At one time, the majority of horses in use were driving horses. Today, driving horses are kept for show and competition more than need for transport and their numbers have dwindled. Competitive driving is a demanding sport using horses in pairs or teams of four to six. In competitive driving, horses perform a style of dressage specific to the discipline as well as navigate through courses and obstacles at high speed. It can be a harrowing to watch.
Cart classes exist for several breeds from draft horses to hackney ponies. These classes are among the favorite spectator classes at open shows and fair competitions.
Harness racing is another form of driving competition similar to horse racing but utilizing “trotters,” specifically bred, standard-bred horses that excel at lightning-fast trot gaits.
The ideal cart horse has high head carriage and exaggerated gaits with high knee action. Competition driving leans towards a more athletic build with a less upright shoulder and vertical headset.
- Cleveland Bay
- Pony Breeds
- Standard Bred