Saturday & Sunday May 24 & 25, 2003
(Memorial Day Weekend)
CDE Learning Weekend with Bob Giles
Combined Driving Event (CDE) is the fastest growing equestrian sport in the country. Grounded in tradition, combined driving compels a unique partnership between horse or pony and driver that relies on training and trust. Similar to ridden three-day eventing, it features the elegance of dressage, the excitement of cross-country, and an intricate test of skill and precision. This clinic will cover all aspects of a Combined Driving Event (CDE) and  is for anyone who wants to learn about CDEs, people new to driving and want to learn how to prepare for a CDE or have been driving for a while but have never driven in a CDE and want to learn about them.  
Click here for registration form      Learn more about Combined Driving
Saturday May  24- CLINIC
This is a non-horse day, although we will be watching demonstration drivers. We will concentrate on the preparation, planning, and rules.  The topics covered will include:

Sunday May 25 - The Practice Combined Driving Event

We will apply the information from Saturday in a shortened version of a CDE (at the training level only).  Dress will be casual, helmets are required on the Marathon.  You will turn in your ADS entry form and receive your competitors packet and the order of go will be posted Saturday .  Competitors will drive the dressage test, then go directly to the marathon.  At the completion of the marathon and clearing the vet check they will go directly to the cones. The dressage will be training test #2.  The marathon will be 3 sections (trot, walk, and 3-4 hazards).  The marathon will not be over 4 k with a 500m walk section.   The cones course will be 10 gates and a "U".

Those who have completed the course on Saturday will be staffing the CDE and learning the different official positions.  If you have a area that you would like to concentrate on please let us know.   Every effort will be made to move the "volunteers" around so that they get exposed to different jobs.  There will be a lunch break from 11:30 to 1:00 were we will discuss the morning's events and what we have seen.  After lunch, we will  continue the event and rotate the official positions. At the completion of the event, we will review the competitor's packets of anyone who wishes and lead a panel discussion of the events activities.

Event Fees (same for one day or both days):
Registered Drivers:
1.  Francine Lucas (VSE)
2.  Brenda Anderson (VSE)
3.  Nelie de Greef (Pony)
4.  Lucy White (Pony)
5.  Linda Fritschle (VSE)
6.  Sioux Winter (VSE)
7.  Bonita Beam (Horse)
Official Volunteers: Dan & Pat Uptegraff, Jill Cullinan, Charlotte Trentleman
Demonstration drivers:  Pair: John Porter, Tandem: David Getz, Mini: Brenda Anderson

What is Combined Driving?

Combined driving is the ultimate challenge to the true horse lover as an official international sport more than 20 years ago when a group of driving enthusiasts asked the Federation Equestrian International (FEI) to put together a set of rules to standardize driving competitions and give the sport a base from which to grow The sport demands versatility in drivers and their horses as they compete in the three very different sections of the competition - each with its own specific requirements. Suppleness and responsiveness are called for while driving the dressage test; while the horse must be tough, fit and ready for anything on the marathon. Finally, they must prove they have recovered from the marathon and that they have the energy, skill and obedience as they come back for a demanding complicated test of precision and timing on the cones course. To add to the challenge, drivers accomplish this while separated by distance - able to communicate with the horse only through the voice, hands on the lines and cues with the whip.

The competition begins with a dressage test - a set pattern driven by each competitor. This is where the driver shows off the harmonious development of his horse's physique and ability through progressive levels of training. The best dressage tests will show off the horse's even, rhythmic cadence, brilliant movement, and correct, accurate transitions. As you watch the horses 'dance' through the set pattern of the test, look for the subtle cues of whip, hand and voice.

The marathon builds on the dressage training base. A correctly trained horse maintains the focus developed in dressage and uses it to negotiate a taxing cross-country course with its challenging obstacles. If the team has done their homework, the driver will be able to rate his horse, making the times set for each section while conserving every bit of energy possible for the final section of the course. An added bonus for the driver is that the fitness conditioning and horse/driver camaraderie built in marathon training pay off in better communications and a more athletically able horse for dressage.

 There are five sections to a marathon - three trot sections separated by mandatory walks. In the first trot the driver warms the horses up into the rhythm of the course. The next section is a cool down walk - but don't mistake this for a real rest for the horse's since the speed is set fast enough to require a forward march rather than an ambling dawdle. After a short rest stop, it's off to a speed trot - a test of the horse's stamina and the driver's skill followed by another walk.

Because horses are what the sport is all about, and their well-being is of utmost importance, there is a vet check before the final, most challenging section of the course. The 10-minute vet check is a busy place. Ground crews work to cool the horses down and check over harness and carriages, while the driver/navigator team takes a last look at their plan for Section E - a fast-trot cross country with challenging marathon obstacles which must be negotiated at speed. Meanwhile, veterinarians look the horses over to be sure no one is overstressed and that they are recovering well from the miles they have already driven on course. Drivers spend months conditioning their horses for this test of strength and endurance, and this is where that work pays off.

Combined driving horses enjoy the marathon as much as their drivers do and they seem to look forward to the challenge of the man-made and natural obstacles. You can actually see the best horses looking for the red and white marker flags on course as they thread their way through a maze of fence lines or bounce through a strewn crossing and whip around a tree. This is all part of the game on Section E and since scores are based on the length of time spent in the obstacle, you can bet drivers will be really moving when they come through.

On the final day of competition drivers face a completely different challenge - the cones course. Developed to demonstrate how well horses have recovered physically and mentally from the stress of the marathon, the course is a test of precision driving and timing. Drivers wind their way through a course of tightly-spaced pairs of cones, trying to make the time allowed on course. To keep thing fair, cones are set with the same wheel clearance for each competitor and topped by balls which will topple off if the cone is struck. Preliminary drivers have 50 cm clearance, but advanced drivers negotiate the course set only 25 cm (or 10 inches) wider than their wheel track.