Raeford, N.C. – Competition for the USEF Advanced Pony Combined Driving National Championships began Friday at the Southern Pines Combined Driving Event (CDE). Driving athletes and their ponies performed their dressage tests in rainy weather to kick off their chances at one of three national champion titles.
USEF Advanced Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship
Barbara Chapman drove Maduro into the early lead in the single pony championship. Chapman (Metamora, Mich.) and Darlene Daly’s 11-year-old North American Sport Pony gelding, claimed the top spot with a score of 54.42 penalty points. Defending champions Jennifer Keeler (Paris, Ky.) and Amazing Grace, her nine-year-old Dutch Harness cross mare, are in second place with a score of 55.01 penalty points. Sitting in third place are Leslie Berndl (Lexington, Ky.) and Sweetwater’s Zorah Belle, Teressa Kandianis’s 15-year-old Norwegian Fjord mare, on a score of 55.60 penalty points.
USEF Advanced Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship
Katie Whaley leads the pair pony championship field after day one. Whaley (Paris, Ky.) drove her Welsh geldings to a score of 57.78 penalty points. Keady Cadwell (Southern Pines, N.C.) and Deborah Branson’s Welsh cross pair sit in second place on a score of 67.72 penalty points, while Mary Phelps (Columbia, Ky.) and her American Shetland Pony pair are in third place with a score of 67.33 penalty points.
USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Pony Combined Driving National Championship
Wendy O’Brien led off as the first national championship competitor on Friday. O’Brien (Aiken, S.C.) guided her ponies to a respectable test, earning a score of 64.89 penalty points to top the leaderboard.
Competition continues with Saturday’s marathon phase, and Hilary Mroz-Blythe is the first championship competitor on course at 12:40 p.m. ET.