Tag Archives: Driving

Dujardin Dazzles on Second Day of Royal Windsor Horse Show

International competition got well underway on the second day of CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show. The CDI4* Dressage kicked off with the Al Shira’aa Grand Prix which saw Britain’s best duo, Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester, take the top spots aboard their exciting new partners, Mount St John Freestyle and Hawtins Delicato.

DRESSAGE: BRITISH RIDERS LEAD THE WAY

It might have been only the third grand prix together for Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle but it was another winning one. The pair gained their third victory in The Al Shira’aa Grand Prix with Charlotte heading off trainer, mentor and British team mate Carl Hester with Hawtins Delicato.

Freestyle, a nine-year-old mare owned by Emma Blundell of the Yorkshire based Mount St John stud, belied her main ring inexperience impressing the judges with her ground covering paces and relaxed attitude to the atmospheric arena to produce a winning score of 78.58%.

“I am chuffed to bits with her,” said the British Olympic gold medallist. “She’s so chilled and really takes everything in her stride especially as she has really done next to nothing at this international level – I am so, so happy.”

Carl was equally happy with his ride, the British-bred Hawtins Delicato, who was also competing in only his third Grand Prix and was not far behind the winning score – some judges even had the pair of riders and horses on near equal terms.

“You literally have no idea with these young horses how they will react but this is such a good arena and space and does give you an idea of how they will cope with the big occasion,” said Carl who is aiming Delicato for a team place for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ that will be held in the USA in September. “He is such a lovely horse with so much presence and the judges must, like me, also think highly of him.”

Richard Davison rounded off a British one-two-three, taking third place with his homebred Bubblingh (70.8%) while British riders Hayley Watson-Greaves and Rubins Nite, and Gareth Hughes with Don Carissimo were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Iranian rider and Windsor first-timer Litta Soheila Sohi might have finished at the other end of the leader board but was simply thrilled to be competing at the Show.

“I will never forget this moment,” said Litta, who is aiming to compete in the Asian Games in Jakarta later in the year. “This is no ordinary Show – there is so much going on at the same time; it is overwhelming. Just to be a part of it is as good as winning and I am just thrilled to be through to the freestyle tomorrow night.”

SHOWING: ROYAL WINDSOR DEBUTANTE TAKES VICTORY

Royal Windsor debutante Vikki Smith, from Hapton, Lancs, was as surprised as she was delighted to head the largest section of the Show so far. Riding Michelle Cuerden’s 14-year-old traditional stallion Del Boy, Vikki beat more than 100 entries to take the coveted Coloured Ridden Championship, having topped a line of 35 in her Native and Traditional class.

“I can’t believe a traditional pony could have beaten all the plaited horses,” Vikki said, “but Del Boy is an out-and-out showman and just loves his job.”

She now takes her place in Sunday afternoon’s Royal Windsor Ridden Supreme Showing Championship.

Oxfordshire-based working hunter specialist, Rory Gilsenan, went one better than last year to regain the section title he last won in 2016 with Aoife, the Land Rover Lightweight Working Hunter. His partner this time was Christian Kwek’s versatile mare Kenlis Carrera, class winner and reserve Champion last year, whose fluent clear round was one of only seven over a testing course in a strong Lightweight class. A storming gallop in the Castle Arena finale then clinched the overall title ahead of the Heavyweight class victors, Katy Green and I’m a Diamond, who produced one of only two clears in her division.

Sofia Scott, of Norfolk-based Team Hood, partnered her own former flat racer L’Amiral David to win the ROR Tattersalls Thoroughbred Ridden Show Series, and then stand Champion.

SHOW JUMPING: BRITISH DUO VICTORIOUS ON FIRST DAY OF INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

The opening Show Jumping class of day two, the Land Rover Grades B & C Jumping Competition, went to British Olympic team gold medalist, Ben Maher, riding Eracantos, a horse recently acquired from The Netherlands for which Maher has high hopes for the future. With 12 double clears in the 36 horse class, Maher’s second-half draw proved advantageous as he shaved 0.05 seconds off runner-up Georgia Thame’s round. Tracy Priest, who set the pace from an early draw, finished in third with her grey mare Diamants Aurora.

The first CSI2* Class of the Show, the St George Two Phase, went to Joseph Davison, riding Vilenco, a homebred Je T’Aime Flamenco mare owned by his father, Dressage supremo Richard Davison. Davison’s double clear in a time of 31.20 seconds was 0.14 seconds faster than South African Charles Luyckx in second, with Scarlett Charles, daughter of London Olympic gold medal winning Show Jumper Peter Charles, in third.

Luyckx secured his second runner-up placing of the day in the following class, the CSI2* Thames Speed Stakes sponsored by Suregrow Fertiliser Ltd, which was won by Britain’s Tracy Priest on Caristo VDL. The twisty course allowed riders to take a few risks with tight turns throughout, but it was Priest who negotiated the quickest route to take the victory.

Later in the day, the focus shifted to the young horses of the future, with the Jumping Competition for Six-Year-Old horses. 49 combinations started the 1.20m single phase competition, which proved challenging, with only eight combinations jumping a double clear. William Rekert’s exceptionally speedy round with Hot Bluebird took the spoils, over two seconds faster than Megan James in second, with Alfie Bradstock a further second behind in third.

DRIVING: WORLD-CLASS START FOR WORLD NO.1 IN THE LAND ROVER INTERNATIONAL DRIVING GRAND PRIX

Reigning world champion and eight times Royal Windsor winner, Boyd Exell (AUS), got off to the best possible start in the Horse Four-in-Hands in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, storming to the top of the leader board a clear five penalties ahead of his closest challenger. Driving his mixed team of black Swedish and Dutch horses, his dressage test earned him top marks from all five judges.

“The horses moved beautifully as a team,” remarked President of the Jury, Bert Jambon from Belgium. He continued, “It was an accurate test with, above all, excellent transitions.”

Following him into the arena was Chester Weber (USA) winner at the Show in 2014 and 2015. His bay Dutch horses completed a fluent, forward test, but a few small mistakes put him in second place. Only these two competitors posted scores in the thirties.

In third place, seven penalties behind Weber, is France’s Benjamin Aillaud with his impressive Arab x Friesians. He last competed here ten years ago, after which he took a break from competing horse four-in-hands until just a couple of years ago. GB’s highest placed competitor is Wilf Bowman-Ripley, in 18th place.

Also completing this first dressage phase were the Pony Four-in-Hands which saw last year’s winner Tinne Bax (BEL) take the lead from the Netherlands’ Jan de Boer, who has recorded five previous Royal Windsor wins. Less than two penalties separate these two with Jacqueline Walter (GER) driving her eye-catching palomino team of Welsh Bs taking third place. Great Britain’s Roger Campbell is well in touch in this class in 5th place.

Tickets for Royal Windsor Horse Show are still available via www.rwhs.co.uk.

Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)203 176 0355

World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018 Test Events Conclude

Chester Weber and team during the Cones phase. ©Sue Stickle Photography & ©TIEC.

TRYON, NC, USA – April 23, 2018 – Chester Weber (USA) maintained his hold on the lead through the Cones phase of FEI CAI 2* Four-in-Hand competition as part of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) Dressage, Driving, and Para-Dressage Test Events at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), guiding his team to victory after blazing cleanly through the Richard Nicoll (USA)-designed course. The all-American podium remained unchanged from day two: Weber landed on 159.38 points after three days, while Misdee Wrigley-Miller (USA) maintained second place after driving Bravour, Beau, Bolino D, and Calipso to a score of 173.34 on a clean run, and James Fairclough (USA) finished in third with Bento V, Citens, Dapper and Zenden on a final penalty score of 180.21.

Weber spoke highly of his day-three team, consisting of Amadeus, Asjemenou, Gouveneur, and Ultra, and explained that he added Gouvenuer into the team after testing potential WEG contender, Reno, in his place for the Marathon phase. “I drove the Dressage team again, which was my plan from the beginning and they were really nice,” he said. “I have a sort of inexperienced seven-year-old in the group [Gouvenuer], and I wanted to know what I had in him for a Cones leader and he actually did really well. I was really pleased with him.”

As he predicted, the Cones course had the essence of designer Nicoll and suited Weber’s driving style, but remained a true precision test for competing combinations.

“I thought the course was really nice. Richard [Nicoll] always tries to have a little bit of flow to the course, which was good and I thought it was fair in that way. We measure the course typically with a GPS watch, and there’s some margin of error there. When I measured it was 840 meters and they were saying it was more like a 750 – it was pretty obvious to me we were going to have to go really, really fast. I worked on trying to figure out how to get the time as good as I could, but it was still a big challenge.”

Speaking to the emotional connection he feels to Team USA and what representing the States in the fall would mean, Weber reflected on the shared history of his and teammate Fairclough’s careers, and said, “It means a lot to me to represent the United States. Ever since I was a young guy starting Driving, I always wanted to have a blazer with a [USA] patch on it and drive on the U.S. team. I think for all of the U.S. Four in-Hand team medals, Jimmy and I have been part of those teams. I think we hope to come here in the fall and try and secure a team medal for the U.S. It would mean a lot to me.”

Wrigley-Miller maintained her podium spot with a speedy round through the Cones phase and complimented the noticeable improvement in harmony for her team. “The team is really starting to gel and come together to work as a team and that was really what I noticed. They were all balanced together. I could really drive more forward, they felt great in my hands, and the obstacles drove so well,” she emphasized. “I just feel like we’ve been a work in progress and we made huge strides yesterday. I was really pleased with our Marathon, but I went back and watched the videos and thought, ‘I can go faster!’ So, I think the horses and I have good timing going forward.”

Wrigley-Miller was eager to contest the Marathon course and had good things to report: “From what I’ve heard, there will not be a lot of change in the obstacles – I think they’re beautifully built, and Richard [Nicoll] does such a great job of flagging them. He asks the right questions of horses and drivers. I think it’s going to be really great.”

While she made adjustments to the team between Dressage and Marathon, her horses remained as consistent as their results, and she used the same pairings for the final two days of competition.

“It was a good course,” she said of the final phase. “It was what I’ve come to expect from Richard – that you drive the lines. It’s Dressage training in Cones. The horses have to be supple and flexible and move forward with nice curves – it was a nice course. It had its little pieces that made us drivers think!”

For Fairclough, this week’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 Test Event was his first chance to drive obstacles and Cones since Live Oak International a month ago, and described how the weather at home had really thrown a kink in his ability to train, but had not dampened his competitiveness at TIEC.

“I didn’t spend the winter in Florida, so I went down for Live Oak International three weeks before, and Dressage was okay this week. I was pleased with the horses. It’s a long way to September before the FEI World Equestrian Games. For the Marathon yesterday, I hadn’t driven a hazard since I was at Live Oak because I went back home and had 13 days out of 27 with snow, so I wasn’t able to train that or Cones. Marathon was very nice. The horses were plenty fit, and I was happy with that. Cones today surprised me – I thought I’d be able to keep the pace up a little bit more, but I lost a lot of time at 10, 11, and 12. The footing has a [different feel] than grass, so it was difficult to make that time,” he added.

Like Weber and Wrigley-Miller, Fairclough is pleased with his experience at the venue, he said. “I think the facility is fantastic. It’s a work in progress, but it’s really nice when you get to do a Marathon on a golf course. I guess we got to use some of the hazards that will be used [in September], and the course was technical – tight if you wanted that option in a couple of them. I think the terrain may surprise some Europeans, but the valley where the obstacles are is very nice.”

Fairclough also hopes to return in the fall and emphasized the honor of representing Team USA. He said, “It’s wonderful to represent team USA and to have the Games here. The few times that we [Weber and I] have had the national anthem played for us, there’s nothing better. But, to be an ambassador for our country is really an honor. It’s a real thrill no matter what, when you do it.”

Perry-Glass Victorious in FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix Special

The FEI Grand Prix podium remained unchanged from Friday’s lineup, as the FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix Special presented by Adequan®, saw Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) dance with partner Goerklintgaards Dublet to an impressive score of 75.830%, taking the victory ahead of Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Horizon who finished in second on a score of 71.660%. Belinda Trussell (CAN) rode her own Tattoo 15 to third place honors with a score of 69.319%.

Perry-Glass and the 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (Diamond Hit x Ferro) owned by Diane Perry put in a more relaxed effort without losing the energy of Friday’s winning ride. “My test, I felt, was a lot more thought out. After the Grand Prix, I was just really challenging myself to go in there and focus on what we do in the warm-up and get it in the show ring. That was my highlight. He’s so talented as it is, that he does everything really well, but I think the passage tour was really good, as well as his changes.”

Regarding “Dublet’s” reaction to the arena after a weekend of acclimation, she continued, “He’s still a spring chicken in there – he didn’t lose any motivation or any kind of spark. He was actually more relaxed, but with energy. That’s what all of his pre-show training was for, getting his mind really good, the aqua-tread, and all the work we do outside the arena. I feel like it’s really translated to his stamina and how he holds his energy.”

The pair is just coming back into competition after an eight-month break, and while the late start to competition schedule had Perry-Glass feeling uncertain before, she said the payoff was worth it, for both her horse and herself.

“With any athlete, I think you kind of need time to wind down to re-adjust and get your head right. I think for the last three years we’ve just been going and it was a well-needed break for us, for me too, and it just helps him come back stronger. Yeah, we’re starting our shows a little bit later than everyone else, but I think that he’s showing that he can be right up there with the others and I’m happy we did it. At some points we were questioning whether it was the right thing to do, to wait so long, but for us it really worked.”

Lyle and Elizabeth Juliano’s 2003 Oldenburg mare (Hot Line x Don Schufro) proved their consistency with another second-place finish and for Lyle, Horizon’s consistency is especially encouraging to see. She elaborated, “I was thrilled with her and how reliable she’s getting. To have a clean test in the third Special she’s ever done in her life – one of them being a national show and with her first CDI not even two months ago, for her to come into a new venue and prove that she can put in clean and consistent performances in this environment is a big deal for her. I’m very proud of her.”

Lyle also had Harmony’s Duval, another young horse, break into Grand Prix competition, and noted that she’s thrilled to see a long-term relationship with “Duval” truly succeed. “I’m really happy with him. I’ve had him since before he was saddle broke and we’ve done everything from Training level on up with him, so it was a really fun weekend all around to have such great rides on Horizon and then be able to finally get Duval into the Grand Prix ring after years and years of work,” she said.

Trussell and her own “Tattoo,” a 2003 Westfalen gelding (Tuareg x Ramiro’s Son), also remained consistent to place third on a score of 69.319% despite a bobble in one of the gelding’s usual highlight movements, she explained.

“I think the biggest change I see for him [since Florida] is that he’s getting a lot stronger in his passage work; he’s such an exuberant mover and to be able to access that and put it in the right direction [is improving]. I think that this show I had the best passage work that I’ve had yet in the ring itself. His highlight is his changes and today we had a mistake in the twos, which is not good, because I need those points, but those are also becoming more reliable and consistent, so that feels great.”

As an experienced competitor at FEI World Equestrian Games™, including appearances in Jerez, Spain, Lexington, KY, and most recently in Normandy, France, Trussell described her excitement for the Games to return to North America. “This venue was just fabulous to come here for the Test Event and to experience it and be a part of this. It was such a great stepping stone for us in preparation for WEG,” she said. “It’s so nice, as a North American athlete, to have this event in North America because we almost always have to go to Europe. It’s not so far, the horses don’t have to get on an airplane, for family it’s easier to come, and to have this quality of venue in North America is huge. I am so grateful for this facility, grateful for the United States to put this together and it’s wonderful,” she concluded.

The atmosphere was exuberant at the in-gate, especially for the large support wearing red, white and blue – the American entourage was in full force and both Lyle and Perry-Glass expressed gratitude for the strength of the USA contingent.

“We have an incredible support staff from all of USEF,” said Lyle. “They’re absolutely amazing and take care of any question you may have. You can call them in the middle of the night and they’re here to help you! It really helps to have such great backing, then beyond that, we have an incredible camaraderie between us as teammates,” she continued. “Laura [Graves] is here watching and cheering on, and we’re all really good friends. We say that all the time, but it’s not just for show – we all are really good friends. It’s really exciting to see everyone be so successful. It only elevates your own riding and your own training when you can be around people like that, and I feel very blessed that we are that way.”

Perry-Glass agreed. “You look down the ranking list, and even people that are not on the ranking list or that are on the B squad, it’s amazing to see that you’re so close to them.” She also noted the importance of this strong team unit as a team sport.

“There’s only one class that’s individual. Growing up in team sports, you have to have that camaraderie and be to be a team player. I think it elevates everyone’s sportsmanship and I think it makes you perform better. Plus, you can lean on them when you have questions or concerns or ideas, and especially in stressful situations.”

FEI CPEDI 3* Freestyles Wrap Up Weekend

In the CPEDI 3* Grade I Freestyle Test, Roxanne Trunnell (USA) and Kate Shoemaker’s Dolton stayed perfect to finish first with a 73.278%, while Laurietta Oakleaf (USA) rode her own Niekele Fan Busenitz to second receiving a score of 69.311%, and Winona Hartvikson (CAN) and Ultimo, a 2001 gelding (Invasor III x Teodoro) owned by herself and Jane Macdonald, earned third place honors with a 68.556%.

Trunnell, who represented the United States at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games™, as well as at the 2016 Paralympic Games, piloted a newer mount, and the pair was awarded overall champions of the show after three successful rides for the USA.

The Grade II Freestyle saw Jason Surnoski (CAN) and Phoenix score a 66.878% overtake fellow Canadian Sharon Buffitt and her own Elektra II, who scored 66.233%.

“I was very pleased with Phoenix,” commented Surnoski. “He did everything I asked for and I was just enjoying it. We’ve been working on trying to get him more up in his frame because he tends to kind of come down on me, so all week we’ve been trying to do that. I found that in this test in particular he kept it. I just enjoyed the ride.”

Surnoski began competing in the FEI CPEDIs two years ago, but has only had this particular ride for six months. “He’s a funny character, He loves attention and he loves his treats – the more treats he gets, the more he begs – and he just enjoys his job. It’s my first CPEDI with him and he’s nineteen, so he passed everything I could ask of him. Now it’s onward and upward.”

“It’s been a very difficult transition because he has a lot of movement when he’s going properly, and I’ve ridden many horses that don’t have that particular movement. This guy has a lot when he’s going well. So, even today I had a little bit of difficulty controlling it with my body, but I think I did a good job considering I bumped up my percentage each test,” added Surnoski.

Having declared for WEG, Surnoski will travel to Ottawa next month to contest another FEI CPEDI competition. With a strong desire to make the team at the forefront of his mind, he concluded, “I love that WEG will be here because it’s close to home. I’m from Toronto, so it’s like a fourteen-hour drive, depending on traffic, so it’s doable, and I’m hoping I can qualify and be here for it!”

The Grade III Freestyle saw a change in top placing, as Lauren Barwick (CAN) and her own Engelbrecht, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vivaldi x Rimini 41) rode to blue and a score of 72.233%. The Grade IV Freestyle once again awarded Angela Peavy (USA) the victory, earning a score of 72.892% aboard Rebecca Reno’s 2008 Oldenburg mare (Doruto x Don Larino) Royal Dark Chocolate. Grade V Freestyle rider Katie Jackson (USA) rode her new 2003 Oldenburg gelding (De Niro x Welt Hit II) mount Diesel to a score of 70.608%, achieving their third first place honor.

For more information, visit www.Tryon2018.com and www.fei.org/tryon-2018.

Second Day of Official Test Event Features Team, Freestyle and Marathon Competition

Rebecca Hart and Fortune. ©Sue Stickle Photography & ©TIEC.

TRYON, NC, USA – April 21, 2018 – Day two of FEI CPEDI 3* competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) Test Event for Para-Dressage, Dressage, and Driving hosted at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), saw Rebecca Hart (USA) easily best the FEI CPEDI 3* Grade III Team Test to Music, scoring a 71.569% to take home top honors aboard Rowan O’Riley’s Fortune. Lauren Barwick (CAN) achieved second place in the Grade III test aboard her own Engelbrecht, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vivaldi x Rimini 41), while Eleanor Brimmer (USA) and her own Argentinia, a 2002 Hanoverian mare (Acorado I x Frappant) claimed third with a score of 65.539%.

The 2010 Oldenburg gelding (Fidertanz 2 x Don Romantic) is a new mount for Hart and he is new to the world of Para-Dressage too. After only being partnered for a month seemed to be no hindrance for the pair’s performance, as they rode to a comfortable lead in the Team Test – as did Team USA. Hart explained that the duo was a perfect match even from the first ride thanks in part to the gelding’s easy-going, friendly disposition.

“He is just awesome. He’s the happiest soul I’ve ever met. He’s a total lap dog with just kind of an in-your-pocket personality, and a joy to be around. He’s quite green when it comes to showing and he just took all of this in stride,” she said of the exciting atmosphere at TIEC. “I didn’t quite know what his reaction to all this would be, and he was like, ‘It’s cool, it’s 30 degrees and wind is blowing – we’re fine!’ He was so great today.”

Their quick transition into competition did not show in their test, and Hart explained that it’s hard to believe her young mount is still adjusting to Para-Dressage. She commented, “There’s always that learning curve with a new Para-Dressage horse. Even from the very first ride that I sat on him, I was able to get on and he said ‘Yep, this is fine, I can do that for you. Your legs don’t work? No problem. I’m not 100 percent sure what you mean, but I’ll try for you,'” she said of the gelding’s initial response to her. “That first ride is really what drew me to him since we weren’t really looking for a second horse, but he just fell in our laps. He did all that I asked – I usually do start and stop [on a first ride]. He did all the laterals right from the beginning and he was like, ‘Yep, I’ve got you.'”

Both of Hart’s current mounts are new and both are possible contenders for WEG, depending on the selectors’ decision, said Hart. “I’ve only had El Corona Texel for six months now and Moolah we’ve had for one month. My main goal with them is they have the same job, just different sandboxes, and wherever we go they come out and work on consistency and fluidity of the tests, and just gaining exposure for them in a lot of different situations. If we’re so blessed as to look like we’re having both make the team, we would have them [the selectors] pick who they think would be most beneficial. It would really come down to the selectors in that case.”

Roxanne Trunnell (USA) once again took top honors in Grade I, executing a strong test aboard Dolton, a 2012 Hanoverian gelding (Danone I x Londonderry) owned by Kate Shoemaker, to earn a 74.345%. Grade II also saw a return champion in Sharon Buffitt aboard her own Elektra II, a 2005 Oldenburg mare (Radjah Z x Rastar), this time receiving a score of 65.758%. In Grade IV, Angela Peavy (USA) rose to the occasion and rode to a 71.875% aboard Rebecca Reno’s Royal Dark Chocolate, a 2008 Oldenburg mare (Royal Doruto x Don Larino), while Katie Jackson (USA) and her own Diesel, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding (De Niro x Welt Hit II), once again dominated Grade V competition, earning a score of 68.760%.

In the Team competition, the USA took the title with winning members Katie Jackson, Rebecca Hart, Kate Shoemaker, and Roxanne Trunnell, placing ahead of Team Canada in second.

FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix Freestyle Awards Blue Ribbon to USA’s Karen Lipp

After coming off of a successful winter circuit consisting of several top ten CDI placings, Karen Lipp (USA) rode Kathleen Oldford’s Whitney to the win in the FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix Freestyle presented by Adequan® during Saturday’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ Dressage Test Event. Second place was clinched by Geena S. Martin aboard Caroline Roffman’s Bon Chance, a 2005 Hanoverian gelding (Belissimo M x Weltmeyer), scoring a 66.675%, while Abraham Pugh guided Elfenperfekt, a 2006 Trakehner stallion (Peron x Zauberklang) owned by Alice Drayer, received a score of 66.615% and third place.

The partnership between Lipp and the 2005 Hanoverian mare (Whitestar x Grand Cru) has been blossoming for some time, but the pair did not contest the international ring until last fall. “We actually purchased her as a four-year-old and I competed her up through the Young Horse Program, which she did quite well in as a four, five and six-year-old,” said Lipp. “For a period her owner was going to ride her, then decided it wasn’t the right match for her, and instead of selling her she said, ‘you do well together, so go on together.’ So now I’m back riding her, and I showed her in a few CDIs, and then unfortunately when I got home she got injured, so she had a period of time off, but thank God she’s back.”

“I would like to thank Kathleen Oldford, the owner of the horse, for giving me the opportunity to ride her. It’s been a really great journey for many years and I feel really lucky and fortunate to have somebody who owns a nice horse and lets me ride it. It’s kind of a rarity.”

The Atlanta, GA, resident was grateful for the short trip up to Tryon, and credits the venue for its hospitality and welcoming feel for competitors. She elaborated, “It’s the nicest venue. I told some of my friends when I first came up here that it is like Disney World for horses and it’s really amazing. It’s amazing and we’re so fortunate to have it. What I love about it too, is that you can come and keep your horses and stay, and never get in your car and never go anywhere. There are great restaurants and it’s just really great. I love that the local community that come hang out and watch – that’s kind of exciting, too.”

After capturing fifth place in the FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix presented by Adequan® on Friday, Lipp and Whitney’s efforts for the Freestyle were rewarded with a 69.765% from the judging panel and after climbing the ladder to first, Lipp is using the win as a motivator for the future. “I’m just going to keep on working at it and getting better,” she explained. “She’s a hot, fiery horse, so the big thing is getting relaxation. Yesterday I had it a little bit better and today was a little bit harder, but it’s an electric place. She tries really, hard, but she’s just a little bit of a nervous horse, so it’s keeping that balance with her.”

“I think what she’s really good at is the power stuff,” continued Lipp, who rode to an upbeat musical freestyle designed by Canadian Karen Robinson. “The extensions, the passage – I think when I come in she gets a little bit taken back, so at the beginning I felt a little stuck, but as the test went on it got better and better. She has really good changes and I made a mistake tonight that was me. Overall, I think she likes the music and likes the atmosphere, so in that way it’s fun.”

FEI CAI 2* Driving Competition Tests New White Oak Course for Marathon Phase

Twenty-three entries across five divisions were the inaugural challengers of the Richard Nicoll (USA)-designed track at the White Oak course during the day’s Marathon phase, with four in-hand competition pitting nine entries against the clock through the brand new obstacles.

Chester Weber (USA) guided his team of Amadeus, Asjemenou, Reno, and Ultra to the finish with a score of 109.08, landing in the first-place position heading into the Cones phase on a total of 150.20 penalties. Misdee Wrigley-Miller (USA) and team of Bravour 54, Beau, Bolino D, and Calipso 85 hold the second place position after their quick Marathon run, scoring 122.06 to finish with a 162.05 before Cones, while James Fairclough (USA) sits just behind in third after finishing fast and clean on a score of 109.87 for a total of 163.26, guiding Bento V, Citens, Dapper and Zenden.

“I was really pleased with the course today,” Weber said of the newly constructed layout. “I think Richard Nicoll and the entire team at Tryon here have done a fantastic job. To drive on a track that was formerly a golf course is about like it sounds – it was fantastic. The ground was really nice and consistent and I think the course designer asked quite a few questions. It looks like of the seven obstacles today, we’ll see four or five of them at WEG, and those ones are really the caliber of obstacle necessary and fitting for WEG. I think they used some portable obstacles as they work toward September to fill in some gaps, and I think that was appropriate for today.”

Two of his four horses were just on the national championship team at Live Oak International a month ago, Weber said, so he knew they would go together very well, but this particular combination had never run Marathon together. He added in Reno for Gouveneur, his Dressage right lead, and explained the strategy behind this change:

“The right side I knew really well and then the left wheel horse, I’ve done quite a few shows with and I was really pleased with him today. He’s sort of been in my B group, but he’s looking like he’s trying to come back to Tryon in September. The left lead horse is a really wonderful horse, Ultra, that has lots of experience at championships and things like that. He was an absolute pro out there today. I put in a really nice horse, Reno, who’s sort of my Cross-Country leader that I plan to drive here in September because I wanted to see what he’s like on this track and learn a little bit about him. I took out a seven-year-old horse named Gouveneur that we’re producing kind of behind this group for a career hopefully after Tryon, but to be honest he was steady as a rock and we may even use him tomorrow in the Cones to give him a little more experience.”

Weber reflected on how he’s planning to attack the Cones phase. “I guess my plan always is to drive double clear – clear without any faults and also without any time faults – so that’s kind of my plan. I’ve seen the course a little bit from the side looking on, which is sometimes a little bit deceiving, but Richard Nicoll usually builds a course that has an element of flow, which works well with my style of driving. I like sort of one high tempo instead of a lot of speed changes and things like that. Some drivers really go forward and come back, forward and come back, but I like to maintain one even flowing speed throughout the whole course.”

It’s his first time in Tryon and his first peek at what the WEG will hold, and Weber had glowing reviews to share about the venue. “Without a doubt, the facility is bar none one of the nicest facilities I’ve been to in the world,” he began. “There’s certainly a lot of construction going on. The civil engineer and the building team here are going full speed, it seems like 24 hours a day, and I’m really impressed. But what’s completed already is really nice and super high quality, so I’m really looking forward to September and I feel like a prideful American.”

As for Weber’s plans looking at the next few months before the arrival of WEG in September, he commented on the next stop on their competition tour. “Our next event is at Royal Windsor – that’s the first weekend in May, at Windsor Castle, just outside of London, and after that we’ll likely be in Saumur, then Aachen, and then Beekbergen, and then after Beekbergen the horses will come home to Florida and acclimate a little bit to the heat and humidity, which we could have here in Tryon. We’ll do some acclimation, make sure we’re all polished up, and then we’ll come up here and hopefully we get something done!”

For more information, visit www.Tryon2018.com and www.fei.org/tryon-2018.

Dressage, Para-Dressage and Driving Test Events Boast Positive Response on First Day

Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet. Photo Credit ©Sue Stickle Photography & ©TIEC.

TRYON, NC, USA – April 20, 2018 – The FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) Test Events for Dressage, Driving, and Para-Dressage disciplines began at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), and commenced with a victory for Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) aboard Diane Perry’s 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (Diamond Hit x Ferro), Goerklintgaards Dublet, who bested the FEI CDI 3* competition presented by Adequan®. Perry-Glass and “Dublet” earned a score of 73.935% from the judging panel, as they head into Sunday’s FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3* in top form. Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Elizabeth Juliano’s 2003 Oldenburg mare Horizon (Hot Line x Don Schufro), captured second place with a score of 71.957%, while third place honors were awarded to Belinda Trussell (CAN) and her own 2003 Westfalen gelding, Tattoo 15 (Tuareg x Ramiro’s Son), receiving a 70.043%.

Perry-Glass is a first-time competitor at the venue, which will host FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 competition from September 11-23, 2018, and said she was thrilled when she first drove on property. “It’s amazing. I think this place is world-class and will be especially when it’s all done for the FEI World Equestrian Games™. I love it here. They’ve done a great job with all the stabling, the arena, and the atmosphere, so I’m excited for them to have the WEG here.”

Although the Tryon Stadium will host Para-Dressage CPEDI and the Dressage phase of the Eventing CCI come September and not Dressage competition, Perry-Glass complimented the overall venue atmosphere. “To ride in that arena [Tryon Stadium] is very inviting, and especially when it’s going to be full. It’s going to be really nice.” Dressage will be hosted in the main stadium at the venue, which will seat 20,000 spectators and will be assembled this summer, positioned adjacently to the existing Tryon Stadium.

In their second outing after an eight-month break from competition, Perry-Glass was pleased with her 2016 Olympic Bronze Medal mount. She elaborated, “He already feels better than he has ever felt. It’s just really fine-tuning the small things and getting his nerves out of the arena and focusing on me a little bit more, and the connection. Other than that he’s just a spectacular horse, so I feel very lucky to be on him. We’re hopefully shooting for a spot on the European selection squad, and then we’ll go from there and see what shows we can do in Europe.”

When reflecting on her test, Perry-Glass joked that “everything’s positive because he’s amazing,” but that some elements of their ride in particular pleased her. She commented, “His pirouettes have gotten really solid. I love those and they’re fun to ride. His changes are always really nice to ride. His piaffe passage is also great, and it’s really correct and good.”

“What I would like to nitpick on myself is just being able to ride each corner and focus on each corner. It’s so meticulous, but it’s so important, and that’s where his points are going to start coming up because he can do every movement. He’s trained and knows what he’s doing. It’s just preparing him for it and I think that’s where I have to get on myself for that.”

With experience representing the United States internationally, Perry-Glass emphasized the importance of hosting the FEI World Equestrian Games™ on home turf.

“It’s always a benefit to be on your home turf. I did the FEI World Cup™ Final in Omaha, NE, and just having that support from your own country and the majority of the crowd being American is important, especially for our really amazing squad that we have coming up. I think it’s going to be pretty spectacular.”

Para-Dressage Athletes Dominate on Day One of FEI CPEDI 3* Competition

The Para-Dressage Test Event showcased athletes from Canada and the United States in the main Tryon Stadium for the first time this season to familiarize with the ring that many will be competing in this September at the WEG. Victory in the Grade I Individual Test went to Roxanne Trunnell (USA) and Kate Shoemaker’s 2012 Hanoverian gelding Dolton (Danone I x Londonderry), receiving a score of 73.155%. The Grade II Individual Test was championed by Sharon Buffitt (CAN) aboard her own Elektra II, a 2005 Oldenburg mare (Radjah Z x Rastar), after riding to a score of 66.716%. Rebecca Hart (USA) rode Rowan O’Riley’s 2010 Oldenburg gelding (Fidertanz 2 x Don Romantic), Fortune, to the blue in the Grade III Individual Test, receiving a 70.147%.

Grade IV saw Kate Shoemaker (USA) secure first place in the Individual Test on her own 2009 Hanoverian stallion Solitaer, riding to a score of 71.341%.

“I really liked how consistent he was throughout the test,” commented Shoemaker. “It was an error-free test – there was never a moment that I thought, ‘Oh gosh, that wasn’t okay,’ so it’s really good to have that kind of consistency throughout the test. He stayed with me the whole time and it produced a really good result in the end.”

Shoemaker is looking to earn her spot on the U.S. Para-Dressage Team with the stallion (Sandro Hit x De Niro), and said, “I think everybody’s goal right now is to try and make the team, so we’re just going to keep pushing towards that and hope that we continue to have a good show this weekend and show the selectors that we’ve earned our spot to be there.”

“Having the home field advantage is huge for us – the fact that we get to get our horses in the venue and they get to see this, I think is a significant advantage, so we’re just really excited to be here,” she concluded.

Grade V competitor Katie Jackson (USA) has only been with current mount Diesel, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding (De Niro x Welt Hit II), for eight weeks, but has her eyes set on WEG as well. “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind,” she explained. “We’ve been together with the focus of coming here for the Test Event for only a month and I’ve been riding him for about eight weeks, but Diesel is just a really incredible horse. I think the perfect analogy is from my coach, who said, ‘He fits you like a glove,’ and he really does. From the first day I rode him I asked, ‘Are you sure you’re not hiding another amputee somewhere?’ He understood my aids from the very beginning. He didn’t get nervous, he just said, ‘Okay, let’s do this.’ He’s such a hard worker and what a good boy.”

Jackson is a Clear Cell Sarcoma survivor and has been competing in the Para-Dressage discipline since 2015. Now ranked as number three on the FEI World Individual Grade V Rankings List, the Texas native has been focused on getting her new partner ready for competition.

“Until now, the focus really was getting him here and getting to bring him to his first CPEDI, so a big accomplishment for him today – but from here we’re going to go to Catherine Haddad Staller’s barn in New Jersey to continue training and potentially go to the CPEDI in Ottawa. Of course the goals for all of us right now are WEG and getting back in this arena in September.”

Jackson, who has competed at TIEC before, spoke highly of the facility, stating, “I love this venue. I think I said this last time when I was here, but it has that international feel. It is a really incredible atmosphere with excitement, but not distraction, and I really think that was it. He came in and schooled really well and was able to focus. It’s a really horse-friendly, rider-friendly venue, from the stabling to the warm-up and the arena.”

“There is a huge value to be here,” she explained. “That was one of the reasons we wanted to be able to come this week because the more times down the centerline in an international environment the better, and to be here especially – it gives the horses just a little bit more confidence in what’s going on when they come in September. It’s neat to be able to do this.”

Expressing an exorbitant amount of gratitude for her team and those who have helped make her journey possible, Jackson concluded, “I want to thank Diesel’s previous owner, Rowan O’Riley, for this opportunity and what she’s done for all of us as Para-Equestrians and for the sport as a supporter and for her generosity in making this ownership of Diesel possible. It’s just incredible, and to Catherine Haddad-Staller, my new coach – just for embracing Para-Dressage, stepping in and taking the reins. It’s been a blast. I’m grateful to both of them and to the team that’s formed around me.”

Wrigley-Miller Claims Leader Position in CAI 2* Driving Competition

Following the conclusion of the Dressage phase of FEI CAI 2* competition as part of the venue’s inaugural Driving event, Misdee Wrigley-Miller (USA) holds the lead heading into the Marathon on a score of 39.99. Chester Weber (USA) sits in second with 41.12 points, and third place is controlled by Allison Stroud (USA) after receiving a score of 49.97.

Wrigley-Miller considers herself a newcomer to the sport despite having competed at WEG in 2014, as she more recently added Driving to her lifelong experience in traditional saddle seat competition. She trains with Boyd Exell (AUS), the highest-ranked driver in the FEI World Cup™ Driving Standings, at his home base in Holland throughout the year and has gained valuable experience since 2014.

Coming to TIEC following a strong finish at the Live Oak International CAI 2*, she reflected on adjustments made to her team, composed of horses Bravour 54, Beau, Bolino D, and Calipso 85: “I’ve been playing with my leaders a little bit – I changed one of my leaders and that worked out really well for me. The horse that I drove in the lead at Live Oak wasn’t a confirmed leader and it just showed. With his inexperience, he didn’t really understand his job. I swapped him out with a horse that knew his job and he saved me a few times today,” she explained.

For the first Driving competition ever held at the venue, Wrigley-Miller said she was very impressed with the facility and looks forward to testing the Marathon track. “It’s looking like it’s going to be amazing. Number one, the barn facilities are the best I’ve ever seen at a show facility – the safety of the barns – it’s all top, top class,” she commented. “There’s no question that the venue is just absolutely gorgeous. We were going along by the creek today and it’s going to be very soothing tomorrow to hear the creek – it’ll be like a zen fountain!”

Wrigley-Miller has a busy schedule ahead of her this summer, as she plans to balance both her passion for Driving, as well as her love for competing Saddlebreds. She explained, “I’m headed to Europe from here and the horses will travel over to our base in Holland with Boyd Exell in his yard, and we’ll do Windsor to start. We’re not sure what’s after that because I’m the crazy woman that does two disciplines and my Saddlebred trainer has actually requested that I come back to the United States and do some Saddlebred shows. I’m just going to have to take a deep breath, but it might work out really well. I’ll come back to the States for a couple of weeks and do some shows and then we’ll ship everyone over here and wait for the decision of the selectors.”

Wrigley-Miller credits the expert advice of her mentor, Exell, for her increasing confidence in her abilities as a driver. She explained, “He has made me such a better horse person, overall, because he is a brilliant horseman. There is a reason he gets the results he gets. It’s because he studies horses. He knows horses. He’s the most horse-friendly trainer I’ve ever seen in my life and you never say ‘it was the horse’s fault’ – it’s never the horse’s fault. You gave the horse bad information. That’s the kind of horseman he is. His technical knowledge is so amazing that it’s no wonder he’s developed a great system on carriages.”

“He’s an engineer by training, so he’s just made such a difference. When I first started training with him I told him it was like learning how to drink water from the fire hose. Every day, even five minutes before I went in the arena today, he gave me another tool for my toolbox,” she concluded.

For more information, visit www.Tryon2018.com and www.fei.org/tryon-2018.

Stellar International Line-Up at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show

Royal Windsor Horse Show will welcome the world’s best riders to the private grounds of Windsor Castle from 9-13 May 2018, with a line-up fitting to celebrate the Show’s 75th anniversary year. With international competitions taking place across four FEI equestrian disciplines, including CSI5* Show Jumping, CDI4* Dressage and CAIO4* Driving, as well as CEI2* Endurance, the calibre of entries is better than ever before.

International CSI5* Show Jumping

Six of the world’s top 10 Show Jumpers will be taking to the Castle Arena, headed by World No. 1 Kent Farrington (USA), who will be hoping to make a successful return from injury to reclaim his title in the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix. The class, the pinnacle event of the Show, will take place on Sunday 13 May, with a top-class line-up contending for the coveted Rolex Grand Prix and unprecedented prize fund of €300,000.

Reigning European Champion and individual silver medallist at the 2016 Olympics, Peder Fredricson (SWE) and Rio Olympic team gold medallist Kevin Staut (FRA), currently ranked third and fourth in the world respectively, will be hot on Farrington’s heels, seeking to usurp him from pole position in the Rolex Grand Prix, a position he has taken two years consecutively. Top Italian duo, Lorenzo de Luca and Alberto Zorzi along with fellow top-10 rider Steve Guerdat (SUI), individual gold medallist at London 2012, will be adding to the stiff competition.

A strong British contingent, led by crowd favourites Scott Brash and Ben Maher, will be looking to mount a formidable home challenge across the three days of CSI5* competition, including action taking place during a Saturday evening performance.  Father and son combination, John and Robert Whitaker, William Funnell and the notoriously fast Guy Williams will all be sure to set the Castle Arena alight, looking for a home victory.

Britain’s leading lady rider Laura Renwick will be heading the female challengers, along with USA representatives, Laura Kraut, another Olympic gold medallist within the stellar line-up, and Lauren Hough, plus British young rider Emily Moffitt.

Representing Ireland will be Bertram Allen, Denis Lynch and Cian O’Connor, all of whom were part of the European gold medal winning team last summer. Adding further international flair to the competition will be former individual Olympic champions, Canada’s Eric Lamaze and Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa, and former World No. 1 Daniel Deusser (GER), fresh from Grand Prix victory at the FEI World Cup Final in Paris last weekend.

International CDI4* Dressage

Reinforcing the international prestige of the Show will be the CDI4* Dressage, with The Al Shira’aa Grand Prix and The Al Shira’aa Grand Prix Freestyle to Music set to take centre stage on the evenings of Thursday 10 and Friday 11 May respectively. Home favourite Carl Hester has dominated Dressage at Royal Windsor in recent years, with victory aboard his Rio Olympic companion Nip Tuck in 2015 and returning to dominate both the Freestyle and Grand Prix with the British-bred Barolo in 2017. Hester will be returning in 2018 with Hawtins Delicato, with whom he recently made his National Grand Prix debut, scoring 76.8%, and the horse with which he is hoping to compete at the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) later in the year.

Triple Olympic gold medallist, Charlotte Dujardin is sure to pose a serious challenge to Hester’s previous dominance, riding her new Grand Prix partner Mount St John Freestyle, who made an impressive Grand Prix debut last month, scoring 81%. The nine-year-old Hanoverian mare, hailed as Dujardin’s next superstar and nick-named “Mrs Valegro”, is also being aimed at WEG, with Windsor providing an excellent platform to showcase her ability in front of international judges, including Susan Hoevenaars, who will also be judging at WEG itself.

Four-time British Olympian, Richard Davison (GBR), will also be looking to steal Hester’s crown with homebred gelding Bubblingh, out of his former international ride Ballaseyr Royale, who together took the Grand Prix and Freestyle in Roosendaal at the end of last year, as will compatriot Hayley Watson-Greaves (GBR) with Rubins Nite and former British team member Gareth Hughes aboard Don Carissimo.

A strong international contingent will be seeking to dampen British spirits, including Tosca Visser Van Der Meulen and Thamar Zweistra from the Netherlands and Germany’s Juliette Piotrowski, a former Young Rider European team gold and individual silver medal winner. From Japan, Akane Kuroki will be riding her Olympic ride Toots, with young rider Caroline Chew (SGP), silver medal winner at the South East Asian Games, returning aboard Tribiani. Ireland’s Kate Dwyer will be making a spectacular come back from a broken back, which put her out of action for the winter season, aboard the twelve-year-old Snowdon Faberge.

International CAI3*/CAIO4* Driving

The 2018 CAIO Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, a FEI World Cup qualifier, will play host to a magnificent line-up in each of the three categories; horse and pony four-in-hands and horse pairs.

The 30 horse four-in-hand competitors represent 12 countries including five from the home nation. Among them will be reigning indoor and outdoor World Champion, Boyd Exell from Australia, who earlier this year claimed the FEI World Cup championship for the seventh time, looking for a ninth Royal Windsor win.

Giving him no quarter will be two top competitors from the nation that has dominated gold medal position at the World horse four-in-hand championships over the last decade, the Netherlands’ Ijsbrand Chardon and Koos de Ronde, the latter also being the current FEI World Cup bronze medallist. Chardon’s son, Bram, a previous world pony four-in-hand champion as well as pony four-in-hand winner at Windsor, will make his Royal Windsor debut in horse four-in-hand and will be one to watch. The USA’s Chester Weber will also be back attempting to reclaim his 2014 and 2015 Royal Windsor titles.

GB’s horse four-in-hand challenge will be in the experienced and capable hands of the Basset sisters, Karen and Pippa, as well as Wilf Bowman-Ripley, Dick Lane and Daniel Naprous, whose performance indoors at the London International Horse Show at Olympia has thrilled the home crowd in recent years.

The horse pairs, a CAI3*, will field 18 competitors from 11 nations, including last year’s winner, Lars Schwitte (GER). He will find himself with stiff competition from the current world bronze horse pairs medallist Beat Schenk (SUI) as well as the experienced Barry Capstick (IRL). The challenge from the home nation will come from successful horse pairs driver David Matthews, as well as barrister Chris Smith, current chairman of British Carriagedriving.

Competition in the 9-strong pony four-in-hand, also a CAI3*, will be as strong as it is in the other two categories with last year’s winner, Tinne Bax from Belgium out to retain her 2017 Royal Windsor title. The Netherlands’ Jan de Boer, the current world silver medallist and six-time Royal Windsor winner, will provide tough opposition, with Britain’s Sara Howe, Roger Campbell and Joanna Broadbent all determined to uphold the Union Jack.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said, “The calibre of entries at this year’s Show is second to none, demonstrating the ever-increasing international prestige of the event and cementing its status amongst the best shows in the world. We’re honoured to welcome some of the world’s finest horses and riders and are looking forward to watching the world-class action unfold.”

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show, or to book tickets, visit www.rwhs.co.uk. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the box office on 0844 581 4960 from the UK and +44 (0)121 7966290 internationally. Windsor residents should call the Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743589.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

Hamilton and Makari Design Defend Their Title at Southern Pines CDE

Photo: Nifty Hamilton and Makari Design (Picsofyou.com)

Raeford, N.C. – The USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship came to a conclusion on Sunday with the cones phase at the Southern Pines Combined Driving Event (CDE). The athlete-and-horse combinations had to face Barry Hunter’s tough cones course to determine the ultimate winner. Jennifer “Nifty” Hamilton and Makari Design kept their cool in the final phase to win back-to-back national champion titles.

USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Hamilton (Alva, Fla.) and Makari Design began the national championship by winning the dressage and marathon phases with scores of 48.09 penalties and 81.92 penalties, respectively. They drove a great cones round to add 2.96 time penalties to their score and win the final phase. Hamilton and the 10-year-old KWPN gelding she owns with Milton Hamilton claimed their second national champion title after finishing on an overall score of 132.97 penalties.

“The cones course drove very well, but it was pretty technical and tough to make the time on,” Hamilton explained. “It was great because it is the kind of course that will make you better.”

Commenting on how Makari Design performed throughout the competition, Hamilton said, “He is definitely more connected than he has ever been, which allows me to ask for more. With more work and work on getting him stronger, he is going to be even better in a few years.”

Jacob Arnold (Snow Camp, N.C.) and Uminco earned the reserve national champion title due to their strong performances. They were in third place after Friday’s dressage phase with a score of 52.89 penalties and then moved up to second place after tallying 82.53 penalties in Saturday’s marathon phase. Arnold piloted Leslie Berndl’s 17-year-old Royal Dutch Warmblood gelding around the cones course to have one ball down for 3.00 penalties. In their first year competing together, Arnold and Uminco garnered an impressive finish on an overall score of 138.42 penalties.

Barbara Chapman (Metamora, Mich.) and Meara Beval were third in the national championship with an overall score of 149.25 penalties.  Chapman and her 14-year-old American Warmblood mare scored 53.96 penalties in the dressage phase to sit in fourth before rising to third place following the marathon phase that added 88.34 penalties to their score. They closed out the national championship with two balls down and time penalties for 6.95 penalties in the cones phase.

Find more information on the Southern Pines CDE.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Hamilton and Makari Design Maintain Their Lead at Southern Pines CDE

Photo: Nifty Hamilton and Makari Design (Picsofyou.com)

Raeford, N.C. – The USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship continued on Saturday with the marathon phase at the Southern Pines Combined Driving Event (CDE). The athlete-and-horse combinations headed out on the Carolina Horse Park’s grounds to tackle Barry Hunter’s marathon track. Jennifer “Nifty” Hamilton and Makari Design held onto their lead to stay atop the overall leaderboard heading into the final phase on Sunday.

USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Defending national champions Hamilton (Alva, Fla.) and Makari Design continued their quest for back-to-back titles by blazing around the marathon course. The duo won the marathon phase with a score of 81.92 penalties, having the fastest times in two of the seven obstacles. Hamilton and the 10-year-old KWPN gelding she owns with Milton Hamilton head into the cones phase with an overall score of 130.01 penalties.

“[Makari Design] was perfect,” Hamilton said. “It was a wonderful course; Barry Hunter is a great course designer. The course drove very smooth, but there were two water hazards, so it was a tough course.”

Hamilton also had high praise for the combinations in the national championship. “It is a great field of competitors. Today was a good effort on everyone’s part. We all work together studying courses and sharing routes; it is a great group to be a part of.”

Jacob Arnold (Snow Camp, N.C.) and Uminco moved up from third place to second place overall on the strength of a strong marathon round. Arnold piloted Leslie Berndl’s 17-year-old Royal Dutch Warmblood gelding to the fastest times in four obstacles and finished the phase with 82.53 penalties. The combination heads into Sunday on an overall score of 135.42 penalties.

Barbara Chapman (Metamora, Mich.) and Meara Beval climbed from fourth place on the leaderboard to third following Saturday’ phase. With her 14-year-old American Warmblood mare, Chapman finished the marathon course with 88.34 penalties. She and Meara Beval sit on an overall score of 142.30 penalties.

Find more information on the Southern Pines CDE.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Hamilton and Makari Design Lead after Day One at Southern Pines CDE

Photo: Nifty Hamilton and Makari Design (Picsofyou.com)

Raeford, N.C. – The USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship at the Southern Pines Combined Driving Event (CDE) began Friday with the dressage phase. Thirteen athlete-and-horse combinations headed down centerline to perform their tests, but Jennifer “Nifty” Hamilton and Makari Design stood out to the Ground Jury. The defending national champions lead the field heading into Saturday’s marathon phase.

USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Hamilton (Alva, Fla.) and Makari Design had a lovely test to impress the judges with well-executed movements and a nice flow. Their steady performances this year have set them up for success at the Carolina Horse Park. Hamilton piloted the 10-year-old KWPN gelding she owns with Milton Hamilton to a score of 48.09 penalties to take the early lead in the national championship.

“I thought [my test] was very good. [Makari Design] was strong and rhythmic today,” Hamilton said. “I am really happy with the way he is progressing; I wanted to bring him along slowly. He is just 10, so I think in another two years, he is going to be terrific.”

Gary Yeager (Ocala, Fla.) and Spring Brooks Galipso are in second place in the national championship after scoring 50.84 penalties in the dressage phase. Even though the duo only began competing at the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) level last fall, they have been consistent performers. Yeager and Sigrid Edwards’s seven-year-old American Dutch Harness gelding had a solid test in a strong field of competitors to position themselves well for the next phase.

Jacob Arnold (Snow Camp, N.C.) and Uminco round out the top three after receiving a score of 52.89 penalties. Arnold is coming off a win at Live Oak International with Leslie Berndl’s 17-year-old Royal Dutch Warmblood gelding and aims to continue their momentum at the national championship.

The exciting marathon phase is up next for the competitors.

“The marathon course looks great,” Hamilton explained. “It is gated really smooth, and I found really good routes. Today, [Makari Design] was really in my hand, so I hope to pick up speed and do it again tomorrow.”

Find more information on the Southern Pines CDE.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Chester Weber Claims 15th USEF Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship Title

Photo: Chester Weber (Picsofyou.com)

Four Intermediate Champions Also Unveiled

Ocala, Fla. – The Live Oak International came to its exciting conclusion on Sunday with all five USEF Combined Driving National Championship divisions completing the cones phase. Chester Weber earned his record 15th USEF Four-In-Hand Combined Driving National Championship title with an overall score of 166.69 penalties, while four combined drivers earned inaugural USEF intermediate national titles. These included: Scott Adcox in the pair horse division with 185.39 penalties; Jennifer Keeler in the single pony division with an overall score of 144.70 penalties; Jennifer Thompson in the intermediate single horse division with 140.94 penalties; and Katie Whaley in the pair pony division with 140.29 penalties.

Advanced Four-in-Hand

USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship

Weber (Ocala, Fla.) added another championship title to his massive list of accolades on Sunday. With a big lead after the dressage and marathon phases, he was able to take it easy in the cones phase. He maneuvered his KWPN geldings, First Edition (eight years old), Boris W (11 years old), and Asjemenou (12 years old), along with Jane Clark’s Dutch Warmblood gelding Splash (14 years old) and knocked one minor ball, adding three penalties to his overnight total.

“I was very pleased with the horses in the warm-up. We have only driven this combination in one other competition. Live Oak is always a little confusing for them because they have the World Cup Qualifier [jumping course] with flowers and everything built in the arena, which isn’t typical in our sport. But they handled that. I think this is a team that can consistently go clear,” said Weber.

Commanding the same team in Thursday’s dressage phase, the unit performed a seamless test to start the competition with 40.11 penalties. Weber substituted Splash for Reno, his eight-year-old, for the marathon and the team earned the fastest time across all seven hazards adding 123.58 penalties to his score.

Weber, who serves as Co-President of the Live Oak International with his sister Juliet Reid, stepped up to add the intermediate USEF Combined Driving National Championships, and they were a resounding success.

“From an organizer’s standpoint, we were really pleased to [offer the intermediate championships]. To have them in this group has been great, and to see entries come from everywhere to support the championships has been well worth it for us as an organizing team. I’m really proud of all the people who came out and contested those medals,” added Weber.

Lisa Stroud (Kennett Square, Pa.) and her and Willow Star, LLC’s team of Dutch Warmblood geldings (Anesco 4, 12 years old; Ulco, 16 years old; Olando, 21 years old; and Enzo, eight years old) followed Weber as the division’s reserve national champion, despite an inconsistent cones test, accumulating 9.34 penalties. They began competition in third place following dressage with 53.15 penalties and jumped to second after marathon with 127.72 penalties.

“Cones was difficult today because of the atmosphere. I loved my team [at Live Oak]; this was my ‘A’ team, and I had a lot of fun,” said Stroud, who returned this team of horses to competition for the first time since June’s Bromont International CDE. “I’m really fortunate because I have really great people working for me, and we only have solutions. When you have that sense of confidence in the day it makes a big difference and reflects in the performance.”

Intermediate

USEF Intermediate Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship

As the only competitor finishing in the intermediate pair horse division, Adcox (Myakka City, Fla.) earned the division’s national championship. Electing to continue with his KWPN gelding’s Nupafeed Auto Pilot (13 years old) and Pepe (six years old) for the cones phase, they added nine penalties to their overall score. Adcox borrowed Tom Warriner’s Harley, a 14-year-old Saddlebred/Friesian gelding, to help with the dressage phase. Along with Pepe, they finished with 60.88 penalties. The young Pepe stayed with the veteran Nupafeed Auto Pilot through the intimidating marathon course to add 105.07 penalties.

“It’s been great that we’re starting to recognize the lower levels and what they accomplish. We need to try and encourage the lower levels to move up and encourage more people into our sport, so we have a sport in the future. That’s key,” reflected Adcox. “So when you start to acknowledge the work everyone has to do to be here then people outside the sport start to realize that it’s a real sport and it’s tough.”

USEF Intermediate Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Despite 0.21 time penalties after the cones competition, Thompson (Lodi, Wis.) and her seven-year-old Funnominial C.G. retained their two-phase lead for the division’s national championship. She and her Dutch Warmblood gelding delivered a polished dressage test to take the lead early on Friday, collecting 53.84 penalties. Although they didn’t win Saturday’s marathon phase, their nice dressage start helped them maintain their lead, adding 86.89 penalties to their dressage score.

“To be in this position, with this horse who still is young, is just amazing and knocking my socks off,” said Thompson, who has only been to Live Oak as a spectator and volunteer. “We came this year for the experience, to learn what Live Oak is about, so that when we get in the ‘big time’ we know what we’re getting into. I never anticipated being in this position.”

Taylor Bradish (Windsor, S.C.) and Katrina Becker, owner of Bradish’s horse Katydid Duchess, decided to introduce the nine-year-old Welsh Pony Cross to intermediate competition at Live Oak. The decision paid off as they obtained the division’s reserve national championship title with 145.24 penalties. Sitting in second place after two phases, they dropped one ball on the cones course, adding three penalties. They began the competition in fourth place following dressage with 59.04 penalties. Although the youngest competitor in the national championship divisions, Bradish drove Katydid Duchess like a pro. She navigated the relatively inexperienced mare, quickly and efficiently, winning the marathon phase, adding 83.20 penalties.

“It feels good [to win the reserve championship] because it is at Live Oak, and you want to do well here. For [Live Oak] to serve as the national championships is even more exciting. Of course, I would have loved to win, but I am happy [as reserve] because this is her first intermediate,” said Bradish. “I thought we were going to have a lot of issues because of this atmosphere, but she went into today’s cones course ready to go.”

USEF Intermediate Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Whaley (Paris, Ky.) chose to continue with her Welsh Pony Cob’s Tommy (14 years old) and Tanner (11 years old) for the cones phase. They completed a clean round to retain their overall lead for the intermediate pair pony title. She partnered Tommy with her youngest Welsh Cob Teddy (five years old) for Friday’s dressage test, collecting 61.76 penalties. After sitting in second following dressage, Tommy and Tanner blazed through the marathon course, adding 78.53 penalties.

“I’m so thrilled that USEF has decided to acknowledge [intermediate] levels on a national stage. It’s going to enhance the driving in this country. Everyone works hard on every level, and to be recognized in the intermediate is exceptional,” said Whaley, who usually doesn’t compete intermediate. “I have a pony that has never been in a three-day event, so I thought perhaps this would be a good start. It’s really exciting for the sport that [Live Oak’s organizing team] had the foresight to bid for [the intermediate] championships. This really shows good things to come for the sport of driving.”

Boots Wright (Ocala, Fla.), using Marko and Rio for cones added three penalty points in the cones phase. With only two entries in the intermediate pair pony division, she won the division’s reserve title with 146.37 penalties. She gave an amazing dressage performance with her German Riding Pony geldings Marko (11 years old) and Mista Q (11 years old) for the division lead on Friday with 50.64 penalties. She dropped to second place following marathon with 92.73 penalties after driving Mista Q and Rio, her 14-year-old Welsh ‘B’ Pony gelding.

“I remember when Live Oak was a tiny horse show and seeing [this show] evolve into what it has become has been quite spectacular. It’s really the best driving show in America, and a lot of thought has been put into it. The hazards [in the marathon] are wonderful,” said Wright, who has competed at every Live Oak competition since it began 27 years ago.

USEF Intermediate Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Keeler (Paris, Ky.) drove a clean and cautious cones course with Zeppo to win the intermediate single pony title. Her six-year-old Hackney gelding made the leap to the intermediate at Live Oak and showed his strong potential, delivering three exceptional phases. They started with a steady dressage test to finish third with 62.40 penalties on Friday. They shot to first place due to a flashy marathon round for 82.30 penalties on Saturday.

“I had always hoped that I would be in this position winning a national championship. I think it’s safe to say if you had asked anyone, they would have expected it to be with our other pony [Amazing Grace]. To say that it’s unexpected to win this with Zeppo, it’s the most incredible fairy tale possible,” said an emotional Keeler. “This is a pony who was too small, too afraid …. and it’s just incredible that he was able to do what no one thought he could do. I’d also like to thank Chester and everyone that makes Live Oak possible. I always say, ‘there’s no place like Live Oak.’ I’m so proud to win this here on the toughest stage in our country.”

Janelle Marshall (Williston, S.C.) and Kennebec Joyce, John Merritt’s 10-year-old Morgan mare, earned the division’s reserve national championship title with 145.89 penalties. They began dressage with 67.04 penalties and rebounded in the marathon with the fastest time on course, adding 78.85 penalties. Although, she drove a clean cones round, it was not enough to move to the division lead.

Complete Results

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

New Leaders Emerge Following Marathon in USEF Combined Driving National Championships

Photo: Chester Weber (Picsofyou.com)

Ocala, Fla. – All five divisions of the USEF Combined Driving National Championships faced an intimidating yet thrilling marathon course at the Live Oak International on Saturday. The course included seven technical, compact obstacles questioning the obedience and athleticism of the equine athletes. This influenced the fluctuation in the top three across all divisions, while two new drivers took the lead in the intermediate single pony and intermediate pony pair divisions.

The 14-time advanced four-in-hand national champion Chester Weber maintains his lead with 170.44 points and Jennifer Thompson holds the intermediate single horse division lead with 140.73 points. Scott Adcox has the intermediate pair horse lead off default as Shane Doyle elected to retire. Jennifer Keeler moved into the lead in the intermediate single pony division with 144.70 points, and Katie Whaley advanced to the intermediate pair pony lead with 140.29 penalties.

Advanced Four-in-Hand

USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship

Weber (Ocala, Fla.) is one phase closer to acquiring his 15th four-in-hand national title. He and his powerful team of KWPN geldings (First Edition, eight years old; Boris W, 11 years old; and Asjemenou, 12 years old) and Reno (eight years old) maneuvered the course efficiently, picking up 123.58 penalties. Despite a broken piece of equipment on course which cost them 10 penalties, they hold a dominating lead.

“There’s a lot going on for my entire family and the crew here to produce this tournament of sport, but I try to jump on the carriage, clear my mind and do my best,” said Weber. “I was pleased today with the horses. They really performed well for me and I think they’re in a good way as [FEI World Equestrian Games™] approaches.”

Lisa Stroud (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Willow Star, LLC’s team of Dutch Warmblood geldings (Anesco 4, 12 years old; Ulco, 16 years old; Olando; 21 years old; and Enzo, eight years old) added 127.72 penalties to move to second place going into Sunday’s cones phase.

“It’s a really fun, challenging course here. Lots of good questions are asked. I’ve been really fortunate with 10 years of experience with the ponies. The ponies weren’t little. They were big, so the transition to horses was not as difficult because it’s the same style of driving. That’s been really helpful,” said Stroud.

James Fairclough (Newton, N.J.) and his team of Dutch Warmblood geldings (Bento V, 11 years old; Dapper, nine years old; and Zenden, 13 years old) and a KWPN (Citens, 10 years old) gelding advanced to third place. He accumulated 133.59 penalties in the marathon for a score of 189.34.

Intermediate

USEF Intermediate Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Adcox (Myakka City, Fla.) remains as the only competitor in the intermediate pair horse division as Doyle (Hillsborough, N.J.) elected to retire from competition due to an injury to one of his marathon specialist horses. He drove his KWPN geldings Nupafeed Auto Pilot (13 years old) and Pepe (six years old) in the marathon and finished with 105.07 penalties. He was impressed with his young horses’ willingness throughout the course.

“This is only the third time [Pepe’s] been out, so he’s kind of a little shell-shocked, but he handled it. He stepped up to the plate and did his job. That’s all you can ask for. He was startled at the first [water obstacle] hazard, and he decided he didn’t want to go in the water, so I didn’t push him and that paid off,” said Adcox. [Losing Shane] is disappointing because nobody wants to win by default. I want to win because I earned the win, not because somebody [is a horse down]. You never want to win that way if you can help it.”

USEF Intermediate Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Thompson (Lodi, Wis.) and her seven-year-old Funnominial C.G. carried their momentum from Friday’s dressage phase over to an excellent marathon phase to remain the intermediate single horse leaders. She and the Dutch Warmblood gelding drove a consistent, cautious marathon to end the day with 86.89 penalties.

“Coming into the [first] water [hazard] there were lots of people and tents, but it went very well for us and it was a good start. The conditioning really paid off in ‘The Gulch’ and he soared through the path. My navigator [Terry Shaw] and I were pleased with his performance,” said Thompson. “This is such a top venue and a world championship level course, so it tests you and questions teams a bit more.”

Taylor Bradish (Windsor, S.C.) and Katydid Duchess, owned by Katrina Becker, added 83.20 penalties for an overall score of 142.24 penalties to move from fourth to second place following two phases. This is the toughest atmosphere the nine-year-old Welsh Pony Cross mare has faced but handled the environment exceptionally well for a first-timer.

“[The marathon] was a lot to ask because she is fairly green. Coming into the first water hazard I was a little nervous, but when she saw the first gap she never second guessed me,” said Bradish, who is competing in her second Live Oak competition. “This year I [especially] I want to do well. I knew [my] horse could [complete the marathon], so I really pushed us. Live Oak is the best show in the country, and you want to do well.”

Anna Koopman (Middleburg, Va.) and Night Chief LMS, Robert Koopman’s seven-year-old American Dutch Harness gelding, moved down to third place, adding 96.37 penalties, with an overall score of 150.69.

USEF Intermediate Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Whaley (Paris, Ky.), no stranger to Live Oak combined driving events, is using this opportunity to train her youngest Welsh Cob Pony Teddy (five years old), who competed in Friday’s dressage phase on behalf of the team with Tommy (14 years old). Not ready, for the challenges of a Live Oak marathon course, she hooked up Tommy and Tanner (11 years old) for marathon. Their experience propelled them to the lead, adding 78.53 penalties.

“My navigator [Colton] says this was our best [Live Oak marathon] round in years. The sixth [fountain] hazard was the most difficult, but we found the best route; Colton was exceptional,” said Whaley.

Boots Wright (Ocala, Fla.) dropped to second place adding 92.73 marathon penalties to her overall score of 143.37. She drove Mista Q, her 11-year-old German Riding Pony gelding, and Rio, her 14-year-old Welsh ‘B’ Pony gelding.

USEF Intermediate Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship

After a conservative dressage phase, Keeler and Zeppo exploded through the marathon course. They added 82.30 penalties and move into the lead by less than one penalty point. She is competing her six-year-old Hackney gelding in his first intermediate event and could not be more pleased with his development and heart.

“This is the toughest course in the country, and we didn’t know what to expect with him. However, everything drove according to plan, and his size played to his advantage,” said Keeler, who had the fastest time at hazard four, the Ariat maze. “To be competing for our first national championship with the pony that no one expected anything from, it’s pretty special, and none of this would be possible without [my navigator] David.”

Janelle Marshall (Williston, S.C.) and Kennebec Joyce, John Merritt’s 10-year-old Morgan mare, earned the fastest marathon time in the division to advance to second place, adding 78.85 penalties for an overall score of 145.89 penalties.

“Her fitness and air intake was huge [for the marathon]. In the sixth [fountain hazard], she was a machine and stayed very true and honest, so I was super proud of her,” said Marshall.

Kristin Whittington (Edinburgh, Ind.) and Symphony dropped to third place overall with a score of 150.52 penalties. She and the eight-year-old Welsh Pony Cross mare added 93.08 penalties to their dressage score.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department