ADS Rule Changes effective January, 2024*
By Lauren Reece, Rulebook Committee Chair
*See attached document for changes to VSE speeds on the relevant chart: 2024 Pertinent Rule Change by LR
Every January, The American Driving Society, Inc. (ADS) publishes a new Rulebook, which includes any rule changes that were passed and any housekeeping changes, including grammatical issues, omissions, and typos. Any changes from the previous year can be found on the Rulebook Page of the website in a download labeled Redline Version. All changes are in red, so that they are easily identified.
The following are the Rule Changes for 2024.
- 9452.1.2 In Dressage, Grooms must remain seated in their proper positions between entering and leaving the Arena. They are not permitted to handle the reins or the whip(will incur20penalties). For Dressage, to speak or indicate the course to the Athlete is not permitted (will incur 10 penalties).However, the Groom may handle the reins, whip and brake without penalty provided the carriage remains stationary.
In ADS-recognized competitions, if the carriage does not have a safe groom seat, the judge may grant permission for the groom(s) to stand with no penalty, grooms on marathon carriages maysit or stand. Grooms are not allowed to change position. Grooms sliding, lifting or moving thevehicle in any way will incur elimination.
The allowance for the groom to stand with permission only applies to marathon vehicles. This change will also apply to 975.3.7.
This change keeps Derby rules in line with other Combined Driving Events.
- 928.1 Dress in Dressage and Cones on a Dressage Carriage
- The dress of Athletes and Grooms must conform to the style of the Carriage and harness used. Jacketsornationaldress,drivingaprons,hatsorprotectiveheadgearandglovesareobligatory forAthletes.
The ADS exception has been removed, and now jackets are required for all athletes.
In ADS-recognized events,
Drivers with limited mobility, andAthletes with and ADS, USEF or FEI Dispensation, will be permitted to drive themselves or be driven through marathonobstacles using a mobility device at a walking pace in golf carts or similar vehicles.
Any mobility device may be used with an applicable dispensation. This change was also made in Art. 973.7.1
- 943.2.19 At ADS-recognized events, all athletes competing with a disability dispensation utilizing a quick release seatbelt must have a groom riding on their carriage at all times, while the carriage is moving. When stopped, the groom must be within 2 meters of the turnout at all times.This includes competition, warm-up and schooling.
Athletes with a quick release seatbelt may have groom down to make harness adjustments and other tasks, as long as they remain within 2 meters in case they need to remount quickly.
Only one member of the jury must be at the First Horse Inspection.
- 935.5 In-Harness Inspection before Cones
5.1The In-Harness Inspection must be carried out before the turnout starts the Cones test, only when Cones follow Marathon. It must be performed by
an Inspecting Committee consisting of one member of the Ground Jury together with the Veterinary Delegate , or the Veterinary Commission. The Inspection is obligatory at all Events when Cones follow Marathon. The Horse(s) must be presented by the Athletehimself. Competing without presenting will result in an Elimination.
Member of the Jury does not need to be present during the In Harness Inspection, but will be called by vet if there is an issue. The Veterinary Delegate cannot eliminate a competitor.
- 237.6 Start and finish lines for all obstacle courses should be a minimum of 3 meters wide, and marked by a pair of cones.
Both of these changes will prevent errors and confusion during obstacle classes.
The coming year will have our technical committees working on:
Training Level Rules in regard to Advanced drivers
Pony Measurement Program
Recent FEI Rule Changes
*Remember, Rule Change Suggestions for 2025 open January 1.