Which division should we pick?

Pony and I have been talked into entering some obstacle classes (cones and cross-country) at the Villa Louis Carriage Classic and I am confused at which division to enter.
I see we could potentially do either VSE, Utility Vehicle, Novice Driver, or Novice Horse.

I understand not necessarily wanting to be in the ring with my fluffy Shetland along with big horses in some of the group pleasure classes but since we’re doing obstacle classes, that’s less of a factor.

How do you choose which one to pick?

I’m not too familiar with non CDE shows, but looking at the entry form I would assume you should pick the VSE division, that seems like a fairer for for the pony, and also a lot kinder for the volunteers setting cones, etc. It probably will be best for for the turnout class if you opt to enter it, it’s more likely you will have other competitors with more utility type carts, whereas in novice you could be up against a full presentation vehicle.

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Novice driver is someone who hasn’t won classes at 3 ADS shows. Same for Novice horse BUT a novice horse can be driven by an experienced driver.

VSE will be only VSE compete ring in the class.

Utility will be horses, ponies, VSE using utility (metal/pipe) carts & carrigo.

I’m pretty sure you can cross enter so if you are new to competitions try Novice driver (these will be your peers) and VSE (these will be your mini’s peers).

I’ve never been to Villia Louis but the photos I’ve seen and friends who have gone rave about it. The Friday & Saturday night dinners are yummy I’m told. :slight_smile:


I have been to Villa Louis 3X, but only once competing my VSE.
Once spectating, once helping a friend with her pony & then… My turn! :grin:
He was just 3, so we kept to the arena classes: Turnout, Working & Reinsmanship.
If I could go this year (:crossed_fingers:), I’d add Timed Obstacles/Cones & maybe Gamblers Choice.
But all in the VSE division.

The Cross Country is daunting, with 32 obstacles for VSEs.
My memory cannot be trusted, YMMV :smirk:

IIRC, as a Novice Driver, you are required to use a single vehicle for all your classes. So, no switching from carriage to cart, or Utility from Presentation.

@SLW The rumors are true.
It is a dropdead gorgeous venue & chance to see some truly lovely turnouts & multiples you don’t see at lesser shows.
Plus, competitors are friendly.


Excellent point! Thank you!

That is a great idea! Thank you!

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I very excited! - and even more so now that you mention the food! :wink:

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That is very helpful. Thank you!
Glad to hear you had a good time with your own VSE there!

That is very interesting! I am only familiar with CDE X-country courses (well and eventing ones but that’s another matter). From reading the ADS rules (and trying to find videos on Youtube), it sounded pretty “low-key” with a 0.66 mile-course at the trot with “obstacles you’d find on a country ride”. I assumed cross-roads, going over a bridge, etc.
But 32 obstacles sound a little more “serious” than what I envisioned. How similar/different would it be from a CDE cross-country course then?

@Kirikou I wish I knew enough about the difference to tell you.
I was volunteering at a CDE & mentioned the # of obstacles to a fellow volunteer with CDE expertise.
She told me that while CDE Marathon phase is a timed event with an optimum time to finish (& vet checks), the Crosscountry at an ADS event like Villa Louis is as you describe, more of a stroll than a race.
Hoping someone here can enlighten us both.
@goodhors Help?

Sorry to be slow answering. I think on a Pleasure Drive, the things you meet will be pretty easy to deal with. No one expects you to be racing along, making things into technical hazards to drive thru. It does sound like a lot, in only a bit over a half mile! But maybe they give you points for every gate you go thru, passing by decorative items, etc. We have done pleasure drives like that, things you might meet on a road. Laundry on a line, person with a bike, bales to drive between, many ideas out there.

You can call the Show contact and ask about what type “gates” to expect on the Drive. Check the ADS Rulebook for details, there used to be timed Pleasure Drives. Always good to know the Rules! Like a Hunt Pace, not too fast or slow. Supposed to be elegant!

I would definately enter the class just for fun. I love anything out of the ring! Good for the equine to see new stuff too or maybe old stuff they already know, in a new location.

I agree with DMK, go with VSE or ponies, so your pony is not up against horses in the class. Have a good time!

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Definitely good to know the rules indeed. I’ll call the show office and ask. Thanks for the advice!