Ocala, Florida (May 19, 2017) — Chester Weber, 14-time USEF National Combined Driving Champion, is taking his show on the road – or, more accurately, across the Atlantic – to spend over four months competing in Europe with Jane Clark’s and Weber’s four-in-hand KWPN team.
No stranger to international success, Weber has three World Equestrian Games Silver Medals under his belt and made history in 2012 by becoming the first American to win an Individual Silver Medal in the Four-In-Hand FEI World Driving Championships. He won England’s Royal Windsor CAI3* two years in a row and was congratulated personally by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In 2014, Weber made the record books again as the first American to win the Four-In-Hand division at the CHIO Aachen. Weber made another trip to the International winner’s podium in the summer of 2016, when he took top honors at the CAI3* tournament in Drebkau, Germany, and later took third overall at the CAIO4* of the CHIO Aachen World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany. He then rounded out his tournament schedule by finishing fourth individually at the 2016 FEI World Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand in Breda, the Netherlands.
“Europe is not only where the world’s top drivers often come from, but it is also where the heart of the sport lies,” Weber said. “If you want to break into the top five in the world rankings, you have to go there to compete against the other teams in the top five.”
Never afraid to test his skills against his peers at the top of the sport, Weber is eagerly anticipating his annual trip to compete in Europe. This summer’s European tour will serve him and his equine team as ongoing preparation for the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina.
“We have a couple new horses on the team this year that we feel pretty bullish about, but our big goal right now is preparing the horses for the World Equestrian Games, so that’s what this summer’s about,” Weber stated.
Weber knows that being a top contender in Europe will depend not only on his horses’ fitness, but also on himself and his entire team. Weber and his staff have been dedicated to keeping themselves in as peak athletic condition as their horses are. “We take our preparation for Europe very seriously – not only the horses, but the entire team,” said Weber.
Weber and Jane Clark’s team of KWPN horses will depart the United States on May 27, and return in early September. Weber will be staying in the U.S. a bit longer than the horses, as his wife just delivered a baby boy, Hugo Wyatt Weber, on May 16. The family will enjoy some quality family time with the newest addition to Team Weber while the horses and the rest of his team settle into their stable in Frankfurt, Germany, which will serve as their home away from home while abroad.
Team Weber will kick off the summer European tour in Saumur, France at the Saumur CAIO4* from June 7-11, where Weber won first place in 2014. Weber’s European schedule includes competitions in France, Germany, and The Netherlands, as follows:
June 7-11, Saumur CAIO4* — France
June 22-25, Riesenbeck CAI3* — Germany
July 19-23, World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen, Germany
August 3-6, Beekbergen CAI3* — The Netherlands
September 8-10, Breda CAIO4* World Driving Championships – The Netherlands
This year, Weber’s team includes some younger horses that will be touring Europe for their first time. These newer horses have been proving themselves in their latest U.S. competitions, keeping Team Weber’s dressage scores in the mid-30s. Weber is confident that his team has now hit its stride and is ready to dazzle the judges and fans in Europe.
Weber, who continues to be a leading figure in the international world of four-in-hand combined driving, is also dedicated to promoting the equestrian sport wherever his travels lead him. For Team Weber updates, results, photos, and combined driving news, follow Chester Weber on his official Facebook page, Instagram @ChesterWeber, or visit www.chesterweber.com.
Lexington, Ky. – Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh gave his first and only post-retirement public interview this week to US Equestrian Board Member Misdee Wrigley Miller at the esteemed Royal Windsor Horse Show in Great Britain. His involvement and love of the international equestrian sport, combined driving, was at the top of his list for discussion.
Click here to watch the exclusive interview with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Serving as the President of the Fédération Equestre International (FEI) from 1964 to 1986, the Duke was influential in helping to standardize the international rules for combined driving and bringing the sport to the Royal Windsor Horse Show. His own involvement in the sport started when he was 50 after he decided it was time to give up playing polo.
“I was looking around to see what was next, you know, what was available,” said Prince Philip. “I thought to myself, ‘We have got horses and carriage, so why don’t we have a go?’ So, I borrowed four horses from the stables and took them to Norfolk and practiced. The second competition I entered was the European championship.”
With the Duke’s 96th birthday on the horizon, he has been participating in combined driving for roughly 46 years. His good-humored interview was his first public media appearance since the announcement of his retirement from royal duties earlier this month. The Duke granted the interview to friend and fellow combined-driving competitor Misdee Wrigley Miller.
Miller also owns Post Time Studios, a production company based out of Lexington, Ky. Post Time Studios developed the Driving Grand Prix broadcast of the Royal Windsor Horse Show, earning a nationally-televised slot with the NBC Sports Network. NBC will air the fully-produced, one-hour highlights of the driving competition when Royal Windsor: Driving Grand Prix airs on national television on July 1 at 1 p.m. EST.
The Royal Windsor Horse Show hosts the CAIO4* Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, one of the most important driving events in the United Kingdom and a FEI World Cup™ qualifier.
Be sure to follow US Equestrian on social media @USEquestrian and @USEFNetwork for updates and social coverage of the event.
It was an emotional final day at Royal Windsor Horse Show as the crowds took to their feet to witness Show Jumping legend, Nick Skelton and his gold medal winning horse, Big Star, stand together in the arena for the last time. In front of Her Majesty The Queen and packed out grandstands, Skelton was joined by his family, owners, fellow Team GB riders and loyal groom, Mark Beaver, to say his final goodbye.
Skelton’s youngest son, professional jockey Harry Skelton, was unable to attend due to racing commitments but left a message for his father that was read out to the crowd:
“Dad, I’m so sorry I’m not there, but when I asked you if I should go racing today or come down to Windsor, you said, go and do your job and try and ride some winners. I thought, that is what has got you to where you are, your hard work, dedication and determination. My first great memory of you in the ring was when Dollar Girl won the World Cup Final in 95. You went through so much from then to Rio 2016, and when you finally reached your childhood dream to take individual gold, was the best day of my life. I am the proudest son alive and so glad you’ve stopped at the top. I hope I will make you as proud as I am of you one day. See you later, love you, Harry.”
There was not a dry eye in the house as Skelton dismounted Big Star, took the saddle off his back – a long standing tradition when a horse is retired – and walked a final lap of honour in-hand to a standing ovation, with the crowd cheering to mark their respect and admiration for Skelton, whose career spanned five decades. With a final wave to the adoring crowd, the Olympic gold medal winning duo exited the arena to start their well-deserved retirement.
The pinnacle of Royal Windsor Horse Show, the much-anticipated Rolex Grand Prix, did not fail to disappoint. With 30 World class riders lining up to win over £254,000, the competition was hot, and Bob Ellis’ 1.60m course reflected the high standard. Four-time European gold medalist, Michael Whitaker was the first to jump clear aboard JB’s Hot Stuff, with whom he won the Antwerp Grand Prix last month. He was in good company as the likes of World No. 1 Kent Farrington, last night’s winner Jessica Springsteen and Olympic gold medalists Scott Brash, Laura Kraut and Eric Lamaze followed suit.
The jump-off had the packed crowds on the edge of their seats as 12 riders came forward to compete for the £63,000 first prize. When Britain’s Guy Williams came in to the famous Castle Arena as second to go, jumping clear in a time of 43.45, it looked like his time would be hard to catch; however, with the best riders in the world to come nothing was certain.
Jessica Springsteen rode a fantastic round, taking a flyer to the up-to-height Bahrain oxer in front of the Members Enclosure to make up valuable time and momentarily took the lead; however, with Kent Farrington next into the arena, her lead did not last long. The defending champion made the tightest of turns to the tricky Tower Bridge water tray and pushed on throughout to knock over three seconds off the previous leader’s time and lay down the gauntlet to his competitors.
World No. 4 Eric Lamaze flew round; however, he took one too many risks and paid the price finishing with four faults, albeit in the fastest time of the day. Home favourite Scott Brash, riding his talented mare Ursula XII, put up a good challenge much to the crowd’s delight, to finish in third, and Lorenzo de Luca and Halifax van het Kluizebos secured second as last to go, but it was only Kent who managed to break the elusive 40 second barrier, proving why he’s the best in the world.
Speaking at the Rolex Grand Prix press conference, Kent said, “I was really thrilled with my horse; he is just stepping up to this level and he was unbelievable. I couldn’t have asked for more. This is one of my favourite shows and I’m not just saying that because I won here today. There’s a combination of an amazing setting, an unbelievable crowd, top course designing and great footing. That is the best of the best, and now with Rolex stepping up and making this a 5* event, it’s on par with the best in the world.”
Kent went on to discuss the impending retirement of childhood hero Nick Skelton and his double Olympic gold medal winning partner Big Star. “I have always looked up to him my whole career and getting to ride with him at high level has been unbelievable… Our sport is about that great connection with a horse and Nick and that horse [Big Star] became a real team; they had a tremendous comradery, they know each other so well and that showed at the Olympics at the highest level of the sport, with them being able to deliver on the big day.”
Earlier in the day, the Palm Speed Stakes saw competitors jumping one round against the clock for a total prize fund of £23,300.
The twelve-fence course proved tricky, with a double of verticals down the last line catching many of the riders out. The first clear came from Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer, who jumped a deceptively quick round to set the pace for those that followed. The always competitive Schwizer, riding Leonard de la Ferme CH, posted a time of 61.47 seconds, which proved hard to match.
Several riders came close, including Tiffany Foster with the eleven-year-old gelding Brighton and Laura Kraut with Whitney, already winners in the Castle Arena this week; however, their rounds were only good enough for third and fourth positions respectively. However, it was Billy Twomey, towards the end of the draw, who managed to clinch victory aboard Sue Davies’ grey gelding Tin Tin, shaving 0.65 seconds off Schwizer’s time. The Irishman took advantage of Tin Tin’s big stride to make up time between fences and made all the turns required to top the leader board.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” said Billy after the class. “The horses had to be really careful out there today, but the course worked in our favour as I was able to miss out a few strides here and there!” The Cheshire-based rider continued, “It’s great to be competing at 5* level here at Windsor; it’s a great show and it’s nice to be on home soil with the family around, as we’re abroad so often.”
Boyd Exell scored his eighth win in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, having taken his first title in 2004. After a good win in the dressage phase with his team of four mixed Dutch and Swedish-bred horses, the reigning World Champion from Australia drove a steady round, mindful of a young horse in the wheel competing in his first marathon. Second in this phase, by less than one penalty point to his pupil Edouard Simonet from Belgium, he nevertheless retained the top slot overall.
A long technical cones course set by Johan Jacobs from the Netherlands, that was challenging yet fair in the final phase, saw few drivers manage double clear rounds. Exell was one to have a cone down, but he secured the title 13-penalty points ahead of his closest challenger. Simonet, driving a team of impressive Arab cross Friesian black horses, moved up from third into second place in the final ratings, while Koos de Ronde from the Netherlands, seldom out of the top scoring teams, finished third.
Horse Pairs found the cones course no less of a test, and again, fortunes behind the leader changed. Germany’s Lars Schwitte led through the first two phases, even though he scored fourth place in the marathon, and with just one cone down in the final phase, he retained his overall first place. A driver who pursues the sport purely for pleasure – he manages his own construction company – and who was competing for the first time here, he was understandably delighted with his result. Behind him Michael Sellier from France, competing for the first time at Royal Windsor, moved up to second place from third, while Gerald Rossler from Austria jumped two places to clinch third.
There were numerous changes in the final standings in the Pony Four-In-Hands section. Jacqueline Walter from Germany had squeezed into first place after the marathon by the narrowest of margins, but the overall win went to the only competitor to post a double clear in the cones, Tinne Bax from Belgium. Bax has competed at Royal Windsor for the last half a dozen years, but this is her first win. Her smile showed just how pleased she was. Walter, smiling equally as broadly, pronounced herself completely satisfied to have come second at her third time competing here – she has improved her position each time – while six times Royal Windsor winner, Jan de Boer from the Netherlands, dropped to third place.
In a team competition among Horse Fours competitors – the Netherlands took first place with Ijsbrand Chardon, Theo Timmerman and Koos de Ronde. Belgium was second with Edouard Simonet, Dries Degrieck and Glen Geerts, and Germany third with Georg von Stein, Mareike Harm and Rainer Duen.
Fourteen high-class contenders of all sizes and types, from an 18hh heavyweight hunter, down to a diminutive Dartmoor lead-reign, entered the Castle Arena for the judging of the Royal Windsor Supreme Ridden Showing Championship sponsored by Dodson & Horrell.
Judged by Olympic Dressage supremo, Richard Davison, and international Show Jumper, William Funnell, tension mounted as competitors entered the arena for the last time, with some horses clearly over-awed by the building atmosphere.
It was HM The Queen’s homebred former racehorse Barbers Shop, ridden by Katie Jerram-Hunnable, who took home the prestigious title, the first Supreme Champion to be crowned at Royal Windsor since 2002. Jerram-Hunnable said, “This is his last year at Royal Windsor Horse Show, so to do this today is just fantastic.”
Annabelle Jewks’ Diamonds Are Forever, ridden by Allister Hood to be crowned Champion Riding Horse earlier in the week, followed close in second to take the Reserve Champion title.
Elsewhere, the Final of the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games saw victory go to the young England team, with the Shetland Pony Grand National sponsored by Sandra and Martin Wood was won by Harry Barker, the grandson of legendary commentator Mike Tucker.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org T: + 44 (0)203 176 0355
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.