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    Combined Driving equine competition coming to Hermitage Farm in Goshen, Kentucky
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    Historic Hermitage Farm, a horse farm located in Goshen, Kentucky, will be hosting three days of its United States Equestrian Federation sanctioned Hermitage Classic combined driving competition on September 21-23, 2012 on its beautiful grounds. This is a three phase event similar to the three phases of eventing only horses are pulling vehicles and the driver drives them from the vehicle instead of being mounted on the horse itself. This was one of the events at the 2010 World Equestrian Games held at the Kentucky Horse Park, and it is also an Olympic event. The three phases are cross country marathon, driven dressage, and cones (stadium).

    A driver steers his four-in-hand team of horses through a water obstacle during the cross country marathon phase.

    You are invited to come watch the gorgeous horses and their drivers perform their driven dressage tests, then navigate through various obstacles with precision and teamwork in the exciting cross country marathon and cones phases. There are also various other activities being held along side the combined driving event you can participate in by purchasing tickets for these individual events, they include a dinner, brunch, and even terrier and dachshund dog races. The schedule of events are as follows:


    8:30 am

    Gates Open - Free Admission

    9:00 am

    Dressage Competition Begins

    4:00 pm

    Guided Spectator Course Walk for Saturday Marathon

    7:00 pm

    Original Makers Club Party

    Often compared to compulsory figures in figure skating, the dressage test consists of a prescribed sequence of movements judged against a standard of absolute perfection. The test demonstrates the obedience, grace, regularity of movement, impulsion, and correct position and training of the animals.


    8:00 am

    Gates Open - $5 General Admission at the door (ages 12 & under free)

    9:00 am

    Original Makers Club + Garden & Gun VIP Lounge opens

    9:00 am

    Marathon Competition Begins

    12:00 pm

    Terrier & Dachshund Race – Rules and Entry Information (PDF)

    The thrill of watching teams of horses and ponies tackle challenging obstacles at high speed is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Competitors cover nine miles of course, through open fields, woods, and water, then must negotiate the challenge of hazards built to test the fitness, stamina, and obedience of the horses and the judgment and capability of the driver.


    9:30 am

    Gates Open - $5 General Admission at the door (ages 12 & under free)

    10:00 am

    Cones Competition Begins

    10:30 am

    Awards Ceremony

    11:00 am

    The Voice-Tribune Brunch

    The object of the cones competition in combined driving is to negotiate through a series of narrow gates within the time allowed. This phase tests the fitness and agility of the horse and the accuracy and skill of the driver.

    Avery Wilson drives his horse through one of the phases.

    Friday’s competition is free to all. On Saturday and Sunday general admission is $5.00, free for ages 12 and under. Tickets are on sale now for a number of unique social events. Events include Original Makers Club’s memorable dining experience on Friday evening on the grounds; Original Makers Club and Garden & Gun’s VIP Hazard Lounge on Saturday, which will offer incomparable views of the Marathon competition; and The Voice-Tribune Brunch on Sunday, where the Cones competition and awards ceremony will close the spectacular weekend.

    For information or to purchase tickets please go to their website here.

    Steve Wilson, his grandson Avery Wilson, and Jose Hernandez (trainer at Hermitage International Training Center).

    Hermitage Farm is a legendary 700-acre thoroughbred horse farm known for over 200 high stakes winners. In 2010, Laura Lee Brown and Steven Wilson purchased the farm and added to this heritage a world-class training center and boarding operation. Focusing primarily on carriage driving, the Hermitage International Training Center provides an FEI regulation dressage arena, cones course, cross country obstacles, and trail system. Expert trainers Leslie and Jose Hernandez use driven and ridden dressage as the foundation for all training, whether combined driving, pleasure showing, or recreational driving. For more information visit Hermitage Farm’s website here.

    This event benefits Oldham Ahead, which is a nonprofit community group working to enhance Oldham County’s natural and cultural resources while sustaining its equine, agricultural, and commercial base. For more information on Oldham Ahead, visit their website here.

    As’s equestrian writer I highly recommend this event as I did get to see the Combined Driving test event held at the Kentucky Horse Park as their preparation for the 2010 World Equestrian Games. One of the most thrilling sights I have ever witnessed in my 46 year involvement with horses was when the top USA four-in-hand combined driving team member, Chester Weber, was announced as heading to the Rolex water obstacle complex in the cross country marathon phase, where I was waiting. They announced him before he and his four-in-hand team could be seen over the hill leaving the steeplechase course track. All of sudden he and his team of four gorgeous horses came exploding over the hill at a gallop and headed down to the water obstacle and drove through the entire obstacle with awesome precision, it is a thrilling memory that stands out in my mind to this day. Chester Weber will be competing at this event so you do not want to miss it.

    Hermitage Farm and Hermitage International Training Center are located at 1202 Hwy 1694 N, Goshen, KY.

    Photo of two horses driven by Steve Wilson & Photo of Avery Wilson driving pony: Courtesy of Janeene Jennings

    Photo of four-in-hand black and white horses: Courtesy of Pics of You








    Sandy Dolan's picture

    About Sandy Dolan

    Owner of Cedar Ridge Farm which operates a children's horseback riding lesson program in Greenville, IN. I have been involved with equine welfare and rescue activities. We have successfully rehomed at risk horses and retrained off the track thoroughbred racehorses in new careers in hunter/jumper, eventing, dressage, and barrel racing disciplines.

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