Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Carriage Class (and More About Breed Groups)

As promised, Carriage gets it’s own entry (parenthesis abuse to follow.)

Winner of a Carriage class (this guy has since been repainted.)

I mentioned before that most classlists included breed-specific classes (Morgan, Paint, Thoroughbred, etc.) and breed groups (Welsh Ponies and Cobs, American Gaited, UK Draft, etc.) There isn’t enough time at a show for every breed to get its own class, so only the most popular breeds get their own class while the vast majority are sectioned off into groups.

Groups may be split a variety of ways. Geography (UK Drafts), body type (Other Pony), shared ancestry (Spanish (when it includes Pasos and/or Aztecas)), and purpose/use (Harness Racing breeds) are common groupings.

Technically, you could call Carriage a “use” class, but isn’t as obvious as a class like Harness Racing. Horses you would usually see in a Harness Racing class are Standardbreds, French and Orlov Trotters. Although these breeds can perform in other sports, their primary and most common purpose still is harness racing.

Carriage can be confusing because the breeds it includes are grouped based on what they sometimes do. This gets more confusing when you consider that the breed most seen and associated with carriages (such as the draft horses of central park) and harness classes (various drafts in heavy harness; Morgans, Saddlebreds, and Arabians in fine harness) don’t show in this class.

Any given model Carriage class will be comprised of around 50-100% Friesians. In addition to fine harness, they are often used for dressage, pleasure riding, and posing for the covers of paperback fantasy novels. The rest of the class is generally composed of rare breeds such as the Cleveland Bay, Hackney, Gelderlander, Dutch Harness Horse, Dole, and Warlander.

Depending on the show, you will often see Gypsy Horses/Cobs/Tinkers placed in Carriage. Since they are still relatively new in the world of model horses, the hobby as a whole is still deciding where they belong. When they first appeared in the hobby, they almost exclusively went into Draft classes. But the current trend is leaning heavily toward Carriage.

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