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USEF Advanced Pony and Intermediate Combined Driving National Championships Underway at Katydid CDE

by Kathleen Landwehr, US Equestrian Communications Department | Apr 22, 2021, 9:29 AM EST

Yvette Harris, defending USEF Intermediate Pair Pony Horse Combined Driving National Champion (MbDixon Photography) 

Mill Spring, N.C. – The Katydid Combined Driving Event at the Tryon International Equestrian Center is ready to begin following the horse inspection. Running from April 22-25 in Tryon, N.C., the Katydid CDE presents the action of the USEF Advanced Pony and Intermediate Combined Driving National Championships. Six national championship titles are up for grabs in Tryon.

USEF Advanced Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Six combinations are contesting the USEF Advanced Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship. Jennifer Keeler (Paris, Ky.) won the 2019 and 2020 national champion title with Amazing Grace, but this year brings Zeppo, her 10-year-old Hackney gelding, for a chance at a third consecutive title. Keeler and Zeppo were the 2018 USEF Intermediate Single Pony Combined Driving National Champions, and they have collected solid results at the advanced level. Among the strong field of competitors at Tryon are Anna Koopman (Middleburg, Va.) and Chandler Creek Eclipse, her 11-year-old Morgan gelding. They were third in the 2020 national championship and aim for another top result.

USEF Advanced Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Jacob Arnold (Goshen, Ky.) is the sole competitor in the USEF Advanced Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship. He pilots Eleanor Parkes’s ponies for a chance at a national championship title. Arnold and the ponies have won three outings in 2021, and they appear to be in top form at Tryon.

USEF Intermediate Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Five combinations are competing for the USEF Intermediate Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship title. Sixteen-year-old Riley Wiltison (Oakland, Md.) earned the reserve champion title in the 2021 USEF Preliminary Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship in January at the Grand Oaks CDE. Wiltison shifts his focus to piloting Willow’s Aslan, his 9-year-old Connemara gelding, to another top result. Denice Klinger (Alpharetta, Ga.) and Ironwood Xander, her 9-year-old Norwegian Fjord gelding, collected the reserve champion title in the 2020 USEF Preliminary Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship, and they are another top contender in the talented group of competitors.

USEF Intermediate Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Yvette Harris (Woodbine, Md.) is the lone competitor in the USEF Intermediate Pair Pony Horse Combined Driving National Championship. Harris and her Welsh Pony mares, Morwell Amber and Suki, won the 2020 national champion title.

Sarah Reitz, defending USEF Intermediate Single Horse Combined Driving National Champion (MbDixon Photography)

USEF Intermediate Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Two combinations will go head to head in the USEF Intermediate Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship. Sarah Reitz (Honeoye Falls, N.Y.) and Awesome George, her 14-year-old Dutch Harness cross gelding, were the 2019 and 2020 champions, and they have their eye on defending their title. Marianna Padgett (Alachua, Fla.) and Bravo, her seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, moved up to the intermediate level in 2021, and they will give Reitz and Awesome George a run for their money.

USEF Intermediate Four-in-Hand Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Jean Thornton (De Leon Springs, Fla.) is the sole competitor in the USEF Intermediate Four-in-Hand Horse Combined Driving National Championship. Thornton and her team of homebred American Warmbloods had top results in 2020 and come to Tryon after winning their division at the 2021 Spring Fling CDE.

National championship competition begins with the dressage phase taking place on Thursday. Due to forecasted weather on Saturday, the marathon phase will take place on Friday and the cones phase will conclude the competition on Sunday.

Find out more information about the Katydid CDE at the TIEC.

Stay up to date with the Katydid CDE by following USA Driving on Facebook and US Equestrian on Instagram and Twitter. Use #USADriving.

The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOPC, and USEF sponsors and members.