April  1-2, 2017
    14th Annual Cypress Keep
    Schooling Driving Trial
    A Southwest Region Florida Whips Event:  April 1-2, 2017
    Cypress Keep in Plant City, FL
Customize Your Competition!

Come and have fun at the 14th annual Cypress Keep driving trial!  This driving trial will be in CAC a-la-carte format, meaning you can choose different levels for each part of the event.  For example, you could do an Intermediate dressage test, Training cones, and Preliminary marathon.  You get to choose what best suits you and your equine!  Come and have fun and join us in Plant City the first weekend in April!


What is a Driving Trial?
A Driving Trial (DT) is like a Combined Driving Event (CDE) except that the event is shortened to the marathon Section B (obstacle/hazard portion) only. This event is great for VSEs (minis), ponies, horses, and multiples. This is a great way to “test drive” and practice for a CDE, and lots of fun for both beginners and experienced folks. The goal here is to have a great time and learn with your equine. American Driving Society (ADS) rules as of January 1, 2017, will be followed, with exceptions noted. Because this is a schooling event, plenty of instruction and advice will be available, as well as the ability to practice hazards before the competition! Lessons are also available before and after each show day with John Freiburger, our judge.  Sign up at http://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0448aeab2ca20-lessons2




Equine Size: VSE, Small Pony, Pony, Horse (any of these can be single or multiple, classes may be combined or split according to number of entries)


Levels of Competition:

  • Training: This division is for beginners and novices. No cantering in any portion of the competition - walk and trot only. Training Test 4 in dressage. Widest cones setting. Gates A-B-C in hazards. Slower speeds on marathon.
  • Preliminary: Cantering allowed in hazards and cones course only. Prelim Test 6 in dressage (test used for the Prelim North American Championship in December at Grand Oaks). Medium clearance in cones. Gates A-B-C-D in hazards. Regular speeds on marathon.
  • Intermediate: Cantering allowed anywhere on course. Intermediate Test 3 in dressage. Narrower clearance in cones. Gates A-B-C-D-E in hazards. Faster speeds required on marathon.
  • Advanced: Cantering allowed anywhere on course. ADT Advanced Test 1 in dressage. Narrowest clearance in cones. Gates A-B-C-D-E-F in hazards. Faster speeds required on marathon.

Course/Event Information


Safety Check and Wheel Measurement will occur 10 minutes prior to your scheduled dressage time on Saturday. An additional safety check will take place 10 minutes prior to your scheduled marathon start time on Sunday.


Dressage is in a 40x80 meter arena for all divisions and levels. All tests are "presentation on the move" with no separate standing presentation. All drivers should dress appropriately for dressage, including hat/helmet, whip, gloves, and apron, but we are waiving the jacket and long-sleeves rule due to heat issues. You can drive a second test, time permitting.  You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the dressage tests.

Cones will immediately follow your dressage. Cones will 20 gates or less. You can drive your cones course twice, as long as it is at the same wheel setting. Cones settings are based on STANDARD SETTINGS from the current ADS rulebook.  ANY  CARRIAGE SIZE CAN COMPETE**:


Standard Cones Setting (cm)
  Vehicle Track Training Preliminary Intermediate
Marathon Vehicles        
  Ponies and Horses 125-130 cm 160  cm* 155 cm* 150 cm*
Presentation Vehicles        
  All Pony 138-145 cm 175 cm 170 cm 165 cm
   Single & Tandem Horse 138-145 cm 175 cm 170 cm 165 cm
  Pair Horse 148-155 cm 185 cm 180 cm 175 cm
  Horse 4-in-hand 158-165 cm 195 cm 190 cm 185 cm
VSE Vehicles        
  Width A  98-106 cm* 135 cm* 130 cm*  125 cm*
  Width B 107-115 cm* 145 cm* 140 cm* 135 cm*
* increase settings 10cm for tandems, unicorns or fours for marathon or VSE vehicles
** Any carriage size that does not fit one of the ranges in the vehicle track column
will revert to standard settings of track width plus 35cm (Training), 30cm (Prelim),
25 cm (Intermediate), 20cm (Advanced)


Marathon will be section B (hazards/obstacles) only. The course will be approximately 4-5 kilometers with 4-5 hazards/obstacles (possibly shorter for VSEs). Navigators can navigate for different drivers, and drivers can swap and become a navigator for someone else, as long as show management is notified in advance and schedule permits. Hardhats/safety helmets are required for both driver and navigator. Shorts are allowed on the marathon, but at your own risk.



  • Judge:  John Freiburger

  • TD: Linda Bennett

  • Course Designer:  Linda Bennett/John Porter

  • Vet on Call: Dr. Larry Bailey, DVM

Tentative Schedule


Optional Navigator/CourseWalkCDE Clinic (Friday, March 30, 2017)

  • 1:00-5:00 p.m. Navigator and Course Walk Clinic.  CLICK HERE for more information.
  • 3:30-6:30 p.m. Lessons with John Freiburger (Click HERE to sign up)
  • 5:00 p.m. - Early check in and arrival, pick up competitor packets, walk cones, walk dressage, drive marathon course
  • Evening: Encouraged visit to the local Keel & Curley Winery!

Dressage & Cones (Saturday, April 1, 2017)

  • 10:30 a.m. - dressage begins, followed by cones


  • 12:30 p.m. - safety check

  • After lunch Lessons with John Freiburger (Click HERE to sign up)

  • 5:30 p.m. - Competitor dinner (reservations/tickets required)

Marathon (Sunday, April 2, 2017)

  • 10:20 a.m. - safety check

  • 10:30 a.m. - marathon

  • After lunch, Lessons with John Freiburger (Click HERE to sign up)

Volunteers Needed!

It takes a tremendous number of volunteers to make these events possible - often more volunteers than competitors is typical! For that reason, on marathon day, we are splitting competitors into two shifts - you will drive one shift and volunteer the other shift.  If you can volunteer on cones day, that would be great, too.  Volunteers are also needed prior to the event for setup. 

Saturday April 1 volunteers:
Dressage scribe/Steward: Linda Bennett
Cones Steward/Judge: John Porter
Scribe/Backup Timers/Cones setters am: ________________
Scribe/Backup Timers/Cones setters pm:_________
Safety Check/Wheel Measurement: ______________
Sunday  April 2 volunteers
Safety Check/Section timers:  Start B/End B: John Porter
Hazard 2 : _______________
Hazard 3 : Debra McCarthy
Hazard 4 : Linda Bennett


  • $55 per entry.  Entries are limited and close (by postmark) on March 15. Post entry fee (if space available) is $75. No refunds after closing date unless your space is filled.
  • $15 Non-member fee if you are not a Whips member (can be applied to membership)
  • $15 navigator/coursewalk clinic (optional event on Friday)
  • Competitors are expected to volunteer one shift or provide someone who can.  If you cannot volunteer, a $20 nonvolunteer fee applies.
  • $25 paddock fee for the entire weekend (limited availability, reserve early), bring your own shavings, or drive-in and tie to trailer for $5/day grounds fee. Stabling is available 1 mile away - you can drive your horse to Cypress Keep - contact Debbie Hicks at [email protected]  813-982-9616.
  • $7 per lunch (or bring your own): beef, ham or turkey sandwiches, chips or potato salad, fruit, drinks, dessert
  • $15 Saturday night competitor dinner if reserved with entry. Post-entry dinner tickets are $20. Pulled pork/beef/chicken, baked beans, veggies, salad, drinks, desserts, other items
  • $40 for the weekend camping fee if you require water/electricity. There are four 30-amp camping slots with electric/water hookups on property, and three 30-amp electric/water hookups at our adjoining neighbor's property. 
  • $0 vendor fee. Vendors are encouraged to come, but please confirm a space prior to arrival. 
  • Make checks out to CYPRESS KEEP.  Credit card payment through PayPal available with $4 additional service charge to ematulich or [email protected] or you can request a credit card bill.

Download Entry Forms in either PDF Format or Microsoft Word format.

Download additional Liability Release forms for other attendees


Safety Information and Rules

  • All drivers should dress appropriately for dressage, including hat/helmet, whip, gloves, and apron.
  • All members of your party must sign a liability release form, including drivers, navigators, grooms, guests, or assistants. Additional Liability Release forms can be downloaded by Clicking Here.
  • All dogs/pets must be kept on a leash at ALL TIMES.
  • All children under the age of 12 must have adult supervision at ALL TIMES.
  • There is absolutely no smoking allowed within 25 feet of any paddock or stall, as well as the house and lanai area.
  • Hardhats/safety helmets are required during the marathon and in the hazards, and are also required when driving at will throughout the property.

A COMPLETE Entry guarantees your slot and reserves your paddock - signed entry form, Coggins papers, and payment. Incomplete entries will receive lower priority.

* There are 20 paddocks available. You are also welcome to tie to your trailer for no charge during the day.  PLEASE CLEAN PADDOCKS ON DEPARTURE

* There are 8 camping slots available.  30-amp connections and water.  4 are on Cypress Keep, 4 are on Guthrie property next door.

Name Division Turnout Dressage Test Marathon
J Bennett Training Small Pony 11:50 AM T4 10:30 AM
C Franks Training Horse 11:10 AM T4 10:45 AM
N DeGreef Trainng  Pony 10:50 AM T4 10:55 AM
M Pevonka Prelim VSE 11:30 AM P6 11:10 AM
D Bennett Training VSE 10:30 AM T4 11:25 AM