Ocala, FL – The USEF National Pairs Championship got underway Thursday morning at Live Oak International, as the first phase competition was held in conjunction with the FEI Grand Oaks Resort and Carriage Museum Driven Dressage. Misdee Wrigley-Miller has kicked off her bid to claim her first National Title by gaining the early lead following the dressage on a score of 41.41.
Wrigley-Miller (Lakewood Ranch, FL) drove with extreme confidence and poise to set herself apart from the rest of the National Championship competition. The 2012 Reserve USEF National Pair Champion and 2011 FEI World Pair Driving Championship veteran executed an accurate and expressive test with her own nine-year-old KWPN gelding Riant W and seven-year-old KWPN gelding Beau.
“Overall I was very pleased because my warm-up was a little difficult,” said Wrigley-Miller. “With this pair I love their extension. They’re really there and explosive and then they come immediately back and are flexible.”
Wrigley-Miller has had a great lead-up to these National Championships, collecting wins at Sunshine State and Little Everglades. She is especially looking forward to Saturday’s marathon as she has been diligently working to improve her technique.
“Having seen all the hazards, I’m really looking forward to the marathon. We’ve been training really hard this spring. It’s the part of my competition I need to work on. I’ve won the marathon at my last two competitions, so hopefully all the training pays off.”
Lying second in National Championship competition and third overall is Steve Wilson on a score of 55.49. Wilson (Louisville, KY) drove his veteran pair of Lipizzaner’s Favory Nori and Napoly in steady and consistent effort Thursday morning.
Canada’s Rae Fischer stands second in Live Oak International’s FEI Pair Horse division, which is being sponsored by Scott and Kathi Dancer, on score of 54.53.
National Championship competition continues Saturday with the marathon phase.
In addition to the USEF National Championship, Live Oak International also hosts Four-in-Hand, Pairs, Singles, and Pony driving competition at both the FEI and Intermediate levels. For a second year, it will host world class jumping competition in conjunction with the driving. The USEFNetwork.com presented by Smartpak will host wall-to-wall coverage of the marathon on Saturday and Sunday’s cones, in addition to Saturday’s $50,000 Live Oak International CSI 2* Grand Prix and the $33,000 CSI 2* Hollow Creek Farm Winning Round on Sunday. The live stream, video-on-demand, photos and news can be found here.
Visit the Live Oak International website here.
Follow the 2013 U.S. Driving Team here.
By Helen Murray