17 June 2010 – Alex McLin, FEI Secretary General, marks the 100-day countdown to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games with a specially extended video message today, expressing his confidence that the FEI’s flagship event will be an incredible celebration of equestrian sport when it opens in the 1,200 acre Kentucky Horse Park on 25 September.
“Spectators can expect to see the best equestrian sport can offer,” Alex McLin says. “The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are 100 days away so we’re in the final stretches of preparation. It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since the award of the bid because everything that’s been achieved since then is absolutely incredible.
“All the infrastructure has been delivered on time, the teams are working well together on the ground and we have every reason to be confident that we’ll have a fantastic Games.”
Vecsés (HUN), 13 JUNE 2010 – Dutch four-in-hand driver Koos de Ronde took the victory at the international combined driving event in Vecsés, Hungary. De Ronde stayed ahead of home driver Zoltán Lázár in this FEI World Cup Qualifying competition, where the horse teams also battled in the nations competition. Switzerland’s Werner Ulrich came third, improving every event with his Lusitano team of horses.
Heat hit Hungary
The temperature in Vecsés, the home base of the sympathetic Hungarian four-in-hand driver József Dobrovitz and his family, rose to around 30 degrees Celsius throughout the weekend. The organising committee had taken the necessary precautions to ensure the welfare of the horses and shortened the A-section of the marathon to 1,2 kilometres and lowered the pace of the walk section. All competitors got fifteen minutes instead the usual ten minutes rest at the obligatory halt in the marathon before the obstacle phase. This turned out to be a wise decision and none of the competing horses had any problems at the finish of the marathon.
Allentown, NJ (June 11, 2010) – Chester Weber continued his long running winning streak in New Jersey, capturing the 2010 Four-In-Hand Garden State Driving Event Championship. As the eight-time United States National Four-In-Hand Combined Driving Champion, Team Weber cruised to victory in all three phases of the Garden State event, a selection trial for the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky this fall.
“The event went really well and the entire team, both people and horses, seems to be in top form leading up to WEG,” Weber said, adding that the heat and humidity did play a factor, especially for Reno, his six-year-old leader who seemed to have a hard time with it.
Despite the weather, and footing that wasn’t ideal, Team Weber triumphed over 10 other four-in-hand teams, finishing with a score of 116.64 penalties while runner-up Josh Rector finished with a score of 140.67. Jimmy Fairclough, who has long been Weber’s top competition, went off course in the cones phase and was eliminated.
Ocala, FL (May 12, 2010) – Combined Driver Chester Weber, the eight-time USEF National Four In Hand Champion, recently shared the secret to his success with students in an Exercise Physiology class in the Equine Studies program at Central Florida Community College (CFCC). The community college is the only two-year institution in Florida that offers an equine program, and Equine Studies is the college’s most popular Associate in Science degree program.
“Chester gave a wonderful talk to my Exercise Physiology students during their last class of the semester,” said Dr. Judy Downer, Associate Professor of Equine Studies. “Chester summarized his training and conditioning program that he is using that will lead him up to the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky this fall. It was a great review of the subjects we covered all semester.”
Ocala, FL (May 4, 2010) – Four-In-Hand Combined Driver Deb Laderoute, who will represent Canada in the 2010 World Equestrian Games, drove away with Arenus’s EQUILITE Performance & Conditioning Award during the recent Live Oak International Competition in Ocala, Florida. Laderoute and her team were awarded EQUILITE brand products from award sponsor Arenus, makers of animal health products and supplement blends including STEADFAST joint health, ASSURE digestive aid and SORE NO-MORE liniment.
“All of the teams competing at Live Oak were amazing, but our team of judges picked Deb because they thought her team was exceptional,” said Arenus representative Stacey Small, creator of the EQUILITE line of products. “It was a very exciting competition, and awarding Deb with a tote bag filled with our award-winning natural animal health and herbal blend products was just the icing on the cake.”
Ocala, FL (April 27, 2010) – Helmets are the center stage topic in equestrian safety right now, and USEF Safety Committee member Chester Weber has turned his Charles Owen helmet into a box office hit! Safety really is a movie, thanks to a camera installed on Weber’s Charles Owen helmet.
Combined Driver Weber, the eight-time USEF National Four-In-Hand Champion, uses his helmet camera as a training tool. “The helmet cam is a way to record the driver’s-eye view of a four-in-hand team. I use it as a training tool at home,” Weber said. “The helmet cam makes safety fun and acts as a training tool that can enhance future performances.”
When it comes to safety, Weber has always put his money where his mouth is. He and his team are long-time users of Charles Owen helmets, which provide safety and offer unparalleled comfort. “The importance of wearing helmets is in the spotlight right now, and as a driver I certainly recommend wearing helmets, especially in the marathon,” Weber said.
Ocala, FL (April 12, 2010) – Rolex W, one of Chester Weber’s distinguished and award-winning equine teammates, has lent his artistic horse skills to the ReRun Thoroughbred Charity Moneigh collection. Rolex not only painted a Moneigh with his nose, but due to his name and his fame, the painting will be on display in a Lexington art gallery during the Rolex Three-Day Event.
“We are honoring Rolex W in April during the Rolex Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park,” said Mary Simons, of the ReRun Organization. “Rolex’s painting will be on display at Your Frame of Mind Galleries in the Lexington Convention Center in April. Also, his other painting will be auctioned off in our semi-annual eBay auction beginning April 25.”
Weber, the eight-time National Four-In-Hand Combined Driving Champion, lent the artistic skills of Rolex to the charity organization. Rolex helped the ReRun Thoroughbred charity by painting masterpieces known as “Moneighs.” The name Moneigh is derived from the name of the famous artist and the sound a horse makes.
Ocala, FL (April 6, 2010) – Equestrian artist Moe Hahn has captured in action the beautiful bay horses that make up eight-time USEF National Four-In-Hand Combined Driving Champion Chester Weber’s team. Hahn, who lives in Ocala, is a well-known artist who displays her work at the Ocala Breeders’ Feed & Supply Stores in Ocala, Florida.
“I am painting Team Weber from a photo that I took last year during the Live Oak competition. I love the ambience of Live Oak and this year was great because Chester stopped by my booth and signed the painting,” Hahn said. “I started the painting about one month ago and have a few more months before it will be finished.”
Hahn has completed a sister piece to the one she is working on now, also taken from a photo she took at Live Oak. “I have been a vendor at Live Oak for the last five years. It’s the only one I do all year,” Hahn said. “Both paintings were taken from photos I took at the Hilton’s Haven obstacle at Live Oak.”
Wellington, FL – A four-in-hand team of perfectly matched American Miniature Horses put on a dazzling show at the finale of the Dressage under the Stars competition at the Players Club & Restaurant in Wellington, proving that big things do come in small packages. The Wee Reds, owned by Linda Kern of Caribbean Dreams Miniature Horses in Loxahatchee, Florida, and boasting 10 National Championship and Reserve Championship titles, were the opening act of the finale at the star-studded event.
Combined Driver Chester Weber, the eight-time U.S. National Four-In-Hand Champion and a judge for the evening’s Dressage under the Stars finale, drove the award-winning Wee Reds in a cones course demonstration. Weber, who has driven the talented tiny team at two Wellington Holiday horse shows, also brought the judges in by carriage, much to the delight of the crowd.
Ocala, FL (March 31, 2010) – Combined Driver Chester Weber continued his title as “record-breaking champion” during the Live Oak International competition, breaking his own record by winning the USEF National Four-In-Hand Championship for a record eight years in a row. Weber’s win took place at the prestigious Live Oak event in Ocala, Florida, during a weekend filled with thousands of fans, bad weather and an incident on course that required Weber to utilize his nerves of steel and vast driving experience.
Weber and his team turned in flawless dressage and cones performances, but Weber faced an incident on the marathon that he described as the longest 45 seconds of the year. “We had a very competitive marathon, winning four of the first five hazards and finishing second in number four by tenths of a second,” Weber said. “Then came the ‘Gulch,’ a signature hazard for Live Oak. We split the two lead horses on a post and it took us 45 seconds to get them going again. It was bad luck to split them on a post but good luck to get them free without needing a navigator to get down to get them free, because that costs additional penalties. The horses remained calm the entire time awaiting the direction to move, but it was the longest 45 seconds of the last year for me, and some slight confusion for them.”