Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010 Day 14 Four-In-Hand Driving Championship

Boyd Exell (AUS) set a new World Championship record in the Driving Dressage to take the lead at the Four-In-Hand Driving Championship at the WEG. Photo: FEI/Rinaldo Craen

New World Championship Record for Exell by Cindy Timmer

Australia’s Boyd Exell set a new World Championship record this afternoon with his team of black geldings, owned by Hungary’s Vincze Tamas. Exell put down a faultless dressage test, which was awarded with a magnificent score of 30.08 penalty points. The previous World Record was set by Chester Weber (USA), who scored 32.13 penalty points at the 2008 World four-in-hand Driving Championships in Beesd (NED).

New leader

Exell, who won the CAIO Aachen and Royal Windsor Horse Show 2010 with this same team, has now taken over the lead in the standings from IJsbrand Chardon (NED) and Chester Weber (USA) who both set a score of 35.97 penalty points on the first dressage day. USA’s Tucker Johnson and Dutch driver Theo Timmerman, who both finished dressage with a score of 40.19, are tied in fourth place.

Handicap
Exell was somewhat handicapped after snapping a bone in his left hand jumping a horse over a cross-country obstacle at home. He says it bothers him a bit, but he is hoping adrenaline will take over in the marathon tomorrow so he doesn’t feel the pain.

Last dressage test

Tucker Johnson drove his last ever dressage test at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games since he will retire after this World Championship from the combined driving sport. Johnson’s team included a horse Exell loaned him, the left leader, named Black Shadow, which he has only been driving for two weeks. The 46-year-old American is a very successful driver, first in the international pairs class and later on in the international four-in-hand driving sport. In 1991 he won the team gold medal at the World Pairs Driving Championships in Zwettl. In 2002 he contributed to the American team silver medal at the WEG in Jerez de la Frontera, where he came fourth individually. Although he is retiring from competition, Johnson will continue his driving career in Coaching.

Nations Team tie

With two US drivers in second place and two Dutch drivers in fourth place, the Nations Team standings are also tied, which is quite rare for a World Championship! The Americans and the Dutch will battle it out in tomorrow’s marathon.

Marathon

A 16-kilometre long marathon course is awaiting the 25 competitors on Saturday, including eight beautifully designed obstacles, spread out over the spacious site of the Kentucky Horse Park. US World Championship course designer and President of the FEI Driving Committee Richard Nicoll has built the obstacles to both test the competitors and to make the driving sport as attractive as possible to the spectators: “I have built these obstacles for the drivers, it is up to them to choose which routes they prefer to take,” Nicoll said. “But I also had to keep in mind that two-thirds of the crowd have never seen driving. That is why we have included three water obstacles and most of the obstacles are situated down low in order to create a better view for the spectators.”

Different materials and looks
Nicoll and his crew have made every obstacle as varied as possible by using different materials. Heavy posts are used as well as treated timber, oak rails and locust native wood. Every obstacle is horse friendly with rounded posts. Nicoll worked closely with Eventing course designer Mike Etherington-Smith since two marathon obstacles were also part of the Eventing Cross Country, which took place here last week.

Builder Mike Costello and his crew are responsible for the construction of the obstacles in which portable elements are also included. None of the obstacles are painted which results in a beautiful natural look. The only colours are added by the enormous amount of flowers, which have been put in place by 95 volunteers.

“Every obstacle has its own challenge and especially the first obstacle is rather technical. The last two obstacles will be decisive for the competitors. This will really test the fitness of their horses”, concludes Nicoll.

FEI TV – As well as live competition coverage throughout the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, FEI TV will make all competitions available post-event via VoD, plus an exclusive daily 30-minute VoD highlights show from the Kentucky Horse Park featuring the best of the day’s action, interviews, previews and reviews. There will also be lots of behind the scenes footage available.  Check out www.feitv.org.

Quotes:
Boyd Exell (AUS):
“I had to stop myself from smiling in there. My horses were doing it all on their own, the circles, the corners, everything. My grooms helped by telling me to warm up for 20 minutes less. I will not underestimate IJsbrand Chardon, I know that he will go as fast as he can in the marathon. The course is very open with some challenging turns. We are used to more technical obstacles.”

Tucker Johnson (USA):
“My left leader horse got a bit excited so I picked a safe pace which still showed the brilliance of my horses. I feel that my team has wonderful balance and movement and they showed an elegant and attractive test. It is good to be here and to drive my last dressage test on home soil.”

Audio Links:
Boyd Exell (AUS) winner dressage: http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/WEG_Exell.mp3

Individual standings after dressage:
1. Boyd Exell (Aus) 30.08

2. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 35.97
2. Chester Weber (Usa) 35.97
4. Theo Timmerman (Ned) 40.19
4. Tucker Johnson (Usa) 40.19
6. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) 40.58
7. Daniel Würgler (Sui) 45.06
8. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 50.30
9. James Fairclough (Usa) 51.97
10. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 52.22

Team standings after dressage:
1. The Netherlands/USA 76.16
3. Australia 85.38
4. Germany 98.44
5. Sweden 103.68
6. Switzerland 109.96
7. Canada 144.26

Full results and startlists at www.alltechfeigames.com.

Founded by Dr Pearse Lyons, Alltech is a global animal health and nutrition company with 30 years’ experience in developing natural products that are scientifically proven to enhance animal health and performance. With more than 2300 employees in 120 countries, the company has developed a strong regional presence in Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle-East, Africa and Asia.  For downloadable press resources and information, visit http://vip.alltech.com/pressbox.

The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), founded in 1921, is the international body governing equestrian sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and includes 133 National Federations.

Equestrian sport has been on the Olympic programme since 1912 with three disciplines – Jumping, Dressage and Eventing. It is one of the very few Olympic sports in which men and women compete on equal terms. It is also the only sport which involves two athletes – horse and rider. The FEI has relentlessly concerned itself with the welfare of the horse, which is paramount and must never be subordinated to competitive or commercial influences.  For further information, visit www.fei.org.

The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games is the World Championship of equestrian sport and runs for 16 days, from Saturday 25 September to Sunday 10 October.  It includes eight separate disciplines – Reining, Endurance, Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Jumping, Vaulting and Para-Dressage – and this is the first time for the Games to be held outside Europe.

Media Contact:

Grania Willis

FEI Director Press Relations

Tel: +41 787 506 142

Email: grania.willis@fei.org

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