(ITA) Carriage Driving Champion
Cristiano Cividini is an Italian Driver. Notable highlights in his successful career include: Italian National Driving Champion 2011 and FEI World Singles Champion Bronze Medal winner 2010.
Cristiano was born in Bergamo Italy, but now lives in Dalmine (Bg). He started riding in 1989 but made the move to become a single driver in 1996, under the leadership of Baron Albert Moyersoen. In 2010 Cristiano suffered a terrible accident which prevented him from competing in the sport. After numerous surgeries and intensive rehabilitation Cristiano returned to the circuit in 2012, much to the delight of all involved in the sport.
Carriage Driving, an FEI Sport, involves a carriage being “attached” to a drawn by a single horse, a pair or a team of four. It involves three tests; Dressage, Marathon and Cones. The dressage test takes place within a rectangle and the demonstrates the level of training.
The dressage test is performed in a 40 by 80 or 40 by 100 metre arena with letter markers, where transitions in speed and gait are to take place. The judge scores each movement on a scale of 0–10, with a 10 being the highest mark possible. Dressage movements may include circles, figures of eight, and crossing the diagonal and all paces – walk, working trot, collected trot, extended trot, canter, a halt, and a rein back. Multiple horses are judged on ability to move in harmony and ideally will have similar conformation, action, and movement. Horses are to remain on the bit throughout the test, maintaining impulsion, elasticity, rhythm, and forward movement. The goal is to make the test look effortless, and an obedient and responsive horse is essential for a good dressage test.
The second test, The Marathon, is as such similar to the x-country phase of Eventing. It tests the fitness and stamina of the horses, as well as the driver’s knowledge of pace, over a 10–22 km course, divided into 3 or 5 sections, where the driver must avoid obstacles placed along a path that is difficult in the natural undulating terrain. The marathon is the most thrilling phase to watch, and often draws the largest crowds.
The final test, The Cones, is a test of accuracy, speed and obedience. Competitors walk the cones course before they drive it. The driver negotiates a course of up to 20 pairs of cones, each cone having a ball balanced on top. The cones are only a few centimeters wider than the wheels of the carriage, depending on the level of the class. Knocking over one or both of a pair of cones adds three penalties to the driver’s score. The cones section is timed and going over the time set for the driver’s class leads to penalties. Circling before an obstacle and refusals are also awarded penalty points.
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