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The Arabian Sport Horse Magazine

Reading Reflections An Entertaining Look At Combined Driving A Series By Dawn Jones-Low Books have always been important to me. As a child, I spent countless hours reading at home and at the public library. Growing up in the suburbs in a non-horsey family, books were also my main entryway to the world of horses and provided fuel for my dreams. Several decades into adulthood, books are still a treasure to me as they continue to inspire and inform all areas of my life –including riding and horsemanship. Books have always been important to me. As a child, I spent

and ponies, tack and harness, carriage construction, training, the

countless hours reading at home and at the public library. Grow-

roles of the driver, groom, and navigator, descriptions of the three

ing up in the suburbs in a non-horsey family, books were also my

phases of CDE competitions, rules, safety concerns, and competi-

main entryway to the world of horses and provided fuel for my

tion strategies!

dreams. Several decades into adulthood, books are still a treas-

The book is enlivened by a sparkling wit that appears through-

ure to me as they continue to inspire and inform all areas of my

out the text. Commenting on his initially skeptical response to

life –including riding and horsemanship

the proposal to add a driving sport to the FEI disciplines in the

Books offer opportunities to expand knowledge and explore

late-1960s during his tenure at the president of the FEI he wrote,

unfamiliar territory. Of all the sport disciplines, Combined Driv-

“However, having had so many of my own brilliant ideas turned

ing is the one with which I have had the least direct exposure so I

down at various times, I had made up my mind that I would never

was intrigued when I discovered a book written by HRH the Duke

turn anything down unless it was patently absurd.” pg. 9 As the

of Edinburgh (yes, that’s Prince Phillip) called Competition Car-

proposal was developed and refined, not only was the Duke of

riage Driving. At only 122 pages, it is a rather short book yet the

Edinburgh persuaded to support creation of this discipline under

author manages to incorporate information regarding the his-

the auspices of the FEI, but he became an enthusiastic participant

tory of FEI Combined Driving Events, selection of suitable horses

in the sport with respectable performances with several different teams at international events with 4-horse and later pony teams. Woven through the book is a continual focus on safety “In the early years of [combined] driving competition there was one particular issue that excited the members of the FEI Driving Committee. They were under pressure from what might be termed the ‘reactionaries’ to prevent the use of new-fangled designs and unconventional materials in the construction of carriages. The ‘progressives’ on the other hand maintained that it was better to let these things be tried in case they turned out to be safer or more appropriate. I am glad to say the latter won out and I believe driving has become much safer as a result.” pg. 52 When discussing selection of horses or ponies for a CDE team, Prince Phillip covers the general aspects of temperament, size,

February/March 2014  

The February/March 2014 issue of The Arabian Sport Horse Magazine.

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