Questions for a Green Driver Showing for the 1st Time

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StardustandBreezysMom

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I just purchased a wonderful driving mare and am having so much fun driving however; I just signed up for my first driving show. It's small and local..nothing big and fancy but want to do it right and have a few questions!

1. My reins are pretty long and buckle on the end. I understand that I should hold them as if I am riding with the extra coming out above my thumb. My question is, what do I do with the extra rein that is so long it hangs down to the bottom of the cart floor. Should it be cut and made shorter? Should the extra reing hang down between my legs or off to the side?

2. I use harness pads just for added comfort...are those not ok to use in a show?

3. Attire? Brown Gloves? My reins are black.

4. Should the whip be held upright or at an angle in the outside hand?

5. If your horse get's uneasy when standing and waiting for the judge, can you circle around and get back in line or is that a DQ?

Any tips/tricks for this newbie would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!
 
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Al B

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1. Sit on them. Its a safety thing.

2. They are OK under the saddle but I don't like breast pads.

3. Brown gloves are traditional. The reins should also be brown but you have to go with what you have.

4. 45 degrees to the left and 45 degrees forward in the right hand.

5. Its not a DQ but depending on the class its a big markdown.
 

Marsha Cassada

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1. If the reins buckle, just let them hang down in the middle. VERY BAD if they hang below the cart basket. Some driving reins have a leather thong by the buckle that fits over a finger, which takes up the slack. I would fear sitting on them might inhibit your rein motion, but that would be better than having them dangle under the cart. Don't exactly understand about the "extra" rein. I would not cut them. You might ask a steward or one of the show personnel about the reins; or another competitor, if you feel comfortable.

2. I've never seen a breast pad in the show ring. But the velvet black one for the saddle is common.

3. I think black gloves would be fine.

5. Use a Header. The Header comes in as the horses are lined up and stands at the horse's head. The Header should only touch the horse if necessary. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how still your horse will stand there.

Best of luck! Hope you will share your Show Story afterward.
 

Al B

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My answers were from an ADS CDTD perspective and a whole lot of breed ring driving. If your lines are dangleing loose you may not pass the safety inspection (ADS). Sitting on the tail ends is the standard practice. It has to do with the ability to recover a dropped line. Putting your little pinkie in the finger loop is a good way to lose a pinkie in a runaway. Black gloves are acceptable in the breed ring since no one wears gloves anyway but are a big no no in ADS. I use the Waffle sweat pads instead of a velvet saddle pad. In the breed ring the header touches the horse only in the case of an emergency. Touching the horse before the judges have turned in their cards is a big ding. It goes to disobedience.

Good luck and "just do it". Have fun.
 

poniesrule

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HI! I am green too, I showed in my very first show this weekend!!! We did great! No first places, but I managed to stay in control and in the cart while literally shaking with nerves. Trick #1... RELAX & breathe!!! The judges took the time to chat with me while waiting for results, & they were very helpful. Most of what they said answered your questions, things I didn't even think about.

1) Buckle the reins, loop under inside of leg, then sit on them. I didn't know that, & coming from a western show world I stupidly left them unbuckled & down. They rode in the cart with me & didn't drag, but looking back it is dangerous.

2) Most harnesses had a saddle pad, but no breast pad. It would count as your turnout from what I understand, it's better to not have them, but if you do it's not the end of the world. If you're only hoping to get through the class alive (like I was) then it really doesn't matter. If you're hoping to place, then look like the professionals.

3) I didn't wear gloves, some people did, some people didn't. I would have to practice to be comfortable in them since I never ever wear gloves at anytime. I think the gloves should match your outfit rather than your harness & reins, but that's just me... so I'm probably not helping with this question lol.

4) My whip was at an angle... the judges said that for my first time out (& only 3-4 months driving), my hands were good, so I assume my whip was ok to? I would say I was about 45 degrees like Al B suggested.

5) Header! I didn't have one, I didn't need one. But if you question it, I think having a header just in case is a great idea.

Other tips/tricks 1) don't over-estimate how your horse will stop in the line-up. Usually my guy stops like a western reining horse, but the ground was uneven & the cart pushed him forward, we almost ran over the judge! 2) Make sure your number is clearly visible, mine was tilted at an angle & judge told me it was hard to place me because she was tired of looking for it (I don't blame her!). 3) If your horse shies from some scary people in the stands (in this case my daughter & father in law) take it in stride and react the same way you would at home. Things to practice at home that would have made a HUGE difference in my experience were longer "stand" & gait transitions by the enter/exit. Now, my experienced gelding was a turkey trying to duck out of the arena with me, but when my 7 year old used him in youth he was perfect... maybe an operator error?? Practice backing up straight. That actually turned out to be something I wasn't expecting to be difficult but was. And last but not least, HAVE FUN!!!
 

StardustandBreezysMom

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Thank you all so much! I was most concerned about the reins for safety reasons. My easy entry cart has a wooden floor with small spaces between the slats of wood. I noticed the other day that the metal buckle connecting my reins slipped down between the spaces in the wooden slats on the floor of the cart and when I quickly tried to pull it back through, it didn't come easily. I had to stop the horse and then fidget with turning the buckle so it would come back through. Sitting on the end of the reins seems like a good option. Our first show is on Sunday, July 13th so I'll keep you all posted! I'll check into the header option. That's a good idea! We are working on standing still though and it's coming along...She's very good about getting in and out of the cart ...it's just when it's been over a minute, she starts to get a little impatient...not sure how many will be in the class and how long it will take the judge...
 

Marsha Cassada

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I use an easy entry cart also and the reins falling between the slats was an issue.

My header wears a black nylon grooming smock. She just puts it on over whatever she is wearing and looks good in the lineup.

I think you will be surprised at how well your horse stands in the lineup. I worried about that, too, but there is something about being in a line with the other horses that affects them; maybe it is a herd-thing. Mine did keep shaking his head one time, which the judges did not like.

Do practice backing on uneven surface, though, as many arenas are rather deep and not smooth. If your horse isn't used to the resistant pressure, she may not back as smoothly as you know she can.

You might inquire of the show manager how to get a written critique from the judges. That is sometimes offered, I believe.

Win or lose, I hope you have fun!
 

fourluckyhorseshoes

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She's very good about getting in and out of the cart ...it's just when it's been over a minute, she starts to get a little impatient...not sure how many will be in the class and how long it will take the judge...
I would practice this---when you are finished driving make her stand still, as if she were in a line up. The judge will come to you and expect you to back up 3 steps and then 3 steps forward to your original position. Depending on how many people are in the class it could be a bit of a wait. Start by making her stand 1 min and build it up from there.
 

Field-of-Dreams

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I hold the end of the reins in my hand, running through between my pinkie and ring finger. I never liked sitting on them, for some reason.

Please excuse Poopy riding in the cart- this was the only pic I had of me holding the reins! He loves riding along....

Poopy driving.jpg
 
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minihorsecwgrl

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1)I cut my buckle off! it got stuck between the slats of my cart and while I was trying to get it out my horse was green and freaked out! it was a rough experience for both of us, in my book, buckle = Bad. I went to a show last year and she had her reins buckled together and her horse freaked and took off in the ring and the girl got her foot wrapped up in the reins. Now I take the reins and put one rein under each leg.

2) I use harness pads in show

3) black gloves with black reins

4) I hold my whip straight up and it doesn't move the whole class

tips and tricks:

while in the walk, look at the other horses. If there are any horses that look alittle crazy or excited, STAY AWAY. Keep your distance from all the horses, if you have a fast horse and you need to pass, go to the inside and leave plenty of space. Hope this all helps and you have a great time showing!!!!!!
 

StardustandBreezysMom

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Thank you everyone for the tips and tricks! We had a great time! Here is a little video one of our mini friends made at the show of the driving class. I'm the one in the Gray coat with the dapple gray. We took home a 3rd place out of 7. The judge only asked us to walk and trot both directions of the ring. Thought we would have to back or do an extended trot but she never asked us. She did comment to all of us that she loved watching us and we all looked like we were having fun. She also said she doesn't get to judge driving very often! I'm looking forward to doing a few more now that my first one went well! Mini Horse Driving in Lancaster, NH 7/13th -

 

StardustandBreezysMom

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Thanks! Well, I learned that you really have to plan ahead to allow enough space between carts so that you do not end up in a traffic jam in the corner of the ring. At one point on a corner during a trot I ended up boxed in and really started to panic that I would have to bring her back down to a walk (large wagon in front of me and another passing on my side) but then the wagon sped up and it all worked out...if I would have planned ahead I could have maybe circle her using 1/2 the ring (if that is allowed??) Also, I learned that she can and does stand much better then I though she would. We had no problems there! This was a pony/mini class and the pony that took 1st place looked amazing and every detail was thought about from the cart to their attire to their pony's behavior and reinmanship. I can see how this could be an expensive hobby!
 

wingnut

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Congrats! I hope to drive for the first time in a show next year
default_smile.png
You've given me some encouragement to make it happen!
 

Marsha Cassada

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Yes, it can be expensive if one is very competitive, or has a farm to promote. But it can still be enjoyed with the minimum also. Depends on what ambitions one has.

Sounds like you both handled the congestion very well! A mix of miniature and pony would be challenging, as the speed of each is so different.

Thanks for posting!
 

HGFarm

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Excellent job and sounds like you had fun! Congrats on your placing!
 

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