The Road to Horse Driving

According to a study, there are 2.3 million equestrian athletes in Germany - but only the smallest part is doing horse driving. The place on the coach box offers a strong team spirit and a special connection with the horse.

Just like in horse riding, there are also special driving schools, trainers and training centers where people interested in horse driving can get their first taste of driving. A nearby tournament can be the first point of contact for driving: the atmosphere is something very special - and there is no lack of action either. If interest is aroused, the best way to find contact details for training or education stables is through your own state association or magazines for horse driving. You should definitely not sit on the coach box on your own. Especially since driving in public places requires a carriage driver's license anyway.

- Regular training – for leisure and sport

If you want to gain a foothold in competitive sports, you can't avoid regular training and getting your driver's license. For recreational drivers, the horse driving license is sufficient as proof that you can move on the road. But it is also important for purely recreational drivers to position the driving horse accordingly and to control the team. In horsemanship, it is almost normal for purely recreational riders to take lessons from time to time. This is often forgotten when driving recreationally. But what is also forgotten: If the rider falls off, then the horse will probably stop at some point, a team bolts and the driver falls off the coach box, then the entire team is driverless. The horses cannot free themselves from their situation, other road users are in danger and the situation can very quickly become very dangerous.

- Interaction of aids

The provision of assistance in horse driving is much more differentiated than is assumed from the outside. The leash aids are mainly used in an accepting and yielding manner, as when riding. However, the voice when driving has to be given special attention: depending on the tone of voice, you can ask your horse or hold back and calm it down. The whip then replaces the leg aid and always belongs in the driver's hand. A driving horse should also be trained according to the scale of the training. Especially in dressage, the fine interaction of the aids is essential so that the hoof beat figures are also successful. In the higher classes, canter changes via trot or leg yields are also required. That is why training with a rider on the back is important for driving horses.

- The way to the driving horse

Driving horses used to be much more popular than riding horses. In the course of industrialization, however, they increasingly disappeared from agriculture and as a means of transport. By the middle of the 20th century at the latest, equestrian sport had become established and this was accompanied by changes in horse breeding. Utility horses were a thing of the past, the focus was on sportiness. The driving sport in particular places high demands on the horse. In principle, however, every horse is suitable as a driving horse. The driving sport consists of three disciplines that demand a lot from the horses - in very different challenges. In terms of sport, a driving horse can be compared to an eventing horse - at least if it is to be used in competitive sport. In many driving schools and training stables, the owner can learn the first important skills parallel to the training of his horse and, if necessary, already take the horse driving license or the first driving badge. Learning together enables the owner to experience directly how his horse behaves in front of the carriage. Even the first trips together can be accompanied by trained trainers and errors can be corrected directly. At the beginning a light car and easy terrain is chosen. The young horse builds up muscles much more gently and the back is relieved. Driving also offers a good basis for later riding. On the other hand, solid training under the saddle is also essential for every driving horse.

- The way to the Carriage Driver's License

There are two carriage driver's licenses. The carriage driver's license A private individual and the carriage driver's license B commercial. The carriage driver's license A course consists of at least 45 teaching units and is divided into a practical and theoretical part. In the theoretical part, knowledge about the needs and performance of the horse is taught as well as about safety check of harness and carriage and about anticipatory driving intraffic and in fields and forests. In the practical part, among other things, the correct harnessing and team control are topics. The carriage drver's license B commercial is for drivers who transport people or loads with their carriages for a fee. They are therefore classified as "commercial drivers". The carriage driver's licenses are part of a safety iniative that can be dated back to the fact that the sport of driving is increasingly viewed critically by the public. The German Equestrian Federation demands that every driver who drives a horse and carriage on theroad has acarriage driver's license A private. So far, the carriage driver's license has not been legally anchored nationwide. However, in the event of an accident and/or an insured event, posession of a carriage driver's license is important in order to demonstrate special expertise.