The long-reining Cones&Obstacle competition is based on the carriage driving Combined Marathon which comprises a course of cone obstacles with one or two marathon type obstacles to negotiate as part of the course. Each cone obstacle comprises a pair of driving cones with balls on top that are set at a predetermined distance apart (usually 1.3m). The marathon type obstacles comprise a set number of Gates that are driven in alphabetical order, for example A, B, C, D. The distance between each gate is usually 2m, but may vary depending on the course and level of competition.
The competition is judged as a Combined Marathon Fault competition with an optimum time. Optimum time (also known as Ideal Time) is calculated using the distance of the course and the speed for the competition which is measured in metres per minute. The speed is set at a walk and should not require the handler to run. You should aim to finish the course as close as possible to the optimum time. The speed for the competition is always stated in the schedule for the competition. It is worth practicing walking at various speeds over 100m so you can work out how fast a walk you should be doing in the competition. Penalties are incurred for various faults during the course such as dislodged balls and errors of course, and for being either side of the optimum time.
Your groom can assist you but penalties are incurred every time you require their help. Young handlers or those with young horses may have an adult (18 years and over) 'shadow' them about the course without penalty and be ready to assist if required.
This competition is fun to do and a great way to bring on the young horse for carriage driving.