Sleigh Obstacles


This class is for any sleigh entry competing in a non-marathon obstacle course. Pleasure Driving Obstacle courses are a test of the fitness and condition of the horses, as well as a test of the skills of the driver. It is done in an arena or roped-off area. Obstacle courses may include (but are not limited to):

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

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.) and must be designed with wider than average clearances to allow for a sleigh’s wider turning radius. Vehicles should be nice cutters or smaller sleighs, not heavy work vehicles.

Optional: Conservative leg protection is allowed.

Driver: Consideration for the weather may supersede all other clothing requirements. Driver attire may be 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 driver without a whip in hand or carrying a whip of incorrect length may be severely penalized. A groom may accompany the driver but may not assist in any way.

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.

Extra Credit: 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.

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Updated: January 17, 2013