It’s not quite a horse of a different colour, but it’s certainly an event of a different type.
The Murrumbidgee Carriage Driving Club held its second Combined Driving Event at the Murrami Sport and Recreation Grounds in September.
Combined Driving is an equestrian sport involving horses or ponies drawing a carriage and undertaking three distinct phases of competition, in a format similar to a ridden three-day event.
Carriage driving requires a combination of training, fitness, speed and finesse from both its equine and human athletes in order to be successful.
The Murrumbidgee club is affiliated with the Australian Carriage Driving Society which sanctions the event.
It might only be the second combined driving event in the MIA, but Australian carriage drivers have distinguished themselves on the world stage recently.
Driver Gail Bain won the British National Championships, and Boyd Exell won the Driving Gold Medal and Four In Hand World Championship at the World Equestrian Games in America.
Around 22 competitors from around the state and Victoria arrived in the MIA to compete.
On the first day, while horses and ponies competed in dressage and cones phases; the weather was against them with wind gusts of 60 kilometres throughout the day and plenty of raised dust.
There were some strong performances and the behaviour of equines was exemplary in the trying conditions.
The following day was much milder with light wind and cooler conditions, perfect to run the 12 kilometre marathon across a series of roads and tracks, with competitors required to negotiate five sets of obstacles at the Murrami grounds.
“Ray and Alma Herrmann kindly let the club use their property to run the marathon and competitors were extremely happy with the beautiful tracks available,” Murrumbidgee Carriage Driving Club member Robyn Schmetzer said.
“The Murrami Sports Ground Committee were great supporters of the Carriage Driving by catering breakfasts and lunches, and cooking a beautiful meal served with great atmosphere at the Murrami Fire shed, on the Saturday night,” she said.
The club will hold another Combined Driving Event at the same time next year. To learn more about the sport or the Murrumbidgee club, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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