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.
Boyd Exell from Australia has been on the hunt for a gold medal in four-in-hand driving for many years and at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky it finally came together for him. After a World Record dressage test and third place in the marathon, Exell drove a safe cones course and won his first individual gold medal. Dutch driver IJsbrand Chardon took the silver; with the bronze going to USA’s Tucker Johnson. The Dutch team won the gold, ahead of the USA and Germany.
Today was another drama-filled day in the full Driving Stadium as there were problems with the timing system half-way through the competition. Team drivers Ludwig Weinmayr from Germany and USA’s Chester Weber had to leave the arena while the repairs were done. Weber was the first driver to go after the enforced break and the 35-year-old multiple US Champion showed his professionalism by driving the first double clear round of the day despite the long wait. His compatriot James Fairclough followed him and did the same to secure team silver for the USA.
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.
CHARDON FIGHTS BACK IN THE MARATHON by Cindy Timmer
Title defender IJsbrand Chardon fought like a lion in today’s marathon, which he won ahead of Tomas Eriksson (SWE) and winner of the dressage Boyd Exell (AUS). Chardon had been under a lot of stress before the start of the marathon when he discovered his marathon carriage had been damaged. The Ground Jury allowed him to start last in the marathon to give the four-times World Champion enough time to repair his carriage.
The marathon was followed by a large number of spectators, who enjoyed watching the 25 international competitors on the eight marathon obstacles, designed by USA’s Richard Nicoll. The temperatures rose to 30 degrees Celsius and all necessary precautions were taken to ensure the welfare of the horses, with plenty of ice, water and misting fans at the halt and finish of the marathon.
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.
New World Championship Record for Exell by Cindy Timmer
Australia’s Boyd Exell set a new World Championship record this afternoon with his team of black geldings, owned by Hungary’s Vincze Tamas. Exell put down a faultless dressage test, which was awarded with a magnificent score of 30.08 penalty points. The previous World Record was set by Chester Weber (USA), who scored 32.13 penalty points at the 2008 World four-in-hand Driving Championships in Beesd (NED).
Exell, who won the CAIO Aachen and Royal Windsor Horse Show 2010 with this same team, has now taken over the lead in the standings from IJsbrand Chardon (NED) and Chester Weber (USA) who both set a score of 35.97 penalty points on the first dressage day. USA’s Tucker Johnson and Dutch driver Theo Timmerman, who both finished dressage with a score of 40.19, are tied in fourth place.
Daily radio coverage of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games continues with a wrap up of the day’s events. We recap the Jumping Team Finals, Para Dressage Individual Championship Tests, Combined Driving Dressage and Vaulting Individual Freestyle today as we record at the International Equestrian Festival in front of a live audience. Listen in.
2010 Radio Show Episode 122 by SUCCEED – Show Notes and Links:
October 7, 2010 – Lexington, Ky., – The battle has begun for the Individual and Team medals in the Four-In-Hand Driving World Championships, held as part of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, and tied for the top spot are two of the sport’s biggest names.
IJsbrand Chardon of The Netherlands was the second driver in the arena for the opening Dressage phase, and he turned in a spectacular performance to score a 35.97.
In the next to last position was Chester Weber, driving for the United States, and he turned in the identical score to stand tied with Chardon for first place.
Neither Chardon nor Weber is a stranger to this top level of competition. Chardon, a legend in the sport of Driving, has been Dutch National Champion twenty-one times and has won medals in four World Equestrian Games, including Team and Individual Gold. Weber has won eight consecutive U.S. National Championships and has a Team Silver Medal from the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
WEBER AND CHARDON SHARE EARLY LEAD AFTER FOUR-IN-HAND DRIVING DRESSAGE by Cindy Timmer
Lexington, 7 October – With twelve more competitors to go, USA’s Chester Weber and title defender IJsbrand Chardon from The Netherlands have already set the standard in today’s driven dressage, with the two drivers scoring the same marks to take the early lead.
The many spectators were treated to wonderful dressage tests in the Driving Stadium, which was blessed with a warm autumn sun.
Chardon was second to go in the morning and put down a wonderful performance which was awarded by the international Ground Jury with a score of 35.97 penalty points to go into first place. With the Swedish warmblood geldings Isovlas Tango and Isovlas Paganini in the lead of his team and the Dutch warmblood horses Zidane and Whooper in the wheel, Chardon produced a near faultless dressage test.