In recent years, experts have noted the complication of all sports disciplines that are characteristic of equestrian driving competitions. Tests for dressing, obstacles at a marathon and parkour are becoming more complicated. Much attention is paid to the welfare of horses during driving competitions, for which the maximum age of horses participating in competitions is increased, and the penalties for athletes who allow animal cruelty are increased.
An example of the complication of the competition program in driving in equestrian sports is the appearance of a gallop in training tests. Allures are becoming sharper and more often changing, and the schemes themselves are supplemented by new elements. The training also notes the division into classes, carried out according to special tests developed by the FEI for single crews and tandem crews, foursomes and for the pony class.
If earlier in parkour competitions combined obstacles such as zigzag, snake, boxing, obstacles with water or bridges were considered the most difficult; passing through a single pair of cones, which occupied most of the field, now the traditional parkour competitions are more and more reminiscent of marathons, as several flaps and alternative passages also appeared in them.
The goal of the dressing test in competition A is to evaluate the correctness of the gait, harmony, impulse, flexibility, lightness, ease of movement and the correctness of bending the horse or pony in motion. The main panel of judges (GSK) assesses the correctness of the gait observed by all horses in the harness. Competitors are rated for style, accuracy and overall control of horses or ponies. Separate points are awarded for the elegance of the clothes of athletes, the condition of the harness, the appearance of the crew and for the presentation of the entire departure as a whole.
The driver as the main character in the crew must have a hat, gloves and an apron. In addition, he must constantly hold the whip in his hands. The whip in the hands of the driver plays a particularly important role, since the participant in the equestrian driving competition has no other means of control than the whip and reins. Therefore, in order to make the horse bend at the turn and enter it as smoothly as possible, the driver just needs to use the whip, “holding” the back of the horse.
Entrance to the arena without a whip or its loss is punished by the judges with 5 penalty points (this was described in detail above). The driver is subjected to similar penalties if there is no headgear or apron.
It is not customary to use voice commands in the trainings, although the judges do not take out penalty points for this. The horse should react to the slightest, invisible to others, work of the reins, which is carried out by the driver.
If the driver, while performing the exercise, tries to maintain the required gait and it doesn’t succeed, but he doesn’t violate the direction of travel, the President of GSK can regard this as either a “mistake in the scheme” or let the judges decide how many points to evaluate it exercise.
A “mistake in the scheme” is also considered a deviation from the desired direction of movement, or if the exercise is performed with the wrong gait or is missed altogether; such errors are punished with penalty points, and for the 4th time – even by excluding the crew from the course of the competition.
Grooms in dressing do not play an important role. They sit either next to the driver or behind the driver, and they are prohibited from any actions, including talking. But the judge’s assessment of the overall impression depends on how the groom sits, what expression he has during the crew’s performance. Grooms may also dismount for troubleshooting if some part of the harness is disconnected. At the same time dismounting of the grooms is punishable by penalty points.
Crews should be equipped with flashlights and rear light (or reflectors). They must be on iron or rubberized (4 or 2) wheels. The minimum gauge for singles is 138 cm. The gauge is measured on the outside of the rear wheels. Bandages and holsters on horses are prohibited. Competitions A (training) are held in the arena of size 100 x x 40 or 80 x 40 (depending on the status of the competition). Participants travel according to the requirements of the test, approved by the FEI, or according to the requirements of the “Free Style Test” ’a (CUR); passing the test program should not exceed 7 minutes (the type and number of the test are indicated in the competition position). Test number 7 was specially developed for single teams. The dressing test should be performed by participants from memory.
Judges evaluate the crew according to the performance of individual elements and the overall impression. If there are five judges, then they are located at the letters C (President), I, B, V and P, if there are three of them, then at the letters C (President), C and E. The judges give their marks as the crews complete the elements, without consulting between by myself. Horses not in single teams (pairs, tandems and quadruples) are evaluated as a whole. Estimates are put on a ten-point system.