Horses were driven long before they were ridden and, as such, Driving is the oldest competitive equestrian sport yet it continues to thrive in the 21st century. Drivers sit on a vehicle drawn by a single horse or pony, a pair or a team of four and they face three trials – dressage, marathon and obstacle driving.
Dressage involves performing a sequence of compulsory figures within a 100 x 40 metre rectangle. Movements – which must be executed from memory – include speed and gait transitions, circles of different sizes and halts.
The marathon is a spectacular time trial run over a course including natural hazards such as sharp turns, water and steep hills, and artificial ones such as labyrinths. It tests the horses’ fitness and stamina and the driver’s judgment of pace and horse control.
Obstacle driving – or cones – tests the fitness, obedience and suppleness of the horses after the marathon, as well as the skill and competence of the driver who must weave cleanly through a narrow track outlined by cones with balls balanced on top.
Driving came under the FEI umbrella in 1970 thanks to the efforts of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, then the FEI President, who organised the meeting in 1969 which produced the first rule book. One notable alteration to the rules followed a competition in Windsor, Great Britain, where a back wheel collapsed on a vehicle and the watching Queen Elizabeth allowed for a small tree to be tied to the axle to keep it off the ground. The rules stated subsequently that a "vehicle must have four wheels crossing the finishing line".
In 2006 Para Driving joined the ranks of the other 7 FEI disciplines with national and international competitions in Driving for individuals with a disability.
In Memoriam: FEI Driving community mourns Gerhard Dittus (GER), 1942-2022
One of the oldest Official FEI Veterinarian passed away on 13th. February, 2022, MVDR Gerhard Dittus. His passion was treating horses, and working as an FEI Official Vet in Jumping, Driving and Eventing. He was appointed for many years at the CSIO St. Gallen, Budapest, and as delegate on several European Championships in Driving and Eventing. He was also Veterinarian on Palio Sienna in Italy. He liked to come on shows in Eastern-Europe, mostly Poland and Hungary, and with his enthusiasm he educated a new generation of official vets in these countries. His home was always open for his friends, where they would enjoy his and his wife’s hospitality.
We will miss his kind, humorous, open personality for a long time.
He was 79 years old.
The FEI expresses its sincere condolences to Gerhard Dittus’ family and friends, the German Equestrian Federation (GER) and the global equestrian community.
Please note that the FEI Driven Dressage Tests 2*HP2-HP4 and 3*HP-HP4 have been amended in order to clarify some misunderstandings that have arisen.
The modifications are indicated in red. The tests can be found at this page.
Kindly note that the Dressage Test 2*HP2-HP4 is now applicable for the Horse Four-in-Hand class.
Please be informed that, following the unfortunate cancellation of the CAI-W Leg in Bordeaux (FRA), the season has now been reduced to 4 legs.
Therefore, as per the communication sent on 16.12.2022 regarding the FEI Board resolution, only one result may count towards the qualification for the Final.
The FEI Driving World CupTM Standings have been calculated accordingly and reflect the final ranking. The 6 Qualified Drivers have therefore been selected as per the ranking.
Ties have been broken as per Art. 1.4. “In the event that two or more Athletes are placed in 6th position, having equal points, the available position in the Final will be given to the Athlete with the highest number of first places achieved at the FEI World Cup™ Legs. If the Athletes are still tied with equal first places then the number of second places where the Athletes received World Cup points will decide, and so on until the tie is broken.”
As only one result counts, there are two ties remaining, respectively for the 1st and 2nd rank, as well as for the 4th and 5th rank. These ties will be broken during the draw in the Final, as per Art. 6.1 and 6.1.1:
“6.1. In the Final, Competition 1 is comprised of one round and, subject to Rule 3.7 will be run in reverse order of the standings after Phase 1 (Legs)
6.1.1 Should there be a tie, the starting order of the tied Athletes will be decided by draw. The draw will be done by the PGJ.”
Der FEI Driving Community,
Please be informed that a new version of the FEI Driving Guidelines on Use of Tack, Equipment and Dress, with updates highlighted in red, is available on the FEI website here.
We would like to draw your attention to the following clarifications and updates regarding the FEI Driving & Para Driving Rules and the Driven Dressage Test 3*HP2-HP4.
1. FEI Driving & Para Driving Rules Clarifications, 12th Edition, effective 01 January 2022
During the FEI Hybrid General Assembly 2021 in Antwerp, the FEI in consultation with several National Federations, introduced some changes to the proposed Rules Changes presented in the Annexes. In order to inform the FEI Driving community of the reasoning of these changes, an explanatory document has been published containing clarifications on the following Articles:
Please refer to the FEI Rules Driving Hub for the Clarifications Document.
2. FEI Driven Dressage Test - Test 3*HP2-HP4
Following the publication of the new 3* Dressage tests for Pair and Four-In-Hand Horses and Ponies, to be implemented on 1 January 2022 without the canter figure and in 2023 with the canter figure (only for Pairs), the FEI Driving Technical Committee, upon further discussion and feedback from the Driving community, has unanimously decided to withdraw the introduction of canter for Pairs at this time.
As such, a 3rd version of the test has been created and is now published here. This 3rd version test replaces both the 2022 and 2023 tests and will be applicable for Pair Horse, Pair Pony and Four-In-Hand Pony classes as of 1 January 2022, and for the Four-in-Hand Horse class as of 01 January 2023.
The 3rd version modifies the gaits of two figures within the tests to a medium trot and stretch of the frame and thus provides a sufficient level of difficulty for the time. In the future, the FEI Driving Technical Committee unanimously feels that introducing the canter in the Dressage Test for Pair is important for the development of the sport and aligns with the aim to further improve the Drivers and Horses skills. Additionally, it provides a true distinction between Higher and Lower-level events.
Should you have any questions regarding the Dressage tests or the Clarifications to the FEI Driving & Para Driving Rules Clarifications, 12th Edition, effective 01 January 2022, please do not hesitate to contact the FEI Driving Department.
The FEI has created a stakeholders survey to ensure the maintenance and continued improvement, of an already existing high standard, at FEI Events. This survey will help the FEI better understand the expectations of its key stakeholders, and the information collected will help guide the future approach of the FEI to ensuring that these are met.
The survey launches today and will be open until Monday 14 February 2022. We encourage everyone to take part in this survey, which should take no more than 10 minutes, and thank you in advance for your time.
Dear FEI Driving Community,
We are happy to announce that the qualification criteria for the 2022 FEI Driving Championships are now uploaed on the FEI Website.
Please click on the below link to be redirected to each Championship page:
FEI Driving & Para Driving Rules - 2022
We would like to inform you that the 2022 Driving and Para Driving Rules are now available in our website, along with the FEI Driving Alternative Scoring System and FEI Driving Guidelines on Use of Tack, Equipment and Dress / Effective 1 January 2022
In line with the review of the Driven Dressage Tests, the FEI has now published new Dressage Tests for Horses & Ponies Pairs and Horses & Ponies Four-in-Hand.
These tests will be applicable as per the Timetable below:
Test 2022 2* HP2 – HP4 : Applicable from 01.01.2022 for Ponies Pair, Ponies Four-in-Hand and Horses Pair / Applicable from 01.01.2023 for Four-in-Hand Horses
Test 2022 3* HP2 – HP4 : Applicable from 01.01.2022 until 01.01.2023 for Ponies Pair, Ponies Four-in-Hand and Horses Pair / Not Applicable for Four-in-Hand Horses
Test 2023 3* HP2 – HP4 : Applicable from 01.01.2023 for Ponies and Horses Pair & Four-in-Hand
You will find the new tests at this page.
Should you have any question, please contact the FEI Driving Department (Aude.Barby@fei.org)