October 10, 2010 – Lexington, KY – Boyd Exell accomplished something today that no other Australian has ever done at a previous Driving World Championships — he won the individual gold medal, at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
With one ball down in the obstacles phase, held in front of a packed Driving Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park, Exell (134.04) edged IJsbrand Chardon of the Netherlands (135.24) and Tucker Johnson of the United States (150.06).
Johnson is the second four-in-hand driving medalist in the history of the U.S. team, and he led teammates Chester Weber (who was the first U.S. individual medalist, winning individual silver in 2008) and James Fairclough to the team silver medal (330.92). This is the second team silver medal this trio has won at the World Equestrian Games. (The first was in 2002.)
Chardon, a four-time individual world champion, led the Netherlands to the team gold medal (279.77), the third time they’ve won the team gold medal in the World Equestrian Games. Germany moved up to the bronze medal (322.20) when Tomas Eriksson of Sweden was eliminated for going off course and took his third-placed team with him.
October 9. 2010 – Lexington, KY – Australia’s Boyd Exell drove the day’s third-fastest marathon to maintain the lead he took in the first phase of Driving World Championships at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Second-placed IJsbrand Chardon has put the Dutch team in front (273.77), while third-placed Tucker Johnson is leading the U.S. team’s charge for second place (300.92). Sweden is third (311.24).
“Normally on most marathons you’ll have one little something somewhere, but today seemed almost perfect. Even going safe we were still fast, “said Exell, 38. “I wanted to go fast enough to put pressure on Chardon, but not make mistakes. The horses were machines out there; they just really did it on their own.”
Exell, along with teammate Gavin Robson, has put Australia in the team medal hunt too. They’re in fourth, with 311.99 penalties, just behind Sweden. Australia has never won a team medal at the Driving World Championships.
October 8, 2010 – Lexington, KY – Ties almost never happen in four-in-hand driving, but they’re the rule of the day at the Driving World Championships at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The United States and the Netherlands are tied for first in the race for the team medals, at 76.16 penalties, with their top two drivers tied for second and fourth.
The only clear leader is Boyd Exell of Australia, who drove his team to a five-point lead in dressage, scoring 30.08 penalties, the best dressage score ever recorded in a World Championship. Chester Weber of the USA and IJsbrand Chardon of the Netherlands are tied for second (35.97), and Tucker Johnson of the USA and Theo Timmerman of the Netherlands are tied for fourth (40.19).
“I think I’ve seen maybe two ties in 20 years, so to have the teams and the four of us tied is amazing,” said Johnson.
October 6. 2010 – Lexington, KY – The Americans who will be contesting the Driving World Championships wish today’s presentation competition counted toward the medal scores, but they don’t. It was just for fun and beauty — and a bottle of champagne presented to each of the 17 drivers who took part.
The three judges declared Chester Weber the winner, awarding him 49.5 of a possible 50 points. James Fairclough (48.33) and Tucker Johnson (48.17), who’ve been Weber’s championship teammates for most of the last two decades, finished second and third.
The grooms and drivers spent about 10 hours polishing the horses, harnesses and vehicles, before putting on their finest driving livery. Not all drivers in these World Championships took part in this presentation.