From the American Driving Society website: “Sometimes likened to a team triathlon, a Combined Driving Event consists of three competitions – Dressage, Marathon, and Obstacle/Cones — that are held over one, two, or three days.  The sport is intended to showcase the versatility, training and talents of both horse and driver.”  Live Oak International is

Florida’s big CDE and is one of the largest in the US!

 

This is their 25th year of holding this event.   It is held at the beautiful Live Oak Stud in Ocala, FL where there are rolling hills and huge old oak trees.     Every year it seems to get bigger & better!

 

Most everyone’s favorite part of a CDE is the Marathon phase.  This is a combination of timed obstacles and tracks (to spread the horses out and give them a break between obstacles).   The obstacles are all different and can be navigated via different routes, some faster than others, as long as the prescribed points are crossed within the obstacles.   Live Oak International’s most watched obstacle is the water obstacle which involves a bridge and a lot of water that they have to drive around in!   The other spectator favorite is the Gulch, which consists of a bridge, posts and gulch they have to navigate through.   These obstacles are not easy for one horse, let alone the pairs, and especially the Four in Hand teams, but they make their way through in a surprisingly short amount of time!   It is very exciting to watch them get through all the twists & turns!

 

A few years ago they added Show Jumping which definitely adds to the event, making it quite unique in offering both these horse disciplines at one event!

Some of the top show jumping riders & horses were here vying for a World Cup qualification.

 

 

This year the Budweiser Clydesdales were at Live Oak International to add even more excitement to this oh so horsey event!   This eight horse hitch is always a favorite where every they go and the crowds here surrounded them while each of the horses was groomed, harnessed and hitched to that iconic beer wagon!  And of course, the dalmatian was up there to ride with the drivers.   I have personally prepared a horse or 2 for the show ring, but I could not imagine getting eight ready along with all that tack and all that shiny brass!

 

In addition to the main attractions there are a whole list of other events over the 3 days.  For next years schedule of events and other info please check out the Live Oak International website.

If you are in Florida in February this is an event you don’t want to miss!

For additional images from this event please check out my website.

That is all for now!

Lynn