Hopetoun Horse Driving Trials.

Photo: Taken Photography

Hopetoun Horse Driving Trials

Day 1 of the Hopetoun Horse Driving Trials in the idyllic surroundings of one of Scotland’s finest stately homes.  Today features the dressage phase, spectating is free.

Horse Driving Trials is a unique equestrian discipline, where male and female competitors of any age can compete with ponies and horses on an level playing field.  Teams consist of a ‘Driver’ and a ‘Groom’.  The Driver is responsible for handling the horses or ponies and directing them around the course, whether obstacle gates on the marathon course or cones in the final stage, using reins and their voice and occasionally a lightly used whip.  The Groom helps the Driver stay on the course and navigate the horses through the obstacles as well as using their body weight to balance the vehicle on tight turns and uneven ground.

The trials consist of three phases – dressage, marathon and cone driving – with the overall winner decided after all 3 stages have taken place.  Today’s action focuses around the dressage phase, where teams must perform a sequence of set movements in the arena to demonstrate the obdience and schooling of the animals.

An FEI (the international governing body for all Olympic equestrian disciplines) event the Hopetoun Horse Driving Trials doubles up as a qualifier for the British National Carriage Driving Championships.  And this there’s an added edge  in 2017 with Team GBR selection event for FEI World Pony Championships, FEI European Championships and FEI World Pairs Championships also at stake.

Dressage action from 8.30am.

Directions to the Hopetoun Horse Driving Trials can be viewed here.  Note: Do not follow visitor signs for Hopetoun House, that is not the show-field entrance!

Admission is on the day: free entry to all spectators.