RCS CD 943.2.13_Require small pony gator_17-031

This Proposal is NOT RECOMMENDED by the Combined Driving Committee

RC#: 17-031
Rule/Article: CD 943.2.13
Proponent: Lisa Singer
Date: posted 3June2016, revised 20June2016:
Status: Suggestion, Not recommended

2.12 At ADS recognized events, a groom is optional for all single turnouts at all times at the event location except for turnouts with an equine 120 cm. or taller competing on the Marathon course (exception, small ponies must carry a groom on Section B of the Marathon.) For rules specific to grooms for junior drivers, see Article 2.7.

2.13 At ADS-recognized events, an Adult competitor may drive a single VSE [delete or Small Pony] turnout alone in all Competitions. A Junior C competitor may drive a single VSE turnout alone in all Competitions.

2.14 At ADS-recognized events, the following table shall apply: make modification to table

Reason for Change: Ballast is needed to keep carriage stable on the ground.

75 Response(s)

  1. Price says :

    June 19, 2016

    I strongly disagree with this. The reason the decision was made originally to not require a gator is that small ponies in the deep sand or hills can not pull the weight of 2 without undue stress. The new carriages are made so that they are stable without a gator for small ponies. To my knowledge, there have been no accidents which could have been prevented by adding a gator. By requiring a gator, you will lose many new competitors who are very happy doing small ponies by themselves.

    1. Candis Hankins says :

      June 19, 2016

      I agree with Price. Having driven CDE’s with and without a navigator at the intermediate level I can say going without a navigator has been the best for my pony and the most satifying and of the two choices. If you want a navigator you can still use one but the choice should be there. Also, I think the reference to ‘balast’ is an insult to those who do navigate as it reduces their skill to that of a sand bag.

  2. bonezak42 says :

    June 19, 2016

    A step backwards to say the least. Please do not require navigators for small ponies. This would be a loss of many talented ponies to driving competition. Very strongly oppose this change.

  3. jaharber1 says :

    June 19, 2016

    I disagree with this as well. The addition of a gator would cause these ponies too much stress, especially on hilly courses or in deep footing. The small pony carriages are built with a lower center of gravity and are much more stable than the larger carriages, that can still turn over even with the use of a gator. I feel this rule change will keep most small pony drivers from competing in a sport that is already struggling to have enough entries for shows.

  4. julie@travelinglightfarm.net says :

    June 19, 2016

    I have a pony that is 12.3 (so she would not qualify anyway) that has a hard time when we have two adults in the cart. I can’t imagine what a hard time a smaller pony would have. It can be difficult to find younger folks who would be good gators as well.

  5. pondwrite says :

    June 19, 2016

    A navigator and a whip are too much weight for many small ponies to comfortably pull. This rule change will discourage owners of small ponies from competing in the marathon phase–or CDs generally, and push owners to drive either VSEs (with a whip and no gator) or a large pony. This rule change should be defeated. If the concern is small pony turnouts turning over in hazards, then an alternative rule change should be considered to require a different axle width–perhaps for small ponies and VSEs. We have the technology, let’s use it to keep ponies AND humans safe.

  6. ponydriver186 says :

    June 19, 2016

    I also strongly disagree with this rule change. Many people get into small ponies because they don’t need a gator. It is unfair for the small ponies to have to pull such heavy weight in deep sand, turf or up hills. I got out of large ponies since finding a gator was so difficult. Many more people are coming into the sport of CDE because of the small pony rule about not needing a gator. Many competitions don’t have classes for minis but you can always drive a small pony. My 10.2 hh Shetland could not possibly pull two people through the sand in SC or FL.

  7. studeclunker says :

    June 19, 2016

    This is neither fair nor intelligently thought out. Whomever came up with this idea has no idea the burden they are placing on a Small Pony. Stability is not an issue with these turnouts. Leave the rule alone! Any pony or horse that is properly trained and conditioned for the present rule structure can compete fairly and safely. This rule change will alter that balance by causing undue strain on the small ponies. It will cause back and leg injuries resulting in at least temporary lameness and blame for this lameness can be laid on the ADS! Hence, you will see an immediate drop in the participation with the Small Pony owners. My impression was that the ADS was still an inclusive organization, that encouraged participation of all equines in the sport of Combined Driving. This rule would slam the door shut on the small ponies in a way that is petty and small minded.

    Ron Smith
    AKA: studeclunker
    Fawn Lodge, Ca.

  8. jmebear says :

    June 19, 2016

    I strongly disagree with the new proposed rule change. Two adults along with a carriage large enough to carry both is way too much weight for a small pony to pull. This is why we worked so hard to get the rule changed to eliminate gators for small ponies. We will be excluding those with small ponies from competing or we may end up with small children being used as gators. The newer designs of carriages for small ponies are very stable without a second person. I have seen more accidents with the full sized horses than with the small ponies. Good driving is good driving no matter the size of the equine or the number of people in the carriage. We need more competitors in this sport, not fewer by eliminating those who would like to participate but are prevented from doing so by unfair rules.

  9. adeppe says :

    June 19, 2016

    The stated Reason for Change is inadequate. Please supply the pony driving community with facts that establish that the rule change to allow small ponies to compete without navigators has been a failure. We would like to know the number and nature of accidents that instigated this suggestion. Also, please supply the number and nature of accidents in all other divisions for comparison.

    Was any other data on these accidents harvested, like the seat height of the vehicle, driver weight etc.? Certain persons offer enough “ballast” on their own.

    Arbitrary rule changes decrease participation and destroy confidence in the organization. Breeding, marketing, and purchasing decisions have been made based on the current rule. To make a change that effectively destroys the market value of a small pony and its equipment and training should absolutely not be thrust upon the competitors without evidence. If the evidence exists – alternate solutions should be explored according to the other data that should have been gathered – namely center of gravity vs wheel base etc. – that would offer a solution *besides* the elimination of these ponies from safe competition. Most people, especially those who are not blessed with a petite figure, who has driven a small pony on the east coast will not want to risk its soundness or waste their time having to scratch from events.

  10. Msandness says :

    June 19, 2016

    I am strongly opposed to this change. My Godmother is 78 years old and still actively shows at CDEs. She is currently “downsizing” from medium ponies to a small pony. She has decided to make this change because she is able to show without a groom. She can load the smaller cart, and pony by herself. She travels 6 hours to go to shows. When we were younger we could travel with her to be her navigator. Now we have full time jobs and young children. If she has to bring a navigator with her to the show, she cannot compete. This change would force her from the sport she has enjoyed and actively competed in for 20 years.

    As a physically matter, I do not see how a mini horse or small pony can safely pull the weight of two adults through the kind of test the marathon puts on them. I don’t see how how this change helps the horses, the competitors or the sport.

  11. ishoeforyou says :

    June 19, 2016

    I strongly disagree as well! I have just gotten serious about competing in the CDEs, and appreciated having the option to show my ponies single without a gator. I know many other fellow competitors that feel the same way, especially considering how hard it is to find a small enough navigator to not put undue strain on the pony. Has there been a safety issue so far? To require a small pony to compete with a higher weight ratio to their own body weight than one of their larger counterparts is not in the best interest of the well being of the small ponies. We all welcomed the rule change to go without a gator….it allowed us to be able to compete our ponies and most importantly HAVE FUN doing it! I would be happy to make an amendment with requiring a groom to be present at the vet boxes to help hold….just don’t require them to go out on course with us.

  12. avalonmews says :

    June 19, 2016

    I agree with Price!

  13. annruger@aol.com says :

    June 19, 2016

    My carriage, a batmobile Shetland size, is the same as the larger batmobiles, just smaller.

  14. LMBeckwith says :

    June 19, 2016

    I disagree, due to the size rules in ADS asking a 100cm pony to pull two people over a course is unfair to the horse welfare. This will cause many small pony exhibitors to withdraw ADS and CD support because of negligence to horse welfare by a committee. Rules like this will also transfer to the lower local level shows and will kill small pony driving at the grassroots level. Local level lower shows see many exhibitors using 2 wheel carts and follow ADS rules in the very large and popular training small pony division. This would have to be considered as it would effectively require local shows to ask their small pony single entries to purchase new equipment and hire additional help and financially end the small pony world’s support of driving. Small Ponies and VSE are the grassroots to the local community for driving and getting people invested in our sport. Killing us off would cause the sport to die off as we have very few people in ratio who start on horses with a full team of carriage, and gators thereby turning ADS driving into an elitist money sport which cannot be enjoyed at the local level.

    I would ask the ADS committee to statistically prove that in the small pony ONLY area that there has been sufficient accidents cause by lack of gator to warrant this rule change, taking into consideration what vehicles are used and at what levels small ponies are seen. Opinion of carriage balance (Which is extremely case by case) is not the same as statistical fact of accidents caused by lack of gator. In this gray area we find the alternative being to use the opinion of humane treatment of animals by asking them to pull more in the way of human passengers, which requires statistical analysis to prove where the inhumane treatment level is. A place no organization should want to go.

  15. annruger@aol.com says :

    June 19, 2016

    I think if a gator is required, then consider making the small pony course shorter…like only the hazard section.

    1. love2083 says :

      June 20, 2016


  16. csievers says :

    June 19, 2016

    I also strongly disagree with this rule change. As written now if a competitor wants the option to carry a gator they can, they are not penalized for doing so. By requiring a gator for small ponies we are asking much more of our small ponies than in any other division. As a new member or new driver friendly division this would require an immense amount of conditioning work to even just complete, a challenge that is not paralleled in other divisions. Let this division remain as is, beginner friendly for both the driver and the equine. Yes, carrying a gator for those at intermediate or above may be the safest option, the few drivers competing at that level are well aware of that. Let’s not create more barriers for training and prelim level drivers for entering this sport.

    1. csievers says :

      June 20, 2016

      In regards to the change to “section B only” I still disagree with this RCP. Again there is no evidence that this has been a safety issue in this division as compared to others. Even for section B only, a pony pulling weight equal to or exceeding their body weight is placing unnecessary stress on the equine. Many SP competitors, myself included, drive in suitable 2 wheeled carts in which there simply isn’t room for a second person because of the weight issue. As others have stated, there is no penalty for having a groom if the driver chooses, but mandating this rule change would kill this novice-friendly, growing division.

  17. pungoer1 says :

    June 19, 2016

    The VSE community worked for many years to get approval for those over39″ ponies to be able to compete without a navigator on marathon. I have seen so many new competitors back with their oversized VSEs that were unusable until that rule was passed. No one wants to go back to requiring a 330 lb pony to pull a minimum 100-250# vehicle with two adults on the back. There are very few places where the footing would be suitable for a small pony to compete with that amount of weight. Navigators are hard to find too!

  18. jrhartman says :

    June 19, 2016

    I strongly disagree with this rule change. The weight of two adults and a cart is more than the average 11.2 hh Welsh A pony weighs and it is unfair to ask them to compete with this weight on hilly courses. In addition, as a breeder of Welsh A ponies I am seeing a market developing for small ponies since many people want to drive in CDE’s but do not have a reliable gator. Changing the rules to require a gator will destroy the market for small driving ponies. I think it should be left to the driver to decide if their small pony can handle and/or needs a gator. People with very fit ponies who plan to go fast can choose to use a gator while the beginner pony drivers who plan to drive slowly and conservatively around the course can spare their pony the extra weight.

  19. LGranger says :

    June 19, 2016

    I also disagree with this rule change. I have never had an issue with my vehicle being unstable. If I have to find a small person to bring for a navigator and pay their expenses, etc. I will quit the sport. At least make it so that you don’t need a navigator through Preliminary. That way amateur adults that may not have the time to fully condition the pony to take two people can still compete at the lower levels. I like going to events by myself and not having to find another person and figure it out on my own. I do not find my vehicle ever to be unstable. Certainly no more so for my small ponies than my VSEs.

  20. ashemont says :

    June 19, 2016

    I, too, strongly disagree with this. I began driving a pair after doing my first CDE with a ‘gator. Although my pony is 12 hands (bigger than a small) and she was very well-conditioned, it still was a lot of weight for her and I felt it was not in her best interest to continue to require her to work so hard. I have watched many compete alone with a small single pony and haven’t once seen anything to make me think they needed more “ballast”. Newer carriages for small singles are not designed to require a ‘gator. They are well-balanced and engineered to hug the ground. For the well-being of the small ponies please do not adopt this suggested change.

  21. love2083 says :

    June 19, 2016

    I am NOT for this rule change. In 25years or more of driving I have gone from horses, prelim and intermediate, to a large pony also prelim and intermediate. I now have a small pony that I show prelim and intermediate. It is a wonderful division with a very enthusiastic group of drivers. I drive an aluminum Tadpole that weighs 165 pounds and does not even have a back step on it. I have never had an issue with it being unstable or unbalanced. I do not understand why this rule is even being considered as I have not heard of any marathon wrecks in this division. Our ponies are much better off soundness wise for not having to pull the extra weight. In fact, I would not be willing to ask my
    awesome pony to pull that weight. I feel this rule will Kill this division.

  22. critterrun says :

    June 19, 2016

    I also Disagree with this , It is a lot to ask a small pony E to pull 2 people in the deep mud or sand on the east coast .Most new carriages are not set up for 2 people
    I think this will lead to fewer entry’s . This is not what the sport needs

  23. edith1 says :

    June 19, 2016

    I also disagree with this proposed change. I drive 2 single small ponies..one 42″ in height and the other 11.2 hands and both are fine boned. The smaller one I compete up to Intermediate with a PAcific Smart Cart because I have found even a Tadpole too heavy for him. The 11.2 hand pony competes with a Tadpole and I did try a little heavier vehicle for him but felt it was too heavy. I have never heard of an accident with a small pony that could have been prevented by a navigator! Changing this rule would mean the end of my competing with my little pony and I doubt that I would ask my 11.2 to haul 2 people around a marathon course. Many of our CDE drivers started with VSEs and progressed to “bigger” things. Also the reason I got into small ponies was because I am on my own and they are a size I can handle quite well alone. I think we want to encourage people to show CDE and changing this rule would discourage many from showing their Small ponies!!!

  24. sallielynn says :

    June 19, 2016

    I strongly disagree with this proposed change. First, I want to see documented evidence that VSEs have had a notable number of accidents in which a Navigator would have been a mitigating factor. Carts which allow space for Navigators in the VSE division are generally too heavy for a single VSE, plus Whip, plus Navigator. Requiring this weight puts the VSE at severe risk of physical injury. This proposed change also puts an onus on the Competitor by requiring the cost of a different vehicle from their current and finding a Navigator of suitable size for a single VSE. This could result in diminished attendance by VSEs at ADS sponsored CDE events which would result in loss of revenue for ADS. ADS is best served by cultivating the VSE division rather than putting undue burdens upon it.

    1. sallielynn says :

      June 19, 2016

      Originally I thought this was for VSEs, but my thoughts are the same for small ponies. Let’s see some evidence, number of incidents that have provoked this rule change. Although I am currently competing in VSEs, I also have a Shetland and two Small Ponies I’m planning to compete with. I’m carefully watching this proposal carefully.

  25. NancyT says :

    June 19, 2016

    In complete opposition: 1.) there is no history of accidents 2.) this division has been enthusiastically accepted by competitors 3.) These constant rule changes attenuate interest and support. The ADS is always asking, ‘What can we do to promote the sport?’ Essentially removing a new, popular division will create tremendous bad feeling, and with good reason.

  26. Marjean McIntyre says :

    June 19, 2016

    I could not DISAGREE with this proposal any stronger. There only reason this division is growing and making this size pony viable is because of the non-navigator rule. I am not aware of a single accident that has been caused by the driver having no navigator. I was currently in the process of looking for a pony for this division but I will put the search on hold until this is decided. I have stopped competing because of the problem of finding a navigator that was available on an on going basis, so I was going to get back into the sport for the SOUL reason that I could go by myself and compete. I have no interest in driving a mini. Pass this rule and you kill this growing division. Again, I cannot state how much I oppose this rule change.

  27. Carey Floyd says :

    June 19, 2016

    I am a veterinarian and drive and compete small ponies. It is my opinion that it is too much to ask small ponies to compete with two adults on the carriage. It puts undue (and unnecessary) stress on small ponies. Small ponies are a perfect size for one to handle alone and when conditioned can easily carry one adult, but two adults is too much. I have invested in carriages, harness, etc. to compete with our small ponies and have no interest in competing with a VSE or large pony. If this rule change is approved it will eliminate me as a participant in combined driving events. Please do not move forward with this rule change.

  28. deborahh40 says :

    June 20, 2016

    This rule change seems uncalled for. The small pony division is perfect for encouraging a new career for outgrown children’s ponies. They can compete safely and are a great addition to our events. Their drivers are enthusiastic and also very aware of the ponies strengths and weaknesses. Adding the weight of a navigator would put an end to CDE careers of many smaller pony all for no apparent reason. Is there a system in place to not allow unsafe vehicles to compete if the Td thought it too unstable?

  29. judith martin says :

    June 20, 2016

    I have driven HDT and CDE for over 30 years, when this sport came to Florida I fell in love with the event. I have driven horses, ponies and now drive a small pony. I have just placed an order for a small vehicle without the back step. I have been driving my small pony with an easy entry and could not move up to preliminary due to equipment.
    I had always struggled to find a gator, always used different ones. As a sinle driver for years I will quit the sport completely ifI have to look for a gator. Now married my husband and I weight 375 pounds together. I have heard of no accidents in this division due to lack of gator.
    We have fight too hard to get this division. I will cancel my vehicle and quit the ADS if this new rule passes.

  30. nis75p06 says :

    June 20, 2016

    Yes, this is a change I will support. New carriages are also available to larger ponies that give the appearance of not needing additional moveable ballast on the backstep, yet for safety, navigators are still required. The cut off for small pony is arbitrary. If maintaining the change is needed for the competitiveness of the small pony, then the VSE division should be expanded to include a taller equine, encompassing VSE/SP in a single division, instead of maintaining separate divisions.

    1. love2083 says :

      June 20, 2016

      That has been tried in Florida. NOT a viable option!

  31. SandraHoyt says :

    June 20, 2016

    I want to express my complete disagreement with this RCP. This proposal should not be accepted for the following reasons:

    1. As others have expressed, there have been no reports of turnovers or other accidents within the single small pony drivers. NONE. How can this rule change be needed if there isn’t actually a problem?

    2. Carriages made for small ponies are built by the manufacturers so that they do not require a navigator for ballast. I personally own a Glinkowski small pony carriage and you can contact the manufacturers, they will tell you the same thing. They are made differently than the large equine carriages, which apparently have to be built unstable in order to accommodate a navigator. Contact Kutzman, Hardwick, WCC, and any of the other companies which make these carriages and they will verify this information.

    3. The small pony section covers equines from 100cm to just under 120cm. My pony is about 118+cm. His carriage is about 325lbs., I will admit to weighing more than I should at 180lbs., harness weighs about 30lbs (I’m estimating), add another navigator at about 150 lbs and you now have 685 lbs that you are asking a pony who weighs 480 lbs to pull for upwards of 10-12 km over hills, rough terrain, and through mud/sand. That is a more disparate ration of carrying weight to pony weight than any other large equine is asked to carry (with the exception of those poor 12 hand ponies). Now let’s consider that this rule would be asking ponies who are 100cm (10 hands!) to do this same thing.

    4. This rule would also apply to small pony drivers who drive 2-wheel carts on marathon. A navigator can provide no ballast in a 2-wheel cart and frankly, would not fit in a small pony 2-wheel cart very well with the driver.

    5. The small pony section is one of the largest growing sections in all of ADS. On social media groups, we now have over 600 interested drivers, competitors, breeders of small ponies who are either competing or interested in being involved. At some competitions there are as many as 6-10 small ponies competing at various levels. Passing this rule would virtually eliminate this section and result in a financial loss for many events. At a time when ADS is worried about support and growth and many CDEs are at risk of canceling due to low entries, this RCP is preposterous.

    6. There is currently a RCP in the Pleasure Driving section that reinforces no groom required for single small ponies, and recommends a single groom for pairs, tandems, unicorns, and four-in-hand small ponies. How can we have contradictory rules for small ponies in these two areas of competition? It’s quite simple, we cannot.

    Therefore, I respectfully ask the voting body to reject this rule change proposal.

  32. Teresa Jones says :

    June 20, 2016

    I will add my opinion that this rule change proposal is not founded in fact. I have not heard of any accidents caused by this problem. The change to NOT require a navigator opened up a previously closed division for those ponies that were out sized for the VSE division and not physically capable of dealing with the weight of having an extra person riding on the vehicle. In many instances this rule would actually cause insecurity in two wheeled vehicles by cramping the driver and navigator on a seat not large enough for two adults. Personally, I feel this rule change proposal is a step backwards in keeping this sport open to all who want to compete. The perceived problem has simply not manifest to require this unfounded rule change.

  33. ascrai says :

    June 20, 2016

    I voice my disagreement with many others to requiring a navigator in Marathon for small ponies in the 99-120 cm division. As I understand the current rule and wording found in the ADS rulebook, CD 937.1, a “groom is optional for all single turnouts less than 120CM”. The rule change passed in 2013 to allow small pony drivers the OPTION of a gator has been a boost to this growing division . Going back and requiring a gator in the marathon section seems like a huge step backwards for the small pony drivers. Is there verifiable evidence/data that a problem exists in the small pony division competing without a gator? I currently am driving a 41 inch pony with a 2 wheel cart and have not experienced any safety issues. This is a great discussion, but I do not see the need to require a gator for the small ponies. Leave the current rule in place and allow each small pony driver the OPTION to do what is in the best for them and their equine.

  34. JeffLegg says :

    June 20, 2016

    I ask that RC CD 943.2.13_REQUIRE SMALL PONY GATOR_17-031
    NOT be considered by the rules committee. As many have expressed previously I believe the additional weight of a navigator/groom is dangerous for the small pony athletes.

    From a personal aspect it appears that the small pony division is the only CDE group that is increasing in competitors. I also know the community has advocated for a division for years. Acceptance of this rule, I believe, would have a negative impact on our sport.

  35. cmoss41 says :

    June 20, 2016

    I respectfully request that this proposed change be rejected, to require Small Pony competitors to carry a navigator.
    Since the rule change to allow Small Ponies to go without ‘gator a few years ago, interest in competing with Small ponies has been high, bringing new competitors and interest into the sport. Small pony competitors are primarily grass-roots owner/whips, who come out for the love of the sport, fill the ranks of Training and Prelim, not seeking professional acclaim. We tend to have more limited acreage and limited help; most have chosen VSE or Small Pony level because it’s more manageable to compete than with a larger equine. In these times, when the ADS is concerned about declining participation, does it make sense to reverse a previous decision and disenfranchise an entire segment? Small ponies show up, pay their entries, have a great time safely. The submitter has not cited statistics that Small Ponies with lone Whips are creating safety issues. While it’s true that a ‘gator provides needed ballast at high speed, you’ll find that Small Pony Whips are conservative drivers, are not taking the dare-devil routes and tight turns which fling a carriage like the larger equines. The new 4-wheel carriages suitable for Small Ponies are quite stable w/o ‘gator; many Small Ponies compete with a 2-wheel cart. Small Pony drivers work hard to condition their ponies to for competition under today’s rules, networking through social media, sharing tips and tricks. Small Ponies requiring recheck after Vet Check are few. The stress on these ponies, and their owners, will increase exponentially if this proposed change is adopted. I have confidence that the ADS will not make this change without precedence or proof of safety issues. Thank you.

    1. cmoss41 says :

      June 20, 2016

      The ADS is a marvelous all-inclusive organization that provides a venue for everyone regardless of equine size, VSE to draft. Or driver age/size abilities. This differentiates it from other disciplines like Dressage and Western sports. The rule to allow Small Ponies to compete at weights comparable to their size increases this acceptance. Let’s not backtrack.

  36. drussell says :

    June 20, 2016

    I would like to express STRONG OPPOSITION to the proposed rule change regarding small pony navigators.
    1. As a committee member and most recently national committee chair of the American Shetland Pony Club/American Miniature Horse Registry ADS Committee we have spent the past several years promoting ADS within our organization. Our goal has been to encourage our members to cross over and participate in ADS events and to encourage ADS participants to try the breed show ring. We have created a new Carriage Division for VSEs that is modeled after ADS rules. We have rewritten the pony rules to follow closely to ADS rules. All this said, we have encouraged our members to try ADS CDEs and pleasure shows, thus have created our rules to allow for the equipment that would cross over, mostly two-wheeled carts. The thought behind this was to make it more economical for members to participate in both venues, eliminating the need for redundant equipment purchases. Most of these two-wheeled carts do not accommodate two occupants causing the financial burden of more equipment purchases, or just losing these competitors altogether.

    Over the past three years there has been a significant uptick of new participants in the Carriage Division of ASPC, most of which also participate in ADS events. The new AMHR Carriage Division that went into effect with the 2016 season has been very well received and those participants also cross over to ADS events. As representative of these participants on the national level, I can say that they would most likely chose to not participate in one or the other organizations due to cost of replacing equipment and disagreement with the amount of weight their ponies would be required to pull. I believe this would be a detriment to both organizations and counteract the entire cross promotion efforts that we have undertaken.

    2. As an owner and competitor in the small pony division at Training and Prelim levels for over ten years, I feel that this is a step backwards to require a navigator on the marathon course. My ponies are 42”-44” and only one of them can comfortably pull me and my husband/gator on the marathon course. He is now 18 and loosing that ability with age. We use a two-wheeled cart that we can barely fit in the seat together. I have seen no benefit of a passenger other than for company along the route and someone to help with timing. I feel much less stable in my cart with a passenger. I know that I am less stable and have to slow down to maneuver through the obstacles. In this example, a navigator creates more of a hazard. If I were to use a four-wheeled carriage with two adults I would be asking a 400 pound pony to pull 600-700 pounds. That is almost twice his weight. I believe this is detrimental to my ponies’ well-being; therefore I still drive a cart or use a pair with a four-wheeled carriage. Since the change in the gator rule in 2013, I have experienced a much happier pony with one person in the cart.

    3. As a board member and active participant in our local carriage clubs, I have seen a huge surge of interest in the small pony division due to the ability to participate without a navigator. Ten years ago, I was the only small pony competitor and had to compete with the large ponies. Now the VSE and Small Pony divisions are the largest in our local events. Many of our older members are downsizing due to their physical abilities and financial considerations. When retiring their older horses, they are replacing them with the smaller equines. A small pony is beneficial to a larger adult that may feel they are too big for a VSE. The ability for a single adult to participate without a navigator opens up the opportunity to more participants. At these events we have a variety of carts and carriages. I have not seen where any of these carriages were unstable or should have had a navigator when they did not, even with the most aggressive drivers.

    In summary, I believe ADS would be cutting out a significant portion of their membership and participants if this rule change were to pass.

    Diane Russell
    Hudson, CO

  37. bishopfield says :

    June 20, 2016

    Small pony drivers have proven to be safe, courteous competitors at driving events. They are concerned for the welfare of their ponies and ask that they be allowed to continue doing the marathon portion of a CDE without the added weight of a navigator. None of the small pony drivers have been involved in an accident on course. Drivers must spend more time learning the routes and obstacles, making them much more aware of any possible safety concerns. Small pony drivers help each other at vet checks, making sure there are no problems.

    I own two competition vehicles–a Bellcrowne and a Kutzmann micro-fox. Both are exceptionally stable, groundhugging carriages. ( No ballast needed.) I safely do several CDE’s a year with no problems (other than wondering what happened to A or driving a set of cones backward.) Hopefully the option of competing without a navigator policy for small ponies will continue for ADS events. Please reject the proposed rule change.
    Bishop Field Dartmoors
    Clyde, OH

  38. Lesli Schmeltzer says :

    June 20, 2016

    I am opposed to the rule modification. While I can not relay my objections as eloquently and thoroughly as those who have previously commented, I would like to lend my voice to those speaking out against this change as it pertains to my situation.

    As a new ADS member, I was rethinking my VSE to perhaps change to small pony, as I am not petite and need just a little more power than my current VSE provides. We were in a schooling derby, and I feel I need just a little more power. I would not participate at all if a navigator were required for small pony. And I am not comfortable nor do I care to afford to drive pairs.

  39. SandraHoyt says :

    June 20, 2016

    Not only did I oppose the original RCP, but I oppose this revised RCP for all the same reasons. In fact, I’m confused as to how it can possibly be permissible to revise the RCP after it has been published and discussion has already begun.

    Back to the issues at hand–there is no data that single small ponies are any less safe on section B than anyone else is. We must learn our course on our own and therefore are very aware of the conditions on course. This RCP should be voted down as there is simply no logical need for it.

  40. Mike.Arnold says :

    June 20, 2016

    Thanks for everyone’s comments – this is exactly what the Rule Change Process Blog is here for – to involve the carriage driving community in rule changes, before and after the technical committee (like the combined driving committee) decides to (or not) recommend to the board a particular suggestion for inclusion in the rulebook.

    It does seem that one thing is getting lost in this discussion and that is this is not a proposal/suggestion from the ADS proper, but was submitted by a member. For the past several years, when anyone submits a rule change suggestion, then that suggestion is posted to this blog and anyone that is interested in commenting may do so.

    The process for rule changes includes the submission of suggestions by members and/or the technical committees, comments from the membership, then, the applicable technical committee will review and make a recommendation for each of the suggestions. During August, those recommendations are reflected in this same blog and opened back up from comment. In September, the technical committee reviews all of the comments and the appropriateness of the change and makes a set of final recommendations to the Board – which the Board votes on either in the fall Board Meeting, or lately in a special Board meeting just to consider the recommended rules changes. Sometimes, the Board will send a particular rule change proposal to the technical committee for further refinement and those are returned to the Board or Executive Committee for final approval/disapproval.

    For example, if someone were to make the suggestion that ‘Purple Reins’ be used for Ponies and ‘Yellow Reins’ for horses (etc), that suggestion _WOULD_BE_ posted. (I think there is even a song about this 🙂 ) If that were to happen, I would expect a number of comments on the appropriateness of Yellow.

    This is but one way to make the rule change process as open as possible, but it does require understanding that these are just the start of a process and not near final decisions, and that comments are welcome, but that care should be taken to not let those comments trip into that ‘viral’ state too often witnessed online.

    I encourage everyone to look at the other rule change suggestions too – there may be a suggestion you like, post about that too!

    If there are any questions or concerns about this process, or anything else really, feel free to send me an email atma@snowcamp.org.

    keep those comments coming,
    Mike Arnold

    1. adeppe says :

      June 21, 2016

      Thank goodness for ‘viral commentary’. Maybe if there had been such a thing twenty years ago, I wouldn’t have lost the value of my small inheritance when I purchased a custom made Bennington two wheel marathon cart with the idea of driving Advanced – some of us run out of money to inherit, and lack influence altogether except in great, vocal numbers.

  41. sebaum says :

    June 20, 2016

    I also am opposed to this rule change and modification. It is inhumane to expect a small pony to pull this much weight on a marathon course. With all equine sports under careful scrunity for abuse how can the ADS condone putting this added burden on small ponies? Is the goal to have these little equines collapsing on the course and making national headlines?

  42. mommadoll says :

    June 20, 2016

    I am opposed to the additional weight a small pony would have to pull if this rule gets voted in. This is a growing division and I think this rule would not be in the best interest of the small pony division.

  43. evedex says :

    June 21, 2016

    I too am shocked that this rule proposal has been offered. Perhaps the larger small ponies can pull safely around B with two very small adults on a carriage but remember that this division also includes 100cm equines as well as larger humans. You are therefore asking the ponies to pull, in many cases, 3 or more times their weight around a course, including hills and often water…and the water is often very deep compared to where it reaches on full size horses, at speed. I do believe that this will be putting the animals welfare in danger!
    Also, as stated by others, there is a growing number of drivers that have VSE’s and Small Ponies due to age of owners, cost of maintenance or just the fact that it is hard for them to get navigators to go with them to shows so they have invested in the smaller equines. I do believe many of these competitors will therefore opt out of endangering their animals by showing. Without the Small Ponies, there is a very real chance that quite a few shows will find themselves without enough competitors to run. We have lost enough shows over the past years, I hate to see the industry depleted even further by a misguided rule.
    If there is a realistic safety reason for this rule change, which includes proper research into the welfare of the Small Ponies, then I think that the person proposing this change needs to inform us and the committee so an educated decision can be made. Perhaps a driver’s choice at intermediate level would be acceptable as a rule change, but otherwise I think this is a misguided submission.

  44. claudiadelorme says :

    June 21, 2016

    Respectfully Submitted By Claudia Wilson DeLorme

    I strongly oppose any change to rule CD943.2.13. There simply are no facts or data supporting the argument that single small pony drivers risk themselves or their animals without a navigator.
    I have watched educated single small pony drivers safely wind through tricky Southern Pines hazards and around and over the Katydid CDE mound hazard – without a navigator. I have seen fit and well-prepared small ponies keenly weave through a twisting Derby course, intent on what their driver is asking – successfully and safely meeting the challenge without a navigator.
    I could go on about some of the advancements in carriages and equipment being discussed by small pony drivers – earnest conversation surrounding care and fitness and training and lessons and clinics – all aimed at improvement which leads to even higher levels of a safety. This doesn’t even touch on the quick growth of a new division adding to the CDE competitive base, which is in itself another important story.
    Instead, I repeat the simple basis for not allowing this proposed rule change. There are no facts or data to support it.

  45. caroline says :

    June 21, 2016

    As a small pony competitor, I strongly disagree with this rule change. I agree, the small pony driver are a very conscientious group, concerned with safety and welfare of their equines. Imposing this rule change is an added stress to single small pony. I strongly oppose this rule change.

  46. AndreaG says :

    June 21, 2016

    I strongly oppose this. As one of those coveted “younger drivers” new to the sport – 31 and likely to stay with the sport – I have a slightly different viewpoint from many of my competitors. My current driving horse (full size) is now out of my string for a few years on broodmare duty. I am half the age of my competitors and as such am solidly entrenched in the working world. All of my friends have young families or full time jobs, and it is nearly impossible to find and bring a regular navigator with me anywhere. It’s SO hard. So, I took on a small Pony – just a bit over 40″. She is barely bigger than VSE size, and the reason I got her was because I don’t have to have a navigator. If I want to stay in this sport while the other mare is on broodie duty, this is my option. But if I need to have a navigator, then I am back to the same problem I have with my big horse.
    Not all of us are wealthy and retired and can just snap our fingers and whip up a groom out of nowhere. Some of us want the fair chance to compete in and enjoy this sport without having to secure extra help along the way. And some of us can’t fault the fact that our VSEs grew an extra inch. The small pony division exists for a reason.

  47. Tracey Morgan says :

    June 21, 2016

    I am opposed to the RCS. I have driven small ponies in competition and have students who currently do. This division is growing in popularity and there have NOT been a higher than normal rate of accidents. Some Drivers have invested in purchasing carriages especially built for this division and it would be unfair to change the rules without a good reason.
    The lower center of gravity for small ponies and the car

  48. daves says :

    June 21, 2016

    This is a giant step backward in the advancement of small ponies in CDEs. As many others have asked, where is the need for this change especially so soon after the original elimination of said grooms? Was not aware eliminating grooms was to be a “trial run”. In light of the increased interest and lack of evidence of incidents, a “perceived” lack of stability is not sufficient grounds for a reversal in this matter.

    On another related matter, we should modify the requirements for the Intermediate II division by no longer requiring the full adherence to FEI carriage and groom rules. This ADS division was designed to be an introduction to Advanced dressage, giving folks an opportunity to dip their toe in without all the expensive equipment; similar to the relaxed requirements at the Training level. Let ’em try it out before going all in.

  49. frostypony says :

    June 21, 2016

    I own 2 small ponies that I compete single in CDEs and HDTs at the prelim level that will be affected by this rule change. I am strongly opposed to going back to requiring gators for small pony singles. My current single carriage is two wheeled marathon cart where extra “ballast” is not only unnecessary but would be completely inappropriate as it has been designed and engineered to correctly balance with one person in the cart. If “ballast” is the only reason one can find to justify making this rule change than the justification is weak and ill conceived at best in my experience with my successful and so far accident free small pony showing career. If there are greater safety issues or concerns for the well being of the small single ponies competing, then by all means bring forward actual data and statistics documenting the issues. But when you get down to it, the root cause of any actual problem(s) is unlikely going to be a lacking of ballast.

  50. Kmorgan1 says :

    June 21, 2016

    As an event organizer, I’ve watched the small pony contingent grow significantly over the last few years. The progression has been very much like the growth in VSE entries after the ADS allowed them to compete without gators. The proposed rule change would instantly reverse that trend. So where would these small pony drivers go? They would not stop competing. They would go to local play days and Driving Derbies where there are no ADS rules. So we would be reducing entries in ADS sanctioned events and pushing small pony drivers to other competition venues that are arguably less safe with one ill-advised rule change. What is the underlying problem we’re trying to solve here? It’s not a welfare of the horse issue. No safety issue has been demonstrated. What benefit to the driving community outweighs the negative impact of this rule change? I don’t see it. We should reject this proposal.

    1. esulser says :

      June 21, 2016

      I am new to CDE’s. I currently have only competed with VSE’s and had a blast! I have recently acquired a couple of Small Ponies. I was looking forward to competing in the Small Pony Division. But this new rule will make it impossible. These small ponies can not pull the weight of 2 adults. Please put a stop to this rule. I have a few clients who feel they are too big for the VSE’s and want to participate with Small Ponies. These are people who are planning to join the association in the next month and plan to attend the National Convention this fall. I would be unfortunate for the association to loose these people.

      I am a safety first person. If I felt at all unsafe with my small Ponies, I would be the first one to back up this proposal. Please reconsider this proposal.

  51. bobbihoe says :

    June 21, 2016

    I am very much against this rule change. Are we not trying to attract new and younger people to this sport? Don’t you think that most that have downsized to small pony/vse have done so due to age or health related issues…..joint problems, loss of strength, new body parts? This gives the aging driving population an option to keep on competing and not having to worry about having a gator. It is also going to mean less revenue to ADS. Right now I drive VSE, and if having a gator gets passed I will no longer compete in ADS events. Even if i changed to a larger VSE I could still use my current harness and carts…….and even a 38 inch mini could have a problem being competitive if forced to carry two persons unless they (driver and gator) are very small people. ADS is going to lose a growing portion of the VSE group if this passes. Most of us drive a carriage that will not allow two to be very comfortable…….Please consider leaving the rule the way it is……your revenues will decrease assuredly. Many of the VSE drivers that I drive with come out of the large horse world and are very skilled horse people…….we, I would say in MOST instances, do our due diligence to be safe. One reason I was attracted to this sport is because of the emphasis on safety, but this is going a little overboard.

  52. cathyjo76 says :

    June 21, 2016

    Submitted by Cathy Rhoades
    As one of the many people who originally proposed the small pony rule I disagree with this new RCP. As a former VSE driver and now a small pony driver, I have competed in the midwest area in CDE’s. I am very concerned with safety for both the driver and the pony. For most small ponies, a second person is a big strain on them in a competition. There has been no reported incidences of issue without a navigator that I have been aware of or has been cited in any public forum. The small pony division has grown and allowed many new drivers to compete in our sport. Along with that has been an increased interest in building the best equipment for the small ponies. Respectfully, I hope this RCP will not be considered for 2017.
    ( BTW-I like Lime Green reins…..)

  53. troikafarm says :

    June 21, 2016

    Had trouble registering. This is Sharon crawford Mackay from London ontario. I have a vseand small. Have competed for five years at metamora Windsor trace southern pines. Etc. I do not recall a safety issue just saying. Yes safety is important but let’s use common sense. There should be a committee to see if rule changes has merit. It should not get this far and upset so many people. My ponies welfare is a priority. The physical and mental strain an extra person would cause her is not acceptable. She is my priority. There fore I think this rule change should not be. I hope when a decision is made we are informed immediately. Also this revision to section b is also not acceptable.

  54. hacwilkins says :

    June 21, 2016

    I hope this rule change does not pass as it would put undue stress on the smaller ponies. Some courses are hard on even a pair of VSE’s with a carriage and whip and gator a single slightly larger VSE/small pony would not have a chance. With shows canceling and getting hard to fill why run off potential drivers with the added burden of finding a navigator or stressing out a pony? Many of us who drive VSE have pony’s that just barely are too tall and have to move up. We are already on the short end of the competition and to add extra weight would put us out all together. Please leave the rule as it is written now.

  55. DonnaBC says :

    June 22, 2016

    Safety to the pony and the driver is a concern for all owners/whips at home and at all competitions. For a small pony, the added strain to carry/pull an additional person may not be in the best interest of the pony’s well-being, depending on the difficulty of the terrain (hills)…in the Southern flat states this might not be an issue, but in the Northeast hilly terrain of several competition sites this can/could be an issue. I would suggest that there not be a requirement to have a navigator, but that there is a choice to have a navigator.

  56. troikafarm says :

    June 22, 2016

    This is for roc cd 943.2.13 hope this is correct place
    Sharon crawford Mackay of London ontario here
    I reject this proposal of requiring a gator for section B of marathon for small ponies. What is it based on? Has there been accidents? Safety is very important but facts should dictate when the rule is changed. It would be like locking your pony up all the time just because he/she might get hurt. That would make no sense. Pulling the extra weight could cause serious injury. I hope the committee will seriously reconsider this proposal.

  57. cathy franks says :

    June 22, 2016

    I am strongly opposed to this rule change. I have in the past driven small ponies and know that asking small ponies to pull the added weight of a navigator in a competition setting is asking too much of the ponies- it is inhumane.
    This division has added many new competitors to the sport which the sport really needs to stay financially viable. I have seen not seen or heard of any evidence of safety issues. I have noted that Carriage makers are making great strides in making appropriate carriages for this division in the last couple of years. Let us not kill the division with this rule change.

  58. Truffles says :

    June 22, 2016

    I disagree with this RC suggestion. Asking a small pony to drag 2 adults thru sand/mud hills and water is not in the equines best interest. As stated in many other letters the 4 wheel marathon carriages are not designed to safely carry a navigator. 2 wheeled carts are totally not designed to have 2 people making it actually dangerous to drive a hazard at speed. We are a very competent, safety conscious group of drivers. Please don’t let this RC go thru

  59. pcarter13 says :

    June 23, 2016

    I am strongly against this rule change. I myself drive a 34″ VSE without a navigator at the Intermediate level, but I know many who compete in the Small Pony division ranging from Training to Intermediate. One of the largest draws to the Small Pony division is that the equine is large/powerful enough to pull ONE full size adult (let’s face it, we aren’t all petite) and the equipment is small enough that you can haul it easily. I will say that I have in the past gatored for a small pony entry, but it wasn’t for safety reasons – it was to make sure the driver at Training Level was confident with the obstacles and to help stay on course. In that instance, we rode in a 2-wheel bench seat cart and we were VERY uncomfortable and UNSTABLE having to walk in the hazards during turns so that we wouldn’t tip over!!! The driver has driven alone at speed during derby games in the exact same cart (WITHOUT a gator) and was 100% stable since they could maneuver their weight for balance. Something there is NO ROOM FOR with a gator on the bench seat. With that, the reasoning behind this change is incorrect. The driver is actually more stable on their own. Other small pony entries that I know have invested THOUGHSANDS of dollars into ONE-SEATER small pony marathon carriages, both 2 and 4-wheel. Since they would no longer be able to use their carriages, this rule change would greatly hurt the division at our HDTs & CDEs, pushing members to instead partake in only club play day shows (which they don’t need an ADS membership for – GOODBYE membership dues! For those who would stick it out and buy a new carriage, it is likely for financial and lightness of carriage reasons (because you are now making the equine pull two people – need to save weight somewhere) that they would buy a cheaper and lighter 2-wheel carriage thereby making them sit side-by-side and making the entire rig LESS SAFE and MORE LIKELY to tip over in obstacles, especially once advanced to the higher levels where (although safety is always first) you are encouraged to canter/gallop in order to decrease time penalties within the obstacles!! For these reasons, there is no logical reason for this change to go through. Only negative things can come of it.

  60. heelersnhorses says :

    June 23, 2016

    I too strongly oppose this RC suggestion of requiring the addition of a navigator/groom for Small Ponies on Section B of the Marathon course. As a Small Pony owner, I will not jeopardize the soundness and well-being of my partner with the additional weight and added strain of a gator while going around hilly, sandy, or muddy courses. My current vehicle is sized for a single person and I travel to events by myself, so I do not have reliable access to a person to gator. But even if I did, I would not do this to my pony. His welfare is my priority.

    The stated reason for change is ballast? Where are the facts and data to back up this suggestion? By requiring the addition of a gator, instead of continuing the current option of allowing one at the whip’s discretion, the ADS will certainly lose participants in their events. That’s not something any of us who love driving want to see happen……

  61. susanj11 says :

    June 28, 2016

    Assuming that a large VSE weighs approximately 400lbs two persons in the cart would likely weigh easily 300 lbs. . to be fair that means a full size horse should have persons in their cart which would need to weigh approx. 700 lbs to have equal person load percentage. I am certainly against this rule change, and hope the consideration is discarded promptly. One person in the cart.. and the whips choice if they want more “ballast”.

  62. Zantke says :

    July 25, 2016

    as many have expressed already, I don’t think we want nor need this rule change proposal. Seems to me, we are ok they way we are on this.

  63. ashemont says :

    July 26, 2016

    Opposed to this modification. Not in the best interests of the equine.

  64. levans0277 says :

    July 27, 2016

    I am not a VSE driver but in the interest of the welfare of small ponies and VSEs, I DO NOT support requiring a navigator on any section of the marathon. We have to consider the well being of the animal. Most are already carrying their weight plus.

  65. kashley says :

    July 27, 2016

    In the best interest of the equines, I oppose this rule change proposal.

  66. Marjean McIntyre says :

    July 27, 2016

    I still STRONGLY disagree with this proposal, even as modified. NO navigators in ANY section.

  67. e.matulich says :

    August 26, 2016

    Even with modification, I am not in favor of this proposal for the many eloquent reasons already stated. The small pony division has added new life to our sport, and there is no reason to add onerous requirements.

Comments are closed.