Live Oak International Top Three on NARG Specialty Event List

Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil competed in the inaugural CSI2* Live Oak International. Photo by PicsOfYou.com

Wellington, Florida – In its inaugural year, CSI2* Live Oak International in Ocala, FL, was ranked one of the top three ‘Specialty Events’ in North America by the North American Riders Group (NARG).  The second annual CSI2* Live Oak International for show jumping takes place from March 20 to 24, 2013, running concurrently with the long-standing CAI-B driving event.

While the NARG’s annual ‘Top 25’ list has become a means of recognizing the top show jumping competitions in North America, this year, a new category for specialty events was introduced.  Designed to recognize stand-alone events, usually held for a shorter period and focusing on top level competition, the ‘Specialty Event’ category was created to give special recognition to those quality events that run outside of the typical horse show formula.

Despite having only been held once, Live Oak International was ranked third on the ‘Specialty Event’ list behind the New Albany Classic and Family Day in New Albany, OH, and the American Invitational in Tampa, FL, which is now in its 40th year.

“NARG created the ‘Specialty Event’ category because there were a number of events that, while held over a short time frame, were being organized with the best of quality,” explained NARG Board member Murray Kessler.  “These events are good for the sport, encourage great competition, and exist to promote the sport first.”

Kessler continued, “In only its first year, Live Oak International put on a quality event.  We congratulate Live Oak International on earning its place on the list right out of the gate, and we look forward to it getting better and better in the years to come.”

For more than 20 years, Live Oak International has been known for its international driving competition, offering single, pair and four-in-hand divisions for horses and ponies.  Now in its second year, the show jumping competition will feature a $50,000 CSI2* Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon, and the $33,000 CSI2* Winning Round on Sunday, March 24.

“We are delighted that the Board of NARG has created the new ‘Specialty Event’ horse show category and has selected Live Oak International to receive ‘Top Three’ distinction,” said Juliet W. Reid who, together with her brother, Chester C. Weber, nine-time winner of the USEF Four In Hand Driving Championship, leads the Live Oak International organizing committee.  “As the event organizers, we are proud to offer an outstanding international event that encompasses the best of Driving and Show Jumping in a single event, in a beautiful and very special setting.  Chester and I were both born in Ocala and Live Oak is home, a place we are honored to share as the site of this event that means so much to our family and to the community.”

In 2012, Live Oak International attracted tremendous support from the local community, with over 5,000 spectators turning out on Saturday to witness the thrilling marathon driving phase followed by the CSI2* Grand Prix for show jumping.

“Live Oak International is held in the heart of the ‘Horse Capital of America’ and, thanks to 20 years as the premier driving show in America, there is an established audience for our jumping classes,” said Reid of the event that is held on the Weber family’s 5,000-acre private farm.  “This recognition by NARG of our event reinforces our resolve to continue to grow and nurture our event to include other disciplines in the future.  We thank NARG for its support, and look forward to an outstanding event in March.  It is a true pleasure to be the only multiple-discipline show recognized by NARG.”

NARG Board member Norman Dello Joio attended the inaugural Live Oak International event in 2012 and commented, “The facility is fabulous.  It was really nice to leave Wellington for a few days and get into a different atmosphere; it was very different in the sense that it is very open, and has a lot of space and natural beauty.  Everyone felt very welcome.”

Live Oak International wishes to recognize its generous sponsors for their support, including Adequan, Gloria Austin, Brandywine Tent, Cape Cod Finished Wood Siding, Carriage Museum, Charles Owen, The Clothes Horse, Coast to Coast Truck & Trailer, Community Bank and Trust of Florida, Dever Golf Carts, Dutta Corp, E2 Show Jumpers, Equine Journal, Farm Credit of Florida, Dr. Rae and Nancy Fischer, G&C Farm, Golden Ocala, Grand Oaks Resort, Great American Insurance, Hermitage Farm, Hillcroft Farm, Hollow Creek Farm, Insight Credit, Jerry Parks Insurance Group, John Deere, Johnson Horse Transportation, Kentucky Equine Research, Lugano Diamonds, Marion County Visitor and Convention Bureau, Mid State Electric, Milburn Equine, Morgan Stanley, Ocala Hilton, Ocala Star Banner, Palm Chevrolet & Kia, Party Time Tent and Event Rentals, Peterson & Smith, Pine Flakes, PlaneSense, RBC, Sanctuary, Signature Brands, Sleepy P Farm, Smartpak, Stella Artois, Don Stewart Stables, Trout Walk Farm, Tequestrian and Waterside Environmental Care.

In addition to the competition, spectators at this year’s Live Oak International can enjoy the Classic Car Show, sponsored by Palm Chevrolet & Kia, as well as a vendor village and the Signature Brands Kids Zone featuring pony rides and a bounce house.  Admission is $10 per person, $5 for seniors and children under 12, with proceeds benefiting the Marion County Therapeutic Riding Association.  For more information on the Live Oak International, including sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.liveoakinternational.com.

Hospitality packages featuring transportation, accommodation, and VIP seating, are available by contacting Ainsley Hayes at ainsley@hayesco.ca.

Schedule of Events

FEI Driven Dressage Thursday, March 21, 9 am
FEI Horse Inspection Jumping Thursday, March 21, 2 pm, FEI Stabling Area
Driving Course Inspection Thursday, March 21, 5 pm
Intermediate Driven Dressage Friday, March 22, 8 am
$5,000 1.30m Table A Speed Class Friday, March 22, 2 pm (Course Inspection 1:30 pm)
$10,000 E2 Show Jumpers 1.40m Welcome Stake Friday, March 22, 4 pm (Course Inspection 3:30 pm)
Driving Marathon Saturday, March 23, 9 am
$50,000 CSI2* Grand Prix Saturday, March 23, 2 pm (Course Inspection 12 pm)
Driving Cones Competition Sunday, March 24, 9 am
$33,000 CSI2* Winning Round Sunday, March 24, 2:30 pm (Course Inspection 2 pm)
Signature Brand’s Kids’ Zone Saturday and Sunday
Palm Chevrolet Kia Classic Car Show Sunday
Coaching Drive and Demonstration Sunday

Contact:  Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439
www.startinggate.ca

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