LEXINGTON, KY (September 27, 2007) The thrilling sport of combined driving will take place during the Lexington Combined Driving Classic, October 5?7 at the Kentucky Horse Park.
The three distinct phases of combined driving?driven dressage, cross-country marathon, and obstacle (cones) driving?were originally modeled after the ridden sport of three-day eventing (such as the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event).
John Nicholson, executive director of the park stated, ?This is a dream event for the Kentucky Horse Park. We have desired and worked toward this for several years. Competitive driving is very popular elsewhere, and particularly in Europe, so we?re very pleased to have the opportunity to host this event and introduce yet another fantastic equine sport in the Horse Capital of the World.? He continued, ?It has a lot of the same adrenalin surges of the chariot race in ?Ben Hur,? without the danger to horse and driver.?
Three years from now, also at the Kentucky Horse Park, the world championships in four-in-hand driving and seven other horse sports will be contested at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Each phase of combined driving offers something unique. On the first day, you?ll see the beauty of traditional carriages, top hats, and formally dressed grooms while the horses and ponies are put through their paces in the dressage test. On Saturday, witness the thrilling speed and daring of the horses and drivers as they navigate the maze of each marathon obstacle. On the final day, precision matters most as each competitor must navigate an obstacle course with mere centimeters of clearance between each set of cones.
This year?s event will feature all six combined driving divisions?single horses, single ponies, pairs of both horses and ponies, and four-in-hand teams of horses and ponies. The competition will be divided into three levels?preliminary, intermediate, and advanced.
The international panel of officials includes Klaus Christ (president of the jury) of Germany, Diana Brownlie (judge) of Great Britain, Martha Nicoll (judge) of the U.S., Philip Bateman of Great Britain, and Richard Nicoll (course designer) of the U.S.