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Holy Cow!! Carriage Driving in 1985 was Crazy!

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  • Holy Cow!! Carriage Driving in 1985 was Crazy!

    The video caption says no horses were hurt in these segments. The humans look like they were a bit sore later.

    "No matter how well you perform there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy." - Laurence Olivier

  • #2
    I'm sitting here all alone, watching the video and absolutely laughing myself silly. Tears in my eyes kind of laughing, the dog is staring at me like I've gone over the edge this time. How well I remember watching the early CDEs where a Meadowbrook was the norm here in PA and Jersey. This video is priceless!


    • #3
      As a beginning driver this was really sobering to see.

      I only have one friend in the area who is a knowledgeable driver. She did CDEs in meadowbrooks in the late 80's. She has numerous broken bones from driving, including leg, collarbone and both arms. She's the person who taught me to drive and helped me break in former horses, all in her easy entries.

      When I went on to break in my current horse solo with my jog cart, she was constantly after me about how easily I can be pitched from it, and what a death trap it is as I have no floor or ability to move my weight around to stabilize it in a tippy moment, or reach forward and grab a tail should they go flying backwards. Though I was up on one wheel more than once, I never really felt at risk and stupidly went on short trail drives in it and had a few risky/green moments, never realizing how dangerous it was.

      Moving from that to a nice 4 wheeler, I feel a bit invincible sometimes, I have to be honest.

      While the film was humorously made (I half expected Benny Hill music the first time I watched with the sound off), just how easy, how fast and how thoroughly things can go wrong was really enlightening and sobering to see.

      Like showing a teenager with their first car footage of accidents, I kinda needed to see this. I've been a bit too bold for my skill level sometimes.
      Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


      • #4
        Very sobering indeed. It's hard to find the humor in this video for me. It should perhaps be required viewing for all aspiring carriage drivers though. Until you've been there you really have no idea how quickly things can go south while driving. It's very different from riding in terms of the potential consequences to driver, passengers, horses and any onlookers in the vicinity. And not only were there horses that were probably hurt in these segments, there were most likely several that were ruined for ever driving safely again. Sorry, just not funny to me.

        Originally posted by buck22 View Post

        Moving from that to a nice 4 wheeler, I feel a bit invincible sometimes, I have to be honest.

        While the film was humorously made (I half expected Benny Hill music the first time I watched with the sound off), just how easy, how fast and how thoroughly things can go wrong was really enlightening and sobering to see.

        Like showing a teenager with their first car footage of accidents, I kinda needed to see this. I've been a bit too bold for my skill level sometimes.


        • #5
          What good horses! Honest to God, horses must think we are crazy sometimes!


          • #6
            With less detailed rules, non-standardized officiating, "Golly, never had THAT happen before" AFTER the Hazards were built and gated, there were almost too many variables for the Competitors to choose among. With almost no "designed for the Sport" vehicles around, folks used what they could find to drive. There was a LOT of old stuff, antiques NEVER designed for this kind of driving, that were sent to their doom in early CDEs.

            I also found quite a bit of attitude prevelant in "Driving, how HARD can it be? Old people do that!! I have watched a lot of TV, and they gallop with buckboards and buggies, so just going in and out of some fences can't be very difficult." These were actual comments I heard from folks!!

            We were EXTREMELY lucky to get in with the Metamora Driving Club, where there were excellent horsemen/women who ACTUALLY drove and had seen CDEs, so they were aware of organizing problems, design difficulties, to change things enough to NOT have built-in problems on the Marathon course. We learned bunches from them, didn't get hurt, none of our horses had problems beyond being oversized, getting around the course. We often had BN Trainers come for Clinics, which helped us look at things differently than what Grampa told us! Got better controls on our horses, "new eyes" in looking at our vehicles and the Possibles in ways to do things.

            We only had two vehicles, a Road Cart and then a 4-wheel Trap, so we HAD to be careful or ruin our toys! Husband and I are both pretty competitive, but not enough to get things damaged in pursuit of a RIBBON and 5 seconds of glory!! We drove the Road Cart with the single and the Trap with the first Pair, took the big loops. Both vehicles had hubs that stuck out, Road Cart was VERY long when modified for our big mare, while the Trap wasn't even cut-under!! We got around pretty well, learned a LOT. We did finally get more purpose-built vehicles, as husband decided he wanted to play more seriously. But even then, just a few years had a lot of changes made to improve things for everyone. Rule book went from about 20 pages, with both the Pleasure Driving and CDE Rules, to a much thicker version covering a lot more things.

            This was the time of the monster big horses alsmost required at the higher levels, that could demolish hazards they didn't fit in!! There wasn't always the space allowed to make turns into gates. Or BN Driver didn't want to waste time making a loop to approach straight. Not much finesse then, more crash and bang. This would be when knockdowns were introduced, with penalties for damaging the hazard parts!

            Of course the ultimate responsibility comes down to the Driver, many of whom would do "whatever it takes" to win, so rules had to be written to prevent dangerous behaviour. You sure could NOT rely on "common sense" in them taking an expected route without required gates to pass thru. Designers were not even always horse people or knowledgable about how CDEs were done, so competitors often faced bizarre hazards with no possible smooth or fast routes thru the gates.

            All in all, everything was a learning experience for everyone from harness and vehicles, to courses and what NOT to ask of your horse and drivers. We were pretty amazed when we did a visit to Gladstone to see the "big boys and girls play" in how they did things. We were really WAY beyond our depth there, glad we were just observing! It was really SERIOUS and they played hardball, while we were doing still playing playground ball! WOW, did that ever gave us goals to work towards.

            Video link is made up of tape from the BBC production of Horse In Sport-Driving clips, along with other shots. I wonder if Mr. Maloy got permission to take those clips from the BBC or helped himself?

            I don't think any of it is funny either, though the speeded up viewing can make it appear humerous like the Keystone Kops things in fast-forward. Looking at other old-time movies of race car wrecks, airplane stunts zooming along, going bad, may also appear humerous, but wrecks are never funny. Yet people can't resist being near places where accidents or wrecks MAY take place, to be one who is "right THERE" watching everything. Tapes of Jumping wrecks, rodeo falls, also seem to be very popular, even as the watchers go "OH NO!"

            The DriveNJ ladies must have a million stories about Gladstone "in the old days". They both were in the thick of things almost since the Driving there started, as well as many of the other Eastern driving competitions.


            • #7
              wow..... that's not really that funny. And I find it hard to believe that no horses were hurt in these accidents. bologna.....

              I admire a good CDE driver but this is why I stick with pleasure driving. Marathon scares me too much....
              ...don't sh** where you eat...


              • #8
                I would love to try Marathon with my horse someday... but honestly, after seeing this video, it almost makes me want to reconsider. I have not yet been to see a marahon live and in person. I've seen the FEI World Cup online and some other advanced level marathons, but I want to see the training level beginners like me (and in this decade) so I can see what it would be like.

                I have a meadowbrook, and that is what I would plan to marahon with should I ever decide to do it. I'm a rather reserved driver, and a nice rhythmic trot on the road is about all I do. I don't have any way to practice for a marathon, other than distance. No obstacles or anything to navigate. So to try to compete in something I can't practice at home will probably be the biggest hindrance. I can practice dressage and cones readily, and since I've ridden both hunters and dressage, it's not really much of a stretch to drive those things

                I'd also refuse to put my horse in a dangerous situation and wouldn't want to risk serious injury to myself or my vehicle, too. Makes me wonder if I could handle a training level marathon competently or not. I could always scratch, but that makes it pointless to enter then in the first place.

                Maybe some day. Have to do some checking out of local marathons before I make that choice. I've been told the nearest marathon to me has "big hills" that would be tough on a horse. Hmm... will have to investigate this more next year.

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                • #9

                  Yes... That video definitely needed "Yakety Sax".

                  Watching it made me feel a bit less dumb for some of the mishaps we've had.

                  Gotta say, some of those nice carts are entirely too flimsy. Our Pioneer forecart may not be stylish, but at least the wheels stay on!

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