2 oktober 2015
Weber Leads following Dressage Phase at USEF Four-in-Hand Driving National ChampionshipLexington, Ky. – The USEF Four-in-Hand Driving National Championship got off to an exciting start on Thursday at the Kentucky Classic CDE. Due to excessive rain at the Kentucky Horse Park, the dressage phase was moved from its usual grass location to the Rolex Stadium. The drivers performed excellent tests on the grand stage in pursuit of a national title. Chester Weber leads the field, while less than five-tenths of a point separates the other three competitors.
Weber (Ocala, Fla.) and his and Jane Clark’s team had a wonderful test to begin his quest for his 12th National Champion title. He brought some younger horses to make up his team at the championship, but they seemed like seasoned veterans. Weber and his horses had an exemplary performance with fantastic trot work and an impressive rein back. The Ground Jury of Martha Hanks-Nicoll (USA,) Marsoe LaRose (CAN), and Nikke Palsson (SWE) rewarded Weber with a score of 38.07, putting him at the top of the leaderboard.
“I was really pleased with my and Jane Clark’s team of horses today,” Weber said. “It was exciting to have the younger horses do so well and the Rolex Stadium had a nice feel for a national championship.”
Allison Stroud (West Grove, Pa.) has mastered driving Four-in-Hand horses after switching from a pony team less than two years ago. She and her team performed a harmonious test with good trot work and very nice walk tour. Stroud drove her team well and her horses kept their concentration in the stadium to receive a score of 45.05 to sit in second place.
Misdee Wrigley Miller (Lakewood Ranch, Fla.) is also a relative newcomer to the Four-in-Hand division, and made a change to her team for this competition, having her left leader for just weeks. However, she and her horses put together a lovely test. Other than the team breaking to the trot towards the end of the free walk, Wrigley Miller and her horses displayed quality work. They received a score of 45.44 for third place.
Only a tenth of a point behind Wrigley Miller was James Fairclough (Newton, N.J.) with a score 45.54. He also changed the line-up of his team, but it was a good choice as the horses performed well for him, dropping over 10 points from their dressage score at their last outing. Fairclough laid down a fluid test with his team to sit in fourth place.
The marathon phase will take place Saturday with the competition coming to a close on Sunday with the cones phase.