Peacock and Weber Lead USEF National Driving Championships at Live Oak
Ocala, FL - March 27, 2008
Two USEF National Driving Championships are up for grabs at the CAI-A Ocala running March 27-30, 2008. Known as the Live Oak Plantation Combined Driving Event presented by Budweiser, the showcase of the country's best drivers and horses is taking place at Chester Weber's Live Oak Plantation in Ocala, FL. The competition also serves as the second USEF Selection Trial for two of the World Driving Championships.
The USEF Single Horse Championship got the day started and dressage was performed under perfect conditions. With a trip to the 2008 World Singles Driving Championships - to be held in Jarantow, Poland August 28-31- in the mix 13 drivers vied for the National Championship and a ticket to Europe this summer. Bill Peacock and Beau, a horse he owns in partnership with breeder Proud Meadows, never flinched when he trotted down the centerline.
“I was very pleased with him,” said Peacock. “He was pretty much the same in the ring and in the warm up. “
Peacock's score of 51.97 nudged him clear of Leslie Berndl and Robin Groves.
“My goal is to make the team and go to Poland with him,” said Peacock about the Friesian Holsteiner cross he's driven for three years. “It's been fun, the relationship with this horse is pretty special and he really responds.”
Host Chester Weber, who won the first USEF Selection Trial for the 2008 World Four-In-Hand Championships (to be held in Beesdt, Holland September 4-7) earlier this spring, is relentless in his preparation and attention to detail. He put in a typically polished performance and took the lead in the Team Horse division by more than 10 penalty points.
“It’s very hard to show at home with horses that are effected by the atmosphere,” said Weber about how his horses responded to their farm being invaded.
The defending National Champion drove Jamaica, Para, Rolex and Senate to a convincing lead on a score of 45.18. The lead is a rewarding result for a week that has required Weber to wear numerous hats including host, farm manager, bloodstock agent and competitor.
“This last week has been really hard for me, one of my best friends Darren Chiacchia had a bad eventing accident. I've been managing his farm and doing my own job. We sold a Thoroughbred at the OBS sale last week. I haven't had my head up, I get up early and work my horses and head off to the other stuff.”
Miranda Cadwell, who is the reigning World Champion in Pony Pairs, drove half of a pair to the lead in the Single Pony division. The Southern Pines, NC driver and her 5-year-old Palomino German Driving Pony gelding Kabaam put in an accurate dressage test to take the lead with a score of 55.94. Sara Schmitt and Sherri Dolan lie in second and third respectively. Relatively inexperienced Kabaam tried very hard throughout the test.
“I bought him about a year ago,” said Cadwell. “But he'd been in Holland as a dressage pony and then I brought him over here and he's been driving for about 6 months. He's done two other advanced marathons.”
A pairs specialist, Cadwell said she doesn't have a match for him, but would pair him up if a matching pony came along.
“I think he'll stay a single through next year,” said Cadwell.
In the Team Pony competition four seasoned drivers went to task in the afternoon and Boots Wright continued her successful ways picking up a score 59.01. Driving a team of German Riding Ponies ponies she bested Allison Stroud, Katie Whaley and Elizabeth Keathley.
“Its been a learning process because two of the ponies are new,” said Wright. “My horses are troopers in regards to that atmosphere.”
Larry Poulin's performance in the Pair Horse division was impressive, he picked up the best mark of the day with his flashy pair scoring 44.67. Ravage and Wiley put in a very impressive performance and were unfazed by the atmosphere in the ring.
“Its one of the toughest rings to jump into because they can't see it until they get up there,” said Poulin. “I knew these two horses are not electric and that when I went in that ring they would be like they were in the warm up. In this particular ring if you have nervous horses you have your hands full even if they're better in the warm up.”
Competition resumes tomorrow with Intermediate dressage and the marathon starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
For more information please visit www.cailiveoak.com or contact Joanie Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org