GEA Gladstone Driving

What is an HDT?

A Horse Driving Trials (HDT) is a three-phase versatility test for horse and driver. The cornerstone of the competition is teamwork–between driver, horse and groom navigator. A trial offers Dressage and Obstacles (Cones) on Day 1 and a one section marathon course on Day 2.

A Combined Test (CT) is limited to a one day competition of Dressage and Obstacles only.

Beautiful horses, gleaming carriages, and skilled drivers show in the formal, prescribed figures of the Dressage test. The test displays the horse’s natural movement and training as well as the driver’s skill in balancing brilliance and steadiness. These are the building blocks that make the precision of obstacles and excitement of cross country driving possible. Dressage is judged on the basis of accuracy of movement, rhythm, suppleness, obedience, balance, and presentation. Each movement is scored between 1-10 and then the score is converted into penalties.

Precision is the word here as drivers wind through a course of tightly spaced pairs of cones trying for the elusive “clear” round. It’s not an easy task with just inches to spare between the cones and wheels and an aggressive time to meet. Touch the cone and the ball falls, earning penalties that can lose the competition.

The third phase of our versatility test is the exciting and challenging marathon. There’s a time to meet on the cross-country course over varied terrain. Drivers will need all their skill to guide their horses through the tough cross-country obstacles in the best possible time while avoiding costly course penalties. There are penalties for being too long on course and for every second spent in the obstacles.