The 12 day Festival of Carriage Driving, featuring a pleasure drive, mini enduros, the NSW Driven Dressage Championships, the NSW Carriage Driving Championships begin today with a welcome barbecue before an event dinner on Saturday night at the Boorowa RSL Club.
The main event of the Festival is the 2022 NSW Combined Driving Championships to be held at Boorowa Showground between April 15 and 17.
Combined Driving, or CDE, is an equestrian sport involving equines and carriages competing in a format similar to ridden 3 Day Eventing.
Turnouts ranging from single horse or pony, to pairs, tandems (2), and teams of four, compete through the three phases of Dressage, Marathon and Cones to determine State Champion in each Class.
Dressage, which will take place on Friday, April 15. This is a test of training, suppleness, ease of movement and paces, through a prescribed set of movements in an arena. Drivers are judged on accuracy, correct pace and presentation during a test lasting eight to 10 minutes.
The Marathon on Saturday, April 16 provides the greatest action and is the phase enjoyed most by competitors and spectators alike.
Drivers and their equines undertake a timed cross-country course of around 16km in length, which culminates in a series of Marathon Obstacles - natural and constructed hazards with lettered gates which must be driven in the correct sequence.
The quicker and more accurately the obstacle is driven, the fewer penalties are incurred.
Locally-based Ellmore Driving Club has been working for the last 12 months to build a series of exciting Marathon Obstacles on the Boorowa Showgrounds with the support of the NSW Office of Sport, Hilltops Council, Boorowa IGA, Court House Hotel, Boorowa Tyre Service, Scribblegum Design Print, Gledhill's Earthmoving, MA Steel, Kerrie's Garden Nikity Naks, Conqueror Milling and Horsepower.
Many local individuals have also contributed to the organisation of this event, which is greatly appreciated.
This is the first opportunity drivers will have to compete on this course, with the aim to conduct regular major events in the future.
The Festival culminates on Sunday, April 17 with the Cones Phase, where driver's are required to navigate a course laid out of cones with balls balanced on top. Minimal clearances between the carriage wheels and the cones means that accuracy is a must, as penalties are incurred for knockdowns, however the course must also be driven against the clock to avoid time penalties.
Spectators are most welcome over all three days, with entry free. Saturday, April 16 will provide the best viewing, with the opportunity to get up close to the marathon action. Bring a folding chair or a picnic rug and enjoy this exciting equestrian sport in the beautiful town of Boorowa.
Go to Ellmore Driving Club on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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