Category Archives: Driving

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

Wins for AP McCoy and Maikel Van der Vleuten on Race Night at Olympia

Jockeys of a different kind stole the show on day four of Olympia, The London International Horse Show. Ten of the most renowned jockeys from the world of flat and National Hunt racing took to the Olympia Grand Hall for the Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, with Sir AP McCoy’s team of ‘legends’ coming out on top.

The day kicked off with the Olympia Senior Showing Series Championships sponsored by Anthony D Evans Insurance. Jayne Harper and her 20-year-old black gelding, Crimewave II, triumphed in the ridden section and Alice Stratton and the 13-year-old Welsh Section B gelding Laithehill Pashsa won the in-hand final.

Three CSI5* Show Jumping competitions and a FEI World Cup Driving Leg provided top class international action from start to finish, with Maikel Van der Vleuten taking the pinnacle of the day’s Show Jumping, the 1.60m Longines Christmas Cracker. Meanwhile, showing his Dad how it is done, there was a win for Rocco Dettori in the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National.

Cool-headed Dutchman Maikel Van der Vleuten, who has so often set the Olympia arena alight, was victorious again, this time on the 12-year-old bay mare VDL Groep Arera C in The Longines Christmas Cracker when shaving 0.19 seconds off the time of one of the world’s best horsemen, German Olympian Marcus Ehning (Comme Il Faut).

It was an international affair with Frenchman Simon Delestre third on Teavanta ll and another Dutchman, quiet horseman Harrie Smolders fourth on Cas.

There was no home cheer until ninth place, filled by Ben Maher on Don Vito, but the London Olympic gold medallist is now lying third in the Leading Rider of Show table.

In earlier classes, Belgium’s Francois Mathy Jnr set an unbeatable target from an early draw in The Snowflake Stakes, a speed class. Riding Falco van de Clehoeve, he held off a challenge from Britain’s Cayenne Puissance winner Laura Renwick, this time riding MHS Washington.

“Because I was so early to go I was hoping for a finish in the top five, so I am happy about how it finished,” said Francois. “This is the type of class where Falco has been quite competitive. He’s a special horse with a special personality.”

Germany’s Daniel Deusser, winner of the 2014 FEI World Cup Final, triumphed in a nine-horse jump-off in The Keith Prowse Snowman Stakes on SX Hidalgo VG.

Florida-based Amanda Derbyshire was fourth and highest placed Brit on Luibanta BH. Amanda, who is trained by Nick Skelton, and used to compete Olympic champion Big Star as a youngster, admitted that her aim was to be talent-spotted for the British team.

“It’s much warmer in Florida and I did wonder whether I wanted to travel over, but then I thought maybe I’d never get another invitation!” she said. “I was really quite over-excited when I arrived but I’m a bit more relaxed now. It’s fantastic to be here at Olympia.”

A stellar team of legendary jump jockeys trounced the flat jockeys in a thrilling Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund.

The National Hunt jockeys, trained by Graham Fletcher and headed by the winning-most jockey of all time, Sir AP McCoy, joked that their ages added up to more than 300 years. Their best performance came from Ireland’s Charlie Swann, winner of three Champion Hurdles on Istabraq back in the 1990s, but former champions Peter Scudamore, Richard Dunwoody and John Francome, a former Junior European champion Show Jumper, showed they could still cut it.

The best performance from the flat jockeys, trained by Nick Skelton, came from captain Frankie Dettori, who said: “We gave it our best shot.”

Ijsbrand Chardon, the most experienced driver on the FEI World Cup circuit, treated the Olympia audience to a breath-taking display of rein-handling as he knocked favourite Boyd Exell into second place in the FEI World Cup Driving Leg presented by Dodson & Horrell.

First to go, Exell (AUS) set the bar high and the next four all picked up knockdown penalties. Penultimate to go, Benjamin Aillaud from France, who hasn’t competed in FEI World Cup competition for over a decade, posted a clear round, putting him second, but the Dutchman Chardon, twice a FEI World Cup champion, then took the course by storm, his horses responding to his every command. The win was his by 1.5 seconds, putting him in prime position for tomorrow’s final.

With a new mare in the lead, Chardon felt she was more settled. “Yesterday, she was a little over-awed by the atmosphere which is always so fantastic here. Today her concentration was better. Boyd had set such a standard, but today it all came together for me.”

GB’s representative, Daniel Naprous, whose day job is horsemaster to the display and stunt team The Devil’s Horsemen – recently taking the role of Darth Vader in Star Wars – put up a more assured performance, going clear until towards the end of obstacle two.

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

World’s Best Lead the Way at Olympia

Britain’s leading lady rider Laura Renwick put on a spectacular performance to win The Cayenne Puissance in front of a packed-out grandstand with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall as the guest of honour in the Presidents Box.

The afternoon session saw Spaniard Eduardo Alvarez Aznar speed to victory in the opening CSI5* Show Jumping class of the Show, with Australia’s Boyd Exell dominating the Dodson & Horrell Extreme Driving Top Score. The popular Kennel Club Dog Agility returned, with a win for Tracy Moerel and Deutschlander Schnappss in the ABC Dog Jumping Grand Prix and there was an emotional arena appearance by Show charity mascots Teddy and Doris, representing Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was present to enjoy an action-packed evening of top-class sport and equestrian entertainment, taking to the arena to present the awards for the Musto Inside Edge Stakes, won by Peder Fredricson, accompanied by European gold medal winners Tina Cook and Sophie Wells. The highlight of the evening, The Cayenne Puissance, was a closely contested affair, with Laura Renwick taking the eventual spoils as the only rider to clear the final 7′ 3″ wall.

Laura Renwick was overwhelmed by her spectacular victory on Top Dollar Vl in The Cayenne Puissance. Four riders made it to the fifth round, but Karline De Brabander from Belgium on Fantomas de Muze, Ireland’s Padraic Judge on City Business and 2016 joint winner Holly Smith on Quality Old Joker all faulted and as Laura entered the ring she knew the €7,425 prize was there for the taking.

“That wall is huge and, having seen the other horses hit it, having been jumping really well, I knew it was a big ask,” said Laura afterwards. “I was a little bit lucky – I didn’t have the best stride and the horse really had to use his body to get over it.

“I’ve never won the Puissance outright and so to do it on an eight-year-old horse with not much experience but loads of scope and heart feels amazing. The atmosphere was electric.”

Earlier in the day, Eduardo Alvarez Aznar riding Fidux headed a one-two for Spain in the opening jumping class, the Santa Stakes, holding off a late challenge from his fellow countryman Manuel Fernandez Saro (Cannavaro).

“I was early to go, and Manuel was right at the end. He knew what he had to do but wasn’t quite quick enough,” joked Eduardo, winner of last season’s Zurich Longines FEI World Cup qualifier with Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot. “[Fidux] is a real fighter and very quick across the ground.”

This is Eduardo’s second visit to Olympia, where he won the Six-Bar two years ago. “It’s such a fantastic special show, and a pleasure to ride here,” said Eduardo. “I hope to continue to back here for many, many years.”

Later, there was a Swedish one-two in the Musto Inside Edge Stakes, a speed class, when 2017 European Champion Peder Fredricson (H&M Zoulbet) beat compatriot Malin Baryard-Johnsson (H&M Second Chance) by 0.77 sec to clinch the top prize.

The Dodson & Horrell Extreme Driving Top Score competition may act as a warm-up to the FEI World Cup qualifier, but the crowd was treated to a razor-sharp contest. Of the seven drivers, representing six nations, no-one was prepared to give any quarter, but it was reigning FEI World Cup Champion Boyd Exell from Australia who again proved unassailable.

Exell, a seven-time FEI World Cup Champion, already has three qualifier wins under his belt this season. The last driver into the arena, he was one of only two to post a clear round; the other came from Belgium’s Glenn Geerts, but he trailed Exell by some seven seconds.

Exell had a new inexperienced horse in the lead and explained: “He was a bit tired in the second round but he did all I asked of him. I love competing at Olympia – the atmosphere is always superb; it’s like coming home for me.”

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Over 14 Hours of Live Coverage for Olympia, the London International Horse Show

Olympia, the London International Horse Show (12-18 December 2017), will be coming to homes across the UK with extensive broadcast coverage of London’s international equestrian event on the BBC.

Over fourteen hours of live action will be aired throughout the week, indicating the importance of Olympia as an international equestrian event and providing equestrian and sporting fans alike excellent access to the top-class competition.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, commented: ‘We are thrilled to be working with the BBC at Olympia once again.  The BBC coverage is important not only for the show but also for the sport.  Bringing world class Dressage, Show Jumping and Carriage Driving to a wider UK audience keeps equestrianism on the map and it provides viewers with the opportunity to see Olympic champions competing in world class competitions.’

Highlights to look out for include the FEI World Cup™ competitions in Dressage and Show Jumping in which the world’s top riders and Olympic gold medallists, including Ben Maher and Scott Brash, will compete. In addition, coverage will include international classes such as the Cayenne Puissance and the Olympia Grand Prix, as well as the Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund.

Further coverage will include footage of Olympia’s equestrian displays, The Mounted Branch of the Metropolitan Police Activity Ride and the Chilean Huasos, along with the Kennel Club Dog Agility, The Shetland Pony Grand National and the Olympia Christmas Finale.

Internationally live coverage of the Dressage, Jumping and Driving FEI World Cup competitions is available on FEI TV and additional post-event coverage will be broadcast on Horse & Country TV.

Olympia, the London International Horse Show, may be viewed online and on TV. The day-by-day coverage listing is as follows*:

Wednesday 13 December

  • The FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound
    19:20-22:15 – LIVE on BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV, and FEI TV

Thursday 14 December

  • The Cayenne Puissance
    21:15-22:15 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV

Friday 15 December

  • The Entire Evening Performance
    18:45-22:30 – LIVE on BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV
    Featuring The Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund and The Longines Christmas Cracker

Saturday 16 December

  • The FEI World Cup™ Driving
    18:30-19:15 – LIVE on FEI TV

Sunday 17 December

  • The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping
    13:30-16:35 – LIVE BBC Two HD, Online & connected TV 14:35-16:30 – LIVE on FEI TV

Monday 18 December

  • The Entire Evening Performance
    18:45-22:25 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV
    Featuring The Mince Pie Stakes and The Olympia Grand Prix

Tuesday 19 December

  • Highlights
    11:00-12:00 – BBC Two HD, Online & connected TV

*All programmes are subject to change

Horse & Country TV will feature highlights from the Show from 18 December onwards, including the FEI Dressage, Driving and Show Jumping, along with the Cayenne Puissance, the Longines Christmas Cracker and the Olympia Grand Prix.

Horse & Country TV is available on Sky Channel 253, H&C Play, and Amazon Video. For more information, visit their website.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Top International Line-Up Announced for Olympia, the London International Horse Show

A stellar line-up of the world’s best Dressage and Driving competitors has been announced for Olympia, The London International Horse Show, taking place from 12-18 December 2017.

Adding to this year’s spectacular Show will be a world-class selection of riders contesting the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix and Freestyle to Music, supported by Horse & Hound, taking place on the Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 December, respectively.

Contending for the title and making a welcomed first appearance at the Show, Swedish Olympian and current leader of the FEI World Cup Western League, Patrik Kittel, a long-standing Grand Prix rider with an equally long list of achievements to his name. Kittel will be competing aboard Delaunay Old, who together took team bronze at the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg.

The 2016 Irish Rider of the Year and holder of Ireland’s highest ever Grand Prix score, Judy Reynolds, (Vancouver K) is another who will be gunning for glory. Certain to give Reynolds a run for her money is renowned Dutch rider, Edward Gal, triple gold medallist at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games™, the first rider to claim all three available medals. Gal will be pulling out all the stops aboard the young stallion Glock’s Zonik.

Making her Olympia debut will be Madeleine Witte-Vrees riding the Dutch-bred stallion Cennin, who together represented the Dutch team for the 2017 Europeans in Gothenburg and were selected as reserves for the 2016 Olympic team. The pair has also claimed several Grand Prix Freestyle victories, including in Roosendaal, Rotterdam and Mallorca. Adding to the Dutch challenge and returning to Olympia for the third time will be Katja Gevers with Thriller, a combination that are into their seventh season of Grand Prix.

Flying the flag for the home-side will be 2017 British Dressage National Champion Hayley Watson-Greaves (Rubin’s Nite), Emile Faurie (Delatio) Team GB representative at a staggering six European Championships, three World Equestrian Games™ and two Olympic Games, former British team medallist Gareth Hughes (Don Carissimo) returning after a five-year absence from the Show, and Lara Butler (Rubin Al Asad), reserve for the 2016 Olympic team.

The strong home contingent also includes four-time British Olympian Richard Davison, who has been at the forefront of international dressage for over three decades. Fresh from victory in the Grand Prix at CDI Roosendaal at the end of November with the homebred Bubblingh, Davison will be in confident spirits as he comes up against some of the best horse and rider combinations in the world. The British quintet has much opposition, however, and the Grand Prix promises to be a close and exciting competition.

The UK’s largest indoor horse show is also set to welcome top international four-in-hand drivers for the FEI World Cup™ Driving leg, presented by Dodson & Horrell. Their first encounter will be on Thursday afternoon during Olympia’s Extreme Driving competition, familiarising them with the arena and its highly-charged atmosphere. The first round of the FEI competition follows on Friday with the final starting in Saturday evening’s packed performance.

Reigning World Champion, both indoors and out, Boyd Exell, returns to compete with a wild card. With seven FEI World Cup™ titles to his name, including the 2016 and 2017 seasons, he is a regular contender and winner at the prestigious Show. Challenging Exell, and representing the home team, will be the notorious Dan Naprous, who will be wowing crowds with his supreme pace and agility.

Joining Naprous will be Ijsbrand Chardon, the most experienced, and multi-medalled of all the drivers in the starting line-up, having been at the top of the sport since the 1980s. Chardon is making a welcome return to Olympia Horse Show, after his absence in 2016. Fellow countryman, Koos de Ronde, who has shared the World and European Championship team gold medal winning rostrums with Chardon on eight separate occasions, will be giving Chardon a run for his money, having competed at the Show each year since the competition began.

This is a line-up not to be missed. To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, and how to get tickets, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Blue Ribbon Days Percherons Named $25k Six-Horse Draft Champions at Royal Horse Show

Blue Ribbon Days Percherons, driven by Dean Woodbury. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – The horses of Blue Ribbon Days Percherons, owned by the Albert Cleve and Jim Day families and driven by Dean Woodbury, won the $25,000 Royal Six-Horse Draft Championship on Saturday, November 11, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 95th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

The $25,000 Royal Six-Horse Draft Championship, presented by Ames Construction Inc., was the culmination of five days of six-horse, breed-specific competition at The Royal, with the top three Belgian, Clydesdale, and Percheron hitches invited to contest Saturday night’s championship in front of a sold-out crowd in the Ricoh Coliseum.

The Blue Ribbon Days Percherons hitch of Farmington, MO finished second in Friday’s Percheron Six-Horse Hitch class to qualify for Saturday night’s championship, where they claimed the prestigious title.

“It’s a great honour to win at The Royal,” said Dean Woodbury, who first contested The Royal in 1982. “It makes you feel good to win the last show of the year no matter what you’ve done the rest of the time!”

While Woodbury frequently drives a talented team of geldings for Blue Ribbon Days Percherons, it was a team of mares that took the win on Saturday night.

“There was lots of power in that ring tonight and lots of very good hitches all the way through,” said Woodbury. “The horses get driven at least every other day, if not every day.  They’re just like an athlete; they have to be trained and toned.  You want them to be fit to go into the ring.”

Taking the Royal Six-Horse Draft Reserve Championship title were the Percherons of All Star Farms, driven by Ross Honsberger of Bellevue, MI and owned by Doyle and Renee Dingman.  Honsberger and the All Star Farms hitch won the Percheron Six-Horse Hitch class over Blue Ribbon Days Percherons to qualify for the championship.

Bryce Smith’s Double S Belgians hitch, driven by Kyle Forsyth of Tillanook, OR, rounded out the top three in the championship, having qualified by winning the Belgian Six-Horse Hitch class on Wednesday, November 8.

In addition to the popular Six-Horse Hitch classes, the 2017 Royal Horse Show also offered Two-Horse, Four-Horse and Unicorn classes for the draft teams.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit www.royalfair.org/horseshow.