Driving at WEG: What You Need to Know

30 August 2018

Whether you plan to watch in person or via FEI TV, the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 Driving events are sure to be thrilling...

With its roots in both Roman chariot racing and pre-automobile transportation, Driving places the human athlete behind a team of horses in a carriage.

 

This year’s WEG competition is spread across three days, each one designed to test the combos in different ways.

 

Day 1 on September 21 finds the Driving teams in a Dressage arena, executing a prescribed set of manoeuvers that must be memorised in advance, like a ridden Dressage test.

 

Judges score on five different factors, including speed and transitions, and every movement must look graceful and effortless.

 
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Can the Netherlands retain their WEG title in Tryon?

September 22 is marathon day, similar to cross-country in Eventing. This event tests the horses’ endurance as well as the driver’s control at high speeds, with obstacles like hills, bridges, and water elements.

 

The final day of Driving on September 23 may just be the trickiest: obstacles, AKA cones. Drivers must weave their horse teams through a tight course of cones. Each cone is topped with a small ball that topples with even the slightest knock.

 

Not only does the obstacle course test the driver’s ability to negotiate the track with the fastest time, it challenges the horses’ fitness after three full days of rigorous activity.

 

Medals in Driving are given to both individuals and teams. The 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games™ saw the Netherlands take the team gold, with Germany on the podium as well. The USA and Belgium both finished in the top five spots, and are likely to be contenders along with the Dutch team this year.

 

The individual competition will likely see Boyd Exell of Australia and Chester Weber of the United States both battling to take the top place on the podium.

 

Exell won gold at the last WEG and took the World Cup™ in Bordeaux last winter. And Weber, a national champion who took WEG silver in 2014, will be on home soil and has even been doing course reconnaissance in advance of September.

A showdown is
brewing over the
individual competition

Who else should you keep your eye on?

Of course, we can’t rule out other top drivers who will be representing 10 nations at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 Driving next month.

 

Keep your eye on Edouard Simonet and Glenn Geerts of Belgium, Frenchman Benjamin Aillaud, and Koos De Ronde from the Netherlands.

 

The Dutch team will also have the Chardon family as a force to be reckoned with. Father Ijsbrand is a world and European champion many times over, whilst son Bram took his first World Cup™ victory last December. These two drivers will certainly keep everyone on their toes.

 

Tune in to all the action of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 Driving on FEI TV, and cheer for your favourite drivers!

 

Text by Patricia Salem