“It’s an event that allows for more interaction between the competitors. These competitors are having fun and laughing while enjoying the sport and volunteering.” explained Linda Fairbanks, the Continuous Driving event organizer. The event was held May 25-26, 2014 at Twin Rivers Ranch Horse Park in San Miguel, and pulled in participants from all over the Central Coast as well as Ventura and Fresno.
It’s an event that allows for more interaction between the competitors. These competitors are having fun and laughing while enjoying the sport and volunteering.
The name Continuous Drive means each event is completed by the horse and driver(s) team in a continuous manner. Four events make up a full Continuous Drive event starting with a Cross Country Course, followed by a Dressage Test, then another Cross Country course and ending with the Timed Obstacles event. “It takes a little over an hour for each horse and driver competitor to finish all four events. We try to have half the competitors out on the course and the other half of the competitors volunteering.” Linda continued, “This is what allows for more socialization between the competitors. It is not a serious as a Combined Driving Event.” The same course is run both days so each competitor has the chance to improve his or her score from the day before. This year, the Brass Oaks Driving Society planned a catered dinner for Saturday evening at Twin Rivers to keep the competitors together on the show grounds. “We plan to make this an annual event over Memorial Day weekend.” remarked Linda.
This year the first Cross Country course was a little shorter and on the flat, plus it included a water obstacle. It just so happened that a herd of sheep became an obstacle on the course and there was a bit of an adventure for some competitors who came across this as the sheep dogs tried to keep the wheels away from the sheep! “Thankfully everybody made it through!” exclaimed Linda. The Dressage phase is judged with the same eye as ridden Dressage only the horse is not ridden, but driven with a cart or carriage attached. Rides are judged for straightness, correctly driven diagonals and circles with a square halt and a straight rein back. The second Cross Country phase included a hill and ran along the levy. Both Cross Country phases are timed and competitors must come in on the optimum time. Time penalties are added if early or late, so horsemanship is really challenged here. Timed Obstacles is a course where the cart or carriage must go through cones that are adjusted for each width of carriage. There is a ball on top of the cones and time penalties are added if a ball is knocked off a cone. A typical course will have both left and right turns, serpentines and zig-zags.
Continuous Drive events are competitions where men, women, and youth and all breeds of horses and ponies compete together. There are usually horse, pony, and mini-horse divisions. Linda described the typical participant: “Primarily we see adults out here who use to be riders and still want to compete, just not under saddle, and grow their horsemanship skills.” That doesn’t mean the youth can’t join in on the fun though!
Want to try your hand at driving? You can do so at the next Brass Oaks Driving Society “Buggy Buddy Day” to be held in Arroyo Grande on June 21st, 2014. Experienced club members will be on hand to get you started, to help you progress and to demonstrate skills and take beginners for rides.
For more information on Buggy Buddy Days contact: Ann McClure firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Images by Jake Faulstich.[contentblock id=5]