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Cross Country Obstacle Driving Courses???

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  • Cross Country Obstacle Driving Courses???

    We have decided to have an Obstacle Driving Cross Country Class at our Pleasure driving show. Could anyone give me suggestions, ideas or things we could use for interesting obstacles? We have a GREAT open space, trees and an outdoor arena all open for our use.

    If anyone has any course maps they would be willing to share I would greatly appreciate them.

  • #2
    some kind of bridge is always fun
    doesnt have to be high because its the sound and different feel that make it a challenge

    From long long ago at the Kent School Show - they did a chute that you entered adn pulled a rope that allowed a RR x-ing guard arrangement to raise before you could pass thru

    At another show, there ws a post - probably 5-6 ft high with a wheel flat on top and (I'll say) a whip with dangly lash attached pointing outward
    You had to grab the dangly lash and drive a circle around the post while holding the lash

    those are some of the more complex ones I remember

    You need someone who has gone more recently to Walnut Hill to give you some more ideas


    • #3
      I always prefer to incorporate natural lie of the land and such as trees and streams and banks into the obstacle.

      You need to consider your spectators and ensure that the obstacles are set up where they can easily view what's happening. If you're looking to generate interest then get an exciting obstacle where spectators can sit and watch. Perhaps easily see 2 or 3 obstacles without having to walk miles. You need good "open" obstacles so folks can watch and see and the likes of post and rails are great for this. For your arena you'll need an obstacle that can be viewed from the round. I'd suggest a central circle of some sort with gates surrounding it. You can do the central bit with such as a round bale or a big tub of flowers.

      It's not that easy building courses and I'd suggest you get in touch with someone in your horse driving trials club who has experience.


      • #4
        If you have a wooden fence line, and some land scape timbers, form a T so that the top of the T is fence line.


        _________ __________
        [ ]
        [ ]
        [ ]
        [ [
        edit: the site won;t print this like it looks on my entry box, but it basically is a T you can drive through.

        Use timbers to form a drive through T like above.

        Make it tight enough to be a challenge, but not too tight so that a horse and cart can;t make it through.

        To make it more difficult for minis--use a line of comes to make it smaller.


        use a couple of barrels with flowers or something to give the horse something to look at--and use the basic figure 8
        but whoever is judging this one must remember that a figure 8 if driven correctly must cross the middle 8 times.


        use timbers on the ground to form a drive through X which can be used as a Figure 8 as well.

        ideas for bridges--a real bridge, a piece of plywood with flowers boxes or cones with flowers in them on each side, trailer matts (these are black and really are a challenge for the drivers).

        The key is if you have no height to your bridge, make sure there are something that can be used as "sides" that can be knocked down and penalized if the horse runs out.

        OR (and I never do well a this one)

        put down 2 slim boards about 5 inches apart, a least 8 feet long. The driver has to put a wheel in the channel and drive it without hitting the boards.


        a back up to knock a log off of two other logs.


        the usual 3 foot circle that the driver must put a wheel in and pivot a full 360 degrees ( and make it one way or the other mandatory)


        a open car wash-- tie a rope high between two trees, really taunt. Hang noodles or strips of a tarp or even pie plates so that the driver must drive forward through it.


        a "fake" water crossing using a tarp on the ground. The only problem with this is that if it is windy the tarp will be difficult to keep down. Have tried to use this one several times but have trouble keeping it in place.

        Hope this helps.


        • #5
          Not THAT kind of X country

          I think she is looking for obstacles for a more formal xcountry. You drive around grass field(s) through hopefully non-hazardous obstacles that can be negotiated safely in an antique vehicle and your best show dress

          Walnut Hill Driving Competition and others offer such a class which includes a water crossing - more of a ford than a steep sided crossing


          I'm pretty sure another obstacle is a stage-set of a village to drive through

          Kent School had a railroad crossing where you pulled a string to lift the railroad crossing gate and drove across the crossing (plywood boards with strips of fire hose nailed down to simulate bumping across the railroad ties on the tracks).

          I also remember some pretty tough ones like driving between a bank jump and cone with either a full dance band or bagpiper playing away on the bank, driving through an arch of water from a sprinkler or driving past a pen of goats/sheep/dogs/something live and moving. The live animal obstacles are no longer done as it was tough on the animals in the pen - out in the sun all day

          Both Walnut Hill and Kent School had somewhat elaborate obstacles and simple twists of trees.

          The idea behind the obstacles is supposed to be things you might run across on a drive. So a bridge, ford across water, passing things you might see on the road, driving through a twist of trees are all good things.

          I would think some sort of halt to do something or chat would be good

          If you are going for a much less formal, just for fun obstacles, PM me for some of the stuff we've done for our Autumn Leaves fun day which has had some crazy themes - Mystery to me, Rozwell landing anniversary, Great Adventure Theme parks, Election madness, etc.

          I like a T turn where you drive in the bottom of the T, turn left (or right) back the horse and carriage into the opposite arm of T and drive out the bottom.

          Or driving the plank where you set up 2x8 boards offset so you drive with your left wheels down the one on the left and then right wheels down the one on the right


          • #6
            Actually - just a reminder
            The Carriage Assoc
            ( caaonline.com )
            has a softbound booklet on driving games
            it was compiled and edited by Tricia
            (DriveNJ #1)
            with ideas from all over the country rabbited away over manymany years

            not too much specific to formal X-c obstacles

            Anothe idea - -
            A really nice way to dress up a course is with some snappy flags
            I make these with about 4 ft x 24 to 36 in length (can be longer)

            you sew a tube down the long side that can slide over a 2inch diameter PVC pipe - and close the top of the tube of fabric

            the drive a good stake into the ground that will support the weight of the PVC pole

            Slip the flag over the PVC and raise it onto the stake

            Here in NJ we use "snow fence stakes or T-poles"
            if your ground is not easy to drive the stake into we've seen cement in the big buckets with a hole for the PVC

            The great thing about this long narrow flags is that they "snap" in very little wind BUT they are not long enough to get in the way of the horses or drivers
            and they are very colorful

            I have a set of brite pink, blue, yellow and green

            Ive seen them in show colors or just primary

            I made mine out of just a cotton fabric but Ive also seen them in nylon (easier to seal the edges)


            • Original Poster

              Yes we having the more formal Cross Country Class. The show is a USEF show. The classes are listed as Oppurtunity classes so we "should" follow the rules set up by USEF. We usually run the class as a "Mini MArathon" with gates and Hazards. This year I think we are going to have to do the more formal class becuase of the USEF rules. The obstacles we usually use are very natural. (Trees, low ditch, fence line, cow pens, round bales, water).

              We also have a gamblers choice class so I am getting ides for it also. We always have a good time with the classes.

              Thanks for all the ideas. I love the RR Crossing idea.


              • #8
                What rules are USEF? Do they defer to ADS? Just curious.


                • Original Poster

                  USEF Rules

                  USEF Rules are similar to ADS rules with some slight differences. You can see the rules online. The show is a USEF Morgan Show with Open all breed carriage driving- Basically a pleasure driving show in combination with a Morgan show. Since the show is USEF sanctioned we can't use ads rules.

                  I bought the CAA online - Driving Courses book that was suggested. I have a binder full of previous courses so it will be interesting to see some new ideas. THANKS.