By Chase Rheam
STILLWATER, Okla. —
An event combining skill, speed and form will take place at the Payne County Fairgrounds Saturday and Sunday.
The Cowboy Country Combined Driving Event is a fun annual event, said Jan Scott, a member of the Oklahoma Harness Horse Association.
“We’ve done it at the fairgrounds for about seven years,” Scott said. “The fairgrounds has allowed us to build these permanent obstacles on the west part of the property.”
Drivers are at the helm of two-wheel and four-wheel carriages as they participate in multiple events.
“It’s one of the few events of its kind in this part of the country,” she said.
The event begins at 9 a.m. Saturday in the dressage field.
“Dressage is in a very flat arena about 80 meters by 60 meters and a person driving can drive at different levels,” she said. “The lowest level is called training. The next level up is preliminary and (then) intermediate. The difficulty gets greater. What you’re looking for is the horse to be very responsive and very controlled; what horse people would call collected. You want to drive a given pattern that has been set out for you.”
Horses would travel at various gaits including a walk, a trot and an extended trot. Accuracy and form are the key, Scott said. They will then continue on to the cones course.
The competition continues Sunday with a marathon.
“Carriage driving can get very dangerous,” she said. “You can have a bigger wreck in a carriage than you can on a horse because of all the stuff. Safety is really stressed, especially in the marathon.”
Scott said she would like to see more people attend the event this year.
“We’d love to have people come out and I would say the marathon is more fun to watch, but just to see horses doing something different is fun, I think,” she said.
For more information, visit www.oklaharnesshorse.com.