Bluffers’ guide to driving at WEG

  • As we countdown to the FEI World Equestrian Games, we bring you all you need to know about each of the eight equestrian sports that take place

    What’s the format?

    If you understand eventing, you understand driving trials — as one of our reporters once said, it’s basically eventing but with wheels instead of jumps.

    The WEG driving competition is for horse teams, so four horses are put to a carriage, with two wheelers behind and two leaders in front. The driver uses the reins, voice and whip as his aids, while two backsteppers help to balance the carriage, navigate and so on.

    Each competitor starts with driven dressage on 21 September, which is marked on similar criteria to ridden dressage.

    Next comes marathon day (22 September), which is akin to long-format eventing, with “roads and tracks” before the real action. On the “cross-country” section, there are eight obstacles, each with gates marked A to F — competitors must try to find the fastest route through in the right order. There are penalties for the time taken in the obstacles, as well as for faults such as knocking a ball or putting a groom down if the carriage gets stuck.

    In the final cones phase on 23 September, drivers follow a set course through cones with balls on top. There are penalties for knocking down the balls and for exceeding the time allowance.

    How does the scoring work?

    Competitors are given a penalty score for their dressage and further penalties are added to this in the marathon and cones phases. The lowest overall penalty score wins.

    There is no such thing as a “clear round” in the marathon — drivers are penalised for every second they spend in the obstacles. In contrast, it is possible to complete the cones without penalties.

    Teams consist of three drivers, with one discard score.

    How many medals are there and when are they awarded?

    There is one set of team medals and one set of individual medals. They are awarded after the cones phase on 23 September.

    Who’s representing Britain?

    Details of who has been selected for the British squad will be revealed in due course.

    When will H&H report it?

    H&H’s WEG reports will run in 20 and 27 September issues of the magazine.

    We will also carry reports, pictures and video online throughout the competition. Find all our online WEG coverage here >>

    For an early look at the WEG venue, turn to p34 of 18 January issue of Horse & Hound magazine. The full WEG preview will be on sale on Thursday 6 September.

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