The Fast & Furious Sport of Double Harness Scurry Racing

What is Scurry?

If you’ve ever been to any of the big County Shows, Hickstead, or Horse of the Year Show, you’ve probably seen Scurry. Its carriage diving’s answer to a Show Jumping Speed class – an exhilarating, fiercely competitive, high profile sport, in which a pair of ponies pulling a 4 wheel scurry carriage race against the clock through a course of obstacles. The course comprises of 12 to 14 pairs of cones including a slalom, where the ponies weave right, left, right just like skiing, and a “box” which calls for great skill as a very swift 180 degree turn must be made in an area of only 24 foot square!

On each cone is placed a ball, if you displace the ball, four seconds are added to your time for each ball knocked down. The winner is the competitor with the fastest time after any penalties have been added. The width between the cones is 170cm, your front wheels must have a track width of at least 130cm that leaves only 20cm per side to spare, very little room for error when the ponies are at flat out gallop!

What type of ponies are best?

There are two height classes in scurry driving 12hh and under and over 12hh but under 14.2hh – we usually call the  classes “small’s” & “big’s”.

Any breed of pony can be used for scurrying although Welsh Mountain ponies are often favoured for their speed,
agility, intelligence & good looks. Shetlands do well in the small class as they can take shortcuts as their fluffy little legs
scamper round, they also definitely have the biggest “ahhhh factor”. Bigger breeds such as New Forest or Dartmoor
ponies can also be winners as they have a longer stride and can cover the ground faster on the straight.

Match of size and length of stride is more important than colour; many successful pairs are one black or bay one grey.

What type of carriage is used?

Bellcrown, Hartland and Phoenix Carriages build specially designed Scurry Carriages. Some competitor’s with an
engineering background actually build their own vehicles. A Scurry carriage must not have wire spokes or pneumatic tyres. Most competitors use v shaped steel wheels at the rear to help with grip and prevent the back of the carriage sliding. Delayed steering is not allowed.

Scurry teams are now starting to opt for a more appealing appearance by choosing more brightly coloured carriages
with co-coordinating attire.

Is scurry driving different from other driving?

Yes it’s very fast! Otherwise it’s not necessarily that different; however, at scurry speed a rein in each hand is used. A more forward, crouched driving position is adopted, as it is more aerodynamic, and gives you more stopping power. Many drivers use a long schooling whip rather then a driving whip as it’s easier to control at speed, if you drop your whip its elimination so you need to be able to hang on to it. There is currently no rule about hard hats (but I think there should be). Clothing must be of a “traditional style”, and wearing a driving apron is compulsory.

How does a driver start to Scurry?

There are now two separate Scurry groups.  Members of The Osborne Scurry Group compete throughout the summer for the eleven Places in each height class at the Horse of the Year Show where they battle it out for the coveted title of Scurry Driver of the Year. Scurry Challenge competitions that often vary in format from the normal hoys qualifying conditions, many of these competitions are organised to fit i