Tag Archives: Pony Driving Ch.

Gold for Gänshirt, Grayston and Chardon at FEI World Pony Driving Championships in Breda

Fabian Gänshirt (GER) was absolutely thrilled to secure gold at his first World Pony Singles Championship in Breda (NED) with his eight-year-old German riding pony David L. (FEI/Krisztina Horváth)

Breda (NED), 6 September 2015 – Fabian Gänshirt (GER), Anna Grayston (GBR) and Bram Chardon (NED) all took world championship crowns home from Breda (NED), which was host to the seventh edition of the FEI World Driving Championships for pony singles, pairs and four-in-hands this weekend. The Dutch team claimed the gold medal for the second consecutive time.

A total of 87 competitors from 16 nations fought for the honours at the Prinsenhoeve Estate, venue for the Outdoor Brabant Horse Show, with eight teams battling it out in the nations competition. It was the first time in the history of pony driving that the World Championships had been held in the Netherlands, but the choice of Breda was a natural one as this venue hosted the first ever FEI European Championships for pony four-in-hands in 1995.

Unfortunately, heavy rain showers battered the competition site from the start, which affected the footing in the dressage arena as well as the marathon phases and the obstacles.

New team format
It was the first time that the nations teams were composed differently compared to the previous World Pony Driving Championships. According to the new rules, a Nations Team is composed of 2-3 singles, 2-3 pairs, and 1-2 four-in-hands. The scores per phase of the two best singles, two pairs and one four-in-hand counts towards the team result.

Fabian Gänshirt (GER), 26, finished fifth in dressage and third in the very heavy marathon to take the lead in the standings after the first two disciplines. In the final obstacle driving competition he had just a handful of time penalties and was absolutely thrilled to secure gold at his first ever World Championship.

Gänshirt, who won the CAIO Minden this year with his eight-year-old German riding pony David L, was very happy: “The dressage went okay for me, but I know my pony can do better,” he said. “The atmosphere in Breda was different and caused some tension with my pony. In the marathon I started quite modest but after obstacle one went well, I started driving and fully went for it which resulted in fast times.”

He felt the pressure before he went into the cones arena after Martin Hölle drove clear: “I said to myself, ‘stay cool’! This pony is unbelievable; this is only the second year that I drive him and the first season that we compete at this level.”

The silver medal went to defending World Champion Martin Hölle (HUN), who competed with his World Championship pony Apache de la Licorne. Hölle won the dressage but dropped to second after the marathon in the day-long heavy rain showers.

The 18-year-old student really went for it in the cones: “I came here for first place, so in the cones I felt I had nothing to lose, only something to win.” Hölle is planning to compete with a horse pair from next season but he will go on competing in the single pony class at the same time so that he can compete again in the 2017 FEI World Pony Driving Championships.

Second German team member Katja Helpertz took home the bronze medal, driving her New Forest pony Nordstern´s Stoertebecker. The 23-year-old law student moved up to the third place in the standings after finishing second in the marathon. Both Hölle and Helpertz are trained by Dutch trainers.

After winning bronze at the previous World Championships in Pau 2013, Anna Grayston (GBR) was finally able to finish the job in Breda and was crowned World Champion in the Pony Pairs. Grayston finished second in dressage and moved into the lead after the marathon. After second placed driver Christof Weihe (GER) left the cones arena with over 20 penalty points, Grayston, a 43-year-old carriage driving coach, had more than 15 penalty points advantage over her opponents. She knocked two balls down and had time penalties, but she wasn’t sure where she had ended up when she finished and only realised she’d won when the speaker announced it.

“I didn’t know how much I had in hand so I only knew that I had won when I came out of the arena!” she said.

Grayston used the same ponies in her dressage pair as at the 2009 World Championships in Greven (GER) and used one of the leaders of her pony team which she drove at the 2005 World Championships in Catton (GBR): “I haven’t used this dressage pair in Lipica or Pau. I decided to use them again because the judges like bigger paces in dressage. I sold my leader pony from Catton to one of my grooms and I got it back in February. I use it just for the marathon and with getting the pony back, I also got my groom back as back stepper in the marathon!”

Dressage winner Jan-Felix Pfeffer (GER) dropped to fourth place after the marathon but as his compatriot Weihe had too many faults in the cones, the German Vice-Champion 2014 and 2015 moved up to take silver. Austria’s Stefan Bösch finished second in the marathon and moved up to bronze before the cones, holding onto the medal despite one knockdown.

Bram Chardon (NED) left no room for his opponents in Breda, with the 22-year-old winning all three phases of the competition to claim his third consecutive individual gold medal. Chardon junior started well in the dressage despite the heavy footing. In the marathon he felt the breath of second placed Steffen Brauchle (GER) on his neck and decided to go for it: “I saw Brauchle in obstacle one; he took the short route and went so fast that I decided to go for it from the beginning,” Chardon said. “I had Aachen still fresh in my memory where my father IJsbrand lost it in the marathon to Steffen’s brother Michael and I didn’t want that to happen to me!”

After dressage and marathon, Chardon junior had an advantage of over 23 penalty points to Brauchle, so he could take it easy, but he proved his professionalism and finished the job by putting down the only double clear round of his class, driving the same grey Welsh ponies as when he won the title in Pau (FRA) in 2013.

Steffen Brauchle was the deserved silver medalist, finishing second in dressage and third in the marathon with his German riding ponies. The Belgian 21-year-old Nathan Nijs took the bronze medal after finishing second in the marathon, which he could have won but for a hiccup in the last obstacle. After dressage, in which he drove his home-produced carriage, and marathon, Nijs was in third place and held on despite two knockdowns and some time penalties.

By Cindy Timmer

Media Contacts:

At Breda:

Anita Lussenburg
Press Officer
+31 621 585878


Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Driving World Gathers at Pau for FEI World Pony Driving Championships

Bram Chardon (NED) on his way to victory in the four-in-hand category of the FEI World Pony Driving Championships 2011. © Rinaldo de Craen/FEI.

Lausanne (SUI), 30 October 2013 – From 31 October to 3 November, the Pony Driving world will gather at Pau in the French Pyrenees for the sixth edition of the FEI World Driving Championships for Combined Ponies. Individual titleholders Kristina Klindt (DEN) in the single pony category, Dieter Baackmann (GER), pair pony, and Bram Chardon (NED), four-in-hand, will be in Pau to defend their gold medals. Team champion Germany has once again fielded a strong squad.

No less than 70 drivers from 16 nations will take part in the championships; 29 competitors are entered in the single pony class, 22 in the pony pairs, and 19 in the four-in-hand category. Teams consisting of one or two athletes in each class and representing 12 countries will be battling it out for the nations honours. The team classification will be determined by adding the best team competitors’ final combined scores. Only those scores of the team members who have completed all three competitions without elimination can be counted towards the final team scores.

The world championships will be organised as part of Les Etoiles de Pau on the site where the first leg of the FEI Classics 2013/2014 was held last weekend. The dressage and cones competitions will take place in the recently refurbished all-weather main arena where two out of the eight marathon obstacles will also be placed. The remaining six obstacles, including two beautiful water fences, were built on the cross country course used for Eventing.

This year the Organising Committee introduced an original initiative whereby each competing country was asked to make a creative contribution to the nations obstacle design. Instead of placing flowers on that fence, the organisers decided to offer each nation the opportunity to decorate its cube with an element representing their country. A special prize will be awarded to the nation whose decoration is judged the best.

The world championships begins on Wednesday, 30 October, with the horse inspection. The dressage competition will follow on Thursday, 31 October and Friday, 1 November. The marathon will take place on Saturday, 2 November. The design of the marathon obstacles is in the capable and experienced hands of international O-course designer Christian Iseli (SUI), who was also responsible for the course at the previous FEI World Pony Championships in Lipica (SLO) in 2011. The final obstacle driving competition and medal ceremony are scheduled for Sunday, 3 November.

The Ground Jury is chaired by Dr Klaus Christ (GER) and has Anne Marie Turbé (FRA), Dot Willcoxson (AUS), Joaquin Medina (ESP) and Diana Brownlie (GBR) as members.

More information: http://www.couleurs-automne.com/en/welcome.

By Cindy Timmer

Media Contacts:
Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
+41 78 750 61 42

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 33

Pony Team USA Drives to Team and Individual Bronze Medal at the 2011 FEI Pony Driving World Championships

Chef d’Equipe Chester Weber (far left) with Pony Team USA at the 2011 World Pony Driving Championships in Lipica, Slovenia. (Photo courtesy of Marie de Ronde-Oudemans)

Lipica, Slovenia (September 30, 2011) – The United States’ reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the sport of combined driving just got stronger thanks to a stellar performance at the 2011 FEI Pony World Driving Championships.  After the marathon, the US Pony Team was placed third and they defended that finish through the cones, bringing home the Team Bronze Medal.  Their total of 402.3 earned them the medal behind Germany with a 359.4 and The Netherlands with a 375.4.  Suzy Stafford, who was competing as an individual for the United States, brought home her second consecutive Individual Bronze Medal after a brilliant cones phase boosted her from fourth to third.  Stafford won an Individual Bronze Medal in Germany in 2009 and an Individual Gold Medal at the 2005 World Pony Driving Championships in England.

Chef d’Equipe Chester Weber was pleased with the US Teams’ successes.  “The single Pony and Pony Pairs and pony teams all put in excellent performances here in Lipica,” Weber stated.  “Team Bronze is a fantastic achievement for the Pony Team, and is highlighted by Stafford’s Individual Bronze Medal.  The Pairs Team also had a great show, and both Teams gained invaluable experience showing and training on the international level.”

Weber, who finished second in the FEI World Cup Standings this year for Four-in-Hand Combined Driving, also served as Chef d’Equipe for the Pony Team in 2007 and 2009, and this was his first year as Chef for the Pairs Teams.  Weber is a seasoned international competitor in the Four-in-Hand, and returned to the States to win the US Four-in-Hand Reserve National Championship.  While competing in Europe he was mentored by the US Four-in-Hand Chef d’Equipe, Ed Young.  “I have been working with Ed since 2006, and with Michael Young, the Team Coach, since 1998,” Weber said.  “We were determined to use our knowledge and experience to improve the US Pony and Pairs Teams, and I think we did just that.  My hopes were that we could create a medal finish for the US while exposing our drivers to the sport at the highest level and increasing their depth of experience.  Clearly the standings for both Teams and Suzy Stafford medaling in the individual competition are a mark of our success.”

For more information on the US Pairs and Pony Team and results from Lipica, visit http://usefnetwork.com/featured/2011DrivingWorldChampionships/. For more information on Weber and his combined driving team, visit their website at www.chesterweber.com.

For more information contact:
Chester Weber

Champion Driver Suzy Stafford and Half-Arabian Miss Josephine Cruise to Individual Bronze Medal at 2011 World Pony Driving Championships in Lipica

Suzy Stafford and Miss Josephine during the cones phase. (Photo courtesy of Bettina Ruckelshaus)

Lipica, Slovenia (September 29, 2011) – Suzy Stafford and registered half-Arabian mare Miss Josephine put in a brilliant performance at the 2011 FEI World Pony Driving Championships in Slovenia where they were awarded with the Individual Bronze Medal, Stafford’s second consecutive Individual Bronze.  Stafford and Miss Josephine were competing as individuals for Team USA, marking the first time an Arabian competed for the United States.

“Josie and I had a great run in Lipica,” Stafford said.  “Josie has an amazing heart and loves a challenge, which makes her a great international competitor.  Arabians are a very versatile breed and they really can excel in any discipline,” Stafford said.  “After all Josie was a lead line horse for a beginner, in addition to being a competitor at the World Pony Driving Championships.  It doesn’t get much more versatile than that!”

Stafford and Josie finished fifth after the dressage and were five points off the leader going into the marathon.  “Josie was awesome in the dressage; she was the best she has ever been.  I couldn’t believe it when we went in the ring,” said Stafford.  “She knew it was a big deal and puffed herself up.  She showed off like a true pro.  We had one mistake at the end of the dressage test that lowered our score a bit, but I could not be happier with how hard Josie tried for me!  These are the moments that remind me why I have made horses my way of life.  Sometimes it’s not about winning; it’s about the partnership.”

The pair moved up to fourth after the marathon followed by a precise and fast cones round that put them in third, securing the Individual Bronze Medal.  “Josie’s strength and character overshadowed her lack of experience in the marathon,” said Stafford.  “The course required a lot of strength and speed.  I still find it amazing how powerful this little horse is!”

Continue reading Champion Driver Suzy Stafford and Half-Arabian Miss Josephine Cruise to Individual Bronze Medal at 2011 World Pony Driving Championships in Lipica

Team and Individual Bronze for Pony Team USA at the FEI Pony World Driving Championships

The U.S. Pony Drivers defended their third-place marathon finish – driving a confident cones phase to secure a Team Bronze medal at the 2011 FEI Pony World Driving Championships in Lipica, Slovenia. Their three-phase total of 402.3 guaranteed Bronze behind driving powerhouse nations, Germany, who won on 359.4, and The Netherlands on 375.4. Additionally, Suzy Stafford – driving as an Individual for Team USA – drove an impeccable cones phase to move from fourth to third and secured her second consecutive Individual Bronze medal.

Single Pony Championship

Finishing just two places behind Stafford (Wilmington, DE) and Josephine, Randy Cadwell (Southern Pines, NC) drove Kabam to sixth in the division, adding just 1.88 penalties in the final phase. Shelly Temple (Windsor, SC) finished just outside the top 10 with LR Ami B-Line, ending up 11th on 130.97.

Pair Pony Championship

Jennifer Matheson (Aiken, SC) drove determinedly all weekend, and finished 10th to lead the U.S. effort in the Pairs division. Wendy O’Brien (Aiken, SC) put in a valiant effort in her first Team appearance, finishing 22nd overall.

“I thought it was great,” said Matheson. “We all worked really really hard. Some of us had personal bests, I was in that category. Wendy and Lisa had outstanding weekends, everyone worked hard. The team worked well together which was really nice and everyone helped everyone out. We worked really hard, at the beginning of the year we thought we had a chance for bronze, we knew that the Germans and the Dutch were really, really strong but we worked really really hard and we succeeded.”

Continue reading Team and Individual Bronze for Pony Team USA at the FEI Pony World Driving Championships

Day Three: FEI World Pony Driving Championships – U.S. Maintains Bronze Medal Position

Shelly Temple and LR Ami B-Line (Photos: Marie de Ronde)

The U.S. Pony Drivers had another successful day in Lipica, Slovenia at the 2011 FEI World Pony Driving Championships. As a team they forged through difficult marathon conditions to lie third in the standings heading into Sunday’s finale. Germany leads comfortably with a combined score of 345.01, with The Netherlands sitting the Silver medal position on 360.39. On 382.08, the U.S has a wide margin over the fourth-placed British team.

Single Pony Championship

Less than 10 points separate the top nine ponies in the Single Pony Championship, three of which are Americans. Individual driver Suzy Stafford (Wilmington, DE) was the Individual Bronze medalist in 2009, will attempt to drive her way back in to the individual medals again on Sunday. She currently is fourth with Josephine. Shelly Temple, who drives LR Ami B-Line (Windsor, SC), and Miranda Cadwell, who drives Kabam (Southern Pines, NC), are in eighth and ninth respectively, with less than half a point separating the two American drivers.

Continue reading Day Three: FEI World Pony Driving Championships – U.S. Maintains Bronze Medal Position

U.S. Drivers Look Strong in Slovenia as Temple and Matheson Cruise to Top Placings

The U.S. Team ready for competition in Lipica. Photo by Marie de Ronde

Lexington, KY – The U.S. drivers put in incredible performances on the first day of competition at the FEI World Pony Driving Championships. Competition got underway in Lipica, Slovenia, with the Pony Pair Championship and the first section of the Pony Singles Championship completing the driven dressage. The U.S. drivers are poised for top individual honors as they occupy first and third places in these two championship divisions.

Jennifer Matheson (Aiken, SC) led off the American effort on Thursday in the Pair Pony Championship and did not disappoint. Matheson and her pair, owned by her mother-in-law Katrina Becker, drove to a solid score of 46.08 to stand in third place heading into Saturday’s marathon.

Matheson is driving under the U.S. flag for the first time in Lipica after having represented her native Canada in the 2005 World Pony Driving Championships.

“I’m thrilled to be driving here, and I have worked hard to get to these championships. I drove for Canada in 2005 and was the alternate in 2007 and the alternate in 2009,” Matheson said. “My dressage was good. There were a few things that could have gone better, but I was really happy.”

Wendy O’Brien is making her World Championship debut this week and had a credible performance in the first phase driving her own pony pair to joint 21st place on a score of 61.82. O’Brien, who also hails from Aiken, SC, was the winner of the Southern Pines CDE in April.

Continue reading U.S. Drivers Look Strong in Slovenia as Temple and Matheson Cruise to Top Placings

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.

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

USEF Names Team for the 2011 FEI World Pony Driving Championships

Lexington, KY – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) named the following drivers to represent the United States at the 2011 FEI World Pony Driving Championships in Lipica, Slovenia September 21-25, 2011.

The following drivers will compete on the Team:

Single Pony Championship
Miranda Cadwell (Southern Pines, NC) will drive her own Kabam.
Shelly Temple (Aiken, SC) will drive her own LR Ami B-Line.

Pair Pony Championship
Jennifer Matheson (Aiken, SC) will drive Katrina Becker’s Cees, Dannyloo and Topper.
Wendy O’Brien (Aiken, SC) will drive her own Avalon 279, Ben 65 and Francisco 7.

Team Pony Championship
Laurie Astegiano (Rousssac, France) will drive her own Liezelhof Dave, Mastro’s Baroness, Templedruid Kronos, Templeruid St. Jerneborg and Timmy 97.
Allison Stroud (Unionville, PA) will drive her own Cong Donal, Kilkerin, Edward, Mosby, Mystic and Sir Patrick.

The following driver will compete as an Individual:

Single Pony Championship
Suzy Stafford (Wilmington, DE) will drive her own and Beth Steinke’s Josephine.

Chester Weber will serve as the Chef d’Equipe and Michael Freund will serve as coach.

U.S. Coverage will be available here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/coverage/archives.aspx.

More information is available here: http://www.lipica.org/en/enter-page/305?id=113.

Champion Driver Suzy Stafford’s Journey to the World Championships Is One Step Closer Thanks to Successful eBay Auction

Suzy Stafford has been nominated for the 2011 FEI World Pony Driving Championships with her registered half-Arabian mare Miss Josephine. (Photo courtesy of Meredith Fetters)

Chester County, PA (August 8, 2011) – From winning world championships to winning gold medals, champion driver Suzy Stafford has found great success in the field of combined driving. Stafford hasn’t done it alone, however, and believes it takes a “team” for real success to be achieved. Stafford, who has been nominated for the 2011 FEI World Pony Driving Championships with her registered half-Arabian mare Miss Josephine, recently called upon her team – which includes sponsors, clients, friends, family, horse lovers and driving enthusiasts – to take part in an online eBay auction to help her raise the finances needed to travel to the World Championships in Slovenia.

“The eBay auction featured a variety of fabulous equestrian and non-equestrian items and I want to thank everyone who went online and bid,” Stafford said. “I have raised half of my budget for the trip and this was a big help in getting closer to reaching my goal.  Shipping a pony and two carriages overseas is quite expensive, as you can imagine!  There was a lot of last minute, ‘stealth’ bidding, and I am very pleased with the enthusiasm of the bidders and the outcome of the auction.”

Stafford added that she also wanted to thank all of the supporters who stood behind her and donated prizes. “There were so many fabulous items, from dressage or driving lessons with Larry Poulin to a catered three-course dinner for six to signed Breyer Model Horse statues.  The two most popular items turned out to be the Dansko shoes and quilted dog bed; they went for more than expected,” Stafford said. “All the proceeds from the auction will go toward helping Josie and I travel to the World Championships in Slovenia, a trip that will cost over $40,000 including airfare for Josie and the shipping of the carriages and equipment. Without the support of my sponsors and contributors, none of this would be possible.  Knowing that I have been helped in such a big way makes me even more thrilled to thank all of the donors, including Dover Saddlery, Shawn Faust, Jim Graham, Hidden Valley Acres, Bit of Britain, Beth and Dan Steinke, Chester Weber, Dansko, Unionville Feed, Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Vita Flex, Equine Journal, Larry Poulin and Harness by Smucker.”

Continue reading Champion Driver Suzy Stafford’s Journey to the World Championships Is One Step Closer Thanks to Successful eBay Auction