Pleasure Driving Obstacles


Pleasure Driving Obstacle courses are a test of the fitness and condition of the horses after the marathon phase. It is also a test of the skills of the driver. It is done in an arena or roped-off area with a sandy or grassy footing. There is not one set obstacle course; event staff at each competition may choose what kind of obstacle course they wish to use. Obstacle courses include:

  1. Scurry – unnumbered course of cones with balls, max 10 obstacles. All obstacles must be passed through once in any order or direction at a trot.

  2. Town and Country – at least 30% of obstacles are not cones- an obstacle that could be encountered while out driving- mailbox and cones, trash barrel and cone, flagpole and a cone, fence section and cone, bridge, poles set like guard rails, wood piles, artificial animal, etc.

  3. Double Jeopardy – course of obstacles (paired markers) driven by 2 drivers. 1st drives through course to finish, then halt. Switch drivers and reverse course. 8-10 obstacles

  4. Reverse Psychology – 8-10 numbered obstacles. Drive course in order and then reverse direction to finish.

  5. Pick your Route- no set route (paired markers) max 20. Each obstacle may be driven only once, but in any order and from any direction.

  6. Your Route/My Route – 10 numbered obstacles. Drive all obstacles in order, then drive all obstacles in any order once.

  7. Fault and Out – timed course of numbered obstacles driven at trot. Max 10. Drive through obstacles in order until time expires or an obstacle is dislodged or disobedience occurs. If all obstacles are driven cleanly before time expires, repeat course starting with #1. Highest points wins.

  8. Progressive – trot with 6 numbered obstacles adjusted to the following clearances – #1- 20”, #2- 16”, #3- 12”, #4- 8”, #5- 4”, and #6-2”. Timing continues until finishing course or dislodging obstacle. 2 points for each obstacle cleared. Break in gait is a fault.

  9. Gambler’s Choice- obstacles are not numbered, but each has a displayed point value. Goal is to accumulate the most points within the time limit. Each obstacle may be driven twice but not in succession.

  10. Cross Country- natural or artificial obstacles (bridges, water, log pile, farm animal pens, etc.) Should be designed to be easily driven and not like Combined Driving or Marathon obstacles. Must be numbered. Suggested length 1 km (.6 mi). Pass through each obstacle in order. Placing based on fewest faults.

  11. Fault Obstacle- max 20. Considered a test of precision driving- minimum width allowances suggested. Pass through each obstacle in order. Placing based on faults. (time faults may occur)

Judged On: Obedience and fitness of the horse; ability to negotiate the course without faults, or accumulating the most points possible in the time given. See list above for additional faults.

Required Equipment: Pleasure-style harness with a collar or breastcollar. Bit may be any riding snaffle or driving bit. An obstacle is required. Courses may consist of individual (paired cones) or other type markers (rails, fence panels, barrels, etc.) Vehicles are similar to those used for show pleasure classes or dressage.

Optional: Conservative leg protection is allowed.

Driver: Driver attire is formal, with jackets or national dress. Whip in hand, hat or helmet, gloves, and apron are required. Whip must be long enough to reach the farthest horse’s shoulders. A groom may accompany the driver but may not assist in any way.
The USEF CP103 Carriage Pleasure Driving rulebook - Use of Whip#2 states:
Failure to carry a whip in hand in an Obstacle Driving Class incurs elimination.

Prohibited: Grooms may not stand behind the driver. No on-course halts or backing up except in Gambler’s Choice. No breaking to a canter. Tie downs and overchecks are not allowed. No purpose-built marathon carts.

Extra Credit: Crocheted ear net. Obstacles should be marked with red on the right and white on the left and numbered (except Scurry, Pick Your Route and Gambler’s Choice.) Reverse Psychology and Double Jeopardy may have a different colored set of numbers for the reverse course. Point values are displayed for each Gambler’s Choice obstacle.

A Pirates Life, shown as a Bay frame Overo TB gelding is an OF PS TB Nite Spot. Owned and shown by Robin Nere with the comment: USEF Obstacle driving, gamblers choice. Driven over an unnumbered course, driver must negotiate as many obstacles as possible in time allowed. Each obstacle is assigned a point value. To be performed at a slow, working or fast trot. Breaking to a canter or walk incurs time penalties. Here, one wheel of the cart must pass between the poles while horse and cart go thru the other.

Moonlight on Silk, shown as a Dappled Gray Thoroughbred Gelding in and OF Stone TB Nazareth. Owned and shown by Andrea Robbins with the comment: USEF Carriage Pleasure Driving Division: OBSTACLE DRIVING CLASS. Negotiating the paired Cones Obstacle at a trot. Note the required balls on the tops of the cones and the obstacle markers that are red on right, white on left.

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Updated: January 17, 2013