X RCS2015#51 – Rules for ‘Derby Driving’ (see also #103)

2015 RCS #
Creates rules for Derby Driving
Date Received
Jennifer Matheson
Change Date
As soon as possible in 2014
Open for comments – 1June14
Initial Posting: 1June14

Current Wording – New

Suggested Wording

Derby Driving (Modified Arena Driving Trial)

Eligibility: Competition is open to all drivers and equines. VSE; Small pony; large pony; Horse – Single; Pair; Four-in-Hand The Competition Rules for Derby driving will be based upon ADS rules for Combined Driving events. Certain modifications will be required to accommodate facility dimensions.

The Course: The Series is held over courses with: -A maximum of four marathon type obstacles – 8 – 12 cone-type compulsory gates (depending on the size of the driving arena) A marathon type obstacle may have up to a maximum of 5 gates.

The Competition: In principle both Round 1 and Round 2 are run as time competitions, with penalties converted to seconds. The times of the two Rounds will be added for each participant. The starting order for Round 1 will be determined by the OC. The starting order for Round 2 will be the reverse order of the placing in Round 1. In principle, the course will be the same for Round 1 and Round 2. If there is a change in the course for Round 2, a 15 minute course walk is allowed.

The Course: One common Start / Finish gate, 3 meters wide shall be used. The Official will signal with a whistle or a bell. Timing will start as the nose of the horse crosses the entry gate or 45 seconds after the signal, whichever occurs first. Timing will stop when the nose of the horse crosses the Finish gate. In a marathon type obstacle the lettered gates marked with red and white flags are to be driven in the right direction and sequence.  There are no entrance or exit gates for marathon type obstacles. In a marathon type obstacle, each gate becomes individually open once it has been passed. The parts without gates are free after the signal has rung and the Athlete has crossed the start line. Passing a compulsory gate in the wrong direction or sequence is elimination, unless corrected by the athlete. Once an obstacle (cone) has been passed it is open and can be passed again. Dislodging or knocking down an element, however, count as penalties.

Penalties: Seconds:

Dislodging a ball in a single obstacle 5

Knocking over or down any element of a marathon type obstacle 5

Causing an obstacle to be rebuilt (clock stops) 5

Groom (s) or driver dismounting 1st or 2nd time (Clock does not stop) 10 per incident Groom uses the reins or the brake 20

Wrong course in a marathon type obstacle, corrected 20

First or second disobedience no penalties

If a ball is dislodged or a dislodge able element is knocked down by any means, a penalty of 5 seconds is applied.


Third disobedience Elimination

Groom (s) or driver dismounting for the 3rd time Elimination

Wrong course single obstacle (sequence or direction) Elimination

Wrong course, not corrected, in marathon type obstacles Elimination

Failing to pass through start or Finish gates Elimination

Carriage turnover Elimination

Excessive use of the whip Elimination

Disobediences are defined as: 

When an athlete attempts to pass through an obstacle and the horse(s) shy away from the obstacle at the last minute without hitting any part of the obstacle. 

When the athlete has lost effective control of the horses in the opinion of the Official.

Specifications to the Rules:

1. All balls or other dislodge able elements which are knocked down, remain on the ground until the Athlete has finished the course, unless the Official has rung the bell and the marathon type obstacle has to be rebuilt.

2. If in the course of competition one ball of a single obstacle has been dislodged (a 5 second penalty is incurred), an additional 5 second penalty is given if the other ball on the same obstacle is dislodged later by whatever means.

3. If any part of an obstacle in advance of the one being driven is significantly dislodged or knocked down, the Official will ring the bell and stop the clock for the obstacle to be rebuilt. The athlete will incur a 5 second penalty for each knocked down element and an additional 5 seconds for each will be added to the time for rebuilding. The clock will restart when the athlete is approximately 10 meters from the rebuilt obstacle. Significantly dislodging an element means that the element of a marathon type obstacle is moved or knocked over in a way that the Athlete has no possibility to continue his course through the lettered gates, or the obligatory gate is clearly changed in position and original width. If not significantly displaced, the Official does not ring the bell and the Athlete has to continue the course.

4. If any part of a marathon type obstacle is significantly dislodged while the Athlete in in the obstacle, and the Athlete cannot continue his course, the Official rings the bell immediately and stops the clock. After the obstacle is rebuilt the Official will ring the bell to signal the start. The Athlete must drive the obstacle starting at Gate A. The clock will start when the Athlete passes Gate A. For each knocked down element a 5 second penalty will apply, and for rebuilding, each time, an additional 5 second penalty is added.

5. All grooms must be on the carriage when the carriage passes the finish. Failure will result in elimination. Other Rules: The size of the driving arena will be determined by the Organizing Committee. Officials: One Combined Driving (“r” or higher) Judge or a non-competing experienced FEI level driver (having competed in at least 5 FEI level driving competitions). Dress: Athletes and grooms must wear securely fastened protective headgear which meets ASTM / SEI standards for equestrian use. Protective vests are strongly recommended.

Reason for change

This type of competition is gaining traction in the USA. I think it is important that we have a standardized set of rules and use these rules to create a new approved competition that falls under the rules and regulations on the American Driving Society. I ran this competition over the winter with positive results. We had 3 qualification events, and the top 3 drivers in each class advanced to the finals. This type of competition can run as a stand alone event, or as a series. I feel it is important that we come up with a name that defines the competition. I discourage the use of the word “Scurry” as we have a scurry class in Pleasure Driving and the same rules do not apply. I also discourage the use of the words “race or racing”