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The ADS Rulebook is the basis for the sport of carriage driving. It was first published in 1975 and has been updated regularly, with 2024 marking the 32nd Edition. The ADS Rule Change Process is Member Driven; each year the membership can submit a Rule Change Suggestion to be evaluated first by the committees and then by the membership for feedback prior to being voted on by the ADS Board of Directors. Jim Thomas chairs (interim) the Rulebook Committee, populated by the Technical Committee Chairs and the Licensed Officials Committee Chair.

RCPs for 2025 Rulebook, Member Comment Draft


All Rule Change Suggestions MUST be emailed to

January-April     Rule Change Suggestions are accepted from any member or committee. Submit Rule Change Suggestions to Deadline April 30.

May 1-15     Rulebook Committee published red-line PDF compilation of RCSs by May 15 for tech committees to review.

May 15-June 1     Tech committees review and/or add to the RCS compilation, mark each with either Accepted, Accepted with Changes, or Not Accepted, by June 1 (Rulebook Committee develops a spreadsheet to track comments and actions). Tech committees submit their feedback to by June 1.

June 1-July 1     The Rulebook Committee amends the RCS document to a Rule Change Proposals (RCPs) document, publishes it by July 1 via website forum for 30-day member comment period. All member comments come in either via the Rulebook Forums or via email to rulebook@. Rulebook Committee shares all emailed member comments to the Rulebook Forum during the comment period.

July 2-Aug 1    Member comments accepted by on the Rulebook Forum or via email to

Aug 15    Rulebook Committee compiles member comments, send compiled comments to tech committees by Aug15.

Aug 15-Sept 1    Tech committees have the opportunity to make changes to the RCPs by Sept 1.

Sept 15   Board receives report on adherence to process and compiled member comments from Rulebook Committee at Fall BOD meeting, views redline RCPs in a Rulebook DRAFT, votes to approve RCPs.

Dec 1     Approved RCPs are included in the Rulebook, with an effective date of Jan 1.

FEI Rule Changes will only be adopted as Extraordinary Rule Changes in cases of safety, and will otherwise be filed as Rule Change Suggestions for the following year.

Rule Change Categories
Items 1-3 must be proposed as a Rule Change Suggestion (RS)
1. NEW – An entirely new rule or subject,
2. MODIFICATION – Changes to meaning or specifics of an existing rule,
3. CLARIFICATION – Clarifies the meaning by adding, changing or deleting words of existing rules but does not change the intent of the existing rule,
4. HOUSEKEEPING changes are subject to:
  • Approval and documentation by the Rulebook Committee,
  • Approval by relevant Technical Committees, but
  • Are not subject to Member Comment or Approval by BOD.
Allowed Housekeeping changes are made:
  • To correct a reference
  • To correct an obvious typo
  • To correct a misspelling or grammar usage
  • To correct numbering or rule location
  • To correct updates to already approved rule changes
  • To follow Rulebook conventions (e.g., capitalizations, dashes)
  • To reformat to present in clearer manner, no rewording (e.g., lists, tables, illustrations)
  • To remove an obvious redundancy
  • Extraordinary Rule Changes e.g. those changes to be made at variance to the established schedule, will be permitted only for FEI rule changes, safety, monetary, clarification, ethical and equine welfare reasons
  • ERCs will be effective when published by ADS on its official website
  • FEI Rules, applicable to ADS recognized competitions, are effective upon publication by the FEI
  • All ER changes will be made at the discretion of the ADS Executive Committee using the following protocol:
Extraordinary Rule Change (ERC) Process
  • Proposal – An ERC is proposed by the ADS technical committee or ADS Executive Committee with supporting rationale.
  • Authorization – The applicable technical committee must authorize each ERC and forward it to the ADS Executive Committee and ADS Rulebook Committee.
  • Approval – The ADS Executive Committee is responsible for confirming the ERC criteria (FEI rule change, safety, monetary, clarification, ethical or equine welfare) have been satisfied.
  • Posting – ADS Rulebook Committee will post the changes and show changes in a clean copy online Rulebook.
  • The changes will display the date of the ADS Executive Committee’s approval.
  • Effective Date– An ERC is effective when published on the ADS website.
  • The file reference shall retain the original approval date for the remainder of the year.