Category Archives: Driving

Hamilton and Makari Design Maintain Their Lead at Southern Pines CDE

Photo: Nifty Hamilton and Makari Design (Picsofyou.com)

Raeford, N.C. – The USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship continued on Saturday with the marathon phase at the Southern Pines Combined Driving Event (CDE). The athlete-and-horse combinations headed out on the Carolina Horse Park’s grounds to tackle Barry Hunter’s marathon track. Jennifer “Nifty” Hamilton and Makari Design held onto their lead to stay atop the overall leaderboard heading into the final phase on Sunday.

USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Defending national champions Hamilton (Alva, Fla.) and Makari Design continued their quest for back-to-back titles by blazing around the marathon course. The duo won the marathon phase with a score of 81.92 penalties, having the fastest times in two of the seven obstacles. Hamilton and the 10-year-old KWPN gelding she owns with Milton Hamilton head into the cones phase with an overall score of 130.01 penalties.

“[Makari Design] was perfect,” Hamilton said. “It was a wonderful course; Barry Hunter is a great course designer. The course drove very smooth, but there were two water hazards, so it was a tough course.”

Hamilton also had high praise for the combinations in the national championship. “It is a great field of competitors. Today was a good effort on everyone’s part. We all work together studying courses and sharing routes; it is a great group to be a part of.”

Jacob Arnold (Snow Camp, N.C.) and Uminco moved up from third place to second place overall on the strength of a strong marathon round. Arnold piloted Leslie Berndl’s 17-year-old Royal Dutch Warmblood gelding to the fastest times in four obstacles and finished the phase with 82.53 penalties. The combination heads into Sunday on an overall score of 135.42 penalties.

Barbara Chapman (Metamora, Mich.) and Meara Beval climbed from fourth place on the leaderboard to third following Saturday’ phase. With her 14-year-old American Warmblood mare, Chapman finished the marathon course with 88.34 penalties. She and Meara Beval sit on an overall score of 142.30 penalties.

Find more information on the Southern Pines CDE.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Hamilton and Makari Design Lead after Day One at Southern Pines CDE

Photo: Nifty Hamilton and Makari Design (Picsofyou.com)

Raeford, N.C. – The USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship at the Southern Pines Combined Driving Event (CDE) began Friday with the dressage phase. Thirteen athlete-and-horse combinations headed down centerline to perform their tests, but Jennifer “Nifty” Hamilton and Makari Design stood out to the Ground Jury. The defending national champions lead the field heading into Saturday’s marathon phase.

USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Hamilton (Alva, Fla.) and Makari Design had a lovely test to impress the judges with well-executed movements and a nice flow. Their steady performances this year have set them up for success at the Carolina Horse Park. Hamilton piloted the 10-year-old KWPN gelding she owns with Milton Hamilton to a score of 48.09 penalties to take the early lead in the national championship.

“I thought [my test] was very good. [Makari Design] was strong and rhythmic today,” Hamilton said. “I am really happy with the way he is progressing; I wanted to bring him along slowly. He is just 10, so I think in another two years, he is going to be terrific.”

Gary Yeager (Ocala, Fla.) and Spring Brooks Galipso are in second place in the national championship after scoring 50.84 penalties in the dressage phase. Even though the duo only began competing at the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) level last fall, they have been consistent performers. Yeager and Sigrid Edwards’s seven-year-old American Dutch Harness gelding had a solid test in a strong field of competitors to position themselves well for the next phase.

Jacob Arnold (Snow Camp, N.C.) and Uminco round out the top three after receiving a score of 52.89 penalties. Arnold is coming off a win at Live Oak International with Leslie Berndl’s 17-year-old Royal Dutch Warmblood gelding and aims to continue their momentum at the national championship.

The exciting marathon phase is up next for the competitors.

“The marathon course looks great,” Hamilton explained. “It is gated really smooth, and I found really good routes. Today, [Makari Design] was really in my hand, so I hope to pick up speed and do it again tomorrow.”

Find more information on the Southern Pines CDE.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Chester Weber Claims 15th USEF Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship Title

Photo: Chester Weber (Picsofyou.com)

Four Intermediate Champions Also Unveiled

Ocala, Fla. – The Live Oak International came to its exciting conclusion on Sunday with all five USEF Combined Driving National Championship divisions completing the cones phase. Chester Weber earned his record 15th USEF Four-In-Hand Combined Driving National Championship title with an overall score of 166.69 penalties, while four combined drivers earned inaugural USEF intermediate national titles. These included: Scott Adcox in the pair horse division with 185.39 penalties; Jennifer Keeler in the single pony division with an overall score of 144.70 penalties; Jennifer Thompson in the intermediate single horse division with 140.94 penalties; and Katie Whaley in the pair pony division with 140.29 penalties.

Advanced Four-in-Hand

USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship

Weber (Ocala, Fla.) added another championship title to his massive list of accolades on Sunday. With a big lead after the dressage and marathon phases, he was able to take it easy in the cones phase. He maneuvered his KWPN geldings, First Edition (eight years old), Boris W (11 years old), and Asjemenou (12 years old), along with Jane Clark’s Dutch Warmblood gelding Splash (14 years old) and knocked one minor ball, adding three penalties to his overnight total.

“I was very pleased with the horses in the warm-up. We have only driven this combination in one other competition. Live Oak is always a little confusing for them because they have the World Cup Qualifier [jumping course] with flowers and everything built in the arena, which isn’t typical in our sport. But they handled that. I think this is a team that can consistently go clear,” said Weber.

Commanding the same team in Thursday’s dressage phase, the unit performed a seamless test to start the competition with 40.11 penalties. Weber substituted Splash for Reno, his eight-year-old, for the marathon and the team earned the fastest time across all seven hazards adding 123.58 penalties to his score.

Weber, who serves as Co-President of the Live Oak International with his sister Juliet Reid, stepped up to add the intermediate USEF Combined Driving National Championships, and they were a resounding success.

“From an organizer’s standpoint, we were really pleased to [offer the intermediate championships]. To have them in this group has been great, and to see entries come from everywhere to support the championships has been well worth it for us as an organizing team. I’m really proud of all the people who came out and contested those medals,” added Weber.

Lisa Stroud (Kennett Square, Pa.) and her and Willow Star, LLC’s team of Dutch Warmblood geldings (Anesco 4, 12 years old; Ulco, 16 years old; Olando, 21 years old; and Enzo, eight years old) followed Weber as the division’s reserve national champion, despite an inconsistent cones test, accumulating 9.34 penalties. They began competition in third place following dressage with 53.15 penalties and jumped to second after marathon with 127.72 penalties.

“Cones was difficult today because of the atmosphere. I loved my team [at Live Oak]; this was my ‘A’ team, and I had a lot of fun,” said Stroud, who returned this team of horses to competition for the first time since June’s Bromont International CDE. “I’m really fortunate because I have really great people working for me, and we only have solutions. When you have that sense of confidence in the day it makes a big difference and reflects in the performance.”

Intermediate

USEF Intermediate Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship

As the only competitor finishing in the intermediate pair horse division, Adcox (Myakka City, Fla.) earned the division’s national championship. Electing to continue with his KWPN gelding’s Nupafeed Auto Pilot (13 years old) and Pepe (six years old) for the cones phase, they added nine penalties to their overall score. Adcox borrowed Tom Warriner’s Harley, a 14-year-old Saddlebred/Friesian gelding, to help with the dressage phase. Along with Pepe, they finished with 60.88 penalties. The young Pepe stayed with the veteran Nupafeed Auto Pilot through the intimidating marathon course to add 105.07 penalties.

“It’s been great that we’re starting to recognize the lower levels and what they accomplish. We need to try and encourage the lower levels to move up and encourage more people into our sport, so we have a sport in the future. That’s key,” reflected Adcox. “So when you start to acknowledge the work everyone has to do to be here then people outside the sport start to realize that it’s a real sport and it’s tough.”

USEF Intermediate Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Despite 0.21 time penalties after the cones competition, Thompson (Lodi, Wis.) and her seven-year-old Funnominial C.G. retained their two-phase lead for the division’s national championship. She and her Dutch Warmblood gelding delivered a polished dressage test to take the lead early on Friday, collecting 53.84 penalties. Although they didn’t win Saturday’s marathon phase, their nice dressage start helped them maintain their lead, adding 86.89 penalties to their dressage score.

“To be in this position, with this horse who still is young, is just amazing and knocking my socks off,” said Thompson, who has only been to Live Oak as a spectator and volunteer. “We came this year for the experience, to learn what Live Oak is about, so that when we get in the ‘big time’ we know what we’re getting into. I never anticipated being in this position.”

Taylor Bradish (Windsor, S.C.) and Katrina Becker, owner of Bradish’s horse Katydid Duchess, decided to introduce the nine-year-old Welsh Pony Cross to intermediate competition at Live Oak. The decision paid off as they obtained the division’s reserve national championship title with 145.24 penalties. Sitting in second place after two phases, they dropped one ball on the cones course, adding three penalties. They began the competition in fourth place following dressage with 59.04 penalties. Although the youngest competitor in the national championship divisions, Bradish drove Katydid Duchess like a pro. She navigated the relatively inexperienced mare, quickly and efficiently, winning the marathon phase, adding 83.20 penalties.

“It feels good [to win the reserve championship] because it is at Live Oak, and you want to do well here. For [Live Oak] to serve as the national championships is even more exciting. Of course, I would have loved to win, but I am happy [as reserve] because this is her first intermediate,” said Bradish. “I thought we were going to have a lot of issues because of this atmosphere, but she went into today’s cones course ready to go.”

USEF Intermediate Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Whaley (Paris, Ky.) chose to continue with her Welsh Pony Cob’s Tommy (14 years old) and Tanner (11 years old) for the cones phase. They completed a clean round to retain their overall lead for the intermediate pair pony title. She partnered Tommy with her youngest Welsh Cob Teddy (five years old) for Friday’s dressage test, collecting 61.76 penalties. After sitting in second following dressage, Tommy and Tanner blazed through the marathon course, adding 78.53 penalties.

“I’m so thrilled that USEF has decided to acknowledge [intermediate] levels on a national stage. It’s going to enhance the driving in this country. Everyone works hard on every level, and to be recognized in the intermediate is exceptional,” said Whaley, who usually doesn’t compete intermediate. “I have a pony that has never been in a three-day event, so I thought perhaps this would be a good start. It’s really exciting for the sport that [Live Oak’s organizing team] had the foresight to bid for [the intermediate] championships. This really shows good things to come for the sport of driving.”

Boots Wright (Ocala, Fla.), using Marko and Rio for cones added three penalty points in the cones phase. With only two entries in the intermediate pair pony division, she won the division’s reserve title with 146.37 penalties. She gave an amazing dressage performance with her German Riding Pony geldings Marko (11 years old) and Mista Q (11 years old) for the division lead on Friday with 50.64 penalties. She dropped to second place following marathon with 92.73 penalties after driving Mista Q and Rio, her 14-year-old Welsh ‘B’ Pony gelding.

“I remember when Live Oak was a tiny horse show and seeing [this show] evolve into what it has become has been quite spectacular. It’s really the best driving show in America, and a lot of thought has been put into it. The hazards [in the marathon] are wonderful,” said Wright, who has competed at every Live Oak competition since it began 27 years ago.

USEF Intermediate Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Keeler (Paris, Ky.) drove a clean and cautious cones course with Zeppo to win the intermediate single pony title. Her six-year-old Hackney gelding made the leap to the intermediate at Live Oak and showed his strong potential, delivering three exceptional phases. They started with a steady dressage test to finish third with 62.40 penalties on Friday. They shot to first place due to a flashy marathon round for 82.30 penalties on Saturday.

“I had always hoped that I would be in this position winning a national championship. I think it’s safe to say if you had asked anyone, they would have expected it to be with our other pony [Amazing Grace]. To say that it’s unexpected to win this with Zeppo, it’s the most incredible fairy tale possible,” said an emotional Keeler. “This is a pony who was too small, too afraid …. and it’s just incredible that he was able to do what no one thought he could do. I’d also like to thank Chester and everyone that makes Live Oak possible. I always say, ‘there’s no place like Live Oak.’ I’m so proud to win this here on the toughest stage in our country.”

Janelle Marshall (Williston, S.C.) and Kennebec Joyce, John Merritt’s 10-year-old Morgan mare, earned the division’s reserve national championship title with 145.89 penalties. They began dressage with 67.04 penalties and rebounded in the marathon with the fastest time on course, adding 78.85 penalties. Although, she drove a clean cones round, it was not enough to move to the division lead.

Complete Results

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

New Leaders Emerge Following Marathon in USEF Combined Driving National Championships

Photo: Chester Weber (Picsofyou.com)

Ocala, Fla. – All five divisions of the USEF Combined Driving National Championships faced an intimidating yet thrilling marathon course at the Live Oak International on Saturday. The course included seven technical, compact obstacles questioning the obedience and athleticism of the equine athletes. This influenced the fluctuation in the top three across all divisions, while two new drivers took the lead in the intermediate single pony and intermediate pony pair divisions.

The 14-time advanced four-in-hand national champion Chester Weber maintains his lead with 170.44 points and Jennifer Thompson holds the intermediate single horse division lead with 140.73 points. Scott Adcox has the intermediate pair horse lead off default as Shane Doyle elected to retire. Jennifer Keeler moved into the lead in the intermediate single pony division with 144.70 points, and Katie Whaley advanced to the intermediate pair pony lead with 140.29 penalties.

Advanced Four-in-Hand

USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship

Weber (Ocala, Fla.) is one phase closer to acquiring his 15th four-in-hand national title. He and his powerful team of KWPN geldings (First Edition, eight years old; Boris W, 11 years old; and Asjemenou, 12 years old) and Reno (eight years old) maneuvered the course efficiently, picking up 123.58 penalties. Despite a broken piece of equipment on course which cost them 10 penalties, they hold a dominating lead.

“There’s a lot going on for my entire family and the crew here to produce this tournament of sport, but I try to jump on the carriage, clear my mind and do my best,” said Weber. “I was pleased today with the horses. They really performed well for me and I think they’re in a good way as [FEI World Equestrian Games™] approaches.”

Lisa Stroud (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Willow Star, LLC’s team of Dutch Warmblood geldings (Anesco 4, 12 years old; Ulco, 16 years old; Olando; 21 years old; and Enzo, eight years old) added 127.72 penalties to move to second place going into Sunday’s cones phase.

“It’s a really fun, challenging course here. Lots of good questions are asked. I’ve been really fortunate with 10 years of experience with the ponies. The ponies weren’t little. They were big, so the transition to horses was not as difficult because it’s the same style of driving. That’s been really helpful,” said Stroud.

James Fairclough (Newton, N.J.) and his team of Dutch Warmblood geldings (Bento V, 11 years old; Dapper, nine years old; and Zenden, 13 years old) and a KWPN (Citens, 10 years old) gelding advanced to third place. He accumulated 133.59 penalties in the marathon for a score of 189.34.

Intermediate

USEF Intermediate Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Adcox (Myakka City, Fla.) remains as the only competitor in the intermediate pair horse division as Doyle (Hillsborough, N.J.) elected to retire from competition due to an injury to one of his marathon specialist horses. He drove his KWPN geldings Nupafeed Auto Pilot (13 years old) and Pepe (six years old) in the marathon and finished with 105.07 penalties. He was impressed with his young horses’ willingness throughout the course.

“This is only the third time [Pepe’s] been out, so he’s kind of a little shell-shocked, but he handled it. He stepped up to the plate and did his job. That’s all you can ask for. He was startled at the first [water obstacle] hazard, and he decided he didn’t want to go in the water, so I didn’t push him and that paid off,” said Adcox. [Losing Shane] is disappointing because nobody wants to win by default. I want to win because I earned the win, not because somebody [is a horse down]. You never want to win that way if you can help it.”

USEF Intermediate Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Thompson (Lodi, Wis.) and her seven-year-old Funnominial C.G. carried their momentum from Friday’s dressage phase over to an excellent marathon phase to remain the intermediate single horse leaders. She and the Dutch Warmblood gelding drove a consistent, cautious marathon to end the day with 86.89 penalties.

“Coming into the [first] water [hazard] there were lots of people and tents, but it went very well for us and it was a good start. The conditioning really paid off in ‘The Gulch’ and he soared through the path. My navigator [Terry Shaw] and I were pleased with his performance,” said Thompson. “This is such a top venue and a world championship level course, so it tests you and questions teams a bit more.”

Taylor Bradish (Windsor, S.C.) and Katydid Duchess, owned by Katrina Becker, added 83.20 penalties for an overall score of 142.24 penalties to move from fourth to second place following two phases. This is the toughest atmosphere the nine-year-old Welsh Pony Cross mare has faced but handled the environment exceptionally well for a first-timer.

“[The marathon] was a lot to ask because she is fairly green. Coming into the first water hazard I was a little nervous, but when she saw the first gap she never second guessed me,” said Bradish, who is competing in her second Live Oak competition. “This year I [especially] I want to do well. I knew [my] horse could [complete the marathon], so I really pushed us. Live Oak is the best show in the country, and you want to do well.”

Anna Koopman (Middleburg, Va.) and Night Chief LMS, Robert Koopman’s seven-year-old American Dutch Harness gelding, moved down to third place, adding 96.37 penalties, with an overall score of 150.69.

USEF Intermediate Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Whaley (Paris, Ky.), no stranger to Live Oak combined driving events, is using this opportunity to train her youngest Welsh Cob Pony Teddy (five years old), who competed in Friday’s dressage phase on behalf of the team with Tommy (14 years old). Not ready, for the challenges of a Live Oak marathon course, she hooked up Tommy and Tanner (11 years old) for marathon. Their experience propelled them to the lead, adding 78.53 penalties.

“My navigator [Colton] says this was our best [Live Oak marathon] round in years. The sixth [fountain] hazard was the most difficult, but we found the best route; Colton was exceptional,” said Whaley.

Boots Wright (Ocala, Fla.) dropped to second place adding 92.73 marathon penalties to her overall score of 143.37. She drove Mista Q, her 11-year-old German Riding Pony gelding, and Rio, her 14-year-old Welsh ‘B’ Pony gelding.

USEF Intermediate Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship

After a conservative dressage phase, Keeler and Zeppo exploded through the marathon course. They added 82.30 penalties and move into the lead by less than one penalty point. She is competing her six-year-old Hackney gelding in his first intermediate event and could not be more pleased with his development and heart.

“This is the toughest course in the country, and we didn’t know what to expect with him. However, everything drove according to plan, and his size played to his advantage,” said Keeler, who had the fastest time at hazard four, the Ariat maze. “To be competing for our first national championship with the pony that no one expected anything from, it’s pretty special, and none of this would be possible without [my navigator] David.”

Janelle Marshall (Williston, S.C.) and Kennebec Joyce, John Merritt’s 10-year-old Morgan mare, earned the fastest marathon time in the division to advance to second place, adding 78.85 penalties for an overall score of 145.89 penalties.

“Her fitness and air intake was huge [for the marathon]. In the sixth [fountain hazard], she was a machine and stayed very true and honest, so I was super proud of her,” said Marshall.

Kristin Whittington (Edinburgh, Ind.) and Symphony dropped to third place overall with a score of 150.52 penalties. She and the eight-year-old Welsh Pony Cross mare added 93.08 penalties to their dressage score.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department 

Adcox and Weber Take Division Leads in USEF Combined Driving National Championships

Photo: Scott Adcox (Picsofyou.com)

Ocala, Fla. – The USEF Combined Driving National Championships got underway with the first of three phases at Live Oak International. Two of the five championship divisions completed their dressage tests; Scott Adcox takes the early lead in the Intermediate Pair Horse division with a score of 60.88 penalties. Chester Weber tops the leaderboard in the four-in-hand division with a score of 40.11 penalties.

Intermediate

USEF Intermediate Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Adcox (Myakka City, Fla.) and Shane Doyle (Hillsborough, N.J.) broke in the arena footing as the Intermediate Pair Horse division opened the first day of competition. Adcox, who returned to combined driving this year after taking a year off from competition, finds himself in the lead with Harley, Tom Warriner’s 14-year-old Saddlebred/Friesian gelding, and Pepe, his six-year-old KWPN gelding.

“Dressage is not my strong suit. I borrowed Harley from Tom Warriner a week ago to see if we could do a bit better and help with my other horse’s [Pepe’s] weak points. However, in a week there is not a lot of time to change that, but he tried. [Harley] is such a steady eddie, so I can count on him to do his job, whereas [Pepe] the six-year-old I had to manage a little more.”

Doyle follows with a score of 66.64 penalties with his geldings Valentino, a 15-year-old KWPN, and Bono, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood.

Advanced Four-in-Hand

USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship

The 14-time USEF Four-in-Hand National Champion Chester Weber (Ocala, Fla.) carries the early lead in the four-in-hand division. He and his KWPN geldings, First Edition (eight years old), Boris W (11 years old), and Asjemenou (12 years old), along with Jane Clark’s Dutch Warmblood gelding Splash (14 years old), executed a near flawless test to finish on 40.11 penalties.

“I was very pleased with my horses today; they are coming together. Tryon [FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018] is our goal in September. We had two minor errors in the walk, and without those we may have been in the 30s, but I was pleased with them and how they showed up,” said Weber, who also serves as Co-President of the Live Oak International alongside his sister Juliet Reid. “The [USEF Combined Driving] national championships, whether the first or 14th, mean a lot. It’s one of the two goals we go after every year. It’s important to me, and I would like to see us get it done.”

Following Weber is the 2017 USEF Four-in-Hand Reserve National Champion Misdee Wrigley Miller (Paris, Ky.) and her KWPN geldings Beau (11 years old), Bravour 54 (10 years old) and Bolino D (11 years old) and her Dutch Warmblood gelding Calipso 86 (10 years old) with 46.84 penalties.

“The history here at Live Oak [International]; we know we are going to get the best America has to offer when we come to compete,” said Wrigley Miller. “I took a bit of a gamble today and used a new leader [Bravour 54] to see how he reacted to the atmosphere. I was really pleased with him until towards the end of the test at our last extension near the television screen. He saw himself on the screen, so that unsettled the team a little bit.”

Allison Stroud (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Willow Star, LLC’s Dutch Warmblood gelding team of Anesco 4 (12 years old), Ulco (16 years old), Olando (21 years old) and Enzo (eight years old) sit in third place with 53.15 penalties.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Five USEF Combined Driving National Championships on the Line at Live Oak International

Photo: Chester Weber (Picsofyou.com)

Ocala, Fla. – Combined driving athletes will descend upon the majestic Live Oak Plantation this week for a shot at a USEF Combined Driving National Championship title. Live Oak International, running Thursday, March 15 through Sunday, March 18, returns as the host for the USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship and welcomes four new USEF Intermediate Combined Driving National Championship divisions.

Advanced Four-in-Hand

USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship

The 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ individual silver medalist and 2012 FEI World Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand individual silver and team bronze medalist Chester Weber (Ocala, Fla.) looks to extend his USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship record. He will harness his powerhouse team of Splash, Jane Clark’s 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, and his First Edition, an eight-year-old KWPN gelding; Boris W, an 11-year-old KWPN gelding; Asjemenou, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding; and Reno, an eight-year-old gelding, as he chases his 15th national title at his home farm.

However, the 2017 USEF Advanced Combined Driving Four-in-Hand Reserve National Champion Misdee Wrigley-Miller (Paris, Ky.) will be in hot pursuit with her Beau, an 11-year-old KWPN gelding; Bravour 54, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding; Bolino D, an 11-year-old KWPN gelding; Calipso 86, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding; Daan 8, a 10-year-old KNHS gelding; and Saco, an 18-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. Both join championship veterans James Fairclough (Newton, N.J.), 2012 FEI World Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand team bronze medalist, Paul Maye (Fairfield, Va.) and Allison Stroud (Kennett Square, Pa.) as well as newcomers Wiebe Dragstra (Southern Pines, N.C.) and Mary Ruth Marks (Verona, Wis.), who will attempt to win their first title.

Intermediate

USEF Intermediate Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Scott Adcox (Myakka City, Fla.) and Shane Doyle (Hillsborough, N.J.) will go head-to-head for the USEF Intermediate Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship. Adcox has competed in single horse combined driving events for the past several years. He will compete in his first pair horse division for at Live Oak, entering Nupafeed Auto Pilot, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding; Nupafeed’s Leap of Faith, a 14-year-old mare; and Pepe, a six-year-old KWPN gelding.

USEF Intermediate Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

In the largest combined driving division at Live Oak International, 11 athletes will vie for the USEF Intermediate Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship. Taylor Bradish (Windsor, S.C.) won the preliminary single horse division at the Palm Tree Combined Driving Event at Little Everglades in January with her own Katydid Duchess. She makes the leap with Katrina Becker’s nine-year-old Welsh Pony Cross mare to the intermediate division aiming for her first title. However, she can expect tough competition from veteran drivers including 2014 FEI World Para-Equestrian Driving Championships for Singles individual silver and team bronze medalist Bob Giles (Morriston, Fla.), 2010 FEI World Singles Driving Championships competitor Robin Groves and her husband Wilson Groves (Brownsville, Vt.), Anna Koopman (Middleburg, Va.), Cathy Thomas (Verona, Wis.), and Marcie Quist (Vass, N.C.). Robin Groves won the FEI Single Horse Division at Live Oak International in 2009 and placed second in 2011, while Quist placed second in the FEI Single Horse CAI2* at the 2017 Live Oak International.

USEF Intermediate Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Katie Whaley (Paris, Ky.) and Esther “Boots” Wright (Ocala, Fla.) will battle it out for the USEF Intermediate Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship. Whaley is the 2016 and 2017 USEF Advanced Pair Pony Combined Driving National Champion. She will compete with her own Welsh Cross pony geldings Tommy, 14 years old, and Tanner, 11 years old. She also brings along her five-year-old Teddy to give him experience as he is not old enough for Fédération Equestre Internationale competition.

USEF Intermediate Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Six entries make up the USEF intermediate Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship division. Jennifer Keeler (Paris, Ky.) has won every single pony combined driving event she has entered and aims to keep that streak alive with a title victory. She brings her Zeppo, a six-year-old Hackney gelding. Janelle Marshall (Williston, S.C.) has only finished outside the top three twice out of 13 single pony combined driving competitions. She brings Kennebec Joyce, John Merritt’s 10-year-old Morgan mare. Others competing in the division include Nancy Dimick (Randolph, Vt.), Jackie Kane (Hudson, Mass.), Tayler Roundtree (Auburn, Calif.), and Kristin Whittington (Edinburgh, Ind.).

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Chester Weber Predicts “Best Ever” Live Oak International

Photo courtesy of Scott Hodlmair.

Ocala, FL (March 12, 2018) – The most decorated whip in American driving history, 14-time USEF National Four-in-Hand Driving Champion, Chester Weber, predicts the “best ever” in equestrian competition at this year’s Live Oak International, March 15-18, at Live Oak Plantation in Ocala, Florida.

The Live Oak International at Live Oak Plantation is the only show in the United States to offer both Combined Driving and Show Jumping, and this year’s event will be home to seven US Equestrian National Driving Championships, as well as the final leg before Paris of the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League, the $100,000 CSI-W3* Longines FEI World Cup Qualifier.

Chester Weber has a hefty dual role as the event organizer and a competitor set on breaking his own national championship record at this year’s event. Defending his national title on his home turf might seem like an advantage and but the responsibility of competing and balancing his role as one of Live Oak’s key organizers would be overwhelming for most. Naturally the man who can deftly hold the reins to four horses at one time has systematic plan: “I try to spend the early morning training the horses then shift gears for organizer mode in the afternoon.”

As for his chances at reaching his competitive goals, Weber knows what it takes and that’s what “drives” him. “It feels like I need to work hard all the time. You make your luck, right? The harder we work, the luckier we get.” Weber’s strategy for the upcoming three phases of the four-in-hand championship include veteran KWPN campaigners Splash and First Edition (lead), Boris, and Asjemenou for Dressage and Reno replacing Splash for the Marathon.  This combination of horses is the team that Weber hopes will make him a top contender at FEI World Equestrian Games to be held this September at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina.

But first the focus is on this week at Live Oak International. But the deft competitor and cagey host, won’t reveal all his plans, for on course or under the VIP tent, where this year’s Saturday Night Party coincides with another celebratory date: St. Patrick’s Day.

“There may be a few mint-green outfits. Anyone with any great ideas can let me know,” Weber added with a wink, but this is one leprechaun who isn’t giving away his pot o’ gold secrets to his party’s theme quite yet. “What I can say is that a Live Oak Party always promises to be outrageous.” Prior years’ themes have included a suave 007, big top circus, and swash-buckling pirates.

Since its founding, the Live Oak International has grown into one of the most recognized equestrian events in North America and draws some of the best in their disciplines from across this continent and Europe. Two of this year’s new achievements will be the debut of a sand Grand Prix arena, using GGT All-Weather footing, and virtual hosting of The Flanders Foal Auction in the VIP tent on Friday, March 16. This is the first time the Belgian-based sport horse auction and its elite European bloodlines will available to the United States.

Every day at Live Oak International promises a front row to the competition, including the popular Marathon phase on Saturday, March 17th. For more about the event and an opportunity to see Chester Weber and his fellow competitors in action, visit www.liveoakinternational.com.

For more information, contact:
Chester Weber
chester@chesterweber.com
1-352-895-1139

What to Expect at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show

From Wednesday 9 – Sunday 13 May 2018, the private grounds of Windsor Castle will once again open its gates to the public, as Royal Windsor Horse Show returns for a spectacular 75th year.

With all eyes on Windsor ahead of the highly anticipated Royal wedding the following week, over 55,000 spectators are expected to attend the Show to enjoy the top-class sporting action, entertainment and shopping across the five days.

World-class equestrian competition

Having seen over 3,000 entries at the 2017 event, the Show remains the pinnacle of the equestrian calendar, and the only Show in the UK to host four of the eight FEI disciplines: Show Jumping, Dressage, Carriage Driving and Endurance. The recently upgraded 5* status attracts the sports’ most prominent competitors to the illustrious setting.

The CSI5* Show Jumping will be returning to the Castle Arena from Friday 11 – Sunday 13 May, including a Saturday evening performance, with the climax of the action, the Rolex Grand Prix taking place on the final day. Current World No. 1 and reigning champion Kent Farrington is sure to be hoping to return from injury to defend his title. Speaking after his victory in 2017, Kent said, “This is one of my favourite shows… There’s a combination of an amazing setting, an unbelievable crowd, top course designing and great footing… It’s on par with the best in the world.”

The CDI4* Al Shira’aa Dressage Grand Prix and Freestyle to Music will take place on the evenings of Thursday 10 and Friday 11 May, respectively. Riders will have the unique opportunity to be judged by Susan Hoevenaars, one of the judges at the upcoming FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018, an unmissable chance for hopefuls heading to the Games this September.

The CAIO4* Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, a FEI World Cup™ qualifier and one of the most important Driving events in the UK adds to the roster of top international competition at the Show. 2017 saw Boyd Exell score an impressive eighth victory at the Show, and the Australian is certain to be looking to retain his title as part of his FEI World Equestrian Games™ build-up.

Competitive Endurance action will take to Windsor Great Park on Friday 11 May as the CEI2* Royal Windsor Endurance supported by The Kingdom of Bahrain sets off around 120km of the countryside of Windsor and Ascot for the ultimate test of stamina for both horse and rider.

Over 120 Showing classes will join the four FEI disciplines in the action-packed schedule and, with many of HM The Queen’s horses regularly featuring in the starting line-ups, Royal Windsor Horse Show represents the height of the National Showing calendar. Competitors will be striving to follow in the footsteps of HM The Queen’s Barbers Shop to be crowned Royal Windsor Supreme Showing Champion on the final day of the Show.

Displays

The always popular Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and The Musical Drive of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will be returning to present their powerful displays of skill and precision in the Castle Arena from Thursday to Sunday.

Joining them will be The Land Rover Shetland Pony Grand National, rousing crowds as the young jockeys and their ponies go head-to-head in a daringly fast race around the arena. The DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games will be adding to the crowd-enthusing entertainment as teams from England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland, compete in fast and furious races, set to entertain the entire family.

Luxury shopping

In between performances, spectators can enjoy Royal Windsor Horse Show Shopping which is packed with boutiques and brands for both equestrian and non-equestrian fans alike. With over 200 fashion and lifestyle stands, the shopping village offers something for everyone, as does the wide range of food and drink outlets distributed across the Showground.

An iconic venue

In addition to the plethora of activities, the event presents spectators with the unique opportunity to experience the exceptional setting of the private grounds of Windsor Castle, with the notable backdrop of the Castle itself. As the Show celebrates its 75th birthday, Organisers are putting in place a series of displays and exhibitions both in and out of the arena to commemorate the diamond anniversary.

Tickets are available from just £9 and allow general access to the Showground; this year visitors can also upgrade to reserve a seat in the Castle Arena. The Show will be running a special Windsor Wednesday promotion for local residents, who will be granted free entry on Wednesday 9 May with use of the local Windsor and Maidenhead Advantage Card.

Additional packages are also available for the Windsor Enclosure and Members Enclosure, both of which offer exclusive bars and seating areas. The Windsor Enclosure was a popular addition to the 2017 Show, offering access to a dedicated bistro, bar, and pre-booked seating on the north-east end of the Castle Arena. The Members Enclosure offers exclusive access to premium seating alongside the Royal Enclosure, a Members restaurant, bar and terrace, all of which overlook the Castle Arena.

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show, or to book tickets, visit www.rwhs.co.uk. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the box office on 0844 581 4960 from the UK and +44 (0)121 7966290 internationally. Windsor residents should call the Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743589.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

Diamond Year for CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show

CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show returns to the private grounds of Windsor Castle from 9-13 May as the iconic Show celebrates its 75th year.

This renowned equestrian event was launched in 1943 to support ‘Wings for Victory’ – a war time campaign to raise money to purchase Hurricanes and Spitfires for the Royal Air Force. Since this first Show, the event has grown in international prestige to become the UK’s largest outdoor Show, with Her Majesty The Queen, the Show’s Patron, attending every year since its creation.

Over the 75 years the Show has maintained its objective to raise funds for charity. ABF, The Soldiers Charity is supported every year and an equestrian charity is chosen to support by the Committee annually. This year the equestrian charity is the Free Spirit Horse Memorial.

The original Show, which required competitors to hack to the Showground as there was no petrol to spare, took place on only one day. Since 1944 the Show has expanded dramatically in terms of length, spectator attendance and competitors. One of the first competitors was HM The Queen who successfully competed in the Single Private Driving Class driving Hans, a Norwegian Pony, to victory in 1944. Other members of the Royal family have also competed including HRH The Prince of Wales, HRH The Princess Royal, Zara Phillips, and most notably, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh who introduced international carriage driving to the Show in 1972, in which he also competed (and won the Horse Teams class in 1982 with HM The Queen’s team of Bays).

From 1943 onwards, the Show has grown both in size, now hosting over 120 Showing classes, and in stature, placing itself firmly on the international competition circuit, with its augmented status as a 5* event. Royal Windsor Horse Show is now the only Show in the UK to host international competitions in Show Jumping, Dressage, Driving and Endurance.

The annual event now hosts the Rolex Grand Prix, the pinnacle of the week’s calendar, with a prize fund of €300,000, compared to a top prize of £15 in Show Jumping classes in 1944. The increased number of entries is a sheer reflection of the Show’s popularity and prestige, seeing 3,300 entries in 2017, including many of the world’s best riders, compared to 884 entered horses in 1950.

Mr Clive Lidstone, one of the 300 original founding members of Royal Windsor Horse Show, said:

‘I’ve attended the Show every year since it was first created in 1943, where I actually competed in the Gymkhana. I left school early to get there that day. It’s brilliant to see how much the event has grown over the years, not just in size but globally, attracting many of the world’s best competitors.’

Nowadays, more than 55,000 spectators travel to Windsor annually to catch the world-class equestrian action, growing from a noted 8,000 spectators in 1944.

At the event the Organisers are putting in place a series of displays and exhibitions both in and out of the arena to commemorate the 75th anniversary.

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show, or to book tickets, visit www.rwhs.co.uk. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the box office on 0844 581 4960 from the UK and +44 (0)121 7966290 internationally. Windsor residents should call the Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743589.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

Chester Weber Victorious in His First US Four-in-Hand Driving Competition in 2018

Photo courtesy of PicsofYou.

Dade City, FL (February 6, 2018) – Chester Weber, a Florida native who is known around the world for his success in Four-in-Hand driving, kicked off 2018 in the only way he could have been expected to – with a win in his first competition of the year.

After spending the winter competing in major driving tournaments throughout Europe, Weber touched down on U.S. soil to claim the top spot in the CAI 2* Palm Tree CDE Four-in-Hand division in Dade City, Florida on January 25-28.

“I felt good about the dressage phase,” shared Weber, who is known for his superb execution in the Four-in-Hand dressage.  “There are few areas where the team can continue to improve. This is all part of our strategy as we work toward the National Championships coming up at Live Oak International and the WEG [World Equestrian Games] coming up in September.”

For the remaining phases, Weber was unstoppable with the matched team of KWPNs owned by him and Jane Clark. He kept First Edition in the left lead for all three phases, with Boris at the left wheel and Asjemenous at the right wheel. After the dressage phase, he replaced Splash from the right lead with Reno. The team won both the cones phase and the marathon phase to earn the overall first place score of 155.79.

Reno, a newer member of Team Weber, certainly fits in with the talented group. “Reno has an interesting pedigree; he’s half Friesian and half Orlov Trotter,” said Weber. “This was his third competition with me. He was perfect. He’s a great addition for the team for the marathon and cones phases, and we feel really pleased with him.” Weber purchased the horse from Hungarian Four-in-Hand driver József Dobrovitz, Jr. “I had been watching Reno for some time, and he had a great record,” Weber recalled. “Finally, I tested him a bit and drove him in the Beekbergen CAI3* in the Netherlands. We were very competitive there, and I was impressed with him.” The rest was history for the purchase of the horse – and it looks to be a promising beginning to Reno’s future on Team Weber.

Now that Weber has returned to the United States in winning style, he will continue to train and compete with his sights set on the famed World Equestrian Games to be held in Tryon, North Carolina in September 2018. “I am absolutely looking forward to it,” Weber said. “I think the team is really in good form.”

Much sooner, though, Weber the 14 time USEF Four-in-Hand National Champion will be competing at a major competition in his own backyard, Live Oak International this March 15-18, 2018. The prestigious show is annually held at Live Oak Plantation in Ocala, Florida, which is owned by Weber and his family.  Now focused on Live Oak and always up for a challenge, Weber added, “It’s always a lot of work to compete in a National Championship and also be the organizer of the event!”

As Weber and his U.S. team focus on the tournaments ahead, his Four-in-Hand team of Lipizzans that competed with him in Europe remain in France, enjoying a few months of well-deserved vacation time.

To stay up to date with the latest happenings for Weber and his talented teams on two continents, visit www.chesterweber.com.

For more information, contact:
Chester Weber
chester@chesterweber.com
1-352-895-1139