Driven to Succeed

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Carriage Driving Morgan

The sport of driving is all about horse power, which can come in all different shapes, sizes and colors.

“The beauty of this sport is that a good driving horse can be any breed, but what sets a successful driving horse apart is his ability to trust and willingness to work with his driver,” says Susie Koos Acker, executive director at the American Driving Society. “Since the driver’s aids are limited to voice, reins and whip, it takes time and patience to develop a steadfast driving horse, but it’s a truly rewarding horsemanship experience.”
Here, four dedicated drivers share why their preferred breeds are naturals between the traces.

Welsh Pony

Welsh Pony

For generations, Welsh Ponies have helped farmers herd sheep and wild ponies. Infused by Thoroughbred blood in the early 1900s, today’s Section B Welsh Ponies are known for their long, low, ground-covering strides, while Section A Welsh Ponies and Section C and D Welsh Cobs are known for snappy knee action. Welsh Ponies’ natural balance and cheerful temperaments make them willing and versatile partners for carriage driving.
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Fjord />

Norwegian Fjord Horse

One of the oldest breeds in existence, the Norwegian Fjord is easy to recognize with its characteristic dun color, dorsal stripe, primitive markings, and flaxen mane trimmed in an upright crescent. It’s no wonder these horses have been intentionally bred for thousands of years: they are powerful, hardy, graceful and versatile; perfect for driving.
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Morgan

Morgan

Morgans were favored in 18th and 19th century America for pulling carriages and plows, and serving as Pony Express mounts. Today, the refined yet strong, muscular Morgan excels in western and English disciplines as well as competitive trail riding and driving.
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Friesian

Friesian

Flashy by nature with its shiny black coat, rippling mane and charismatic gaits, the majestic Friesian has served as both mount and muse since the Middle Ages, when knights rode these noble horses into battle. Intelligent, warm-hearted and born to perform, today’s Friesians excel in driving.
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Haflinger

Haflinger

For centuries, people have adored Austria’s native Haflinger. This versatile, athletic and family-friendly breed originated in medieval times in the Southern Tyrolean Mountains of today’s Austria and Italy. These horses can be found pulling carriages all over the world.
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What is Combined Driving?

The international sport of combined driving was developed by equestrians who had a passion for horse-drawn transportation and a fascination with the advanced communication required between driver and horse.

Horses need to have quality movement, agility, speed, power and versatility to get through the three phases. The competition starts with the very precise dressage phase. The marathon phase is a timed cross-country race through challenging obstacles that involve tight turns, splashing through water, and all-out galloping. In the final cones phase, each driving team is required to make its way through a twisting course of traffic cones in an arena without knocking the tennis balls off the tops of the cones.

American Driving Society

American Driving Society (ADS) Executive Director Susie Koos Acker says that one of the most wonderful things about the driving community is the camaraderie among all types of members, from the recreational pleasure driver to the highest FEI-level competitive driver. “Those new to driving can get advice, support and sometimes even equipment from fellow club members,” she says. For more information about the ADS, visit www.americandrivingsociety.org.

A freelance writer and children’s author based in Washington, D.C., KITSON JAZYNKA contributes regularly to Horse Illustrated. Her horses enjoy the good life in nearby Potomac, Md.



This article originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of Horse Illustrated. Click here to subscribe!

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