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WDDC Driving Trials Rules 2016 

An event usually consists of three phases as follows: 

  • Driven Dressage 

  • Marathon 

  • Cones

It is not necessary for competitors to enter all sections, but the entry fee will not be reduced for entering part only.

Unless stated to the contrary in the schedule an event will run in the sequence Dressage, Cones, Marathon.

The prize giving is dismounted. 


In the event of an incident not covered by these rules the British Carriage Driving (BC) rules will be used to assist in making a decision. These can be found at

Anyone with a small pony may, with the approval of the Club Committee, compete without a groom on the carriage, but a groom must be in attendance at the side of the dressage and cones arenas, and beside each obstacle. 


These rules may be amended by the schedule of a specific event. 


Driven Dressage

D1. Whenever possible there will be standing presentation
The turnout will be judged for cleanliness, condition and proper fit of harness and vehicle, condition of shoeing, spares and general appearance. Lamps are optional.

D2. The driver must wear a hat gloves and apron. No Penalties will be incurred for wearing a hard hat. A whip suitable for the turnout must be carried. The groom must be seated beside the driver in a two wheeled vehicle, or beside or behind in a four wheeled vehicle, must wear a hat and gloves and may stand at the head of the horse or pony during presentation. Penalties may be awarded for missing items or if the groom is standing.


D3. Bandages and boots are not allowed.

D4. The dressage test will normally take place in an arena 80 metres by 40 metres, and the test will be specified in the schedule.

D5. The dressage test must be driven from memory. No prompting is allowed from the groom or other outside supporters. Penalties may be awarded for infringements.

D6. Competitors are required to enter the dressage arena within one minute of being given the signal to do so. Failure to do so may mean having to wait for a convenient gap, or until the end of the class.

D7. The penalties for errors of course, or the groom dismounting are:    

1st incident - 5 penalties

2nd incident - 10 penalties

3rd incident - 15 penalties

4th incident - Elimination




M1. Informal dress is acceptable, but should be clean and tidy.

  • The wearing of shorts and sun-tops is not recommended

  • All members of the crew must wear a properly secured safety hat Body Protectors (BP) must be worn by the driver and all others on the carriage during this marathon phase 

  • The BP must be fit for purpose Failure to comply will result in not being allowed to start until you are properly equipped

  • A whip must be carried suitable for the turnout


M2. The vehicle track width in the Marathon phase, measured at ground level, must be 125cm minimum. 

If the vehicle measures less than 125cm, the competitor must drive hors concours.

M3. The course will normally be between 6km. and 15km. It will normally consist of sections A, T and B, but may be section B only.

The sections will be as follows: - 


Section A: 

Any pace 

Max. speed – horses 15k.p.h., ponies 13 k.p.h. and small ponies 10 k.p.h.



See schedule for time allowed


Section B: 

Any pace Max speed – horses 14 k.p.h., ponies 12 k.p.h. and small ponies 10 k.p.h. 


With up to 8 obstacles 

Actual speeds will be set at the time of the event, and will depend on the nature of the terrain, weather conditions etc. 

There will be a 10 minute rest halt between sections T and B. Competitors arriving late at the halt must still take their full 10 minutes rest. There is no penalty for starting Section B late. 

There will be a minimum time of 2 minutes in Section A and 3 minutes in section B less than the Time Allowed. Competitors must either walk or trot after the last obstacle or in the final 500 metres whichever is the shortest. 


M4. Competitors are requested to report to the start not less than 5 minutes before their specified start time. There may be a safety inspection. Competitors arriving late may have to wait for a convenient gap or until the end of their class before they are allowed to go.

M5. Competitors entering any part of an obstacle without first passing through the entry flags or failing to pass through the exit flags on leaving an obstacle without correcting the error will be eliminated.

The compulsory gates in an obstacle are “free” after a competitor has passed through them in the right direction and in the correct sequence. Competitors may, therefore, go through them again in any direction at any time (for example; competitors must go through A in the right direction before going through B. A is now “free” and they may go through it again in any direction as often as they like, and so on).


Competitors who pass through a compulsory lettered gate in the wrong sequence or direction before it becomes “free” and without correcting the error before passing through the exit flags, will be eliminated. 

In order to correct such an error, the competitor must drive through the gate that was missed before going on the next gate in the correct sequence. (for example; a competitor drives through gates A and B and then goes through gate D (missing gate C).


In order to correct this error of course the competitor must drive through gate C before going on to drive gate D again. All gates are neutralised until he reaches gate C).

M6.  Penalties 

Penalties will be awarded as follows:                     


For each commenced second under the minimum time and for each commenced second over the time allowed at the end of any Section. 

0.2 penalties


For each commenced second from passing through the entrance to passing through the exit of each obstacle. 

0.2 penalties


For each reported 5 pace break of pace (trotting in Transfer Section) 

1 penalty


For any person alighting from the vehicle for any reason, other than to perform a necessary emergency task, when the vehicle must be 20 stationary. 

20 Penalties 


Stopping on the course to compensate for being early. For each commenced period of 10 seconds 

1 penalty


Circling or deviating to lose time at the end of sections “A” or “B”. For each deviation 

10 penalties


Failure to carry a whip – per section and per obstacle. 

20 penalties


Whilst in an obstacle additional penalties will be awarded as follows:

Groom dismounting (2 feet on the ground)

For each occasion 10 penalties


Driver dismounting (2 feet on the ground)

For each occasion 30 


Driver, not carrying, putting down or dropping the whip 

20 penalties


Turning over, including all the above

60 penalties 


Correcting course, for each occasion (sec. M5.) 

20 penalties


Displacing a knock down marker 

2 penalties 


Driver or groom preventing a knock down marker from falling 

10 penalties


M7. A competitor will be eliminated from The Marathon in any of the following circumstances: 

Failure to pass any course flag on the correct side (red on the right, white on the left.) 

Failure to negotiate an obstacle correctly. (see section M5.) 



If the groom handles the reins or whip. (Note. A groom who has alighted may handle the reins at the end nearest the bit. Also this rule may be waived if a groom takes control in an emergency. i.e. after a driver has fallen out of the vehicle). 

If a competitor has not completed an obstacle within 5 minutes of entering it.

If any person on board fails to wear a properly secured hard hat and body protector in any Section. 

Receiving outside assistance (except that competitors who have turned over or got into a serious situation in an obstacle from which they are unlikely to recover without risk of injury to persons or horses or causing extensive damage, may be given assistance to recover safely, without penalty). 


C1. Competitors should be dressed as for Dressage, and must carry a whip suitable for the turnout.

C2. The groom must be properly seated beside the driver in a two wheeled vehicle, or beside or behind the driver in a four wheeled vehicle, and must remain seated. Standing behind the driver 10 penalties.

C3. The track width in the Cones phase, measured at ground level must be 125cm minimum. If the vehicle measures less than 125cm, the competitor must drive hors concours. 


C4. Cones will be set at 155cm apart unless otherwise stated in the schedule.

C5. The time allowed will be based on 220 metres per minute.

C6. If a competitor knocks down an obstacle in advance of the one being driven, it will not be rebuilt but must be driven in its proper sequence.

C7. The competition may be performed at any pace. Timing commences when the horse’s head passes the start and stops when it passes the finish. Obstacles must be taken in the correct sequence and direction.


Passing through any obstacle out of sequence, or in the wrong direction, or passing through the start without being given clearance to do so or failing to pass through the finish, incurs elimination.

C8. Penalties

Penalties will be awarded as follows:

Obstacle knocked over 

3 penalties 


Each obstacle, or element of a multiple Knocking down an obstacle, or part of an obstacle already driven 

3 penalties


Knocking down an obstacle or part of an obstacle in advance of the one to be driven. 

3 penalties


1st disobedience or dismount of groom both feet on the ground. 

5 penalties


2nd disobedience or dismount of groom both feet on the ground 

10 penalties


3rd disobedience or dismount of groom both feet on the ground 



Driver dismounting or falling out both feet on the ground 

30 penalties


Knocking over start or finish flag 

5 penalties


Exceeding time allowed – per commenced second 

0.5 penalties


Groom directing driver – talking, pointing etc



Outside assistance 



Groom handling reins or whip 



Taking an obstacle or the finish out of order 



Starting before the bell (or other indicator) or failing to go through the start or finish 



C9. An obstacle is deemed to have been knocked over when the whole or any part of it has been knocked over, dislodged or displaced.


A disobedience is deemed to have occurred when a competitor attempts to pass through an obstacle and their horse/pony shies away from the obstacle at the last moment without hitting any part of it, or if the horse/pony stops and steps back even a single pace.


Competitors do not incur any penalty if they stop in front of an obstacle, or in the middle of a multiple obstacle, without knocking down any element and then drive cleanly through it.


Except in an open multiple obstacle, it is not a disobedience to circle, pass the extended line of the next obstacle to be driven or cross their own line. 



Elimination or retirement from any section of the competition does not exclude the competitor from taking part in the other sections. To be eligible for the overall placings a horse or pony must have been driven by the same driver throughout and have completed all three phases without elimination or retirement.


A Technical Delegate will be appointed for each event who will take action in respect of :

  1. Breaches of the club rules

  2. Dangerous driving

  3. Misuse of the whip or ill treatment of a horse or pony

  4. Conduct likely to be offensive or which is likely to bring the club into disrepute


The TD may: 

a) Issue a reprimand
b) Disqualify the driver from any part of the event.
c) Suspend the driver from taking any further part in the event.
d)Take no action.
e)Report to the Club Committee to invoke Rule 3.e. of the Club Constitution. 

February 2016

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