Category Archives: Driving

All Eyes Turn to ‘Once in a Lifetime Marathon’ after Enthralling First Day of Driving

Photo: Theo Timmerman (NED) (FEI/Claes Jakobsson)

The stage is set for a titanic battle with driving’s biggest names nestled together on a tightly-packed leaderboard after day one of the Longines FEI European Championships 2017 in Gothenburg (SWE).

It will be the orange men of the Netherlands who move on from the dressage to the marathon test in the best spirits, after claiming the top two individual spots and finishing more than seven points clear in the team competition on a score of 85.83.

But Germany, under the temporary tutelage of world number one Boyd Exell (AUS), showed a marked overall improvement in dressage, getting all three of their team into the top seven individual positions. They currently lie second in the team standings.

Meanwhile, rising star Edouard Simonet (BEL) laid down a strong marker as he moved into individual third to steer Team Belgium into a temporary hold on bronze, a slender 2.54 penalties adrift of the Germans.

It is Theo Timmerman (NED) though who tops the individual placings after producing a flawless dressage display in front of the biggest crowd of the week at the Heden Arena. “The feeling was good; I did every figure, every transition perfectly,” he said.

The 52-year-old’s score of 41.82 placed him just ahead of compatriot Ijsbrand Chardon (NED), who revealed he’d been forced to change his best two horses following July’s FEI World Cup™ competition in Aachen (GER).

An exuberant Timmerman shared an interesting take on just why the Dutch have dominated the team aspect of this event for the past decade.

“It sounds stupid as we are a team, but we don’t work together. We all do our own thing, we know each other, we do the course walk together, but training-wise and driving-wise Koos (de Ronde) does his thing, Ijsbrand (Chardon) does his thing and I do my thing and we don’t bother each other.” — Overnight leader Theo Timmerman (NED)

The Germans, who take a different attitude to team building, spent the early part of the week in a training camp at the farm of team member Mareike Harm under the watchful eye of Exell. It too seems to be working.

“The 2012 World Championships was the last time I was under 50,” said Georg von Stein, who is running two of Exell’s horses in his team. “I was calmer with the support of Boyd (Exell), all his experience and the training we did. It felt easier with his horses.”

Von Stein starts the marathon course seventh overall, three places behind teammate Harm. With specialist marathon driver Christoph Sandmann (GER) lying fifth, the 2015 European Championship silver medallists will fancy going one better here.

The young guns from Belgium will no doubt have something to say about that though. Simonet led the charge in the morning, finishing with his best dressage score for two years.

“To be at or near my best at a Championship is good. I was up at 5.30am and in the practice arena at 6.30am. It was worth it!” — Edouard Simonet (BEL) in third after dressage

Exell, the 27-year-old’s coach and mentor, noted that the next two days are a “big opportunity” for his charge, who scored 45.42.

As soon as each driver stepped off his or her carriage, thoughts turned to the marathon test. Event leader Timmerman neatly summed up the drivers’ thoughts as they contemplated flying through Gothenburg’s city centre and into the Slottsskogen Park for the obstacles test.

“This is something special; once or twice in your life you have something like this. They had it in Stockholm in ‘88, it was great, and they do it again in Sweden. You don’t find it anywhere else where they do it like this. I can’t wait to see how many people will be there.” — Theo Timmerman (NED) on why the Slottsskogen marathon will be so special

By Luke Norman

FEI Media Contacts:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

United States Impresses at 2017 World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen

Laura Kraut and Zeremonie. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

US brings home silver in FEI Nations Cup competitions; numerous top finishes for individual athletes

Aachen, Germany – The United States sent 18 equestrian athletes and fielded two FEI Nations™ Cup teams to compete at the World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen in Aachen, Germany July 14-23.

“It’s the Wimbledon of our sport; there is no question,” said Robert Ridland, Chef d’Equipe of the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping team. “It is one of the most prestigious places to compete. The top riders are all saying: we are bringing our ‘A’ game here, we are bringing our best horses.”

The U.S. athletes certainly came prepared to compete, with plans and goals laid out. The following are some highlights of the U.S. athletes’ week in Aachen.

Show Jumping

On Tuesday, July 18, 2004 and 2008 Olympic team gold medalist Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and HHS Hercules, Abigail Wexner’s 2009 Irish Sport Horse gelding, took third place in the Sparkassen Youngsters Cup, a class for seven and eight year olds, with zero faults and a time of 67.51.

The following afternoon, Lauren Hough (Wellington, Fla.), 2000 Sydney Olympian, and Ohlala, The Ohlala Group’s 2004 Swedish Warmblood mare, competed with 58 other riders and took fifth place with zero faults and a time of 43.20 in the Turkish Airlines Prize of Europe. Later that afternoon, Hough went on to take fifth with Waterford, Laura and Meredith Mateo’s 2003 KWPN gelding, with zero faults and a time of 38.43 in the Prize of StadteRegion Aachen. In addition, 2008 Olympic team gold medalist Laura Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Whitney, Artisan Farms, LLC and Torrey Pines Stables’ 2003 KWPN gelding, took third in the same class, with zero faults and a time of 37.45.

Thursday proved to be an exciting day for U.S. Show Jumping. Madden and Breitling LS, Wexner’s 2006 Dutch Warmblood stallion, won the STAWAG-Prize, with zero faults and a time of 66.01. Kraut and Whitney placed third with zero faults and a time of 69.86. Later that evening, Kraut and 2004 and 2008 Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) led the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team to a silver medal tie with Switzerland in the Mercedes Benz FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Aachen with double clear performances aboard Zeremonie, Old Willow Farms’ 2007 Holsteiner mare, and HH Azur, Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare, respectively.

“Today was exciting as always – Aachen is the pinnacle of sport. To go double clear tonight with Zeremonie was thrilling,” said Kraut.

World number one ranked and 2016 Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington (Wellington, Fla.) and his mount Uceko, R.C.G. Farm’s 2001 Dutch Warmblood gelding, pulled out a beautiful win on Friday in the North Rhine-Westphalia with zero faults and a time of 46.65. When asked about Uceko and winning in Aachen, Farrington responded: “He [Uceko] is really special. He loves grass arenas. I’ve had him since he was six years old, and I’m so proud that he is 16 and still winning here at Aachen. It was an amazing day.”

On Sunday, Ward and HH Carlos Z, Double H Farm’s 2002 Zangersheide gelding, won the SAP-Prize, with zero faults and a time of 60.21. That evening Kraut and Zeremonie, Ward and HH Azur, Farrington and Voyeur, Amalaya Investments’ Voyeur 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding, Hough and Ohlala, and Madden and Darry Lou, Wexner’s 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding, all competed in the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen. In the end, Kraut went head-to-head with Gregory Wathelet from Belgium, Luciana Diniz from Portugal, and Marc Houtzager from the Netherlands in the final jump-off. Kraut placed fourth with four faults and a time of 48.01.

Additionally, Zeremonie and Old Willow Farms were presented with the prestigious Halla Challenge Trophy by Hans Gunter Winker for the most successful horse at CHIO Aachen. Kraut was also awarded with the “Prize of the Federal Minister of the Interior,” an award of a special trophy given to the best jumping athlete of the entire show, presented by the Federal Minister of the Interior, Hans-Peter Friedrich.

Dressage

The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team came to Aachen ready to compete. The first phase of the FEI Nations Cup CDIO5* began on Thursday, July 20, with the Preis der Familie Tesch Grand Prix. 2016 Olympic team bronze medalist Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and Verdades, Graves and Curt Maes’s 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding, took second place behind Germany’s Isabell Werth with a score of 79.514%. The U.S. team sat in second place after the first phase.

“Three of our four horses have never shown at Aachen before,” said Robert Dover, Chef d’Equipe for The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage team. “Two of these horses are in their first season of showing internationally in Europe and one of them is in his first handful of CDIs in his life. Maybe that’s why, by the end of the day, I was a little over-wrought with emotion.”

On Saturday, the second and final phase of the FEI Nations Cup continued in the MEGGLE-Preis Grand Prix Special. With the German audience hanging on to every passage, piaffe, and pirouette, Graves and Verdades took on Werth and her mount, Weihegold OLD, performing a truly masterful test, and scoring a 81.824% that catapulted them to the top of the class standings – on Graves’ 30th birthday, no less. Combined with the rides of the remaining team members, The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team went on to claim the silver medal behind Germany and ahead of Sweden.

“Today was my day,” Graves said. “My horse gave me a great birthday present. I could not be more pleased with him. And, there is nothing like a stadium of Germans singing happy birthday to you. That is really memorable.”

Graves and Verdades went on to take third place in the Deutsche Bank Prize Grand Prix Freestyle on Sunday, with a score of 82.550%.

Eventing

U.S. eventer Hannah Sue Burnett (The Plains, Va.) placed seventh overall in Aachen, with RF Demeter, Jacqueline Mars’ 2002 Oldenburg mare. After Thursday’s dressage test, with 39.90 penalties and the jumping phase, with a time of 87.22 and zero faults, the combination went into Saturday’s cross-country phase sitting in fifth place. Finishing the course clear and with just eight time penalties, Burnett and RF Demeter finished seventh in the overall line-up with a final score of 42.50 penalties.

“The time is difficult to make here in Aachen,” said Burnett. “This was really my first time that I’ve tried to be fast on her [RF Demeter]. I was only eight seconds over, which is really good. It is a really fun feeling here. Everybody cheers so much and there is so much involvement from the crowd. I love that feeling and I love this event.”

Combined Driving

Chester Weber (Ocala, Fla.) represented the United States in combined driving in Aachen. On Wednesday, July 19, Weber masterfully guided Bastiaan, Fritz Grupe’s 2006 KWPN gelding; Boris W, Weber’s 2006 KWPN gelding; First Edition, Weber’s 2009 KWPN gelding; and Splash, Jane Clark’s 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding, to a second place finish in the Prize of Fa. Horsch, Der Entorger Dressage Four-In Hand with 41.28 penalties.

On Friday, Weber went on to take second again in the Top Score Driving Competition with 1800.00 points, with Boris W, First Edition, Maestoso Jupiter, Weber’s 2007 Hungarian Warmblood gelding, and Splash in the traces.

Vaulting

U.S. Vaulters performed well at Aachen with numerous top-ten finishes.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

US Equestrian Declares Contingent for World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen

A group of 18 athletes to represent the U.S. across five featured disciplines

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian has announced the athletes that will participate in the 2017 World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen, July 14-23, in Aachen, Germany. CHIO Aachen will showcase The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team and Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team in FEI Nations Cup™ action, as well as two additional dressage athlete-and-horse combinations, two eventing athlete-and-horse combinations, four vaulters, and one four-in-hand combined driver in individual competition.

The following athlete-horse combinations will comprise The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team for FEI Nations Cup CDIO5* Aachen led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover:

Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.) with her own and Curt Maes’ Verdades, a 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding
Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (Haymarket, Va.) with her own and Mary Anne McPhail’s Lonoir, a 2004 Danish Warmblood gelding
Adrienne Lyle (Ketchum, Idaho) with Salvino Partners, LLC’s Salvino, a 2007 Hanoverian stallion
Kasey Perry-Glass (Wellington, Fla.) with Diane Perry’s Goerklintgaards Dublet, a 2003 Warmblood gelding

The following dressage athlete-horse combinations will compete in the Aachen CDI4*:

Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) with Patricia Stempel’s Danilo, a 2004 Hanoverian gelding
Arlene “Tuny” Page (Wellington, Fla.) with her own Woodstock, a 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding

The following athletes will make up the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team for FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Aachen led by Chef D’Equipe Robert Ridland:

Kent Farrington (Wellington, Fla.)
Lauren Hough (Wellington, Fla.)
Laura Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.)
Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.)
McLain Ward (Brewster, N.Y.)

Nations Cup horses will be named at a later date.

The following eventing athlete-horse combinations will compete as individuals in the Aachen CICO3*:

Hannah Sue Burnett (The Plains, Va.) with Jacqueline Mars’ RF Demeter, a 2002 Oldenburg mare
Lauren Kieffer (Middleburg, Va.) with Team Rebecca, LLC’s Veronica, a 2002 Dutch Warmblood mare

The following combined driving athlete will compete in the Aachen CAIO4*:

Chester Weber (Ocala, Fla.) competing tentatively with Amadeus, Weber’s 2005 Dutch Warmblood gelding; Bastiaan, Fritz Grupe’s 2006 KWPN gelding; Boris, Weber’s 2006 KWPN gelding; First Edition, Weber’s 2009 KWPN gelding; and Splash, Jane Clark’s 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding

The following vaulting athletes will compete in the Aachen CVIO4*:

Daniel Janes (Stanwood, Wash.)
Elizabeth Osborn (Menlo Park, Calif.)
Kristian Roberts (Moss Beach, Calif.)
Emily Rose (Santa Cruz, Calif.)

For more information about the 2017 World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen and a schedule of events, visit chioaachen.de.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Two Top European Finishes in June for Chester Weber

Chester Weber and Jane Clark’s team of KWPN geldings navigate the water obstacle at Saumur. (Photo courtesy of Team Weber).

Riesenbeck, Germany (June 26, 2017) – Fourteen-time USEF Four-in-Hand National Combined Driving Champion and three-time World Equestrian Games Silver Medalist Chester Weber started off strong on the first leg of his European tournament schedule by seizing top placings at the Saumur CAI4* in France and the Riesenbeck CAI3* in Germany.

Leading Jane Clark and Weber’s team to win the dressage phase at Saumur were Splash and First Edition, with Boris W. and Bastiaan in the left and right wheel positions. Team Weber headed into phase two of their first international competition of the 2017 season with a score of 43.3 points to finish up their first European tournament by winning the reserve title. Weber and Jane Clark’s team of KWPN geldings then forged ahead to secure another top placing at Riesenbeck, Germany, June 22-25 with a second place in the Riesenbeck dressage phase and a fourth in the cones to finish in the top three in the competition.

Next up for Team Weber is the World Equestrian Festival CHIO4 at Aachen, Germany where Weber strives to repeat history. In 2012, Weber had a record-breaking dressage score at Aachen and then went on in 2014, to make history as the first and only American to win the Four-In-Hand division at the Aachen CHIO4. Weber looks forward to matching and besting his 2012 and 2014 performances at Aachen with an eye focused on competing at the World Equestrian Games, slated to take place in 2018, at Tryon International Equestrian Center, North Carolina.

“We were pleased with the horses and they clearly demonstrated their potential. Both Bastiaan and First Edition did well for their first big international outings. We are looking forward to competing at Aachen and of course we remain focused on laying the foundation to compete at the 2018 World Equestrian Games,” commented Weber.

Weber, who continues to be a major contender in the international world of four-in-hand combined driving, is also an avid supporter of the sport of driving – dedicated to promoting the equestrian sport on a national and international level. For Team Weber updates, results, photos, and combined driving news as competition in Europe continues, follow Chester Weber on his official Facebook page, Instagram @ChesterWeber, or visit www.chesterweber.com.

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

USET Foundation Announces Launch of the Driving Challenge

Gladstone, N.J. – June 20, 2017 – The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of a transformational fundraising initiative, the Driving Challenge, made possible through the generosity of Misdee and James Miller, Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown.

As active drivers and loyal supporters of equestrian sport, these competitors have come together to lead in their support for the US Equestrian High Performance Driving program.  The goal of the initiative is to raise $1,200,000 for the driving discipline, through multi-year gift commitments of $20,000 or more, made by December 31, 2017. These gift commitments will be matched dollar for dollar up to $500,000. Misdee and James Miller, Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown invite fellow drivers, owners and enthusiasts to help create a legacy for the United States High Performance Driving program by contributing to the Driving Challenge.

The United States High Performance Driving program is ready to advance to the next level. To achieve this, continued effort needs to be made in identifying and preparing U.S. drivers through the developing program, and to provide international competition opportunities for success at the elite level. Securing the services of world-class coaches, as well providing grants for European competitions are central to achieving success. In order to accomplish this and close the gap between nations currently winning international medals, an investment in the programs and the drivers must be made to establish a pathway to the podium.

The Driving Challenge will create a source of funding that can be drawn upon each year and provide increased support for the high performance programs. It will establish a meaningful base of annual support for all the driving disciplines including singles, pairs, ponies and four-in-hand. The challenge will also create momentum and provide an incentive for others to contribute, knowing their gifts will be matched.

Ensuring U.S. drivers have the opportunity and sufficient financial resources to train and compete in international championships depends on a commitment from all those passionate about the discipline of driving and from those that want to see our U.S. driving teams achieve excellence in international championships. Today we call on you to consider our U.S equestrian team’s path forward. Your leadership and participation in this exciting challenge will define the future of our nation’s equestrian sporting tradition in driving and underscore the importance of this incredible opportunity.

For more information about making a donation to the Driving Challenge, please contact Bonnie B. Jenkins at bjenkins@uset.org or call 908-234-1251.

For more information on the USET Foundation, visit www.uset.org.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

May Competition Brings Top Accolades in Multiple Disciplines for Team Interagro

Eros Interagro and Alexandre Souza. Photos courtesy of Interagro Lusitanos.

Itapira, SP, Brazil (June 7, 2017) – May shows brought top finishes once again for Interagro Lusitanos of Brazil, where the horses and riders of the prestigious stud and training facility based in Itapira, Sao Paulo dominated in a variety of disciplines from FEI dressage to working equitation. In what has already been a banner year for Interagro, their team shows no signs of slowing down and only seems to be building more steam with bigger competitions and better results each time they venture off the 1,300 acre home farm. With the vision of developing a modern Lusitano sporthorse from the purest Portuguese lineages, Interagro strives through meticulous breeding, training, and exportation to preserve the ancient breed’s future in modern FEI sport.

At the 36th Annual International Lusitano Show, held May 25-28, 2017, Interagro’s team and horses bred by the Brazilian stud excelled in dressage and working equitation. Exclusively showcasing the athletic talents of the Portuguese breed, the International Lusitano Show is a benchmark for the breed in Brazil, attracting only the best horses and riders from around the country and featuring nationally ranked and FEI classes. A rising star in Interagro’s barn, Fellini Interagro’s poise and performance earned him top honors in the 7-year-old division as part of the National Dressage Championship (CDN). Under the guidance of Pia Aragao, Fellini’s winning score continues his winning streak from his 2016 6-year-old season, and under the new FEI judging he is currently the top ranked 7-year-old in Brazil. Aragao also rode Hamilcar Interagro to a third place finish in the 5-year-old division as part of the Sao Paulo Dressage Championship. Hamilcar, who was sold during the 13th Interagro Yearlings Auction in 2012, is owned by Martina Irene Brandes, head trainer for Interagro.

Fellini Interagro is the first and only dressage horse to reach this level under Brazil’s federation ranking. Aragao, who has been his prime trainer throughout his career, stated that the combination of technical and traditional FEI judging, which is new to Brazil this year, was a challenge for the pair, and Fellini rose to the occasion beautifully: “I was very pleased with him overall; for a young horse he performed super well and with a bit more time, experience, and polish I’m confident Fellini will truly shine.” She also elaborated on Hamilcar’s performance, saying, “Hamilcar is such a joy to ride, with a wonderful canter as well as amazing talent for collection and engagement.”

Advancing through the levels at the Lusitano Show, Edmar Brito and Hadrian Interagro topped the First Level Open division with a 67.408% as part of the ABPSL Dressage Cup. Alexandre Souza rode Hectar Interagro to 3rd in First Level Open with a score of 66.852%. Finorio Interagro, a horse sold at the 2013 Interagro Collection Auction to Haras Crystal, was guided to reserve honors in Second Level Open with Jefferson Rodrigo Pereira in the saddle. Brito also guided Empreiteiro Interagro to victory in the ABPSL Dressage Cup’s 3rd Level Open division with an impressive score of 64.167%. Finally, Generoso Interagro, who was sold at the 2011 Interagro Yearlings Auction and is now owned by Mrs. Magali Soares Pereira Unterkircher, scored a 66.848% to top the Training Level Open division under the guidance of Luciano dos Anjos.

To round out their month of May dressage success, Team Interagro prefaced their impressive performance in dressage at the International Lusitano Show with corresponding wins and top placings at the 3rd phase of the SHP Dressage Ranking, held May 13 at Sociedade Hipica Paulista in Sao Paulo. Among the most impressive performances were Pia Aragao and Zepelim Interagro, whose score of 63.525% in the FEI Grand Prix earned them 3rd place. Aragao also took out Fellini Interagro in the 7-year-olds, where he won the class with a final score of 7.88. Edmar Brito and the enigmatic Herodotus Interagro danced their way to second place at Second Level with a 64.848%. Brito also rode Hadrian Interagro to 3rd place in First Level with a 63.796%. Herodotus, who was sold just one day before his performance at the Ranking, has recently arrived in the US to begin his career with his new owners.

Aragao went on to note that all of her horses and pairs of riders from Interagro’s team have had a spectacular May season of dressage. “Zepelim stepped up to put in an excellent show in May. I was really pleased with him, and to have him back in the ring after a break. All of Interagro’s horses and riders showed great improvement, especially in an environment that is challenging for young horses and stallions. As they continue to improve and build on their technical skill and concentration, the horse’s athletic ability and poise in the arena will be even more apparent.”

Originally from Sweden, Aragao trains with Stefan Jansson and wrapped up a clinic with him on May 24th. “Stefan comes here regularly, about 4 times a year. He was thrilled with Fellini’s progress, his maturity, how easy he learns, and is able to perform what we ask of him. Zepelim is also stronger than ever, showing fantastic piaffe, passage, and transitions. The pirouettes are also very good and his elastic half-passes show impressive impulsion and crossing. With a few more trips to build confidence and concentration, Stefan and I are confident he will be a very solid competitor, and it’s exciting to see him succeed as we have been working with him since he was 5 years old!”

Empreiteiro Interagro and Edmar Brito

Interagro’s passion for working equitation also shone through in their performances at the International Lusitano Show. Empreiteiro and Edmar Brito rose from their 3rd level dressage victory to earn reserve honors in the Preliminary Division, marking the versatility of the Interagro horse. Alexandre Souza and Hector Interagro won the Novice A division; Souza also rode the impressive Eros Interagro to third place in the Novice B division and Feitor Interagro to 4th in the Preliminary division. Feitor, a coming 8-year-old, is the youngest in the division, competing against much more seasoned horses; Eros Interagro, who stands at 16.3h high, demonstrates the agility and athleticism of the Interagro Lusitano. More Lusitanos bred by Interagro also finished in the ribbons, with Dorus Interagro, who was sold at the 2011 Interagro Collection Auction, taking second, and Porfirio Interagro, who was sold at the 1997 TOP Interagro Auction, taking third in the Intermediate division.

While working equitation and dressage are fortes of Interagro’s team, the week before Antonio Souza, Fabio Silva, Valentim Brito, and Ana Carolina Borja took the reins of single and four-in-hand Interagro horses at the 2nd phase of the 2017 Brazilian Driving Championship, held May 20 at Club Hipico Quinta da Baroneza. Souza and the powerful Hospedeiro Interagro blazed to victory in the Single Cones division, while Silva and Canaletto Interagro took second. Brito guided Herbert Interagro to third to secure Interagro’s 1-2-3 victory in the division. Borja and her team grey Lusitanos, which include Viajor Interagro, Semaneiro Interagro, Erva Doce do Top, and Erotica do Top, owned by Alvaro Coelho da Fonseca, proved their proficiency over the tricky four-in-hand cones course, taking first in the Open division.

During the 1st Phase of the Brazilian Driving Championship, held May 8, 2017 at Clube de Campo de Sao Paulo, Interagro’s horses once again dominated, this time in dressage as well as cones. Silva and Canaletto finished first with a 78.87; Souza and Hospedeiro finished second with a 72.90; Brito and Herbert finished third with a 72.31. The cones also saw Souza and Hospedeiro as champion, with Silva and Canaletto in second and Brito and Herbert in fourth. Borja also dominated the four-in-hand cones with Viajor Interagro and Semaneiro Interagro in the harness.

With over 40 years of experience breeding, training, and exporting Lusitanos, Interagro’s mission is to preserve the exceptional bloodlines and qualities of the breed while showcasing their talent, beauty, and intelligence, especially in the FEI and sport horse disciplines. Established in 1975 by Dr. Paulo Gavião Gonzaga, Interagro’s initial vision was to preserve and restore the original foundational Lusitano bloodlines and lineages, many of which were in danger of extinction following the Portuguese Revolution of 1974. Through meticulous breeding, exceptional care, and world-class training, the Interagro Lusitanos of today continue that legacy as they compete across four continents.

For more information on Interagro Lusitanos, Interagro’s horses for sale, or the Lusitano bloodlines, visit Interagro’s website at www.lusitano-interagro.com. To organize a trip to Brazil or for any questions regarding sales or the logistics of importing horses to the US, contact their US Sales Representative, Peter van Borst, at 817 368 9447.

Media contact:
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
Holly Johnson
holly@equinium.com

US Equestrian Announces Cancellation of 2017 Hermitage Classic CDE

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian regrets to announce the cancellation of the Hermitage Classic CDE, scheduled for October 19-22, 2017. Due to the World Pairs Championship in Lipica, Slovenia on September 20-24, 2017, the Hermitage Classic CDE would be very difficult to produce. This is largely due to the host of the event, and much of the Hermitage staff, being in Europe this summer as well as the expense and certain restrictions on return shipping to the USA. Host Steve Wilson looks forward to producing a bigger and better Hermitage Classic in 2018.

The Hermitage Classic CDE had been awarded the opportunity to host the 2017 USEF Single Driving National Championships, which means they will be moving to another venue this year. The USEF Driving Sport Committee met Wednesday, May 31, to review the Championship bid applications for the remaining Events. The Committee voted unanimously to award the Championships to the Kentucky Classic CDE, October 5-8, 2017, at the Kentucky Horse Park. The decision is pending approval of the International Disciplines Committee (IDC) and the US Equestrian Board of Directors.

This situation is a reminder that a small group of individuals graciously sponsor many combined driving events, which is a large responsibility to take on. US Equestrian and the driving community are committed to revitalizing driving sports. It is important to reach out to local events and offer support in any way possible, and competition organizers can make sponsorships fit donors’ needs.

For more information, please contact Danielle Aamodt, US Equestrian director of driving, at daamodt@usef.org.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Ladies Dominate Inaugural Devon Arena Eventing Competition

Sarah Kozumplik Murphy and Rubens D’ysieux (Photo: The Book LLC)

Devon, Pa. – May 28, 2017 – Sunday evening at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair highlighted a brand new kind of competition, Devon Arena Eventing, based on two of the three disciplines that make up three-day eventing: cross-country and stadium jumping. The event attracted a new realm of spectators including eventing enthusiasts. A total of 23 international eventing horse-and-rider combinations participated in the new event, where USA’s Sarah Kozumplik Murphy and Rubens D’ysieux came out on top to take home the first winning title.

The Devon Arena Eventing competition, presented by Mid-Atlantic Packaging, was designed to maximize the facilities, showcasing the best of what Devon has to offer.

The course was designed by Captain Mark Phillips, Olympic gold medalist, former coach of the U.S. Olympic eventing team and renowned international course designer. Phillips spent several hours at Devon evaluating the facilities and believes the venue is an excellent host for arena eventing.

Horses and riders entered must have attained a qualifying score in a CCI2* or be competing at 1.40m in show jumping to participate in Sunday’s Devon Arena Eventing class.

The first round took horses and riders through both the Gold Ring and Dixon Oval over 25 obstacles, and faults were given for knockdowns and exceeding the maximum time. Approximately 15 fences were typical obstacles found on a standard cross-country course, while the remaining were show jumping fences. Fences were up to 1.20m in height, brush up to 1.40m and spreads up to 1.60m.

The second round brought back the top 12 to compete in a jump-off over a shortened course in the Dixon Oval. Murphy and the 11-year-old Selle Français gelding, owned by Rubens D’ysieux Syn. LLC, completed both phases with no penalties, finishing the jump-off in 75.03 seconds for the win.

Coming in second place was USA’s Jennie Brannigan and Nina Gardner’s Cambalda. The pair also completed both rounds with no faults and stopped the timers in 79.05 seconds at the end of phase two. Rounding out the top three was USA’s Erika Nesler and Doug and Cindy Howe’s Right Above It. They crossed the finish line in 80.92 seconds to also end on a final score of zero penalties.

There are four other major horse shows that have also developed these special competitions: the Wellington Eventing Showcase, the Stuttgart German Masters, the Royal International Horse Show in England and The Royal Horse Show in Toronto.

The Devon Arena Eventing competition was met with the highest standards and was supported by top riders. From the eventing side, Phillips, David O’Connor, the current U.S. eventing chef d’équipe, and U.S. Rio Olympians Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin. Kevin Babington was also on board and encouraged competitors from the show jumping world to participate.

Victory for Katharine Dade and National Treasure in Pony Jumper Championship

Sunday of Memorial Day weekend marked the culmination of Junior Weekend at the historic Devon Horse Show, but for Katharine Dade and her own National Treasure it also meant a triumph in the Pony Jumper Championship. All eyes shifted to the junior riders and their speedy ponies on course as they vied to make it through the finish line clear and in the fastest time.

Dade, of Gilmanton Ironworks, New Hampshire, only began campaigning in the jumper ring this year. Previously, she rode in the pony hunters, but she hasn’t looked back since making the switch over to the jumper ring.

On Saturday, Dade and her 16-year-old chestnut Welsh Pony Cross mare snagged the blue ribbon after going clear in the $1,000 Pony Jumper class with the fastest time of 29.179 seconds in a six-horse jump-off. The 15-year-old superstar has been training for the past 10 years with Gretchen Anderson out of Apple Knoll Farm in New Boston, New Hampshire.

After spectators had the privilege of watching top-notch junior hunters, equitation, jumpers and carriage driving throughout the weekend thus far, they witnessed 15 contenders battle it out for top honors and generous prizes on Sunday to round out the Pony Jumper Championship. Dade claimed Sunday morning’s second class of the division in a seven-horse jump-off, while Bridgid McMurtrie’s Wishlea Star Dasher, who won the 2016 Pony Jumper Championship at the Devon Horse Show, and Alice Nolen-Walston rode to victory in the $2,500 Pony Jumper Classic out of a three-horse jump-off.

The crowd stood eagerly alongside the sidelines hoping to catch a glimpse of the pony jumper action in the Dixon Oval. Course designer Kelvin Bywater of Great Britain put riders to the test with his challenging tracks, which quickly narrowed down the playing field to the most talented two- and four-legged athletes.

To make Dade’s championship win that much sweeter, she and National Treasure were honored with the Leonard Tose Memorial Challenge Trophy. The reserve champion ribbon went to Alice Nolen-Walston and Wishlea Star Dasher. Awards presentations wrapped up with the Pony Jumper Style Award being given to Audrey Schulze and Gayfields Talladega Knight.

51st Carriage Pleasure Drive Carries on Tradition at Devon

The Devon Horse Show and County Fair has prided itself on the tradition that is showcased throughout its historical grounds since the very first show held in 1896. The Carriage Pleasure Drive has been a part of the Devon tradition for over 50 years and continues to entertain and excite exhibitors and spectators alike each year on the Sunday before Memorial Day.

Richard O’Donnell (Photo: Equiscape Photography)

Crowds filled the stands to watch in awe as the horses, carriages, whips and passengers gracefully parade around the Dixon Oval. Immediately following the initial inspection, competitors tackled a 4.5-mile drive through the picturesque neighborhoods of Devon, Pennsylvania.

In the 51st running of the Carriage Pleasure Drive, Molly Neville of Collins, New York came away with the coveted Carriage Pleasure Drive championship award. Neville, piloting Helen Lenahan’s pair ponies in the Relhok Serenity Blue carriage, received the championship apron as well as the Robert and Virginia Weaver Challenge Trophy for best turnout overall. Sunday’s championship was made all the more sweet as Neville accepted her awards in memory of Lenahan who just recently passed away.

In the Two-Wheel Single Harness division, Tanya Mackeand was awarded the blue in her Dog Cart. The blue in the Four-Wheel Single Harness division was awarded to Betsy Demarino Vmd, who was driving her 150-year-old vehicle, the Moor and Sons Ralli Car.

Competitors in the Double Harness-Pairs-Tandems division were next to receive their awards, where a familiar name earned the Orleton Farm Challenge Trophy, Richard O’Donnell. O’Donnell, president of the Devon Horse Show, piloted his 1880 original Spider Phaeton carriage to earn top honors. The Carriage Pleasure Drive Amateur Whip Award and Susie S. Buchanan Perpetual Trophy was also awarded to O’Donnell for exemplifying the tradition of carriage driving at the highest level.

Frances and Wayne Baker in the Roof Seat Break carriage earned the Third Susan Addis Challenge Trophy in the Four-in-Hand division. The Martin Auctioneers Inc. Perpetual Trophy was awarded to Mrs. Collin F. McNeil in her Saylor Wagon/Governess Cart for her win in the Two-Wheel Single Harness Pony division.

The winner of the Four-Wheel Single Harness Pony division was Zana White in the Sailor Wagon. Carriage Pleasure Drive champion, Neville, also received the individual blue in the Pony Double Harness-Pairs-Tandems division.

Devon exhibitors always anticipate the arrival of Roberta O’Dell’s eclectic and entertaining carriages to the Dixon Oval. This year she showcased her “Popcorn Wagon” that was pulled by her four white mules in the Light Commercial and Farmer’s division.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

US Combined Driving Champion Chester Weber Announces European Tournament Schedule

Photo courtesy of Marie De Ronde-Oudemans.

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.

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

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh Talks Love of and Involvement in Combined Driving

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.