U.S. Drivers Ready for FEI World Driving Championships in Slovenia

Lexington, KY – The U.S. brings a wealth of championship experience to Lipica, Slovenia, this week for the FEI World Driving Championships. The seven drivers that will represent the U.S. have competed in a total of 13 World Driving Championships and have claimed 14 USEF National Championships as a group. Miranda Cadwell, Shelly Temple, Laurie Astegiano, Lisa Stroud, and Suzy Stafford were all members of the Bronze medal-winning U.S. team in Dorthelyst, Denmark, in 2005 and look to add to their extensive resumes in Lipica. In 2011, they will be under the veteran guidance of Chester Weber as Chef d’Equipe and Michael Freund as coach.

The team will be composed of Astegiano, Cadwell, Stroud, Temple, Jennifer Matheson, and Wendy O’Brien. While Stafford will drive her own Morgan mare, Josephine, as an individual.

The U.S. will have three chances to earn an individual medal in the Single Pony Championship with Cadwell, Temple, and Stafford. Cadwell will aiming for her first World Championship medal in the Single Pony division after winning Gold with her Pony Pair in 2007. The Southern Pines, NC, native brings her 2009 World Pony Driving Championships partner, Kaboom, to Lipica.

Often recognized for her proficiency in the dressage phase, Temple is a three-time (and reigning) USEF National Champion having won in 2006, 2010, and 2011. She brings LR Ami B-Line to the World Championships (the Morgan gelding that helped her win the 2011 National Championship).

Stafford won the Individual Bronze medal at the 2009 World Pony Driving Championships with longtime partner Courage to Lead. Josephine is poised for a strong performance under the guidance of Stafford after collecting three second-place finishes, including being Reserve USEF National Champion in 2011.

Matheson and O’Brien will be part of the U.S. squad for the first time in the Pair Pony Championship. In 2005, Matheson represented her native Canada in the Single Pony Championships. Danyloo, her partner in 2005, is among the three ponies Matheson brings to contest this Pairs Championships. O’Brien, who like Matheson makes her home in Aiken, SC, heads to Lipica after a win at the Southern Pines CDE.

In the Team Pony Championship, the U.S. will send two of their most seasoned competitors in Astegiano and Stroud. Roussac, France, based Astegiano has had a strong lead up to these championships having topped strong fields at the CAIPs at Vejer de la Frontera and Pau. Stroud has won the USEF National Pony Driving Championships a remarkable seven times, including the last six years.

“I am feeling very good,” said Astegiano. “I am very happy to be here and be part of this team, getting all the help and support I need and that is a fantastic feeling. I have two new ponies since last November, and I can’t wait to drive them at a World Championships because they are going so well! I think Michael Freund is doing a fantastic job, he pushes us but always in a positive way.”

For more information, contact Joanie Morris, USEF High Performance Communications Director, at jmorris@usef.org.

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