Checking Out Arena Driven Dressage

View From The Back Seat


B.B. King and Megan Wallace Bridges perform ADT Training Level Test 1.

Driven dressage takes place in a 40×80 meter arena. Ridden dressage takes place in a 20×60 arena. Since there are many more ridden dressage shows than driven dressage opportunities, drivers have figured out a way to squish the former into the latter.

Adjustments include starting in the ring to – I assume – avoid a funky turn to enter and using the diagonals instead of the center line for distance and for avoiding the tight turns onto and off center line. In addition, most shows schedule driven dressage at the end to minimize the opportunities for the ridden horses to freak out.

Over the weekend, we went to show the flag for the driven dressage class at a local dressage show. The driving minis were adorable and obedient. At least two ridden horses took exception to the minis or the carts &/or both. It’s a common response. Even our driving horse thinks minis in carts bear close watching [Milton Does Demo Duty].

Arena driven dressage. It’s a thing.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

4 thoughts on “Checking Out Arena Driven Dressage

  1. The barn where I board Team B has a few minis and mini donkeys. It’s amazing how many of the resident horses are anywhere from somewhat worried to totally freaked out by one or both groups. The minis do drive. (And in one case one of the minis and a donkey are bonded to the point of being inseparable, so the mini drives and the donkey runs alongside in shotgun mode.) I can see how people get sucked into that level of cuteness. When they go out with the cart I have to repeat my mantra: We are two horses over our two horse limit.

  2. It’s amazing how many “things” there are. Take a given discipline and it can be sliced so thinly! Start with a horse and add adjectives and voila! Hundreds of slices. Draft. Rodeo. Diving. Carriage. Dressage. Therapy. ……..

    Cooking. Vehicles. Walking. In the water.

    So many things! So little time!

  3. I always wonder how one judges a mini in dressage. Cuteness marks?

    Our two-horse limit seems to be holding. We had three briefly many years ago. Did not work out. Among other things, Caesar & Mathilda took one look at the guest horse & completely ostracized him.

    1. Three works really well for us. One goes off, two are fine together. (Someone still hollers, but I think that’s just for show.) It’s tight, but they figured out their hierarchy many years ago and it’s held the test of time. I would love to bring my forth horse home … boarding definitely has it’s druthers …. but every time I close my eyes I picture a disaster. So for now I’m stuck in limbo, wanting to have everyone at home, but not comfortable with the details of doing it. Might do a trial run come spring. Bring him home for a weekend and see what happens. While I don’t expect a ton of initial fireworks, I know enough about the forth horse to know that his shenanigans usually don’t show up for awhile. A bite mark here, a bump on a hip there. He’s a slow burn. We’ll see.

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