Ocala, Fla. – As part of the U.S. Developing Athlete Program and Elite Athlete Program for Combined Driving, US Equestrian (USEF) introduced an informal team competition this week at the Live Oak International. Overseen by the Driving Sport Committee, the Team Challenge offers USEF Pathway Program athletes or team applicants the opportunity to gain valuable experience in team competition format, including team meetings and events, developing an understanding of team result calculation, and the mentorship and camaraderie that competing on a U.S. team offers.
Introducing the concept at the Live Oak International offered the opportunity for a cross-section of driving program athletes to participate. Each ‘team’ was designated a chef d’equipe and was comprised of one FEI Four-in-Hand entry, one FEI Pair entry, one FEI Single Horse entry, one FEI Single Pony entry, and two Intermediate entries from varying classes. It should be noted that the Team Challenge and its results in no way determine team selection for FEI Driving World Championships.
In the spirt of fun, the ‘Teams’ chose team names after famous Live Oak racehorses and were required to participate in team meetings before each phase of competition, team course walks, and coordination for awards and press as needed.
The following is how the competition shook out:
Team Holding Gold of Taylor Bradish, Keady Cadwell, Dana Diemer, Jennifer Thompson, Tom Warriner, and Chester Weber, led by Chef d’Equipe Jennifer Matheson finished on a score of 463.48 to win the Team Challenge.
Team Bold Ruler of Leslie Berndl, Bob Giles, Nifty Hamilton, Mary Phelps, Lisa Stroud, and Kristin Whittington, led by Chef d’Equipe Dee Aldrich finished on a score of 470.45 for second place.
Team Tapwrit of Jennifer Keeler, Debbie Lawrence, Paul Maye, Eleanor Parkes, Margaret Shenker, and Katie Whaley, led by Chef d’Equipe Jim Fairclough finished on a score of 491.68 for third place.
Team Succesful Mission of Donna Crookston, Denise Hinder, Hilary Mroz-Blythe, Jada Neubauer, Steve Wilson, and Misdee Wrigley-Miller, led by Chef d’Equipe Danielle Aamodt and Assistant Chef d’Equipe Anna Koopman finished on a score of 503.52 for fourth place.
Team scoring was calculated from each athlete’s individual results. At an FEI Driving World Championship (when teams of three are utilized), the team results include the top two scores from each phase, leaving one dropped score. For the Team Challenge purposes, with teams of six athletes, the team results were calculated as follows:
- Each team used the top two FEI results per phase (any class), and the top Intermediate result per phase. The results of the remaining three athletes were not used for the team results (a “drop score”), unless a team member did not complete the competition
- Athletes had to complete the competition in order to use their results in any phase (i.e. if an athlete is eliminated or withdraws, none of their results could be used towards the team score)
For more information on U.S. Developing Athlete Program and Elite Athlete Program for Combined Driving, contact Danielle Aamodt, Director of Driving at [email protected].