisber, Hungary on September 25-29, 2019!

Interested in trying Combined Driving?
The instructors registered on Pluvinel would love to help you!