Ocala, Fla. - Five USEF Advanced Combined Driving National Champions were crowned at Live Oak International in Ocala, Fla. Chester Weber claimed a historic 17th title in the USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Horse Combined Driving National Championship.
Weber (Ocala, Fla.), the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 individual silver and team gold medalist, commanded the lead in the USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship from start to finish. As the last team to tackle the technical cones phase, Weber navigated his team of with ease incurring no time or penalties. Weber’s notable team of bay geldings, Boris, his 14-year-Old KWPN; First Edition, his 11-year-old KWPN; Amadeus, his 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood, along with Reno, his 11-year-old gelding, and newly forged partnership with Julius V, his six-year-old KWPN gelding, drove away with the tri-colors with a final score of 149.31.
On winning his 17th National Championship Weber remarks, “It’s always a big goal of our organization to win a national championship and we got that checked off. Now off to Europe to try again to get into the top few of the world rankings.”
Regarding the performance of this team, “I was really pleased with them all,” said Weber. “The horses are in good form.”
Jacob Arnold (Louisville, Ky.) drove away in style with the USEF Advanced Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship showcasing the talent of Steve Wilson’s 2019 national champion team of horses Endorro, an 11-year-old KWPN gelding; Mr Lindsey G, a 16-year-old KWPN gelding; and Tuzes, a 14-year-old Lipizzan stallion. Arnold and the team concluded their time at Live Oak International with a finals score of 154.69.
“I was very pleased with the results as a whole,” said Arnold. “I have three horses owned by Steve [Wilson] here this weekend and I was very pleased with all of them, a good strong result. None of this would have been possible without Steve’s support. It meant a lot to win the trophy,” concluded Arnold.
The USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship proved to be a highly competitive division with six combinations vying for the championship. Taylor Bradish (Windsor, S.C.) and Katydid Duchess, Jennifer Matheson’s 11-year-old Welsh Pony cross mare, earned the title following an impressive dressage and marathon phase. The pair were the overnight leaders heading into the cones phase producing a fault-free drive to take the title with a final score of 144.63.
“She (Katydid Duchess) is a marathon horse. She just loves the marathon, it’s her favorite phase,” said Bradish.
Jennifer Keeler (Paris, Ky.) defended her title in USEF Advanced Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship with her partner Amazing Grace, her 10-year-old Dutch Harness cross mare. Leading the division in all three phases, Keeler and Amazing Grace finished with an overall score of 142.01 to confirm their podium finish.
“It’s as much a mental game as it is a physical one for the horses,” said Keeler. “My goal was to drive well and do right by my pony. She does live up to her name and is amazing. She was bold, brave, and there was a lot of energy today. It was a nice way to finish.”
Five-time National Champion Katie Whaley (Paris, Ky.) and her team of Welsh cross geldings, 17-year-old Tommy and 14-year-old Tanner, and seven-year-old Welsh Pony gelding, Teddy, proved once again to be a force heading into the competition. Securing the lead after the marathon, Whaley entered the cones phase with a substantial lead of 17 penalties in hand. Whaley produced a fast time in the cones but incurred three penalties, confirming their podium finish as the USEF Advanced Pair Pony Combined Driving National Champion with a final score of 156.00.
“First I would like to thank Juliet and Chester and the whole Live Oak organization. It is such a pleasure to compete here. You’re welcoming, professional, and it sets the bar for all of us, it’s a highlight of the season for me,” said Whaley.
“I have a young one (Teddy) in dressage, there is a lot of atmosphere in the ring and he was amazing. They (her team of ponies) were all great,” said Whaley.
For full results, visit https://liveoakinternational.com/show-results/
Relive the excitement of the Live Oak International and watch all the phases of combined driving on demand with the USEF Network.
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