Thursday, 17 February 2011

Carriage Driving in the UK

 The typical picture in one’s mind when thinking of carriage driving is usually either one of a rag and bone man with his horse and cart or of a Victorian era horse drawn carriage. However, International Carriage Driving is sanctioned by the Federation Equestrian International (FEI) as since they state that ‘horses were driven long before they were ridden’, and Carriage Driving became an equestrian discipline in 1970 and as a result it is one of the oldest competitive equestrian sports that is still practised today.  

 It must be admitted that carriage driving is not one of the nation’s most popular sports and even if someone decides that they would like to participate in carriage driving, it can also prove extremely difficult to know where to start and they are left asking several questions: where do I go to learn? What equipment do I need? How much will it cost? Is this even the right sport for me?

Basic Information
 In Carriage Driving, the traditional ‘rider’ is replaced with a ‘driver’ who is seated on the carriage behind the team of horses (which can be made up of either two or four horses).

 In modern horse driving competitions, there are three parts: Dressage, Marathon and Obstacle Driving. Dressage is made up of a sequence of compulsory figures performed inside an arena measuring 100x40m. Competitors are judged on the smoothness of the exercises, the obedience of the horse, positioning and impulsion. The Marathon on the other hand is conducted outside and consists of an 18km route including natural obstructions and sharp turning points and the final phase, the Obstacle Driving (or ‘Cones’) phase is designed to test the fitness and suppleness of the horses by requiring the driver to negotiate a narrow track marked with cones with balls balancing on top.


Thursday, 10 February 2011

Carriage Driving

Horse drawn carriages are nowadays used for leisure rather than necessity. In days gone by, a horse drawn carriage was the main form of transport used by people from every walk of life. Horse drawn vehicles were used in cities, on highways, on country lanes on farms, in fact, everywhere. There were many different types of carriages, from simple carts and wagons to city coaches, fashionable barouches and horse drawn cabs.
Nowadays carriage driving is something which people do as a sport, for leisure of for use in carriage hire companies. Horse drawn carriages are seen as something romantic and traditional. Horse drawn carriages are quite popular for weddings, and white, silver or even pink carriages are becoming quite a popular option. A horse drawn carriage gives something of a fairy princess feel to a wedding, or any other kind of event. Carriage drivers also can compete in carriage driving events. These can be both professional and amateur. Many people enjoy carriage driving as a leisurely activity and take part in country fairs and show at game fairs. Another use for carriage driving is at open air museums where people from re enactment groups use their horse drawn carriages as part of their show.
As you can see there are many reasons why carriage driving is still a fairly popular sport. However in order to be able to drive your carriage competently, it is often necessary to take a few lessons. Carriage driving takes some effort and it is essential that you feel confident and in control. Make sure you find a good teacher with plenty of experience in teaching. A good carriage driving teacher will be able to help you drive to the best of your ability and enable you to take your carriage out in public, with safety and confidence.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Horse Drawn Funeral

Horse drawn hearses are used for funerals in many countries. Wherever they are used they give an impression of respect and tradition to any funeral. Horse drawn funeral traditions vary according to the country or community in which the service is held, for example Asian funerals are very ornate and symbolic whereas Amish funerals are simple, peaceful and traditional.
Horse drawn funerals in Britain are generally quite traditional. People may choose to hire a horse drawn hearse as a mark of their appreciation and respect of the deceased. A traditional black hearse is often used, however white and silver hearses are used in cases where one is searching for a less sombre effect, perhaps for a childs funeral.
In Japan, funerals are usually held in the Buddhist rite. For Buddhists, the death of a person marks their entrance into a new phase of life, as a reincarnated being and the funeral focuses on preparing the deceased for their rebirth. Many traditional rituals are carried out before and after the funeral and then the body is carried in a hearse to the crematory. Japanese hearses are very ornate and resemble a miniature golden temple. They can be both motorised and horse drawn.
Funerals held in Amish communities are quite different to funerals of other cultures. Most cultures focus on the deceased whereas Amish funerals are focussed on God in relation to God allowing the deceased to remain with him for eternity. The funeral itself is quite simple and takes place in a home or a barn, as Amish communities do not worship in Church buildings. After the funeral the body is carried away in horse drawn hearse, never a motorized hearse, to the burial place. Four friends of the deceased are given the responsibility of preparing the horse drawn hearse, digging the grave and preparing the funereal room. The whole ceremony is simple and peaceful.