Lexington, KY – Three Americans – James Fairclough, Josh Rector and Chester Weber – will be among the best drivers from the United States, Canada, and Mexico to gather in Kennett Square, PA, tomorrow through Sunday for the 25th Anniversary Laurels at Landhope International Combined Driving Event, one of the most prestigious events of its kind in the U.S.
At the FEI-recognized event in a beautiful country setting just 40 miles from Philadelphia, drivers will compete in a series of three events with combinations from single horses and ponies to four-in-hands. The “Laurels” features competition in Preliminary, Intermediate and Advanced divisions, with the signature event the U.S. National Four-In-Hand Championship – a driving competition for teams of four horses.
James Fairclough first made history at the 2002 FEI World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, as part of the group that won the Team Silver medal. Prior to this, the best finish the U.S. had ever garnered at a Four-In-Hand World Championship was fourth place in 1984 and 1986.
Fairclough (Newton, NJ) has represented the U.S. at the Four-In-Hand World Championship seven different times between 1980 and 2002. 2010 was a stellar year for Fairclough – he started with a second-place win at the Little Everglades CDE and ended with a Team Silver medal at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Josh Rector (Phoenix, AZ) represented the U.S. at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games last October as an Individual. He has also trained several horses to the advanced level in the single horse division, with numerous wins. With a pair, Rector placed fourth in the U.S. Pairs Championships in 2007 and as a team driver that same year he won the Natures Coast CDE at the preliminary level.
He began the 2010 season with a fourth-place finish at the Little Everglades CDE in an international field and in March took third in the USEF Four-in-Hand National Championship at Live Oak. At the CAI-B Garden State CDE, Rector went one better, finishing second. A few weeks later, he and his team traveled to Canada to contest the Bromont International CAI-A where they once again collected second-place honors. Rector completed the 2010 season by representing the U.S. at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Rounding out the American trio at this year’s Laurels is the defending champion Chester Weber (Ocala, FL). In 2009, the USA’s top driver was the chef d’equipe for the U.S. team at the 2009 World Pony Driving Championships in Greven, Germany. In 2010, Weber won at every turn. In March, he collected his eighth straight USEF Four-in-Hand National Championship on home turf at his family’s Live Oak Plantation. Prior to his win at Live Oak, he claimed top honors at the Sunshine State CAI.
Weber continued his domination by picking up wins in June at the CAI-B Garden State CDE, and in Canada at the Bromont International CAI-A. Weber and his team completed the 2010 season by representing the U.S. at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, where they won the Team Silver medal.
This year, Weber won international combined driving competitions in Vecsés, Hungary, and Riesenbeck, Germany, and finished third in the individual classification at the World Equestrian Festival CHIO in Aachen, Germany.
The Laurels competition begins at 8 a.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Dressage is held Friday, Marathon on Saturday, and Cones on Sunday.
Follow the U.S. drivers on the event website www.laurelscde.org and check www.usefnetwork.com for photos, reports, and all the information about the U.S. drivers throughout the weekend.