After an almost total disappearance, driving reappeared in the second half of the 20th century in two distinct forms: competitive sport, a modern invention that has taken place among the top-level equestrian disciplines, and traditional driving, which seeks an ideal practice for driving, combining the team's formal beauty and the excellence of driving.
The use of vintage carriages is specific to traditional carriage driving competition. They provide the occasion to show to the public well-conserved or restored carriages, hitched or in action – in other words, a living heritage.
Traditional driving is practised with thoroughbreds, draft horses and ponies hitched to authentic vintage carriages. It is practised individually or in groups. Traditional carriage driving competitions (CAT) and international traditional carriage driving competitions (CIAT) organised in France by local or regional associations sponsored by the French Driving Association (AFA – www.afa-attelage.org) and abroad by the International Traditional Driving Association (AIAT - www.aiat-driving.net) are the main organisations for this discipline. These competitions have a French origin: the first took place in 1994 in Saint-Agil (Loir-et-Cher). The majority of European countries have adopted French rules for traditional competitions. These competitions have three tests: one for presentation, one for road and tracks, and one for handiness.
One dozen competitions will take place in France in 2013: