This was taken at the KY Classic Combined Driving Event at the Kentucky Horse Park October 9, 2011. Combined Driving Events are based on Three Day Eventing in the ridden world. Like ridden eventing, there are three phases. This shot was taken on the marathon course (equivalent to x-country). Combined Driving can be done with various horse configurations, a single horse, a pair, a tandem hitch, a four in hand, etc. There are specific divisions depending on the configuration and whether they are horses or ponies. This photo is obviously of a four in hand of horses. Four in hands have two wheel horses that do most of the pulling, and two leaders that have to be very forward and fearlessly lead the team.
In this shot, I like that the left leader horse is jumping through the turn. The driver is Koos de Ronde, a world class competitor from the Netherlands. The man leaning in the back is called a navigator and he has a very specific function and a lot of responsibility. He is leaning to keep the carriage balanced.
This photo hopefully captures the strength, power and agility it takes for these horses to compete in this sport. It also demonstrates the skill the driver possesses to negotiate the obstacles, which are like mini mazes, at speed! Especially with 4 horses!
(de Ronde was on the Dutch team that won the Gold Medal at WEG in Combined Driving in Lexington 2010. In this photo he was driving Misdee Wrigley Miller’s 4 in hand of Dutch Harness horses. Misdee owns Hillcroft Farm in Paris, Kentucky. She is also a strong combined driving competitor and competes all over the world.)
Hand Held – Cloudy conditions – Rebel T21, 70-200mm, 2.8 IS, Aperture Priority 7.1, Focal length 70mm, ISO 400, 1/400, Exposure Bias -0.2