Category Archives: Driving

International Celebrations at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Her Majesty The Queen was present for the penultimate day of Royal Windsor Horse Show which saw Trooper Fisher RHG/D awarded The Best Turned Out Trooper, with his horse Falkand, in front of packed grandstands in the grounds of Home Park (Private).

Her Majesty took part in prize giving ceremonies in the Castle Arena, including the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup and Her Majesty The Queen’s Challenge Cup For Service Team Jumping. Nick Skelton also received the BHS Queen’s Award for Equestrianism ahead of his retirement.

The second day of International CSI5* Show Jumping kicked off in spectacular style with the 1.55m Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup, which saw Egypt’s Abdel Saïd triumph in a tightly fought contest.

The tight time-allowed in the first round added to the complexity of the course, which was twisty and up-to-height and saw only eight of the 29 starters jump clear. Sixth to go, Cheshire-based Irishman Billy Twomey, broke the deadlock, and his clear round was emulated by some of the best riders in the World, including World No. 1 Kent Farrington and Olympic gold medallists Ben Maher and Eric Lamaze, setting up an exciting jump-off for the £52,500 prize fund.

As second to go in the jump-off, last year’s winner, Kent Farrington, set a blistering pace aboard his striking grey gelding; however, an extra stride before the last meant his time of 43.01 seconds was within reach to those who followed. Abdel Saïd followed, riding AS Sport Horses’ Hope Van Scherpen Donder, and set off meaning business. The nimble bay mare jumped faultlessly, making the tightest of turns and galloping to the last, to take over the lead from the current World No. 1. Britain’s Ben Maher put up a good challenge, with an immaculate display of jumping; however, his time of 42.86 seconds was only good enough for second place.

Speaking after the class, Saïd said, “She’s a real tryer; she gave everything today and I was lucky that we were fast enough to win – I’m delighted. It’s my first time at Windsor and it’s a great experience; we are loving it; it’s a really nice show.”

The Show Jumping action culminated with the 1.50m Falcon Stakes, a two-round competition whereby the top ten from the first round were guaranteed a spot in the jump-off. With only eight clears in round one, this paved the way for the fastest four faulters, Billy Twomey and Ben Maher.

Ben, riding the twelve-year-old chestnut mare Diva II, produced a speedy clear round to finish on a cumulative total of four faults and put pressure on the riders to follow. With several riders having faults in the jump-off, Maher’s round moved him up to eventual fifth. Home favourite Michael Whitaker was the first to finish on a zero score, but he took it relatively steady on new ride Baltimore VDM to finish in fourth.

Local rider William Funnell jumped a fantastic round with homebred mare Billy Fanta, a nine-year-old by Billy Congo, to take the lead with just four riders left; however, it was last to go, America’s Jessica Springsteen, who took the victory in impressive style. The daughter of rock legend Bruce Springsteen shaved over two seconds off Funnell’s time, riding the in-form Davendy S.

Following her success, Jessica said; “She [Davendy S] is unbelievable; she jumped great; it was definitely an advantage to be towards the end but she’s so competitive; she always goes out and wants to win so she’s a lot of fun to ride. It’s so much fun here at Windsor; there’s such an amazing atmosphere with the crowds; it’s one of my favourite shows.”

Earlier in the afternoon the Land Rover Services Team Jumping entertained the packed grandstands with the Defence Animal Centre Team A, comprising Capt Nichols, COH Glass and Ssgt Moore, coming out on top of the Challenge Cup Section. Victorious in the Queen’s Plate were the Bahrain Defence Force, whose three riders – Ahmed Mansoor, Shaikh Isa Bin Salman and Saber Salman – finished on an impressive score of four penalties ahead of Pangbourne College on eight faults.

Last to go in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix cross-country marathon, Boyd Exell steered a true and steady course through each of the eight obstacles to increase his lead to a comfortable 10+ penalty points. The course had presented few problems to the nearly 60 competitors across Horse and Pony Four-in-Hands and Horse Pairs, but the four times world champion from Australia gave a final masterclass in controlled obstacle driving to stay in pole position ahead of Holland’s Theo Timmerman, still in second place. Edouard Simonet from Belgium moved ahead of Koos de Ronde from the Netherlands to take third place less than 1 pen behind Timmerman.

The final phase of cones driving looks set to be particularly exciting in both Horse Pairs and Pony Fours. In Horse Pairs less than two penalty points separate the top three placed competitors. Lars Schwitte from Germany retained his lead narrowly from Holland’s Harrie Verstappen, a previous Horse Pairs world champion and Royal Windsor winner, driving his trademark skewbald KWPNs. Verstappen moved up from 6th place to overtake Michael Sellier, current French National Champion. Now lying third, Sellier, a protégé of Boyd Exell’s, is competing at Royal Windsor for the first time.

In Pony Fours Germany’s Jacqueline Walter drove a storming marathon with her distinctive palomino ponies to knock Holland’s Jan de Boer from first place by less than one penalty point. Driving here for the third time – she finished fourth last year – Walter has recently become a trainee soldier in the German Army. Tinne Bax from Belgium is their closest challenger less than four penalties behind.

Small proved beautiful in the Castle Arena when the two 128cm show pony contenders, Yorkshire-based Whiteleaze Aurora with Mia Donaldson and the Jago/Carvosso team’s Tuscany Sweet Serenade, partnered by Charlotte Tuck, stood champion and reserve after giving superb performances in front of an appreciative audience which included HM The Queen.

The result came after strong classes described by visiting South African judge Gregory Goss as “full of the best ponies I’ve ever seen. The British riding pony is the envy of the world and I was blown away by the quality on show here.”

The coveted Novice Show Pony title headed to Hertfordshire via Ro Rennocks’ home-bred Team Harvey-produced 138cm victor, Rendene Secret Charm, beautifully ridden by Ellis Taverner-Burns. Harriet Dennison and Di Brereton’s working Highland stallion Dunedin Duncan headed a marathon BSPS Heritage Mountain and Moorland Ridden section, one of the most prestigious titles for native ponies on the show circuit.

Tickets can be purchased at www.rwhs.co.uk or by telephoning the box office on 0844 581 4960 from the UK and +44 (0)121 7966290 internationally. Local residents can purchase tickets by contacting Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743589.

Gayle Telford
Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)207 592 1207

World Class CSI5* Show Jumping Makes Its Windsor Debut

Ben Maher and Tic Tac.

The highly anticipated CSI5* Show Jumping made its debut on the third day of Royal Windsor Horse Show. It was a successful event for the British riders, with Ben Maher and Tic Tac victorious in the CSI5* Bahrain Pearl Stakes, along with Carl Hester and his chestnut Barolo securing their second victory of the week in the CDI4* FEI Grand Prix Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound.

The much awaited CSI5* Show Jumping at Royal Windsor Horse Show kicked off in impressive style, with an extremely tight speed competition, in which the top three riders finished within 0.2 seconds of each other.

Ahead of the class, Britain’s Michael Whitaker said, “It’s very exciting; it’s the first time we’ve had a 5* here; the venue’s unbelievable, the ring is fantastic, the ground is very, very good, so everything is great. I’ve been competing here since I was about 16 so I always look forward to coming back and I think it’s going to be a really top week of jumping.”

A high-class field, which included World No. 1 Kent Farrington, took to the Castle Arena for the 1.45m CSI5* Manama Speed Stakes, the first 5* competition of the newly upgraded Show. First in the arena for the two-phase competition was Canada’s Eric Lamaze, ranked fourth in the World, who rode a double clear round to lay down the gauntlet to his rivals. However, it was tenth to go, America’s Laura Kraut, who set the pace for everyone to catch aboard the 14-year-old chestnut mare, Whitney. Making all the turns and pushing on strongly between the fences, Laura posted an impressive time of 27.94 seconds, over two seconds faster than the previous fastest time.

Laura was followed into the arena by home favourite, Scott Brash, riding the 11-year-old Hello Forever, who put up a strong challenge, but came home 0.16 seconds behind the leader. Ireland’s Billy Twomey with Kimba Flamenco also looked to put Laura’s lead in jeopardy, but his time of 28.10 was only good enough for eventual equal second position with Scott.

Speaking after her victory, Laura said, “Windsor is probably one of our favourite horse shows; it’s so special, the surroundings with The Castle, the pageantry – it’s hard to describe what an outstanding extravaganza it is, to win a class here – it’s extra special for me! This is my first real competition with Whitney, so I’m very pleased; she’s a wonderful mare.”

The second class of the day, the CSI5* Bahrain Pearl Stakes, a 1.50m jump-off competition, was equally as exciting with some of the world’s best horses and riders vying for the top position. It was a challenging first round, with only seven of the 31 starters jumping clear through to the jump-off to contend for the £44,500 prize fund.

The first clear in the jump-off came from America’s Lauren Hough riding the bay mare Adare, who set a target of 40.55 seconds over the twisty course. David Will of Germany followed with an impressive display to post a time over two seconds faster than Lauren and take the lead. However, with two Olympic gold medalists to follow, the result was by no means certain and Canada’s Eric Lamaze, the current World No. 4, quickly took over pole position.

It was last to go, Britain’s Ben Maher, riding Jane Forbes Clark’s Tic Tac, who delighted the packed grandstand to take the victory, jumping immaculately and making the tightest of turns, to come home in a time of 37.23, just three tenths of a second faster than Lamaze.

Carl Hester and Barolo

Once again British dressage master Carl Hester put on a display of skill and horsemanship to win the CDI4* FEI International Grand Prix, supported by Horse & Hound, at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. It was a first ever freestyle for Carl and Barolo, a compact 11-year-old Hanoverian owned in partnership with Anne Seifert-Cohn and Charlotte Dujardin who has ridden him up through the levels.

The freestyle, to Charlotte and Valegro’s first music from How to Train Your Dragon, though not technically difficult, was ridden with precision and fluency displaying particularly flowing half passes and changes, proving a unanimous choice of the ground jury with a score of 79.85%.

“He’s a chilled horse and a quiet, soft lovely moving horse and didn’t make any mistakes,” said Carl. “He is so loose and elastic at times you feel like you are riding on a trampoline but he can really show his paces.”

Carl was the last winner here in 2015 as last year had to be abandoned due to flooding in the lorry park.  “It’s great to be back again this year this is a truly amazing place to ride; there is nowhere else like it.”

Hayley Watson-Greaves also loves competing at Windsor especially when gaining second place with Rubin’s Nite (76.72%), a horse she found literally down the road from where she lived, as a two-year-old. The pair impressed with piaffe pirouettes and bold extended trots.

“I loved it; the atmosphere is just amazing out there and to come second to Carl is a great feeling; it doesn’t get better than that,” said Hayley whose programme is ridden to a specially composed piece of music.

Gareth Hughes and Don Carissimo (76.675%) gained another yellow rosette to add to the one they won in last night’s Grand Prix. It was a first ever freestyle for the combination and a first ever competitive visit to Windsor for Gareth.

“The wait to go in is definitely nerve-wracking but it is brilliant once you are in there,” said Gareth whose programme was set to theme music from the film Australia.  “Don was a bit nervous at the start but he is such a genuine horse and that was a really good confidence boosting ride for us and hopefully we’ll be back next year.”

Reigning Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) hack champion Elusive, owned by Suzanna Welby and ridden by producer Jo Bates, claimed the prestigious Count Robert Orssich Hack Championship. In a dramatic finale, the class winner, Jayne Ross’s charge, Rosettes Direct’s Forgeland Hydepark, failed to sparkle in the Castle Arena and had to settle for reserve.

There was another surprise in the Martin Collins Cob section, where the reigning HOYS supreme champion, Lady Caroline Tyrrell’s cob campaigner Our Cashel Blue, ridden by Allister Hood, finished second in his class to the eventual champion, Paul Mortimer’s Randlestown Rolex, ridden by producer Robert Walker.

The Land Rover Mountain and Moorland Supreme In-Hand title went to the prolific Stuffynwood Primrose.

The top three placings in the Horse Pairs dressage phase of the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix went to KWPN horses. The winner was first-time Royal Windsor competitor, Lars Schwitte from Germany, an experienced driver but one who counts driving his horses as his hobby. He has been driving a horse pair for more than 20 years and recently won a three-star competition with these horses in Leiden in Germany.

Second to him was Barry Capstick, driving for Ireland – the last person to win here in horse pairs when the competition was held in 2014. One of his KWPN geldings has been in harness for only 14 weeks but produced a smooth test that had two of the five judges putting him in first place. Experienced horse pairs driver and long-term competitor at Royal Windsor, Amelie von Buchholtz from Argentina, took third place out of the 24 competitors, also driving KWPN horses.

One of the favourite events at the Royal Windsor Horse Show – the Coaching Marathon – again thrilled spectators with its tradition, colour and spectacle. There were 14 turnouts in three sections – Road Coaches, Park Drags and Regimental Coaches – took part, completing a seven-mile drive around Windsor Home Park. It was judged by Mr Fred Hollander from the Netherlands – a member of both the Coaching Club of Great Britain and the Road Club – who found his Champion in the immediate past President of the Coaching Club, Bill Ginns, driving a park drag to his team of British-bred Hackneys. Reserve Champion was John Brown with his team of powerful bay horses put to the Tally Ho Road Coach, built by Shanks in 1890. The Tally Ho was one of the last coaches to run from London to Oxford, continuing into the 1930s.

There were three endurance classes at the Royal Windsor Endurance kindly supported by the Kingdom of Bahrain. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) scooped the top four places in the CEI2* with winner Saeed Hamoud Saeed Al Khayari riding Dahi and finishing in a time of 04:47:48. Bahrain’s Ali Abdulla Mohamed Al Subaie took the top place in the CEI1* on Henham Romeo in 03:46:24 and Sarah Davenport won the national 40km class in a time of 02:18:56 on Blakeswater Wilfred.

Saeed Hamoud Saeed Al Khayari said: “I had a really good ride today and it was a great result for UAE in the CEI2*.  It’s a real honour to ride on this lovely course in Windsor Great Park and to win at Royal Windsor is very special.”

This was the fifth edition of the Royal Windsor Endurance event, but the first to include both a CEI1* 80km and a national 40km ride, alongside the regular CEI2* 120km. An overall field of 101 horses (exactly double that of last year) from 12 nations rode through Windsor Great Park, taking in Ascot Racecourse and a number of famous landmarks.

Great Britain was extremely well represented at the event, with a total of 64 starters including 17 out of 21 riders in the 80km. Beth Langley finished second in that class on HS Ametista in 04:25:22 and said of her result:

“I’m really pleased with my result; she’s a great horse so I was hoping for a good ride. The course is lovely but deceptively difficult and technical to ride. There has been an amazing atmosphere here and it was really nice to have the graded riders (who were really good) and see them out on the course. Luckily my boyfriend and family have all been here helping today so they will all get to see my presentation from the Queen tomorrow – but I do feel like I need a showing groom to help get her ready!”

Ground Jury President, Ian Williams (GBR), said: “Today we’ve seen a true picture of endurance across all levels with the opportunity for international riders to compete at the highest level and for national riders to experience the thrill of these first class facilities. The wonderful cooperation of people across all levels of experience and ability and between nations is a great marker for the future of the sport.”

Endurance GB Chairman, John Hudson, said: “It was fabulous to have our national ride included in this now prestigious event and such a wonderful opportunity for our riders to ride in this setting. The feedback has been very positive and it’s a day that will live long in the memory.”

Royal Windsor Endurance Director, Nick Brooks-Ward, said: “We had a really good ride here today. The rain overnight meant the going was perfect and welcoming the novice riders enhanced the already very special atmosphere. As ever we are hugely grateful to the Crown Estate for allowing us to ride through Windsor Great Park, to the Kingdom of Bahrain for their support and to the volunteers, officials and everyone who makes this event the success it is.”

Of the starting field of 103, 54 horses completed the rides (53%), with the remainder either retiring or failing to meet the stringent vetting criteria required to qualify for their next phase of the competition.

Tickets can be purchased at www.rwhs.co.uk or by telephoning the box office on 0844 581 4960 from the UK and +44 (0)121 7966290 internationally. Local residents can purchase tickets by contacting Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743589.

Gayle Telford
Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)207 592 1207

A Royal Victory at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Carl Hester with Barolo.

Royal Windsor Horse Show continued in style with successful day for the Home Nation. There was a Royal victory in the showing arena, a win for Team GB Olympic gold medalist Carl Hester MBE in the CDI4* Dressage and success for local rider Laura Mantel in the Show Jumping.

It was a British one, two, three in the International FEI Dressage Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound at Royal Windsor Horse Show. British maestro Carl Hester led the winning trio, taking a comfortable first place with Barolo, a compact chestnut Hanoverian, standing barely more than 16hh, almost 8 inches shorter than Carl’s last Windsor winner, Nip Tuck in 2015. It was a first competitive outing for Carl and Barolo, who has been ridden to date by joint owner Charlotte Dujardin. Carl and Barolo gained over 74% in the 12 string class.

“He was bought by his other owner Anne Seifert-Cohn as a six-year-old and has been a bit of a project for us,” said Carl. “He got to the level quickly as he is smart, but needed time to strengthen up. I wasn’t sure whether doing my first test on him at Windsor was brave or stupid, but he did some lovely work out there tonight.”

Gloucestershire based Hayley Watson-Greaves produced an expressive test from her black gelding Rubins Nite to stand second. “He loves the atmosphere here and really rises to the occasion,” said Hayley. The pair, who has just come back from Hagen, now head to Compiègne as part of the British Nations Cup team.

Third placed Gareth Hughes and Don Carissimo also had a good prep for Compiègne taking third place in only their second outdoor Grand Prix. The Don Crusador gelding came to Gareth last August and this is the 12-year-old’s first season at the level. “He tries his heart out and never lets you down, even when he has a shock like he did tonight when going into that arena and he saw the screen,” said Gareth.

It was also a first competitive Grand Prix in the UK for New Zealand’s leading rider Wendi Williams and her own De Niro gelding Deja Vu MH. The pair is staying for a few months, having travelled back with the European horses from the World Cup in Omaha, where they suffered a massive disappointment having to be disqualified after Deja Vu MH bit his tongue.  “This is an amazing Show and that was quite an electric atmosphere out there,” said Wendi who acquired the New Zealand bred gelding as a foal. “I am really looking forward to tomorrow night; it’s a fantastic opportunity to finally ride our freestyle.”

Katie Hunnable-Jerram with Barber’s Shop

Her Majesty The Queen’s homebred former racehorse, Barber’s Shop, again produced a foot-perfect performance with producer Katie Hunnable-Jerram, standing top of the 22-strong National Hunt section of the hugely-popular Retraining of Racehorses Tattersalls Thoroughbred Ridden Show Horse class, and then taking the section title. The success earns the consistent 15-year-old a place in the new Royal Windsor Supreme Ridden Showing Championship sponsored by Dodson & Horrell, which takes place on Sunday afternoon in the Castle Arena and offers £750 to the winner.

Other showing classes were well supported too, and the coloured horse and pony sections bloomed with quality as well as quantity. Jayne Ross’ yard continued its purple patch when Miranda Wallace scored her first Royal Windsor victory and then landed the ridden section championship with her new purchase, Volatis Orianna, winner at the Royal International last year with her previous rider, Jo Bates.

It was a successful day for local rider Laura Mantel, who not only stole the show in the Land Rover Grades A & B Jumping Competition, but also finished equal first in the Olympic Star Spotters Competition sponsored by Suregrow Fertiliser Ltd.

A total of 43 combinations started the day’s most prestigious Show Jumping class, the Land Rover Grades A & B Jumping Competition, with 11 horses jumping the 1.40m course clear to go through to the jump-off. With notably fast riders through to the second round, speed was the aim of the game, with the quickest round coming from Ireland’s Trevor Breen; however, a fence down kept him from pole position. Keeping up the pace was Berkshire’s Laura Mantel, who produced a faultless round to take the victory in a time of 40.98 aboard the aptly named Glory B V. Lauren Edwards and Ben Walker both put up an excellent challenge, but their times of 41.90 and 42.42 were only good enough for second and third position, respectively.

Speaking after the class, Laura said, “It’s absolutely amazing to win at Royal Windsor. I’ve been second here several times over the years, from Showing when I was a kid, to the B & C Jumping a few years ago, but she jumped amazingly today; it’s so brilliant.”

Later in the day, attention turned to the future champions of the sport, with the Olympic Star Spotters Competition for six-year-old horses, sponsored by Suregrow Fertiliser Ltd. With the class aimed at producing the next generation of top horses, a double-clear was all that was required to secure equal first place. Of the 16 riders clear in the first round, 14 secured that all-important second clear, including crowd favourite William Funnell, who was riding the homebred Billy Rhodes, and Japanese rider, Yoshiaki  Oiwa, fresh from finishing eighth at Badminton Horse Trials last weekend.

Current World Horse Four-In-Hand Champion, both indoors and out – Boyd Exell from Australia – was awarded first place by each of the five dressage judges in the first phase of the International Driving Grand Prix. This gives him a clear six-point penalty lead over his closest challenger, Theo Timmerman from the Netherlands, putting him in prime position to record his eighth win at Royal Windsor. Timmerman, a previous European Champion and a long-standing member of the record gold medal winning team from Holland, is a regular competitor in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix but has yet to come home in first place. 22 horse fours competitors from nine nations will battle it out over the cross-country marathon course, which includes eight formidable obstacles, on Saturday before the final cone driving course on Sunday.

In the pony four-in-hands the field is led by Jan de Boer from the Netherlands driving his team of Welsh ponies. Last year’s winner, when he claimed his sixth Royal Windsor title, de Boer has a narrow lead of less than two penalties from Jacqueline Walter of Germany. GB’s National Champion, Sara Howe, is the highest placed British competitor in sixth place.

Tickets can be purchased at www.rwhs.co.uk or by telephoning the box office on 0844 581 4960 from the UK and +44 (0)121 7966290 internationally. Local residents can purchase tickets by contacting Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743589.

Gayle Telford
Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)207 592 1207

Sun Shines for Opening Day of Royal Windsor Horse Show

Kate Smith and De La Veiga.

It was glorious sunshine for the opening day of Royal Windsor Horse Show, as spectators were treated to an array of top equine sport and entertainment. Her Majesty The Queen was present to watch one of her top horses, Tower Bridge, compete in the Cuddy Heavy Weight Hunter Class. The chestnut gelding, who was bred by Her Majesty, was ridden by Katie Jerram and came second in the class.

Local rider Jayne Ross hit a purple patch, winning all three Hunter Weight classes, and taking her first Royal Windsor Horse Show Open Hunter title. Her victorious ride was the heavyweight winner, Bloomfield Excelsior, who stood above HM The Queen’s Tower Bridge in second place.

Ross also claimed the coveted Novice title having won that heavyweight division with another Irish bred gelding, Bloomfield Valhalla. However, her reign in the Alan Ross Ladies Hunter class came to an end when she was pipped by current national side saddle of the year rider, Esther Rostron on Seabourne Silent Valley. The Amateur Hunter title went to Olivia Edmondson with Raine Harthem’s lightweight victor, Winterhill Woodpecker.

Dressage at Royal Windsor Horse Show kicked off with the national Advanced Medium Freestyle to Music. The class proved a comfortable win for Winchester-based Kate Smith and her own chestnut gelding De La Veiga. It was not only a first prize at Windsor for Kate but a first competitive appearance at the venue also.

“Wow. I loved competing in that arena – what an experience,” said a happy Kate who gained high artistic marks for her programme set to music from Coldplay.  De La Veiga is another horse by the influential and popular formerly British-based stallion DiMaggio and was bred by Sarah Oppenheimer whose daughter Alice won the same class here last year. “I have ridden a lot of DiMaggio’s offspring and my last one was also out of a Weltmeyer mare as is De La Vega,” said Kate.

DiMaggio was also the sire of the second placed horse Daganay, ridden by Suzanne Lavandera, who used to own and ride DiMaggio, with whom she won the world young horse championship in 2000. Daganay, a black nine-year-old stallion owned by Janet Gee since a foal, showed lovely extended trot and half passes. He was bred by Suzanne and is also out of a Weltmeyer mare.

“Hopefully this is the one to bring me back to Grand Prix,” said Suzanne who last competed here more years ago than she cared to remember and won here with her former ride Keystone Favoriet.  Nikki Crisp and the Dutch-bred stallion Durable took third place.

Georgia Tame and Acoustik Solo Du Baloubet

Framed by the most spectacular backdrop on the British Show Jumping circuit, the Land Rover Grades A and B Competition kicked off the week’s Show Jumping classes. British rider Georgia Tame and her gelding Acoustik Solo Du Baloubet claimed the title after producing a stunning round in 33.19 secs. The course, set in the Castle Arena, proved tricky with only 14 of the 37 competitors moving into the second phase. Olympic Gold Medallist, Laura Kraut (USA), set the pace aboard her eight-year-old, Caelle, finishing in 36.13 secs, but it was only fast enough to secure third place with Keith Doyle and Harlequin Dunraven taking second place.

Aofie O’Connor and Billy Du Montois were victorious in the prestigious Walwyn Novice Jumping Championship following a thrilling round in 42.95 secs. Spectators were treated to a spectacular competition with only one second separating the top three. Sally Goding came a close second to O’Connor in the time of 43.29 secs with Jay Halim finishing in touching distance, 43.39 secs to take third place.

The full programme of driving classes at Royal Windsor Horse Show began with four Hackney in wagon classes followed by a Championship – a title much coveted among Hackney horse and pony exhibitors.

The winner of the Open Horse class, Sam Van Semerang, owned and exhibited by Mark Hardy, was knocked down in the Championship when Hayley McNiece’s Baldwins A Class Act responded to the scope and atmosphere of the large Castle Arena, upping his game to take top honours. The stunning 11-year-old stallion by Baldwins Go Johnny Go was the 2015 Hackney Harness Horse of the Year and the 2016 National Harness Horse Champion. Reserve placing went to Billy Ward with the Ward family’s homebred pony, five-year-old Luddington My Way; he won the open pony class having stepped up from novice only this year.

For those unable to attend the Show, a 30 minute highlights programme, broadcast from the Horse Show, will be shown at 8pm on Friday 12th May on ITV1. Highlights from the Show will also be available on Sky Sports and Horse & Country TV. Furthermore, much of the top-class action on display throughout the week will be available to view worldwide via the Show’s live streaming service.

Tickets are still available for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and can be purchased at www.rwhs.co.uk or by telephoning the box office on 0844 581 4960 from the UK and +44 (0)121 7966290 internationally. Local residents can purchase tickets by contacting Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743589.

Gayle Telford
Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)207 592 1207

Post Time Studios Producing Royal Windsor Equine Driving Grand Prix Primetime TV Show

Lexington, KY: Post Time Studios is producing a one-hour primetime television broadcast entitled ROYAL WINDSOR: Driving Grand Prix covering the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix at Royal Windsor Horse Show to be filmed in the private grounds of Windsor Castle, UK May 10-14, 2017.  The show premieres in the UK on Horse & Country TV on May 21, followed by a US premiere on NBC Sports Network on Saturday, July 1st at 12PM EST.

The ROYAL WINDSOR: Driving Grand Prix broadcast will be a fast-paced, modern sports production that captures all the pageantry, excitement and challenges drivers will face during the three-phase competition.

“We’re producing a show that will thrill all sports fans, not just fans of equine sports.  We’ve designed a style, pace and energy that’s never been applied to an international carriage driving competition before.  We’re giving this production the royal treatment,” says Danny Tepper, Post Time’s Executive in Charge of Production.

For more information, please contact Sara Ahlgrim, Post Time Studios, E: sahlgrim@posttimestudios.com, T: (859) 266-3776 ext. 230

The Best Ever International Field Heads to Royal Windsor Horse Show

Royal Windsor Horse Show will welcome the world’s best riders to the private grounds of Windsor Castle from 10-14 May 2017. With international competitions taking place across four equestrian disciplines, including the newly upgraded CSI5* Show Jumping and CDI4* Dressage, the calibre of entries has never been better and includes seven of the World’s top 20 Show Jumpers.

International CSI5* Show Jumping

Heading the field in the CSI5* Show Jumping is World No. 2 Kent Farrington (USA), who will be looking to reclaim his title in the Rolex Grand Prix, the pinnacle event of the Show, with his consistent chestnut gelding, Creedance. Taking place on Sunday 14 May, with an increased prize fund of £258,000, Kent will face stiff competition for the coveted Rolex Grand Prix trophy, including fellow FEI top 10 ranked riders, Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Britain’s Scott Brash.

Scott Brash heads to Windsor with a top string of horses, including in-form mare Ursula XII and the up-and-coming eight-year-old gelding, Hello Mr President. He will be joined by his Olympic gold medal winning teammate Ben Maher (GBR), and home favourites John and Michael Whitaker. Fresh from victory in the Grand Prix of Antwerp, Michael will have a strong hand at Windsor, including Antwerp winner JB’s Hot Stuff, Viking, and the striking grey stallion Cassionato.

Also looking to claim part of the unprecedented total prize fund of £520,000 will be the notoriously speedy Lorenzo de Luca (ITA), twice a winner at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, World No. 14 Bertram Allen (IRL), and Nicola Philippaerts (BEL), recent winner of the Grand Prix at the FEI World Cup™ Finals in Omaha.

The female line-up is particularly strong, headed by Laura Kraut (USA) and Tiffany Foster (CAN), both of whom are ranked amongst the top 20 riders in the world. Jessica Mendoza (GBR) and Laura Renwick (GBR) will be leading the way for the home nation, with Jessica Springsteen (USA) and the always competitive Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER), making up a truly international field.

International CDI4* Dressage

Adding to the international prestige of the Show, the CDI4* Dressage has been upgraded from its previous CDI3* status in 2015, taking centre stage on the evenings of Thursday 11 and Friday 12 May. In 2015, Britain’s Carl Hester was victorious aboard his Rio Olympic companion Nip Tuck. Carl is returning in 2017, this time with new ride, Barolo, a British-bred Hanoverian, which has to-date been produced by Charlotte Dujardin, with the pair winning the 2015 National Championships and moving up to international level in 2016.

Four-time British Olympian, Richard Davison (GBR) will be looking to steal Carl’s crown with homebred gelding Bubblingh, out of his former international ride Ballaseyr Royale, as will compatriot Lara Butler (GBR) who will be contesting her first international of the year with Rubin Al Asad, having set a personal best Grand Prix score in Hagen last year.

Strengthening the home team will be Gloucestershire based Hayley Watson-Greaves (GBR) with Rubins Nite and former British team member Gareth Hughes aboard Don Carissimo, winners of the Grand Prix in Roosendaal in 2016.

Returning to Royal Windsor Horse Show for the first time since 2014 is the flamboyant Italian, Silvia Rizzo, known for her style and flair, as well as Roland Tong (IRE) riding Rybrook Ambience, the reserve partnership for the Irish team at the 2016 Olympic Games.

New Zealand’s leading combination, Wendi Williamson and Dejavu MH, winners of the FEI World Cup™ Pacific League last year, will be looking to put up a strong challenge, as will young rider Caroline Chew (SGP), silver medal winner at the South East Asian Games.

International CAIO4*/CAI3* Driving

With drivers from 14 nations participating, the Land Rover CAIO4* International Driving Grand Prix promises to bring spectacular competition to Windsor Home Park from Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 May. Among the 25 competitors in the horse fours is Australia’s Boyd Exell, reigning World Champion and seven-time winner at Royal Windsor, as well as seven-time FEI World Cup™ Champion, for which this competition is a Qualifier.

Boyd will be closely challenged by all three members of the Netherlands’ World Championship gold medal winning team, Ijsbrand Chardon, Koos de Ronde and Theo Timmerman, who collectively have been unbeaten at a World Championship since 2008.

Horse pairs makes a welcome return to Royal Windsor Horse Show with a CAI3* competition. 24 competitors from 12 countries will do battle with a three-strong GB contingent, including James Broome, the current Advanced Horse Pairs GB National Champion and son of legendary Show Jumping personality, David Broome.

Previous World Champion gold and silver medallists, Harrie Verstappen (NED) and Beat Schenk (SUI) respectively, are also competing, while USA husband-and-wife team, Kathrin and Scott Dancer, each make a Royal Windsor debut.

Pony fours fields a strong GB team, including National Champion, Sara Howe. They will find themselves up against stiff opposition from the ever-improving Tinne Bax (BEL), as well as Jan de Boer (NED) and his Welsh ponies, who claimed his sixth Royal Windsor win here last year.

International CEI2* Endurance

On Friday 12 May, Royal Windsor Endurance will come to Windsor Great Park, with 120 horses taking part and riders representing 14 nations. Joining the 120km CEI2* are two new competitions for 2017, a CEI1* 80km and a National 40km Graded Endurance Ride.

Tickets to watch this year’s action can be purchased at www.rwhs.co.uk or by telephoning the box office on 0844 581 4960 from the UK and +44 (0)121 7966290 internationally. Local residents can purchase tickets by contacting Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743589.

For more information, please contact Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: + 44 (0)203 176 0355

Chester Weber Cinches 14th USEF Four-in-Hand National Championship

Photo courtesy of Picsofyou.com.

Ocala, FL (March 15, 2017) – Ocala’s native combined driver Chester Weber reigned victorious this weekend, navigating his KWPN team to his 14th USEF Combined Driving Four-in-Hand National Championship on Sunday, March 12, at the 26th annual Live Oak International. After a show-stopping performance in the dressage phase with an impressive 36.51 score, Weber forged ahead to win the marathon phase with a 112.96. Team Weber then rounded out the week with the cones phase to finish with a final score of 154.70.

Weber was quick to credit his horses for the victory and thank his sponsors, and emphasized how pleased he is with the newest members of his and Jane Clark’s hand-picked KWPN driving team. “Bastiaan and First Edition ‘Edison’ are fairly new additions to the team and they have clearly proved their merit. This is the first time we have had this group out together in competition. Finding that balance with utilizing the developing horses for competition and making sure we are as prepared as possible can be tricky, but I am pleased with the team’s performance,” Weber said.

“I was happy with the dressage score in the mid-thirties and the consistency in my team’s dressage scores all season,” Weber added. “Last year, we did not have the consistency with the low to mid-thirty scores in dressage that the team is demonstrating this year. We are pleased to have hit our stride with the new horses.”

As Co-President of the Live Oak International competition, Weber commented on the challenges of juggling his responsibilities as a competitor with his responsibilities as the ringmaster of the largest combined driving and show jumping event in the United States. The competition, set amidst the picturesque rolling hills of the Weber family’s country estate in Ocala, was once again an exciting event for top equestrians and spectators alike. This year’s legendary competitor’s party was circus-themed, raising the bar yet again for next year’s Live Oak International weekend.

Be sure to check out the pictures from the competition and Saturday’s circus extravaganza on www.Facebook.com/LiveOakInternational. Follow Team Weber’s tournament schedule on www.ChesterWeber.com as he prepares to take on competition in Europe this summer. Learn all about Weber’s latest results, favorite equestrian products, and his star four-in-hand team on his official social media sites on Facebook and Instagram @ChesterWeber.

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

Morgan, Whaley, Wilson, and Weber Claim USEF Combined Driving National Championship Titles

Tracey Morgan and Fuego 88 (Picsofyou.com)

Ocala, Fla. – Four USEF Combined Driving National Championships came to a close at Live Oak International on Sunday with the cones phase determining the national titles. Tracey Morgan, Katie Whaley, Steve Wilson, and Chester Weber, the leaders following Saturday’s marathon phase, held on to their leads to claim top honors in respective divisions.

USEF Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Morgan (Beallsville, Md.) and Fuego 88 won all three phases to win the USEF Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship. The duo had an excellent dressage test with great one-handed movements and quality canter work to win the dressage phase with a score of 48.54. Morgan and her own 2011 German Riding Pony gelding blazed around the marathon course, collecting 89.59 penalties and having the fastest times at obstacles two and five for the division. They had a winning cones performance, adding only a 0.43 time penalty to their overall score of 138.56.

“The course was very smooth; it had some interesting turns to it but it had flow to it. You could carry your speed but you had to be very careful in your angles and know where you wanted to go because it was hidden behind some very large jumps,” Morgan said of the ring which also contained show jumping fences for the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Qualifier presented by Golden Ocala Golf Equestrian Club happening later in the day. “I thought it was a really enjoyable cones course.”

Rebecca Gutierrez (Windsor, S.C.) and Naria BW6 had a solid dressage test to score 57.39 to sit in third place after the first day of competition. They followed that up with an equally good marathon performance to finish second in the phase, tallying 90.50 penalties and having the fastest time at obstacle six. Gutierrez and Richard Olson’s 2003 Haflinger mare had one ball down in the cones phase at cone seven for three course penalties and a 0.10 time penalty to finish third in the phase and clinch the Reserve Champion title with an overall score of 150.99.

Barbara Chapman (Metamora, Mich.) and Darlene Daly’s Maduro performed an obedient dressage test with good diagonal yields and deviations to score 56.54 to put them in second place on Thursday. They were third in the marathon phase with 95.36 penalties and had the fastest time at obstacle three. Chapman and the 2008 North American Sportpony gelding had a solid cones round with an unlucky ball down at cone 20 and 2.79 time penalties. They held on to finish in third place with an overall score of 157.69.

USEF Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Defending-champion Whaley (Paris, Ky.) led from start to finish to claim her second consecutive USEF Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship title. She had a great dressage test with her own and Barbara Sims’ Welsh geldings, highlighted by wonderful extended trot work, to win the phase with a score of 49.79. Whaley and her ponies had a winning marathon performance, collecting 91.04 penalties and having the fastest times in six of the seven obstacles. She had a fast, double-clear round to win the cones phase to clinch top honors with an overall score of 140.83.

“I loved the cones course. I thought it asked some pretty good questions,” Whaley said. “You had to get some speed, then you had to bring them back and turn well. You had to absolutely know where you were; [cone] 13 for a second vanished, but I really enjoyed it I thought [course designer Gabor Finta] did an excellent job.”

Jennifer Matheson (Aiken, S.C.) and Katrina Becker and Carina Crawford’s mixed pair had a respectable dressage test to finish third in the phase with a score of 63.06. They had some bobbles in the marathon phase, garnering 180.93 penalties, but had the fastest time at obstacle six. Matheson and her ponies finished strong, going double-clear in the cones phase to finish second in the phase and earn the Reserve Champion title with an overall score of 166.49.

Mary Phelps (Columbia, Ky.) had a smooth dressage test with her own American Shetland Pony pair to finish second in the phase with a score of 62.65. They were bold out on the marathon course, finishing second in the phase with 96.36 penalties. Phelps had four balls down with her ponies in the cones phase for 12 course penalties, finishing third in both the cones phase and the overall standings with a score of 171.01.

USEF Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Defending-champion Wilson (Louisville, Ky.) and his own mixed KWPN and Lipizzaner pair had a smooth dressage test to finish second in the phase with a score of 55.04. They had a stellar marathon performance to win the phase, tallying 103.62 penalties and having the fastest times in six of the seven obstacles. Wilson and his pair finished second in the cones phase with six course penalties for two balls down and 2.79 time penalties, allowing them to earn their third consecutive USEF Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship with an overall score of 167.33.

“Number 10 came up faster than I was planning, and I had to take a little bit of a wider turn than I wanted to, so I lost some time there,” Wilson said. “[The course] was well-designed and well-measured, and my horses had a nice stride so I did not have to worry about making up time; they were just comfortable on course, and I enjoyed it very much.”

Josh Rector (Dyke, Va.) and his, Jessica Buchanan, and Rainier Tanglao’s mixed pair had a workmanlike dressage test to score 70.26, finishing third in the phase. They finished second in the marathon with 106.00 and had the fastest time in obstacle three. Rector and his pair went double-clear in the cones phase to win the phase and earn Reserve Champion honors with an overall score of 176.26.

James Miller (Paris, Ky.) and wife Misdee Wrigley Miller’s Dutch Warmblood geldings had a lovely dressage test in his national championship debut, earning a score of 48.90 to win the phase. They had a respectable marathon performance, finishing third in the phase with 120.52 penalties. Miller and his pair had three balls down and 1.34 time penalties to finish third in the cones phase and third in the overall standings with a score of 182.76.

USEF Four-in-Hand Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Defending-champion Weber (Ocala, Fla.) demonstrated great style with his team, which contained new horses, to claim his 14th USEF Four-in-Hand Horse Combined Driving National Championship. He had an excellent dressage test with his, Jane Clark, and Fritz Grupe’s Dutch Warmblood geldings. They showed great harmony and performed lovely movements to score 36.51 to win the phase. They won the marathon phase with 112.96 penalties and had the fastest times in all of the obstacles. Weber and his team had one ball down at cone 18 and 2.23 time penalties to finish second in the cones phase with an overall score of 154.70.

Chester Weber (Picsofyou.com)

“Today wasn’t my best day in the cones, but I was really pleased with the horses. This is the first time we have had this group together out [in competition]. There were jumps in the ring and a lot of spooky stuff that is sometimes tough with lead horses, but we learned some stuff and some questions were asked,” Weber said. “In general, I am really pleased. Our goal is Tryon [for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games] and I think we are on pace for having a successful go there.”

Misdee Wrigley Miller (Paris, Ky.) had strong performances throughout the competition on her way to earning the Reserve Champion title. She had a beautiful dressage test with her own Dutch Warmblood geldings to finish second in the phase with a score of 41.47. On marathon day, Wrigley Miller had a bobble at obstacle six, but finished strongly with 134.88 penalties to finish second once again. She and her team had two balls down at the B and D elements of cone six and 5.24 time penalties to finish third in the phase. They held on to earn the Reserve Champion title with an overall score of 187.59.

Allison Stroud (West Grove, Pa.) and Willow Star LLC’s Dutch Warmblood geldings had a great dressage test to score 51.79. They had some trouble in obstacle six and totaled 146.04 penalties in the marathon phase. Stroud and her team ended the competition on a high note by winning the cones phase with only 3.81 time penalties and finishing with an overall score of 201.64.

By Kathleen Landwehr, US Equestrian Communications Department

Live Oak International Set to Host Four USEF Combined Driving National Championships

Leslie Berndl and Sweetwater’s Zorah Belle (Picsofyou.com)

Ocala, Fla. – Four combined driving national championship titles are up for grabs at Live Oak International, March 8-12. Run in conjunction with the FEI divisions, the USEF Combined Driving National Championships for single pony, pair pony, pair horse, and four-in-hand horse will be determined at the prestigious Live Oak Plantation. Leslie Berndl, Katie Whaley, Steve Wilson, and Chester Weber are the defending champions in their respective divisions and aim to give winning performances. With the FEI World Driving Championships for Pairs and Ponies taking place this summer, pair horse and pony competitors also hope to impress selectors in one of the final selection trials in North America.

USEF Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship

A field of nine seasoned competitors will converge in the hotly contested USEF Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship. Berndl (Newcastle, Calif.) brings Sweetwater’s Zorah Belle with hopes of adding another title to their resume. She and “Zoobie”, Teressa Kandianis’ 2004 Norwegian Fjord Horse mare, closed out a successful 2016 season by winning the USEF Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship at the Kentucky Classic CDE. They are set to kick off another solid season, but Tracey Morgan (Beallsville, Md.) and Fuego 88 will provide tough competition. She and her own 2011 German Riding Pony gelding are world champion competitors and were last year’s reserve champions.

USEF Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship

The 2016 champion, Katie Whaley (Paris, Ky.), will lead a small but mighty field of three competing for the USEF Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship. She and her own and Barbara Sims’ Welsh geldings had a commanding performance at Kentucky Classic CDE last fall to claim the national title, and they have maintained their top form this year, winning the CAI2*-P2 division at the Palm Tree CDE at Little Everglades. Jennifer Matheson (Aiken, S.C.) and Mary Phelps (Columbia, Ky.) will be hot on Whaley’s heels with their talented ponies.

USEF Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship

A field of three will also contest the USEF Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship. Defending champion Steve Wilson (Louisville, Ky.) and his own mixed KWPN and Lipizzaner pair aim to win their third consecutive national title. They began the 2017 season with a win at the Palm Tree CDE at Little Everglades, and hope to maintain their momentum at Live Oak International. Joining Wilson are Josh Rector (Dyke, Va.), a four-in-hand driver shifting focus to the pair horse division in 2017, and James Miller (Sarasota, Fla.), a promising driver in his first year of competing in combined driving.

Chester Weber (Picsofyou.com)

USEF Four-in-Hand Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Among a field of four seasoned drivers, Chester Weber (Ocala, Fla.) aims to win his 14th title in the USEF Four-in-Hand Horse Combined Driving National Championship in front of his hometown crowd. He and his and Jane Clark’s Dutch Warmblood geldings won all of their U.S. competitions and finished in the top five in their European competitions in 2016. They put in a winning performance at the Palm Tree CDE at Little Everglades to start 2017. Weber will face stiff competition from Allison Stroud (West Grove, Pa.) and Misdee Wrigley Miller (Lakewood Ranch, Fla.), his 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games teammates, and Paul Maye (Fairfield, Va.), an experienced driver who has found success after changing his focus to the four-in-hand horse division less than a year ago.

Watch the live stream of all classes taking place in the Competition Arena at Live Oak International beginning Thursday at 9 a.m. ET.

By Kathleen Landwehr, US Equestrian Communications Department

Live Oak International: World-Class Driving, a World Cup Qualifier, and More

Live Oak International, which takes place from March 9-12 in Ocala, Fla., is unique. It’s the nation’s largest combined driving and show jumping competition, bringing these two disciplines together at a world-class level.

This year, Live Oak International will draw about 275 horses from 26 countries, as well as more than 300 volunteers and about 30 competition officials, according to Live Oak International manager Damian Guthrie.

Can’t be there in person? Catch all the action live at USEF Network. New to the sport of combined driving? Check out our video intro to combined driving in the Learning Center. While you’re there, go behind the scenes for a show jumping course walk with Olympic medalist McLain Ward.

And put Live Oak International on your equestrian bucket list. Here are six reasons why:

  1. The High Stakes

The $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Qualifier Grand Prix presented by Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club on Sunday, March 12, is the last chance for show jumpers to qualify for the 2017 FEI World Cup™ Finals in Omaha, Nebraska. With only a few remaining U.S. spots open, Charlie Jacobs, Adrienne Sternlicht, Leslie Burr-Howard, Callan Solem, and Todd Minikus will be in hot pursuit of valuable World Cup points with the hope of securing their spot for the World Cup Finals.

Meanwhile, the drivers will be contending for US Equestrian Federation national championship honors in single pony, pair horse and pony, and four-in-hand horse and pony divisions.

  1. The Cross-Country Thrills

Combined driving’s marathon – which takes place on Saturday, March 11, at Live Oak – is the equivalent to three-day eventing’s cross-country phase, but on wheels, over slightly rolling terrain. Fast-paced and highly technical for drivers and horses, the marathon sends horses and ponies (single, pairs, and in teams of four) through fiendishly complex questions that test teamwork and agility. Two iconic spectator favorites: the CBC National Bank water hazard, which sends teams splashing through a pond as part of the obstacle, and Cape Cod Wood Siding’s The Gulch, with its challenging slopes and turns.

  1. The Scenic Venue

Live Oak Plantation, which hosts the competition, is one of the country’s most beautiful properties, with Spanish moss-laden oaks, lush pastureland, and sandy horse paths that seem to lead straight to a bygone era.

Live Oak is only open to the public once a year, when it hosts Live Oak International. In the three weeks leading up to the event, Guthrie and his crew transform about 500 acres of cow pasture at the 4,500-acre operation into an equestrian paradise. Live Oak International features about 30 to 40 show jumps and eight available cross-country driving obstacles that challenge competitors and thrill spectators. The transformation involves 100 tents, 300 stalls, and 3,000 decorative plants, not to mention installation of internet and electrical service, all for four days. “Within 10 days after the event, we can turn the cattle back in there again, and you wouldn’t know it had ever taken place here,” says Guthrie.

Live Oak Stud, also located on the property, is a renowned Thoroughbred breeding and racing operation owned by Charlotte Weber, whose children Chester Weber (a four-in-hand driving champion himself) and Juliet Reid are co-presidents of Live Oak International.

  1. The Vendor Village

Live Oak International’s shopping and dining area attracts a diverse array of sellers offering everything from saddles to Live Oak International merch to South African excursions to Cuban-style sandwiches.

  1. The Live Oak International 5k

The best way to tour Live Oak? Put on your walking or running shoes and join the Live Oak International 5k on Sunday morning, March 12. The course winds through parts of Live Oak that the public only sees during this event, including the farm’s Thoroughbred racing division and the training barn of world-renowned combined driving champion (and Live Oak International co-president) Chester Weber, whose mother Charlotte C. Weber owns Live Oak Stud. For younger kids and families, there’s a one-mile walk.

  1. The Clydesdales

The flashy black-and-white Express Clydesdales will be performing in the main grass ring at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, and Sunday, March 12. These friendly horses tower from 17 hands to 19 hands tall and attract a crowd wherever they go. Bonus: you can meet them, and they’re happy to pose with spectators for selfies.

Two to Watch at Live Oak International

Tune in to USEF Network’s coverage of Live Oak International and you’ll see a lot of great performances in both combined driving and show jumping. Here are two storylines to follow:

Jumping: For Chloe Reid, Live Oak Is a Family Affair

The backstory: Chloe Reid, 20, has good reason to love the Live Oak venue. The competition takes place on the 4,500-acre Live Oak Plantation in Ocala, Fla. that her grandmother, Thoroughbred breeder Charlotte Weber, owns. Uncle Chester Weber, the 13-time USEF Four-in-Hand National Champion who also will compete in combined driving at Live Oak International, has a training base there. And Chloe’s mom Juliet Weber Reid serves alongside Chester as co-president of Live Oak International.

Chloe Reid. Photo Credit: PicsOfYou.com.

“As well as a show jumping competition where I get to compete, it’s also a major driving competition where my uncle gets to compete,” explained Reid (Washington, D.C.). “It’s very special to me to have both disciplines in the family competing and to have my grandmother’s Thoroughbreds on the property at the same time. My grandmother and my uncle are who originally put me on a pony.”

Rising star Chloe Reid has earned numerous top placings at USEF championships and international competitions. Most recently, she rode on the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team that earned a silver medal on the $150,000 FEI Nations Cup at CSIO4* Wellington on March 3. Reid competed in four USEF Junior Jumper National Championships, winning individual gold in 2014, and helped the Zone 3 Young Rider team win gold in 2014 and bronze in 2013 at the Adequan/FEI Young Rider & Junior Championships presented by Gotham North. She earned team gold in the FEI Young Riders Nations Cup presented by Hollow Creek Farm at CSIO Wellington in 2015, and made her senior Nations Cup debut last year at CSIO3* Samorin in Slovakia. Earlier this year, Chloe Reid received the Lionel Guerrand-Hermès Trophy to recognize her as a young rider in one of the Olympic disciplines who exemplifies both sportsmanship and horsemanship.

The goal: She plans to bring two horses to the jumping competition: the stallion Codarco and a new gelding, Donald. “Last year I finished second in the grand prix, so I would love to keep that same success in the World Cup Qualifier,” she said, referring to the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Qualifier Grand Prix presented by Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club on Sunday, March 12.

Combined Driving: Suzy Stafford and Her Morgan PVF Peace of Mind Seek Fourpeat

The backstory: Suzy Stafford (Coatesville, Pa., and Ocala, Fla.) and her Morgan horse PVF Peace of Mind will be trying to clinch their fourth consecutive win in Live Oak International’s FEI Single Horse class – a win streak that has contributed to the mare’s title as US Equestrian’s Combined Driving Horse of the Year in 2016, as well as her award as USEF International Horse of the Year in 2015.

“It’s special partly because this is a horse that I own,” Stafford said of “Hunny,” whom Stafford has had since the mare was three and just starting in harness. “I’d like to say we have a great relationship, but you’d probably have to ask her what she thinks! She’s about 15.2 hands on a good day, and there’s a lot of personality stuffed in that little package. She demands a lot of attention, and if she doesn’t get it she can get a little aggravated. She’s quite a bold competitor, and the more atmosphere there is, the more she takes charge. That’s probably why she does well at Live Oak, because there is a bigger atmosphere there than you normally have in the States.

“Most Morgans are small if you compare them to warmbloods, but their power-to-size ratio is quite impressive,” Stafford added. “They have a lot of power and endurance for their size, and that’s always helpful when you’re in the hazards; you don’t have all that body to maneuver around, and yet they can keep up with the bigger horses. And all the Morgans I’ve known are a little bit of an overachieving kind of horse, so usually they give you sometimes even more than you want. But at this level, that’s important.”

The goal: “I always strive to have a personal best score in dressage, so to get my personal best with her I need a score 39 or under,” Stafford said. “And I’d like to improve in our hazard driving. I’d like to be a little faster, so I’ve been working on that quite a bit.”

By US Equestrian Communications Department