I'm considering entering my state fair's driving show. It's cheap and nearby, and seems like it wouldn't be an intimidating place to start. It isn't held under USEF or ADS rules, so i'm looking for some clarification of what would be expected in these classes. I'd be interested in trying any of the novice horse or maiden driver classes, and potentially the obstacle classes.
It would be fine to carry a passenger in a meadowbrook, correct? What would be proper conservative attire for this kind of cart/show? Both of us are late 20's/early 30's, and have jobs with uniforms/scrubs, so we don't have an abundance of frumpy work type attire to choose from. I think we'll need to start considering clothing now. I have no idea about what constitutes a good hat too. I'm handy enough with a sewing machine that I could make an apron. Just the whip wears one, right?
Yes, the link you posted to CarriageDriving.net is a pretty decent brief explanation of the classes.
You may want to check out the ADS website for more descriptions of classes, as well as the reinsmanship tests...
I've been to several shows, that aren't operated under ADS rules, and sometimes it's a little bit of "anything goes". They can be.... interesting! I personally love them... you never know what you're going to see or go in against! However, some shows, while not recognized ADS events, still use the ADS rules - and I think, by reading these classes, that this show will follow ADS rules.
Since it's a fair, I would *assume* that most people would come dressed for success..... but then again, I've been to fairs and seen people compete in jeans and plaid shirts. hmm.....
For me personally, I just think you should dress for success, and go with what's appropriate for what you're showing in.
Appropriate turnout includes a nice hat (i.e. a brim on it, but not a wide brim or "bucket" style hat that covers your face. Even a straw hat, adorned with ribbon/flowers/feather would be appropriate-- just no floppy "beach hats").... a blazer/jacket, with or without a nice, button-down type blouse underneath, and generally with a scarf, long pants, driving apron, clean and nice shoes/boots, and brown driving gloves.
I have been to pleasure shows like this where I have seen a woman driving in a red sequin evening gown (strapless, no less) and the man next to her in a black suit... in a meadowbrook, with a Fjord. Overkill, maybe, but it did look nice. And they did place high. Of course, in the same class, there were also drivers wearing decent looking pants, and a nice jacket, and a helmet.
Hats are generally what people want to wear to complete the outfit, but a helmet should never be counted against. Maaaaybe in a turnout class, but really, it should never be counted against.
You can carry a passenger in your vehicle, certainly - however, if you're going for true successful appearance - the passenger needs to be dressed appropriately, too!
I'm assuming you're looking at the classes listed on Mon Oct. 15....
#570 is turnout. Definitely this is a class where appropriate attire (including harness & vehicle turnout!) will make you stand out.
#571 is a class judged on the horse. Since it's not an ADS class, they will probably call for 2 trots (park & road). I've noticed that the ADS shows ask for 3 trots (park, working, and road)... and then it just seems like everyone else only goes for 2.
Then, classes 573, 574, 575, are the same things, just for ponies.
#576 Is the same working pleasure, just for novice horses. So you'll be in with green horses potentially driven by novice drivers, but also driven by professional drivers.
#577 & 578 are back to super reinsmanship for ponies, and then for novice horses.
#579 - juniors to drive. Self explanatory.
#580- is the same working pleasure, just with novice drivers. So this class can be filled with experienced horses (or also green horses!) but the driver is a novice.
#581- a Drive & ride class, requires a groom. In this class, the horse is usually driven into the arena, and asked to perform its working pleasure-type changes in gait, then you stop in the middle, your groom heads the horse while you unhitch and unharness, saddle up, and then ride the horse at the ridden trots & canter, all while being judged.
All and all, depending on the driving population in your area, these classes could be large and competitive.
I know the State Fair here in Illinois has a massive turnout, and is very very competitive. Unfortunately, it's a Society show for Saddlebreds, Arabs, and registered hackneys, and only offers 1 open driving class. Bummer.
Another county fair not too far from me, that has similar classes (non-ADS) gets about 80 driving entries over the course of their 5 days of driving classes. It's a huge event, almost bigger than the State Fair, and although it does draw in all levels and types, it is a very competitive event.
I think your fair sounds like a lot of fun!! And with all the classes listed, for all different breeds, I imagine you get one heck of a turnout!!! If you go, definitely get some pictures