Equine News Updates in Ocala, FL
TheraPlate Welcomes Newest Ambassador: NAJRYC 2* Gold Medalist Shelby Brost
Ocala, FL (May 7, 2018) - Canadian three-day rider Shelby Brost doesn't just win big events, she is a big event, now that TheraPlate Revolution has named the talented 19 year-old teenager as its newest ambassador. Brost has been named to Canada’s 'No Boundaries' list of riders cited for their potential to represent their county on the international stage, and in 2017 was the top-placed Canadian entry at the Bromont International Three-Day Event.
Brost, who began riding in the fifth grade in her hometown of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, now rides out of Ocala, FL, where she has won the 2016 Ocala Horse Properties International Intermediate championship on her 15.3 hand Thoroughbred (Etta x Cojak) mare, Across the Coals (aka, Crimson) and was third in the 2017 Ocala Winter II Horse Trials Intermediate on her KWPN (Recruut x Absurd Hours) gelding, Namasté (aka, Yogi).
At just 15, she moved to Temecula, CA, to become a full-time working student for Canadian Olympic veteran Hawley Bennett, before moving to Ocala to train under Canadian Olympic and Kentucky Three-Day veteran, Kyle Carter, in preparation for the North American Junior Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC), first winning Bronze as the only Canadian entry in the Top Ten, and then Gold in 2016, where she was the only competitor to finish on the strength of her dressage score in the NAJYRC 2*.
But Brost hasn't done it alone. Her horses, and their TheraPlate, have been with her on this ride of a lifetime: "All my horses use it daily and love being on it. Yogi is a little older (18) and longer backed, so the TheraPlate has really helped his topline and overall development. Crimson uses it for general maintenance at least once a day, and I used the 'bowed tendon' setting for another horse and it healed up really well. It helps with recovery, and all my horses go on it before a workout. TheraPlate is great for so many different reasons!"
TheraPlate and its newest ambassador will have so many more reasons to work together as Brost sets her sights on competing later this year at the Bramham U25 CCI3* and qualifying for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon.
"I intend to work as hard as possible to become competitive at the four-star level. My goal is to medal for Canada, hopefully in next year's Pan American Games and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, too."
To keep riding forward she says every little bit helps and that's going to include keeping her horses in tip-top shape thanks to TheraPlate.
TheraPlate Revolution stands up to the conditioning challenges that today's equine athletes face and offers increased circulation and pain reduction, enhanced muscle tone and overall improvement in the quality of their warm-ups and cool-downs during training. Learn more about the TheraPlate Revolution and why top riders and horse care teams choose it as part of their winning strategy at www.theraplate.com.
Photo: Shelby Brost flying high. (Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman Photography)
Hoof Care Classes with Ida Hammer in Ocala Area
National Supreme Halter Champion GG Kiss Me Kate Wins Vita Flex Victory Pass Award at 7th Annual Feathered Horse Classic
Jacksonville, FL (February 1, 2018) - Samantha Crook's GG Kiss Me Kate is just four years-old, but the Gypsy Vanner mare and her radiant good looks are making winner's circles a habit. The stunning black mare not only trotted off with the National Supreme Halter Champion title at the 7th Annual Florida Feathered Horse Classic and Gypsy Vanner National Championships at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, but she also was honored with the Vita Flex Victory Pass Award for her outstanding presence in the show ring.
No stranger to victory passes, Crook's double-bred Gypsy King bloodstock daughter (VV King William x GG Velvet Doll) was last season's Supreme Champion Gypsy Vanner at both the Feathered Horse Classic in Georgia and Oklahoma City State Fair. Clinching a Vita Flex Victory Pass Award at the start of the 2018 show season suggests this Ardmore, Oklahoma-based pair's winning ways have only just begun.
"I love her attitude," Crook said as she accepted the Victory Pass Award for her mare. "She's got a diva attitude and that really shows in the ring! I want to say 'thank you' to Vita Flex for their support and I appreciate this award. I'm always interested in trying new products and Im excited to start using these."
The Victory Pass Award included a commemorative neck sash and gift bucket of Vita Flex® products to reward Crook for her obvious dedication to a successful equine fitness and nutrition regimen which was evidenced by her mare's glowing coat, flowing feathers and keen personality.
As a leading producer of premium equine supplements, Vita Flex is proud to recognize the daily commitment that goes into preparing a horse to campaign at a national level with the best of their breed. Each show season Vita Flex honors exceptional performances with the Victory Pass Award at many of the top breed and performance championships across North America. The Vita Flex catalog of products includes antioxidants and electrolytes, performance supplements, topical solutions, and vitamins and minerals that help keep equine athletes in peak condition.
Learn more about Vita Flex by visiting their website at www.vitaflex.com or call (800) 848–2359.
Photo: Samantha Crooks of Rod and Gun Club Stables and owner of GG Kiss Me Kate, is presented with the Vita Flex Victory Pass Award at the 2018 Annual Feathered Horse Classic at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. (Photo courtesy of Christine Rose Photography)
Equine Power Dental Floats Now Available at El Sol Equine
El Sol Equine is proud to announce we have partnered up with Dr. Ellis Traywick to provide our clients with equine power float dentals!
We are having an introductory offer of $120 including standard sedation (additional sedation at additional cost) for our current and new clients! We will be scheduling dentals twice a month at our clinic to save on farm calls. This will be held on one Saturday a month and one weekday per month. If you cannot trailer your horse in, dont worry! We can come to you!
Regular dental care is essential for the comfort and longevity of the horse and should be performed annually as part of equine preventive care!
50% OFF Annual Physical or Brief Lameness Exam with El Sol Equine!
Preventative medicine is the best way to keep your animals healthy and happy. At these annual check ups a physical exam will be performed. This means your animal will be checked from nose to tail for any abnormalities. We are offering 50% off all annual exam or brief lameness exams booked with Dr. Cardona if they are booked between now through the 15th! BONUS! Save a farm call too if you bring your buddies to us at our new location 5590 NW HWY 225, Ocala, Fl 34482! This is an awesome opportunity to practice preventive medicine that even your wallet will agree! Call us now! Limited spots available!
HOLIDAY BOARDING NOW AVAILABLE!
Going away for the holidays? Let us horse-sit for you!
Now reserving holiday horse boarding for current and non-current clients of El Sol Equine! We have teamed up with Equine Performance Center to have access to their facilities and stalls for our clients and horses so that you do not have to worry!
The holiday board starts at $65 a day (Discounted rate for more than one horse) and includes grooming once a day, your choice of grain and hay (or provide your own) your choice of Handwalking, turnout, or eurociser 2x a day or a combination of the listed above! Climate controlled stalls available upon request for additional fee. Let us horse-sit for you! Spaces are limited. Full time care and an on site technician are just some of the great perks of boarding at the Vet!
Call today for more info at (352) 671-3737.
Benjamin Boyd Receives the Jacksonville Equestrian Center Sportsmanship Award at the Friesian National Championships
Springfield, OH (October 26, 2017) - This year’s Friesian National Championships was one of the most competitive to date, featuring some of the country’s best Friesian and part-bred Friesian horses in peak condition. Owners, riders, and trainers had all worked hard to be there and were busy preparing and showing their horses. During the Saturday of the show, competition was put on hold while the International Friesian Show Horse Association Annual Meeting took place. At the meeting, trainer Benjamin Boyd was recognized with the Jacksonville Equestrian Center Sportsmanship Award for the outstanding sportsmanship he displayed when a difficult situation arose during the show.
Boyd, of Double B’s Training Center in Bloomingdale, Ohio, brought several horses and riders to this year’s World Show. After one of his riders, Lainy Larkoska, won the Part-bred Dressage Suitability Open class, Boyd realized that he had wrongly entered Larkoska into that class. “She was previously entered into a Dressage Hack class, and once a horse has been shown in a Dressage Hack class, they are ineligible to enter a Dressage Suitability Open class,” explained Boyd. “I took it upon myself to disqualify us from that class. I looked up the rule, and made sure that the Reserve Champion was awarded the Grand Champion Ribbon.”
Despite the mix up in that class, Boyd and his riders had an excellent show, coming home with twelve World Championship titles in multiple disciplines including dressage, western, hunt seat, and contest. Boyd himself showed three different horses, and while he is certainly competitive, it’s the people and the relationships that are most important to Boyd. “The friendships and the genuine people keep me coming back and showing the horses,” he said.
Boyd has been a member of the International Friesian Show Horse Association for four years, and feels a real sense of community with the membership. “Everyone is friendly to everyone,” he said. “The shows are a lot of fun to go to—you make new friends and see old friends.”
When the Jacksonville Equestrian Center presented Boyd with the Sportsmanship Award at the Annual Meeting, his fellow International Friesian Show Horse Association members congratulated him with a standing ovation. His commitment to the Friesian horse community was demonstrated by his adherence to the rules, even when they did not work in his favor, and the Jacksonville Equestrian Center was proud to honor this example of sportsmanship.
“It was a surprise,” said Boyd humbly. “I felt that I was just doing the right thing. Good sportsmanship is something that I strive for, and I am honored that they acknowledged me for it.”
Being a facility where numerous competitive horse shows take place, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, located in Jacksonville, Florida, knows that successful events are made more so by good sportsmanlike conduct from all exhibitors. For more information on the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call 904-255-4215.
Photo: Trainer Benjamin Boyd was recognized with the Jacksonville Equestrian Center Sportsmanship Award at this year’s Friesian National Championships Show (Photo courtesy Avalon Photography, LLC)
Dressage Equestrian and Veterinarian Kristy Lund Does it All
Wellington, FL (October 25, 2017) - While riding away from the 2017 GAIG/USDF Region 3 Dressage Championships with a Championship title, two blue ribbons, and two Reserve Championships is certainly something to be proud of, it’s not the most impressive thing about Kristy Lund, DVM. Lund, an adult amateur dressage competitor, trains her three competition horses while simultaneously running a boarding and training facility, working as a full-time veterinarian, and owning an animal rescue. Her results at the 2017 GAIG/USDF Region 3 Dressage Championships, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida, qualified Lund for the 2017 US Dressage Finals, to be held on November 9-12 in Lexington, Kentucky. With her characteristic determination, Lund is now in full swing training for top scores at the elite competition.
Ever since Lund decided that the medal podium of a dressage ring was where she wanted to be, nothing has been able to stop her - although life circumstances have certainly tried. “I’m probably one of the most competitive people you know,” said Lund. “That’s what motivated me to start showing from a very young age.”
Since her first show, Lund has won a Championship or Reserve Championship title at every Regional Dressage Championship except for one in the past 17 years. This year was no different. Lund showed three of her own horses in four different levels, from Training Level to Grand Prix. “The horses were all pretty phenomenal. I think my Grand Prix horse was the best he’s ever been.” Akvavit, a 14-year-old Spanish Warmblood gelding, competed in both the Grand Prix and the Intermediate II. He and Lund won the Intermediate II Championship, the Grand Prix Freestyle Reserve Championship, and placed fourth in the Grand Prix. On Living Lucky, a five-year-old Westphalian gelding, Lund earned the First Level Reserve Championship. Sake Shooter, a four-year-old Westphalian gelding who is new to the show ring, placed first in Training Level.
Though training and showing several horses can easily be a full-time job, Lund’s love for animals seems to keep her fueled with enough energy to successfully take on much more. Lund is a small animal veterinarian out of Lund Animal Hospital, the practice she shares with her husband, Scott Lund. Her veterinary services are in high demand, even during championship show weeks. “I actually went to work a few times during the show, and I was taking calls on Saturday in between classes,” Lund said, adding, “I have a huge support team, and that’s really the only way I can do it.”
When not at her office or in the show ring, Lund is running Blue Marlin Farm, her boarding and training facility in Wellington, Florida. Olympian Bent Jensen is the head trainer there, and Lund trains with him regularly. She also bases her own private animal rescue out of Blue Marlin Farm, where she welcomes unwanted and often permanently injured animals and provides them with top-quality care. To Lund, every animal is worth her full attention - she has even been spotted by boarders at Blue Marlin while transporting tadpoles from puddles to more stable habitats.
Lund’s dedication to riding and to caring for animals is apparent in not only her day to day life, but also in the challenges she has had to overcome throughout her career. Several years ago at the US Dressage Finals, Lund and her three dogs had just arrived in her truck, pulling a trailer of three horses, when the truck caught fire. One of the dogs was killed, though Lund was able to save the other animals. When asked what she did after the tragedy, Lund answered, “I showed as planned, and I won the Intermediate II National Championship! I mean, what else are you going to do, go home and cry?” Just a year later, her home caught fire, and the two dogs she had saved were killed. Lund had to rebuild her home completely. After adding in a hip surgery, it’s a wonder that Lund hasn’t paused for a break - but for her, there’s no other way of life.
“When I’m on a horse, that’s my relaxation,” Lund explained. “Even though it can be a very physically and mentally exhausting sport, riding is the only time when I can tune out the outside world, so to me, it’s my stress relief. And as for caring for all those animals - someone has to do it! If I didn’t, these poor animals would have no place to go.”
Lund is now focused on the upcoming US Dressage Finals Intermediate II National Championship with Akvavit. “I plan to go back to the Finals and be successful in the Intermediate II this year,” she said. Her trainer Bent Jensen will accompany her.
To learn more about Kristy Lund, her veterinary services, Blue Marlin Farm, or her competition schedule, email Lund at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Kristy Lund (right) and her trainer Olympian Bent Jensen (left) at the USDF Region 3 Dressage Championships. (Photo courtesy of Blue Marlin Farms)
Chester Weber Climbs to Number Two in the World Rankings for Four-in-Hand Driving
Ocala, Florida (October 13, 2017) - Fresh off of a win at the World Cup Qualifier at Donaueschingen, Germany, Chester Weber returned home to Ocala with his and Jane Clark's team of KWPN's for some well-deserved "R and R". After a successful European tour culminating with Donaueschingen, Weber moved up the ranks to take over the number two spot on the FEI roster of top Four-In Hand combined drivers in the world and third on the list for World Cup Driving Team Qualifiers.
I was really pleased,” said Weber of the latest ranking. “The FEI has two rankings lists. They have the World Cup rankings and the top driver awards. The World Cup ranking is just based on World Cup Qualifiers that qualify for the World Cup -- we finished third there. And then the top driver award which is all the FEI’s and we finished second.”
The current rankings are significant for Weber and his team since he is competing with this combination of horses for the first time internationally. Weber remarked, “I am so proud of my teams’ performance throughout the European tournament schedule. It’s really exciting to look forward to next year, to think of the possibilities with the combination of the seasoned veterans like Jane Clark’s Splash, and the new horses on the roster. They were a new team to competing together in international competition and they really have started to hit their stride.”
The KWPN’s are enjoying some quality pasture time back at the farm in Ocala, however, there will be little reprieve for the number two-internationally ranked FEI Four-in-Hand driver, “I will be racking up those Frequent Flyer miles, bouncing back and forth from Ocala to Europe to compete in the indoors,” Weber explained.
Weber’s recently acquired team of Lipizzans stayed behind in Europe to compete in the ongoing indoor tournament schedule. Weber will split his time between home and Europe throughout the fall season to hone his driving skills in the indoor competitions.
“Part of the reason we strategically decided to do the indoor World Cup is not only do we get to compete at some of the top show jumping and dressage venues in the world, but it also makes my timing better. And it makes me a better outdoor Marathon driver without a question,” explained Weber.
Aside from being one of the top ranked driving competitor’s in the word 14-time USEF National Combined Driving Champion Chester Weber is also dedicated to promoting the equestrian sport of driving on a national and international level. For Team Weber updates, results, photos, and combined driving news as the indoor competition in Europe continues, follow Chester Weber on his official Facebook page, Instagram @ChesterWeber, or visit www.chesterweber.com.
Photo: Chester Weber approaches obstacle five with his new team of Lipizzans at the indoors at Voornruiters (Photo courtesy of Bas van Doorn)
Arabian Horse Competitor Kristi Herbst Wins the Jacksonville Equestrian Center Sportsmanship Award for Staying Strong when Trouble Blows Her Way
Raleigh, NC (October 10, 2017) - The 2017 Sport Horse National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Show held in Raleigh, North Carolina was among the many events along the eastern U.S. coast faced with the forecast of Hurricane Irma this season. Luckily, when warnings sounded, quick-thinking competitors pulled together to keep the horses safe and ensure that the show could still go on. Kristi Herbst, one of these competitors, was rewarded for her willingness to pitch in with the Jacksonville Equestrian Center Sportsmanship Award. The award was presented by the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, a multifaceted equestrian show facility and a sponsor of the Arabian Championships.
The Jacksonville Equestrian Center, located on 80 acres in Jacksonville, Florida, was opening its doors to horses evacuating from more dangerous locations before the impending hurricane while the 2017 Sport Horse National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Show kicked off. Even in North Carolina, it soon became clear that the competitors at the Arabian Championships may not be out of harm’s reach. In the middle of the show, the tent stabling went under mandatory evacuation.
“We had to take down a tent because of the hurricane, and there were 90 horses under that tent,” explained competitor Kristi Herbst. “We had to move the horses into other stalls, and make temporary stalls out of the warm-up ring.” Despite the major upset to the competition, Herbst saw only the silver lining. “It was absolutely wonderful to see how everybody just pulled together and gave up their feed stalls and their tack rooms. We gave up two of our stalls to make room for horses, and people used our golf carts and our trucks to move their stuff. Everyone helped one another and said, ‘Okay, we’ve got this situation and we have to deal with it, so let’s do it!’”
Herbst’s assistance in the situation and her positive attitude throughout made her the perfect recipient for the Jacksonville Equestrian Center Sportsmanship Award. The award is presented to one competitor at the National Arabian Championships who displays exemplary sportsmanship during the competition. Herbst received a tri-colored sportsmanship ribbon, a prize basket of goodies, and an embroidered cooler for her horse from the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.
Even amidst the hurricane preparation, Herbst and her horses put in outstanding performances throughout the show. “A horse that we bred, raised, and trained, A Ring of Fyre+/, went double National Champion,” said Herbst. Besides a National Championship in-hand and in dressage training level, the horse earned a spot in the top ten placings in five other classes with Herbst and her daughters in the saddle. “He was amazing. The show was excellent for A Ring of Fyre, for our farm, and for our breeding program.” Having impressive results with A Ring of Fyre was extra special for Herbst and her family, of Herbst Farms in Farmington, Missouri, because of their long history with the five-year-old horse and his ancestors. “I was there when he was born. We actually bred his mother, and own his grandmother, too. We were just really pleased that a third generation horse that we bred, raised, and trained on our farm did so well!”
Herbst Farm also showed Gehrhearts Magic, an 11-year-old half-Trakehner, half-Arabian stallion. “He was just put under saddle this year, and won a Reserve National Championship in-hand, and was top ten in the Half-Arabian Sport Horse Under Saddle Dressage Type. He’s amazing!” said Herbst.
Herbst is proud of the show results, and of letting nothing - even a hurricane warning - stand in the way. “I’m grateful to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for sponsoring the sportsmanship award. I think it really makes everybody aware of how important it is for us all to pull together,” she said. “I look forward to coming to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center someday to participating in an event or show.”
Now that the Jacksonville Equestrian Center is empty of hurricane evacuees and has cleaned up after Irma, it’s business as usual at this popular equestrian venue. The next event will be Community Night Schooling on October 17, then the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair Association 4H Horse Show on October 20-21. For more information on the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call 904-255-4215.
Photo: Chester Weber and his team win Germany’s Donaueschingen CHI3* Four-in-Hand combined driving competition (Photo courtesy of Nadine Pettersson Söderström)
US Driver, Chester Weber Wins Four-In-Hand Combined Driving at Germany's Donaueschingen CHI3*
Donaueschingen, Germany (September 29, 2017) - Chester Weber offers no rest for his rivals. When the 14-time USEF National Combined Driving Champion withdrew from the Breda CAIO4*, The Netherlands, to allow one of the team horses to recover from an elevated temperature, the world renowned driver turned his attention to competing in Donaueschingen, Germany. Keeping the welfare of his and Jane Clark's horses foremost, and sure that all of them were feeling their best, Weber rolled through the three phases of competition in Donaueschingen, emerging the definitive winner of the Combined Driving Four-In-Hand CHI3*.
Among 21 starters, Weber marked an impressive score of 35.92 in the dressage phase with the powerful KWPNs, which included 14-year-old Splash in the right lead, 8-year-old First Edition in the left lead, 12-year-old Asjemenou at right wheel, and 11-year-old Boris W. at left wheel. The bay geldings performed their best, and with several outstanding horses on the team's roster to choose from, Weber mixed up the order of things moving into the marathon.
"In the marathon it was the same team but eight-year-old Reno took the right lead and Splash came out. Reno is a new horse on the team, and possesses an interesting pedigree. He is half Friesian and half Orlov Trotter, a Russian breed," Weber, of Ocala, Florida explained. "We drove him and liked him, and thought that he would prove helpful to us in the marathon; he’s been doing just that. We purchased him from Hungarian four-in-hand driver József Dobrovitz, Jr."
Added to the usual expected challenges of the marathon phase were rain and a soggy track, where Team Weber incurred penalty points but recorded a 102.93. "It's a tough track there," he explained. "It was muddy, but they fared well. It was a pity we had two knocked down balls, and that cost us the win in the marathon." Team Weber rounded out the weekend with a good placing in the cones phase, and secured the overall top placing.
With his sights set on delivering peak performances at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, and known for his goal-oriented nature, laser focus, and dogged determination, Weber is using this year to build and fine tune his program. "It takes time competing to get it all put together, and I think that is the benefit of going to Europe in a non-championship year so we can really try new things," he remarked. "Next year, it will be a little bit more homogenous in what we are going to do. We will figure out what works the best and work at refining that."
As Team Weber moves through the latter part of 2017's competition schedule, the new team of Lipizzaners, still stabled in Europe, will make a showing at several driving events in Holland. Come late 2017 Weber will focus his competitive energies stateside--along with many other major players in the sport of Combined Driving who winter in Central Florida--with plans to attend the Combined Driving Event at Grand Oaks, Weirsdale, Florida, in early December.
In the meantime, while Weber jets between the U.S. and Europe to keep his teams competing on the international stage, the three-time World Equestrian Games Silver Medalist always places his horses' welfare foremost in his mind. Aside from catching up on much needed sleep in between trips, Weber explained his schedule when he returns home, saying, "I rest, go through mail, and try to get everything organized. When the horses return, we make sure the stable is in order and that we have all the quality hay and supplies we want for them. Now that the KWPN's are all back, they are having easier days hacking and also spending time in the paddock."
Weber, who continues to be a major contender in the international world of four-in-hand combined driving, is also dedicated to promoting the equestrian sport of driving on a national and international level. For Team Weber updates, results, photos, and combined driving news as competition in Europe continues, follow Chester Weber on his official Facebook page, Instagram @ChesterWeber, or visit www.chesterweber.com.
Photo: Chester Weber and his team win Germany’s Donaueschingen CHI3* Four-in-Hand combined driving competition (Photo courtesy of Nadine Pettersson Söderström)
At Least Four Horses Dead at Puerto Rico's Camarero Racetrack
Source: Thoroughbred Daily News
The devastation in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria includes the island’s racehorse population. According to Shelley Blodgett of Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare, Inc, four fatalities have been confirmed among the horses on the backstretch of Camarero Racetrack. Blodgett said she fears when more information becomes available the death toll among horses at the racetrack will rise.
Blodgett has been receiving information from a volunteer from her organization, Kelley Stobie, who is in Puerto Rico and has been spending countless hours at the racetrack trying to assist horses in need. It is very difficult to get a cell phone call into or out of Puerto Rico, but Blodgett said Stobie has been resourceful and has managed to communicate with her on several occasions.
Having spoken to Stobie, Blodgett paints a grim picture of the scene at the racetrack, where she says several horses have been abandoned since the storm pelted Puerto Rico.
“A lot of things are in motion at the track, but things have been very hard and some of the horses have not gotten the attention that they need,” Blodgett said. “There is a lack of resources and many of the owners, trainers and grooms are not able to get to the track. Kelley has been there every day taking care of the 16 off-the-track Thoroughbreds we are caring for. Yesterday, she watered about 100 racehorses. With 10 horses she got to, she was literally pulling them out; they had literally not been touched since the hurricane. She was able to get them water. We have heard of four confirmed deaths, from founder and colic. Some connections have been hauling in water for their horses since day one and others have just been abandoned.”
When asked if there will likely be reports of more horse deaths, Blodgett replied: “I think there will. Some horses are just getting water now, but forage is still not readily available for some connections. Hay production is not up and running in Puerto Rico. Some of the horses are standing in muck up to their ankles. They are dehydrated. Some have raced a lot and there’s been wear and tear. Those ones are a little underweight to start with, so they have less reserves to deal with this.”
Including non-racehorses, there are about 950 horses on the Camarero backstretch.
Blodgett said that while many horsemen have done everything possible to get to the track and care for their horses, others have not made it a priority.
“One of the main problems there is that the care-givers have had their lives turned upside down,” said. “They may not have a means of getting to the track or they are busy dealing with their own lives. There are some owners who are just abandoning their horses and saying just let them be. They are going to worry about themselves first. But I don’t think that is the majority. These people are going through a crisis. I think they’ve depleted, their physical, mental and emotional reserves.”
The worst may be over as several groups, Carribean Thoroughbred Aftercare among them, have huddled and are working together to help solve the crisis. Other organizations include the Humane Society of the United States, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, The Jockey Club and the United States Equestrian Federation. Blodgett said arrangements have been made to fly in pelletized hay, though it is unclear when it is going to arrive. She also said about 40 to 50 horses have been put into a quarantine facility and once cleared will be shipped to Miami. She said active racehorses are being given priority over all other horses when it comes to leaving the island.
Keith Kleine, a spokesperson for the AAEP, said that group has members in Puerto Rico that are helping and he believes, in time, volunteer vets from the continental U.S. will fly down to assist them. The biggest problem, he said, is finding a way to communicate with people in Puerto Rico. Kleine is looking in to purchasing satellite phones.
“This is still a work in progress and we still have to have some further assessments to make on the ground,” he said. “Those are short-term issues. There are needs like food and medical supplies. We have those. That’s the easy part. Getting access to the island and the ability to operate there is the challenging part.”
Kleine said the AAEP does not need supplies, but said financial contributions to the AAEP or any other organizations trying to help the horses of Puerto Rico are badly needed. Here is a list of groups you may wish to contribute to:
It's All Academic Until it Happens to You
Veteran journalist and TheHorse.com reporter Pat Raia shares her experiences preparing for and weathering Hurricane Irma.
Husband and Wife Dressage Duo Jaimey and Tina Irwin Rise to the Top of the Sport and Announce TheraPlate as an Official Part of their Team
Stouffville, Ontario, Canada (September 20, 2017) - Canada's dressage power couple, Jaimey and Tina Irwin, have ascended to the top of the most prestigious medal podiums in the sport with poise and determination. As they make a name for Team Canada as a force to beat in the arena, the main competition that they themselves seem to face is each other. Luckily, the couple has proven to be as good at sharing the winners' circle as they are at sharing a family and their successful dressage training and sales business, Stoney Lake Equestrian, Inc. The Irwins are now proud to continue strengthening their winning team even more by becoming TheraPlate Brand Ambassadors. TheraPlate Revolution Therapy Platforms, the Official Therapy Plate of US Equestrian, is partnering with the Irwins to make sure that these top equestrians always have an effective, easy-to-use way to warm up, cool down, and encourage healing in their horses.
The Irwins are well known for their role on the 2011 Canadian Pan American Games Dressage Team, which Tina rode on and Jaimey coached to the team silver medal. At the 2017 Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, both Irwins helped Team Canada make history by securing the team gold medal in the Nations Cup. Jaimey took silver individually, coming in second only to Tina, who won gold. Jaimey also represented North America in the 2013 World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, aboard a horse co-owned by Silvia Carlton and Tina's mother, Ute Busse.
As a young couple with two young children, Jaimey and Tina Irwin's already iconic history of success in the dressage ring can be surprising. Jaimey explains that their secret to success is all about starting with excellent horse care. "When the horses are feeling the best they can be, then you get the best results with ease. We take the best possible care of them," he explains.
"We work with a nutritionist to feed the best quality feed, and we work with the best veterinarians. We do chiropractic work, acupuncture, massaging - anything that each horse needs individually to make them feel their best so that they can perform at their maximum potential. We also have a TheraPlate, which we use quite a bit. We really like to put the horses on that before and after they work out. We find it really helps with their circulation. They love it - it feels really good to them. It helps with any sort of issues that the horses have - in their lower limbs especially - and it works all the way up through their shoulders."
As soon as the Irwins tried out the TheraPlate for their competition horses, they recognized it as a necessary tool for their future training. By simply standing on the TheraPlate, horses receive a myriad of benefits - from pain relief and rapid healing to hoof growth and increased circulation. "We've had some of our top horses using it quite a bit, and they do feel quite good after being on it," said Jaimey. "I've tried it out myself, and when I get off of it I definitely feel that my circulation has been stimulated. I can feel it all the way from my feet up through my hips, so I can just imagine how it's feeling for the horses. It makes them feel looser when moving, and I think it would really aid in hoof growth, healing an abscess, and any injury that needs some extra help - I think it would be perfect for that."
At the Irwins' lessons, training, clinics, and sales barn in Stouffville, Ontario, Canada, the TheraPlate platform was met with a warm welcome. "When our clients are there and they are able to put their horses on it themselves, they join in on the therapy by standing on the TheraPlate the whole time with their horses," Jaimey said.
With the TheraPlate as an integral part of their program, the Irwins are now preparing to take the dressage world by storm again in 2018. "We have three horses that are just breaking into the Grand Prix level, so we're just developing them and hoping to compete them this winter at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Florida," Jaimey shared. "Hopefully we'll qualify one or two for the World Equestrian Games in 2018."
or more information on TheraPlate and why top dressage riders like Jaimey and Tina Irwin have made this therapy platform a part of their team, visit www.theraplate.com or call toll-free (800) 920-3685 or direct (817) 629-5171. With the free no-obligation demo that the company offers, there's nothing to lose for equestrians who want top-of-the-line care for their horses.
Photo: Dressage trainers Jaimey and Tina Irwin look forward to competing at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida (Photo courtesy Sara Hellner Photography)
The Pegasus Foundation Offers Unique Learning Vacation Experience While Making a Difference for Horses
Ringoes, NJ (August 30, 2017) - New Jersey-based equine nonprofit organization The Pegasus Foundation will soon offer riders across the globe a unique and meaningful vacation experience unlike any other. The organization has announced that it will begin offering a weeklong riding vacation and equestrian getaway experience from its home base of Ringoes, New Jersey. The experience will allow guests a special chance to give back to the animals they love while they ride, reflect, and recharge far away from the distractions and stresses of everyday life.
Through this immersive weeklong getaway, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy one-on-one riding lessons with renowned horse trainer, clinician, author and Pegasus Foundation founder, Dr. Maria Katsamanis, while enjoying ample time to connect with their horses in the serene New Jersey countryside. All lessons throughout the stay will be taught in English, and local riders as well as those traveling from locations abroad including Canada, Europe, and South America are welcome and encouraged to come enjoy this one-of-a-kind immersive learning vacation. The experience is also ideal for aspiring professionals and students looking to obtain credits for certification, including instructor certifications.
Charming and comfortable accommodations at an onsite cottage will be provided at Harvest Moon Farm, and all proceeds from the retreat will go towards the nonprofit’s mission to help and rehabilitate horses with mental and physical issues that otherwise would likely be sent to slaughter. As a 501c3 New Jersey based nonprofit organization, all guest fees for the Pegasus Foundation trip will be fully tax deductible.
“This is the perfect opportunity for anyone looking for a chance to catch their breath, and to grow personally as well as in their riding,” observed Katsamanis. “Horses have so much to teach us, and being with them not only brings a great deal of joy and peace to our lives, but also helps us learn to be better humans. This experience gives us an opportunity to benefit from what horses have to share with us, but also to give back to them too, which is especially fulfilling. It’s a really fun and special way to be a part of this important mission,” explained Katsamanis.
The foundation will begin offering the unique getaways beginning in September, just in time for guests to come enjoy the cool autumn weather and breathtaking fall scenery. Through the program, guests will have the opportunity to customize their own itinerary of activities to suit their tastes, interests, and goals while working with Dr. Katsamanis to create a totally one-of-a-kind dream getaway. For guests interested in a more riding-intensive experience, they can also choose to work with Dr. Maria on specific riding goals, as well as obtain an individualized riding evaluation and lesson plan. For those interested in sightseeing, the New Jersey farm is set in an ideal location just an hour away from exciting destinations including New York City, Philadelphia, and the New Jersey coastline, offering guests a wide range of day trip activities depending on their tastes.
Guests will be welcome to bring their own horses to ride during the retreat, or they can also choose to ride one of the horses on property at the farm. Either way, they’ll surely be in for an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind equestrian experience.
“It’s so much more than just a normal ‘vacation.’ You’ll leave not only feeling renewed and more confident in your riding, but also with a keener awareness of how connected we are to our horses- and to the world. It’s not just about getting away, but about growing and learning, rediscovering your center, getting back to what’s most important to you, and bringing all of that with you when you leave,” remarked Katsamanis.
In addition to training and instructing, Dr. Katsamanis also holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and continues to maintain an appointment as Clinical Assistant Professor at Rutgers Medical School. Her background in biofeedback and psychophysiology is central to her training approach, dubbed “Molecular Equitation”, which examines the connection between horse and rider on a molecular level and focuses on improving such basic elements as balance and relaxation, muscle formation, and breathing behavior to dissipate physical blocks and facilitate communication. Her training techniques are built upon the foundation of classic French and Greek principals, which are beneficial to riders in all disciplines. An in-depth study of the science behind Dr. Katsamanis’s approach can be found in her book, The Alchemy of Lightness: What Happens Between Horse and Rider on a Molecular Level And How It Helps Achieve the Ultimate Connection, coauthored with world-renowned horseman Dominique Barbier.
The Pegasus Foundation works to provide horses with mental and physical problems a second chance at life through compassionate training, rehabilitation, and education efforts. To learn more about The Pegasus Foundation, or to hear the stories of horses who have been helped by The Pegasus Foundation, visit the nonprofit’s website at www.thepegasusfoundation.org or follow them on facebook @thepegasusfoundationnj. To sign up for a riding retreat through the Pegasus Foundation, contact Dr. Maria Katsamanis at email@example.com, or call 732-921-0565.
Photo: The Pegasus Foundation vacation guests can create a one-of-a-kind customized riding experience based on their individual needs, interests, and goals (Photo courtesy Harvest Moon Farm)
World Equestrian Center Site Plan
We're excited to reveal the new proposed site plan for the World Equestrian Center Ocala. This plan has been submitted to both the state of Florida and Marion county. We are going through the approval process, so the site plan is subject to change.
We look forward to sharing our progress as we move along, thank you for your continued interest and support!
Donald and Carolyn Pomeranz - Chili Cook Off Winners
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (August 23, 2017) – Donald and Carolyn Pomeranz served up their "Pomorosa" and "Donkey Don't Grind" recipes at the 2017 St. Thomas Texas Society of the Virgin Islands Chili Cook off at Brewers Bay Beachon Sunday afternoon. The team won the vegetarian category of the competition.
Katherine Bateson-Chandler Helps Team USA Claim the Bronze in Hickstead FEI CDIO3* Nation's Cup
Gloucestershire, United Kingdom (August 1, 2017) – After delivering outstanding performances in this year's Hickstead FEI CDIO3* Nation's Cup, Katherine Bateson-Chandler was thrilled to claim the bronze medal alongside U.S.A. teammates Susan Dutta, Chase Hickok, and Charlotte Jorst.
Lead by Robert Dover as Chef d’Equipe, a long-time mentor and former employer of Bateson-Chandler, Team U.S.A. finished in third place overall to clinch the bronze with a final score of 421.920. The U.S.A. finished behind gold medal-winning France and the silver-winning Netherlands.
Bateson-Chandler competed in the three-day-long competition aboard Jane Clark’s Alcazar, securing an exceptional score of 69.320% to finish in 15th place in Friday’s CDIO3* Grand Prix test.
“Katherine rode, in my opinion, the very best of her career this week, and Alcazar is absolutely on the right track,” remarked Dover on Bateson-Chandler’s stellar performance at Hickstead.
Equally thrilled with her results, Bateson-Chandler stated, “I was so thrilled with Alcazar - he did what was in my opinion his best test ever. I also can't thank my two Carl's enough: Carl Hester, my mentor and trainer for believing in me, and my husband Carl Chandler for his never-ending support. Both have put so much into all this, and I am beyond grateful.”
Bateson-Chandler’s teammates were also at the top of their game during Friday’s Grand Prix leg of the competition. Hickok and Hyperion Farm, Inc.’s Sagacious HF claimed second place with a whopping score of 71.640%. Jorst and Kastel Denmark’s Kastel’s Nintendo finished in fourth place with 70.880%, while Dutta and Tim Dutta Inc.’s Currency DC earned a score of 63.640% to finish in 26th place.
On Saturday, Bateson-Chandler competed in the CDIO3* Grand Prix Special, delivering a superior performance to finish in eighth place with a score of 69.412%. Bateson-Chandler’s fellow team combination Hickok and Sagacious HF also delivered impressive results to finish third with a score of 70.843%.
The final leg of the Hickstead competition took place on Sunday, when Bateson-Chandler’s teammates Jorst and Dutta delivered exceptional results in the CDIO3* Grand Prix freestyle. Jorst earned a 69.825% to finish seventh aboard Kastel’s Nintendo, while Dutta and the Currency DC achieved a score of 66.625% to finish in 12th place.
Helping secure the bronze at Hickstead comes as a fitting addition to an impressive list of feats so far this year for Bateson-Chandler, including a stellar first place Grand Prix Freestyle performance at the 2017 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, as well as competing for the United States in the Uggerhalne, Denmark FEI Nations Cup™ Dressage competition earlier this summer.
Bateson-Chandler has also competed on the Silver medal-winning Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team at the 2016 Lambertz Nations Cup at CHIO Aachen, as well as on Team USA at the 2016 CDIO3* Odense Nations Cup in Denmark.
Katherine Bateson-Chandler competes in Wellington, Florida during the winter months while training with U.S. Olympian Debbie McDonald. During the summer months, she and her horses travel to the United Kingdom to compete and train with acclaimed British Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Hester.
Through her business, KBC Dressage, Bateson-Chandler offers training and coaching services to horses and riders across the U.S. and Europe, as well as prospect selection for clients. For more information, visit her on the web at www.kbcdressage.com, on Facebook, or on Instagram.
Fixing Treatment Aversion in Horses
Shared by El Sol Equine Practice
Remember when you got a lollipop at the doctor's office right after you got a shot? Using the same idea of creating positive experiences makes handling horses for veterinary procedures easier and safer for everyone, including the horse.
That's not just someone's opinion. There's sufficient science to substantiate that positive-reinforcement-based, nonconfrontational handling of animals reduces stress, increases safety, and makes the workplace much more comfortable…Read Full Article
Katherine Bateson-Chandler Selected to Compete for U.S.A. in Hickstead FEI CDIO3* Nation's Cup
Wellington, FL (July 21, 2017) – US Equestrian has announced its final selection of horse-and-rider pairs set to compete for the United States in this year's prestigious FEI CDIO3* Hickstead Nation's Cup competition, and it's no surprise that accomplished Wellington-based competitor Katherine Bateson-Chandler and her all-star mount Alcazar have made the list.
Bateson-Chandler, who has been busy training with her long-time colleague and riding mentor Carl Hester in the UK, has already had no shortage of triumphant moments so far this year aboard Alcazar, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Jane Forbes Clark.
The unstoppable dressage duo swept the CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle at this year’s Adequan Global Dressage Festival with an unforgettable first place performance. The two also went on to compete for the United States in the Uggerhalne, Denmark FEI Nation’s Cup competition this June.
Bateson-Chandler has also competed on the Silver medal-winning Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team at the 2016 Lambertz Nations Cup at CHIO Aachen, as well as on Team USA at the 2016 CDIO3* Odense Nations Cup in Denmark.
Additional riders selected for the U.S. team to compete at Hickstead this July 27th - 30th include Susan Dutta and Chase Hickok of Wellington, Florida and Charlotte Jorst of Reno, Nevada.
Katherine Bateson-Chandler competes in Wellington, Florida during the winter months while training with U.S. Olympian Debbie McDonald. During the summer months, she and her horses travel to the United Kingdom to compete and train with acclaimed British Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Hester.
Through her business, KBC Dressage, Bateson-Chandler offers training and coaching services to horses and riders across the U.S. and Europe, as well as prospect selection for clients. For more information, visit her on the web at www.kbcdressage.com, on Facebook, or on Instagram.
Photo: International Grand Prix dressage rider Katherine Bateson-Chandler will compete on the USA dressage team in this year’s Hickstead Nations Cup (Photo courtesy Jo Fisher)
Florida's Belgian Warmblood Inspection to be Held at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Jacksonville, FL (July 5, 2017) – This July, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center will welcome the area’s newest batch of superior Belgian Warmblood horses as the southernmost stop on the Belgian Warmblood North American Division’s Keuring Inspection Tour. Set to take place at the prestigious Jacksonville, Florida facility on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, the event will give owners and breeders the opportunity to register their youngsters and certify mares and stallions, demonstrating that they meet strict guidelines for conformation, performance, and breeding standards within the registry.
The event will be the sixth stop in the fifteen-city breed inspection tour, which is conducted by the Belgian Warmblood Breeding Association’s North American Division. Noted Belgian Warmblood judge, Boudewijn Schepers, will be judging the keuring tour for the eighth consecutive year, and will be joined by Belgian Warmblood North American Division’s Board Chair, Kelly Gordon, at the Jacksonville event. The event will include breed inspections and registration for mares aged 3-6, mares aged 7+, colts, fillies, yearlings, 2-year-olds, and stallions.
Belgian Warmblood North American Division’s executive director, Chris Sallee, is excited to host the event at the Jacksonville facility this year. Sallee stated: “After doing some research, we knew it was the obvious choice for our keuring event in Florida. The facility is unbeatable- it has all the amenities you could ever ask for when hosting an event like this. The spacious indoor arena also allows for us to host free jumping classes, which is perfect.”
Sallee went on to explain how breeders and owners alike will benefit from attending this year’s keuring event: “Our judge, Boudewijn, is very helpful to our breeders in offering individualized breeding advice for each mare, and is helpful in securing semen for our breeders in Europe that is not offered in the U.S. He also helps to keep our breeders up to date on the latest breeding trends, and up and coming young stallions to utilize.”
The keuring, or breed inspection, is set to begin early in the morning, when inspectors will obtain DNA samples from mares and foals, as well as take note of their markings. DNA is obtained to create permanent DNA markers for each foal, as well as for parent verification. Next, owners will formally present each horse in front of a panel of judges in the facility’s indoor 123,000 square foot coliseum. Mares will be shown in hand with a bridle, while foals will be stood up for an evaluation of conformation, and then shown at liberty without their halters, and with their dams. Yearlings will be shown in halter or bridle, and 2-year-olds and stallions will be shown in bridle.
During the keuring, judges will watch each horse carefully, making a thorough assessment of soundness, movement, and conformation, evaluating their potential to perform at the highest levels of international sport. At the end of the presentations, mares and stallions may advance to the Belgian Warmblood North American Division’s studbook registry, while “premiums” are given to the youngest horses and “predicates” can be given to all horses.
Attendees are highly encouraged to have their foals micro chipped prior to the keuring to ensure that their micro chip numbers accompany their registration to Belgium, as well as their lifetime US Equestrian registration. Micro chipping will also be available at the event for a $30 fee. Free jumping will be set up for stallion inspections, and will be available to other horses as well. Attendees will have the opportunity to work with expert free jumping instructor and judge Boudewijn Schepers to learn and practice the correct way to school horses to jump for a $75 fee.
The Jacksonville Equestrian Center looks forward to welcoming the area’s newest group of Belgian Warmbloods and their owners to its world-class facility. Known for its extensive amenities and convenient location, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s 80-acre facility includes two outdoor 36,000 square foot show rings, four permanent barns, 422 stalls, 78 full hook up RV spaces, indoor and outdoor vendor spaces, and an Olympic sized swimming pool.
The facility hosts a wide range of popular family-friendly events throughout the year, including horse shows, recreational events, car shows, family fun days, dog agility trials, and equestrian events for every breed and riding discipline. For nature lovers, the property also features miles of hiking and riding trails as well as a picnic pavilion.
Those interested in signing up for the event must submit two registration forms: the online registration form found at the Belgian Warmblood website here: www.belgianwarmblood.com/keuring, as well as the Jacksonville Equestrian center PDF registration form found here. Attendees should email the completed Jacksonville Equestrian center PDF registration form to Peggy Fuller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find out more about the Belgian Warmblood North American Division’s breeding standards and procedures at www.belgianwarmblood.com. Attendees can also take advantage of a special discounted rate at the nearby Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Hotel, the official hotel of the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. Those interested in booking a room for the event can do so at the following link: Book your group rate for Belgian Warmblood Inspection.
The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, Florida, and is located just minutes away from popular beaches and the downtown Jacksonville area. For more information about the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, and to find out about other upcoming events at the facility, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com, follow them on facebook or instagram, or call 904-255-4215.
Photo: The Jacksonville Equestrian Center will host this year’s Florida stop on the Belgian Warmblood North American Division’s Keuring Breed Inspection Tour (Photo courtesy Equine Media)
Two Top European Finishes in June For US National Four-in-Hand Champion Chester Weber
Riesenbeck, Germany (June 26, 2017) – Fourteen-time USEF Four-in-Hand National Combined Driving Champion and three-time World Equestrian Games Silver Medalist Chester Weber started off strong on the first leg of his European tournament schedule by seizing top placings at the Saumur CAI4* in France, and the Riesenbeck CAI3* in Germany.
Leading Jane Clark and Weber's team to win the dressage phase at Saumur were Splash and First Edition, with Boris W. and Bastiaan in the left and right wheel positions. Team Weber headed into phase two of their first international competition of the 2017 season with a score of 43.3 points to finish up their first European tournament by winning the reserve title. Weber and Jane Clark's team of KWPN geldings then forged ahead to secure another top placing at Riesenbeck, Germany, June 22 – 25 with a second place in the Riesenbeck dressage phase and a fourth in the cones to finish in the top three in the competition.
Next up for Team Weber is the World Equestrian Festival CHIO4 at Aachen, Germany where Weber strives to repeat history. In 2012, Weber had a record-breaking dressage score at Aachen and then went on in 2014, to make history as the first and only American to win the Four-In-Hand division at the Aachen CHIO4. Weber looks forward to matching and besting his 2012 and 2014 performances at Aachen with an eye focused on competing at the World Equestrian Games, slated to take place in 2018, at Tryon International Equestrian Center, North Carolina.
“We were pleased with the horses and they clearly demonstrated their potential. Both Bastiaan and First Edition did well for their first big international outings. We are looking forward to competing at Aachen and of course we remain focused on laying the foundation to compete at the 2018 World Equestrian Games,” commented Weber.
Weber, who continues to be a major contender in the international world of four-in-hand combined driving, is also an avid supporter of the sport of driving – dedicated to promoting the equestrian sport on a national and international level. For Team Weber updates, results, photos, and combined driving news as competition in Europe continues, follow Chester Weber on his official Facebook page, Instagram @ChesterWeber, or visit www.chesterweber.com.
Photo: Chester Weber and Jane Clark's team of KWPN geldings navigate the water obstacle at Saumur. (Photo courtesy of Team Weber).
Crowds Flocked to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for Free Family Fun Day and Extreme Mustang Makeover
Jacksonville, FL (May 26, 2017) – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was packed with both people and horses this past weekend for the facility’s first-ever Free Family Fun Day and the return of the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition. Saturday, May 20, saw a crowd of approximately 200 gathered to enjoy the wild mustangs, a bounce house, face painting, balloon animals, a vintage mustang car show, pony rides, a petting zoo, Gator Country 99.9 FM’s live radio show with prizes, and the nearby Olympic-sized swimming pool. The evening brought another crowd to the Jacksonville, Florida recreational facility for the popular Extreme Mustang Makeover Top Ten Freestyle Finale show.
The Extreme Mustang Makeover is a unique competitive event produced by the non-profit organization Mustang Heritage Foundation. Trainers are given 100 days to turn an American Mustang from wild to mild. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s beautiful facility was the perfect venue for trainers to compete for cash and prizes while displaying the trainability of American Mustangs in hopes of finding a suitable adopter for each Mustang entered. During the Top Ten Freestyle Finale, the trainer and Mustang pairs who scored highest in the weekend’s competition so far put it all on the line for the grand prize. Spectators cheered them on as they performed everything from standing in the saddle to mounted shooting to jumping obstacles.
Many of the Mustang trainers felt that the experience changed them just as much as it changed the Mustangs. “It made me start from scratch,” stated Ashley Mancuso, a trainer from Tallahassee, Florida. “I had to think about the communication I was giving to the horse because these Mustangs come to us never being touched before. So, everything they become is really what we are.”
This year’s Extreme Mustang Makeover champion, and winner of the $25,000 prize, was trainer Marsha Hartford-Sapp, who competed for her 8th consecutive year in this challenging event. She also won the champion title last year at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. “The learning process that I get from every horse motivates me,” she explained. “For me to have an avenue where I can learn so much as a trainer, and make myself better as a trainer, and help a horse at the same time, is really a phenomenal opportunity.”
Hartford-Sapp won this year with the mare Chason Dreams. “I am so proud of this exceptional mare, who was nothing short of remarkable the whole weekend! She made my heart swell in the freestyle with how brave she was in the crowds and noise, and how much she tried for me.” Hartford-Sapp went on to say that Chason Dreams won another big prize by being adopted by her new owner, Cynthia Smoot, at the auction held directly after the Top Ten Freestyle Finals. “Cynthia was able to meet Dream on Friday before the competition, and their energy together was fabulous! I am so excited for the partnership, and I am beyond honored to be asked to continue training Dream for her new owner.” Hartford-Sapp is the owner and head trainer at Southern Oaks Equestrian Center in Tallahassee.
The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was thrilled to host the Extreme Mustang Makeover to help bring awareness to the public about wild Mustangs and Mustang adoption. This year, even more people in the local community had a chance to meet the Mustangs as part of the Free Family Fun Day that the facility held in conjunction with the event.
Many Family Fun Day attendees enjoyed the chance to meet a different kind of Mustang, as the Jacksonville Mustang Car Club brought a bright array of unique Mustang vehicles to the grounds. Kids spent the day riding ponies, petting farm animals, jumping in a bounce house, and getting their faces painted. Lucky families went home with prizes distributed by Gator Country 99.9 FM, including buy-one-get-one-free horse back riding coupons for the nearby Diamond D ranch, concert tickets, and tickets to the Extreme Mustang Makeover Top Ten Freestyle Final.
The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is known as a family-favorite destination for equestrian and recreational events all year long. The 80-acre facility is easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, and features an enormous indoor arena, outdoor arenas, and over 400 stalls. There are also miles of riding, hiking, and biking trails accessible from the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.
For more information and to find out about other exciting upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904)-255-4215.
Photo: The Free Family Fun Day at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center included a bounce house, pony rides, and a petting zoo
Good Connection Begins with the Correct Bit: Beth Haist of The Horse of Course Explains Why on the Dressage Corner
Palm City, FL (May 22, 2017) – At first glance, you might think your horse’s bit fits just right. But take a closer look, and you may find that your equine athlete needs something shorter, heavier, or a different shape altogether. Beth Haist, founder and CEO of The Horse of Course, Inc., and Grand Prix dressage rider Heather Bender, creator of the new video/blog series Dressage Corner, With a Little Help From My Friends, recently tackled the topic of correct bit fit in an educational interview series that horse owners won’t want to miss.
Truly a bit aficionado, Haist has been partnering with bit developers to properly fit horses since 1995. She is always eager to put her knowledge to the test in order to educate riders on the ideal bit fit for all types of horses. Bender’s interview with Haist, which will be available to Dressage Corner subscribers in early summer of 2017, is a must-see for riders interested in increasing their horses’ comfort, enhancing communication, and improving the training process.
Designed to promote positive education and great horsemanship, Dressage Corner supports equestrian sports and the love of horses. The site will include multiple, power-packed 7-10 minute interviews, as well as longer features. “We will cover topics that I feel really contribute to us having a better journey in the equestrian world,” explained Bender, lifelong equestrian and owner of Treasure Coast Dressage in Palm City, Florida.
Commenting on the depth of experience that Haist brings to Dressage Corner, Bender said, “Beth is just so knowledgeable with bits and, even though I have been in this business a long time, I learned a lot in our interview. It’s exciting to offer a chance for people like Beth to talk in a comfortable way, and pass on some of the gems that they have learned.”
Haist is fortunate to have had exposure to several bit engineers over the years – respected professionals who passed on their knowledge concerning proper bit selection to her. Added to the factors of correct size, weight, and material, Haist says you have to “think like an engineer” when finding the right bit.
Viewers who tune in this summer can watch Haist discuss everything from the most common factors concerning bit fitting to the minute details that riders tend to overlook. Divided into multiple segments, video coverage will include information on double bridles, snaffles, bridle fit, different options for chains and chain hooks, the engineering and history of bits, and much more.
“The content that Beth gave me is very strong,” Bender confirmed. “We are also including a hands-on segment to demonstrate how to properly adjust bridles, why they fit and don’t fit, and whether the bit is too big or too little.” Haist added, for example, that surprisingly most riders use bits that are too large for their horses’ mouths.
Haist was happy to share her knowledge with Dressage Corner. Bender explained, “Dressage Corner will promote the many ways to achieve success using correct basics. I will be looking for real horsemen and horsewomen to contribute, and will not be limited to only one approach, as long as the welfare of the horse is always the first consideration. I will also include a Professional Corner for my colleagues to address subjects that affect all of us in the equestrian business. We will build the site based on what viewers really want to learn about, and cover a gamut of information able to satisfy grassroots riders as well as professionals.” Viewers can expect their journey in the disciplines of classical dressage, western dressage, and hunter/jumper competition to be enhanced by this fresh new approach to education.
Haist also continually strives to promote rider education and impart information that appeals to beginners and professionals alike. She understands the complexities of achieving bit fitting success, and developing a good horse-and-rider connection. To give back to the equestrian community, and to give riders the opportunity to try bits before purchase, The Horse of Course offers the “bit bank.” This is a collection of bits exclusively available for loan so that horses and riders can try them out commitment-free to find the perfect bit.
The Horse of Course offers even more than customized bit fitting services. The full-service tack shop is known for selling the latest in equestrian fashions and top-quality equipment, as well as offering professional saddle fitting services. Patrons can choose from top brands like KEP Italia, Ronner, IAGO, Style Stock, Micklem, Dobert, LotusRomeo, EGO7, euro-star, Passier, Neue Schule, König, Grand Prix, and Pikeur. For more information, visit The Horse of Course online at www.thehorseofcourse.com, at Facebook or Instagram, or call 888-494-6773. And don’t forget subscribe to Dressage Corner this summer to see Haist and Bender’s educational bit about bits. Learn more at http://heatherbender.com/.
Photo: Bitting expert Beth Haist of The Horse of Course and Heather Bender of Dressage Corner, With a Little Help From My Friends talk about bits and achieving the proper fit (Photo courtesy of Dressage Corner)
U.S. Combined Driving Champion Chester Weber Announces European Tournament Schedule
Ocala, Florida (May 19, 2017) – Chester Weber, 14-time USEF National Combined Driving Champion, is taking his show on the road – or, more accurately, across the Atlantic – to spend over four months competing in Europe with Jane Clark's and Weber's four-in-hand KWPN team.
No stranger to international success, Weber has three World Equestrian Games Silver Medals under his belt and made history in 2012 by becoming the first American to win an Individual Silver Medal in the Four-In-Hand FEI World Driving Championships. He won England's Royal Windsor CAI3* two years in a row and was congratulated personally by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In 2014, Weber made the record books again as the first American to win the Four-In-Hand division at the CHIO Aachen. Weber made another trip to the International winner's podium in the summer of 2016, when he took top honors at the CAI 3* tournament in Drebkau, Germany, and later took third overall at the CAIO 4* of the CHIO Aachen World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany. He then rounded out his tournament schedule by finishing fourth individually at the 2016 FEI World Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand in Breda, the Netherlands.
"Europe is not only where the world's top drivers often come from, but it is also where the heart of the sport lies," Weber said. "If you want to break into the top five in the world rankings, you have to go there to compete against the other teams in the top five."
Never afraid to test his skills against his peers at the top of the sport, Weber is eagerly anticipating his annual trip to compete in Europe. This summer's European tour will serve him and his equine team as ongoing preparation for the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina.
"We have a couple new horses on the team this year that we feel pretty bullish about, but our big goal right now is preparing the horses for the World Equestrian Games, so that's what this summer’s about," Weber stated.
Weber knows that being a top contender in Europe will depend not only on his horses' fitness, but also on himself and his entire team. Weber and his staff have been dedicated to keeping themselves in as peak athletic condition as their horses are. "We take our preparation for Europe very seriously – not only the horses, but the entire team," said Weber.
Weber and Jane Clark's team of KWPN horses will depart the United States on May 27, and return in early September. Weber will be staying in the U.S. a bit longer than the horses, as his wife just delivered a baby boy, Hugo Wyatt Weber, on May 16. The family will enjoy some quality family time with the newest addition to Team Weber while the horses and the rest of his team settle into their stable in Frankfurt, Germany, which will serve as their home away from home while abroad.
Team Weber will kick off the summer European tour in Saumur, France, at the Saumur CAIO4* from June 7-11, where Weber won first place in 2014. Weber's European schedule includes competitions in France, Germany, and The Netherlands, as follows:
- June 7 – 11 Saumur CAIO4* -- France
- June 22-25, Riesenbeck CAI3* -- Germany
- July 19-23, World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen, Germany
- August 3-6, Beekbergen CAI3* -- The Netherlands
- September 8-10, Breda CAIO4* World Driving Championships – The Netherlands
This year, Weber's team includes some younger horses that will be touring Europe for their first time. These newer horses have been proving themselves in their latest U.S. competitions, keeping Team Weber's dressage scores in the mid 30's. Weber is confident that his team has now hit its stride and is ready to dazzle the judges and fans in Europe.
Weber, who continues to be a leading figure in the international world of four-in-hand combined driving, is also dedicated to promoting the equestrian sport wherever his travels lead him. For Team Weber updates, results, photos, and combined driving news, follow Chester Weber on his official Facebook page, Instagram @ChesterWeber, or visit www.chesterweber.com.
Photo: Fourteen-time U.S. National Combined Driving Champion Chester Weber held his own amongst the best drivers in the world at the 2016 CHIO Aachen World Equestrian Festival, where Weber took third place individually. (Photo courtesy of Marie De Ronde-Oudemans)
Olympic Dressage Riders Kasey Perry-Glass and Allison Brock Could Teach a Clinic at Your Barn
Wayzata, MN (May 17, 2017) – Most equestrians dream of riding under the guidance of the sport's superstars, but few are able to turn that dream into reality – but thanks to Triple Crown® Nutrition, Custom Saddlery, and Dressage Today, the dream is coming true for one lucky rider at the end of this month.
Through Dressage Today's Win a Day Contest, a lucky dressage rider will win a free clinic with their choice of one of three top Olympic riders: Kasey Perry-Glass, Allison Brock, or Steffen Peters. The three were part of the U.S. Dressage Bronze Medal Team in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Triple Crown is sponsoring the contest, and is especially excited to provide riders with the chance to learn from Triple Crown Ambassadors Kasey Perry-Glass and Allison Brock. Triple Crown is an equine feed company that has been in operation for nearly three decades, and is trusted by leading riders such as Perry-Glass and Brock for providing their horses with top-quality nutrition.
Perry-Glass explains, "As a professional and also as an athlete myself, I feel that nutrition plays a huge part in performance and training. If you don't fuel your body or the horse's body correctly, it can affect everything – mood, stamina, and energy. I really believe that having a quality feed is just so important."
Brock adds, "My working horses seem to do really well on Triple Crown's Low Starch, and my older gentlemen thrive on Triple Crown Senior," Brock said. "I have used the Triple Crown Safe Starch® Forage as well. I think it is important to be very sensitive to what kind of effect feed has on temperament and body condition."
With their tried-and-true knowledge of horse care and their status as leading U.S. dressage riders, Brock and Perry-Glass are prepared to share their wisdom with Win a Day contest winner and clinic participants. The winner of the contest will enjoy a clinic on their home turf with nine of their closest (and luckiest) friends.
Needless to say, this isn't a contest to overlook. Whether riders are just starting their dressage career or are quickly rising through the ranks, anyone can benefit from the wisdom of some of the sport's best riders.
Entry is simple. Just visit dressagetoday.com/page/winaday and fill out the form to explain in 250 words or less why you deserve to win the clinic. The contest will be open for entries through May 31, 2017.
Triple Crown, founded in 1989 and headquartered in Wayzata, Minnesota, is the first feed company to have added prebiotics, probiotics, and organic minerals to horse feed. The innovative company sells its outstanding product line through independent feed distributors across the United States. To learn more about Triple Crown feed products and why Olympians like Brock and Perry-Glass use them, please visit www.triplecrownfeed.com.
Photo: Through Dressage Today's Win a Day Contest, a lucky dressage rider can win a free clinic with their choice of one of three top Olympic riders, including Triple Crown Ambassadors Kasey Perry-Glass and Allison Brock (Photos courtesy of Susan J. Stickle)
Mustangs and Free Family Fun Day at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Jacksonville, FL (May 12, 2017) – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is pleased to offer the local community a day packed full of free activities and exhibitions on Saturday, May 20. Nearly everything will be totally free, and there's something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Head to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center to meet real wild mustangs, watch horses perform exciting feats, jump in a bounce house, get face painting and balloon animals, see a vintage mustang car show, go for pony rides, meet animals in the petting zoo, swim in an Olympic-sized pool, win prizes, and more.
One big draw of the Free Family Fun Day at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center will be the famous Extreme Mustang Makeover. The event will begin on May 18 and last through the Family Fun Day on May 20. The event features brave horse trainers who have taken on the extreme challenge of transforming a wild mustang from feral to rideable in just 100 days. Spectators will be on the edge of their seats as the versatility, talent, and courage of the American Mustang are showcased through anything from a mustang playing soccer to jumping over obstacles at liberty.
On May 20, horse lovers can watch Extreme Mustang Makeover events for free from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. This time will include a trail class and an exciting freestyle competition for the youth trainers and their mustangs. At 4:00 pm, the mustangs and trainers will be in the Jacksonville Equestrian Center barns to meet and greet fans.
While meeting the mustangs, don't forget about a different kind of horsepower: the Jacksonville Mustang Car Club will be on site with 15 – 20 unique mustang models on display beginning at 8:00 am on May 20.
Visitors can also make a big splash at the Family Fun Day in the Olympic-sized pool adjacent to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center's property, which will be open for swimming from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. There will be a $1.00 fee for Duval county residents and a $1.50 fee for all others.
Visitors are encouraged to bring just a few dollars for the food and snack concessions available around the facility.
There will be plenty for free events for kids from noon to 5:00 pm on May 20. Totally free festivities will include pony rides, a petting zoo, a bounce house, a magic show, face painting, and balloon animals. Parking is free, too!
Jacksonville's popular radio station Gator Country 99.9 FM won't be missing the event – Gator Country's Matt Basford will be broadcasting live from the Jacksonville Equestrian Center from 1:00 – 3:00 pm, and will be offering plenty of prizes to everyone at the facility. Prizes will include buy-one-get-one-free horse back riding coupons for the nearby Diamond D ranch, concert tickets, tickets to the Extreme Mustang Makeover Top Ten Freestyle Final on Saturday night, and more.
Anyone interested in staying after the Free Family Fun Day may purchase a ticket to the Extreme Mustang Makeover Top Ten Freestyle Finals, which will be held at 6:00 pm on May 20. The top ten trainers and their mustangs will try to out-do each others' performances by leaving audiences' jaws dropping at their uniquely spectacular feats. All adult trainers' mustangs will be available for adoption after the final performance via a competitive bid. Tickets to the Freestyle Final ($15.00 plus tax) can be purchased here.
The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is excited to invite the entire community to join in on the fun on May 20. To learn more about the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, which is home to community, recreational, and equestrian events year-round, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Alexis Newman at (904) 993-2053.
Free Family Fun Day at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center Schedule of Events
8:00 am – 4:00 pm: FREE admission to Extreme Mustang Makeover events
8:00 am – on: FREE admission to Jacksonville Mustang Car Club display
9:00 am – 6:00 pm: Swim in Olympic-sized pool ($1-$1.50 admission)
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: FREE meet mustangs in the Extreme Mustang Makeover
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm: FREE pony rides
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm: FREE petting zoo
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm: FREE bounce house
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm: FREE cowboy clowns with balloon animals & magic show
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm: FREE face painting
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm: FREE Gator Country 99.9 FM live broadcast with giveaways
Extreme Mustang Makeover Schedule of Events
Thursday, May 18
3:00 pm: Adult competitor Handling & Conditioning Class
6:00 pm: Youth competitor Handling & Conditioning Class
Friday, May 19
8:00 am – 11:00 am: Mustang Heritage Open Show Class (Pattern & Trail)
12:00 pm: Youth Mustang Trail Class
1:30 pm: Adult Mustang Maneuvers Class
Followed by "Meet the Mustangs"
5:00 pm: Mustang Education presented by Americas Mustang
5:30 pm: Heritage Open Show Freestyle Class
Saturday, May 20:
8:00 am – 10:30 am: Adult Trail Class
11:00 am: Mustang Education presented by Americas Mustang
12:00 pm: Top 10 Finalist Announcement & Awards Presentation
1:00 pm - 3:00: Youth and Mustang Freestyle Class and Awards
3:30 pm – 4:00 pm: Mustang Education presented by Americas Mustang
4:00 - 5:00 pm: "Meet the Mustangs Social" – STALL AREA
4:30 pm: All media and spectators must clear the building in preparation of Finals
4:45 pm: Doors open for evening show: ticket required
5:00 – 5:30 pm: Extreme Mustang Makeover Pre-Show
6:00 pm: Extreme Mustang Makeover Top 10 Freestyle Finals - Ticketed Event. Press Passes required for media.
Approx. 7:30 pm: Adoption - Auction of Adult horses
Mette Larsen of Neue Schule USA is Honored with Premier Equestrian Award for her Commitment to Bettering Horses' Lives
Ocala, FL (March 31, 2017) – Premier Equestrian, leading supplier of riding arenas, footing, and horse jumps, was pleased to recognize Mette Larsen, president and founder of Metlar, LLC & Neue Schule USA, the distributor of Neue Schule bits, as a "Premier Equestrian." Individuals selected to receive this honor are chosen because they have demonstrated a keen commitment to bettering the lives of horses through their equestrian pursuits and career. As the most recent recipient of the Premier Equestrian Award, Larsen was presented with a tri-colored ribbon and an engraved silver award tray for her accomplishments and contributions to the equestrian community.
Larsen, whose pursuits in the equestrian world span an impressively wide range, is not only a dressage competitor but also president and founder of Metlar, LLC & Neue Schule USA, the distributor of Neue Schule bits, which are especially designed for a horse's comfort. She also runs her own High Performance Farms in Ocala, Florida, where she offers training, retraining, and rehabilitation services. In addition to these pursuits, Larsen is a dedicated doctor of osteopathic medicine, and employs her depth of medical knowledge to benefit the horses on her farm.
When asked what drives her in her work, Larsen credits her innate love of the equine. "I'm driven by my love for horses and wanting to make a difference in how they are trained, treated, and thought of. At the farm, we train horses in all disciplines; dressage horses, hunter/jumpers, and the great horse that "stopped wanting to" because something went wrong or someone stopped listening. We break down the physical, emotional, and mental aspects of training and build a program that includes riding, turnout with or without other horses, what emotional support is needed, what physical support is needed, and what mental support or structure is needed. We also evaluate what equipment, saddles, and bits will help. Each horse is a new slate - a new creation, a new challenge for us to develop something both great and happy. This is what warms my heart."
Larsen is pleased to use her medical expertise and experience to give horses the love, good health, and quality of life that they deserve. Along with her diverse training program, she has an extensive arsenal of medical modalities she utilizes in caring for and treating her horses; both as athletes, and in the restorative treatment of old and new injuries. Larsen said, "Horses in our program have access to shockwave therapy, acupuncture and acupressure, essential oils, homeopathic medicine, electro-magnetic therapy, lasers, bach flower remedies, herb blankets, stretching techniques before and after riding, myofascial release, chiropractic, cranio-sacral treatments, high dose vitamin C therapy and Ozone to list a few."
"We pick and choose what a horse needs and add these treatments to their overall training programs" explained Larsen. "Ozone has been the most recent addition to our protocols, alone and in combination with other treatments. "It’s been amazing to see the profound response it has had in some really sick horses with infections, and in a recent case that was EPM positive with neurologic signs. It also expedites the healing progress that happens when treating injured horses. We also do a monthly maintenance protocol to boost their immune system and improve their overall well being, said Larsen. I just keep trying to learn how I can be a better horseman, healer, and champion for these incredible athletes we call horses."
Larsen's business pursuits with Neue Schule USA are also driven by a similar devotion to improving the lives of horses. When asked what sparked her involvement with Neue Schule, Larsen stated, "Neue Schule bits were the best made bits that I had ever seen anywhere in the world, and the company was committed to making good, kind, correct bits for horses. I needed to help get them known in the US and so here we are, bit by bit, one horse and one human at a time, working to make a difference."
Larsen, who was thrilled to be selected by Premier Equestrian for the honor, recognizes the importance of good footing. "It's all about the footing" observed Larsen. "Good footing makes for more confident horses and decreases the risks of injury. Thank you, Premier Equestrian, for helping our athletes have really good footing to train on."
Premier Equestrian was pleased to recognize Larsen among its circle of exceptional equestrians who share in the company's value of commitment to equine health and well-being. Premier Equestrian's top-quality riding surfaces are designed with a foundational knowledge of horse biomechanics in order to prevent injuries and maintain a horse's top body condition."
Based in Sandy, Utah, for over a decade, Premier Equestrian provides affordable, top-quality footing and arena equipment for all types of horses and disciplines. The company can drastically improve existing riding surfaces for a reasonable cost or can build a brand new state-of-the-art arena from the base up. Premier Equestrian has provided dressage arenas for top competitions such as the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships, the U.S. Dressage Finals, and the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Its arena footing is also installed at The Del Mar National horse show and its dressage arenas are being used at the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping & FEI Dressage Finals in Omaha, Nebraska.
The company also produces horse jumps, dressage arenas, barn and stable equipment, gifts, books, and DVDs. To find out more about the Premier Equestrian Award or to request a catalog, an arena footing sample, or arena sand analysis, call (800) 611-6109 or visit www.premierequestrian.com.
Photo: Mette Larsen of Neue Schule USA enjoys a quiet moment with her horses after being presented with the Premier Equestrian Award at High Performance Farms in Ocala, Florida. (Photo courtesy Christine Rose Photography)
Chester Weber Cinches 14th USEF Four-in-Hand National Championship
Ocala, FL (March 15, 2017) – Ocala's native combined driver Chester Weber reigned victorious this weekend, navigating his KWPN team to his 14th USEF Combined Driving Four-in-Hand National Championship on Sunday, March 12, at the 26th annual Live Oak International. After a show-stopping performance in the dressage phase with an impressive 36.51 score, Weber forged ahead to win the marathon phase with a 112.96. Team Weber then rounded out the week with the cones phase to finish with a final score of 154.70.
Weber was quick to credit his horses for the victory and thank his sponsors, and emphasized how pleased he is with the newest members of his and Jane Clark's hand-picked KWPN driving team. "Bastiaan and First Edition 'Edison' are fairly new additions to the team and they have clearly proved their merit. This is the first time we have had this group out together in competition. Finding that balance with utilizing the developing horses for competition and making sure we are as prepared as possible can be tricky, but I am pleased with the team's performance," Weber said.
"I was happy with the dressage score in the mid-thirties, and the consistency in my team's dressage scores all season," Weber added. "Last year, we did not have the consistency with the low to mid-thirty scores in dressage that the team is demonstrating this year. We are pleased to have hit our stride with the new horses."
As Co-President of the Live Oak International competition, Weber commented on the challenges of juggling his responsibilities as a competitor with his responsibilities as the ringmaster of the largest combined driving and show jumping event in the United States. The competition, set amidst the picturesque rolling hills of the Weber family's country estate in Ocala, was once again an exciting event for top equestrians and spectators alike. This year's legendary competitor's party was circus-themed, raising the bar yet again for next year's Live Oak International weekend.
Be sure to check out the pictures from the competition and Saturday's circus extravaganza on www.Facebook.com/LiveOakInternational. Follow Team Weber's tournament schedule on www.ChesterWeber.com as he prepares to take on competition in Europe this summer. Learn all about Chester Weber's latest results, favorite equestrian products, and his star four-in-hand team on his official social media sites on Facebook and Instagram @ChesterWeber.
Photo: Chester Weber wins 14th USEF Four-in-Hand National Championship at Live Oak International. Pictured (left to right) are Four-in-Hand drivers Allison Stroud, Chester Weber, Misdee Wrigley-Miller, and Paul Maye. (Photo courtesy of Picsofyou.com)
The HITS Keep on Coming with Neue Schule Bits
Ocala, FL (March 9, 2017) – Neue Schule USA, the Official Bit of HITS Horse Shows and the Official Bit of the US Equestrian, is continuing its commitment to hunter and jumper riders by sponsoring the 2017 HITS Winter, Spring, and Summer Series. This top-notch hunter and jumper show series includes the HITS Desert Circuit, HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, HITS Chicago Show Series, HITS Saugerties Series, HITS Culpeper Series, and the Marshall & Sterling Insurance League National Finals. Neue Schule USA is excited to partner with HITS, Inc., adding to the impressive roster of equestrian events that Neue Schule already actively supports, such as the USHJA National Hunter Derby, the Pennsylvania Horse Show, and the Equestrian Sport Productions' Holiday, Spring, Summer, and Fall show series.
As part of Neue Schule USA's generous sponsorship of HITS Horse Shows, the innovative bit company is the title sponsor of the Neue Schule Bit O' Straw Classic. The Neue Schule Bit O' Straw Classic will take place at each HITS location from coast to coast, and at hundreds of other horse shows across the country. Last year, approximately 400 exhibitors competed in the Bit O' Straw Hunter Classic at HITS shows and at nearly 900 other horse shows across the nation. So far this year, Neue Schule USA has been proud to recognize Bit O' Straw Classic winners Avery Schoen and Esteban La Paz (owned by Sonoma Velley Stables) at the Desert Circuit I in Thermal, California, Lily Rusis and her own Einstein at HITS Ocala and again at the Ocala January Festival, and Karen Trione and Fandango HK at both the Desert Circuit II and the Desert Circuit III in Thermal, California.
"We are excited to have Neue Schule on board this year," said HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri. "HITS aims to provide the most exclusive and top-caliber service to our clients, and we are enthusiastic about partnerships with companies that have that same goal in mind."
Neue Schule's commitment to promoting and rewarding hunter and jumper riders goes beyond sponsoring important horse shows. The company's bits are designed with the horse's comfort and welfare foremost in mind. The bits help riders communicate clearly with their mounts and are ergonomically designed, using the latest in engineering and CAD technologies. The company's top-quality products help horses achieve high performance and superior comfort in a variety of disciplines.
The Neue Schule design incorporates a uniquely warmer metal – Neue Schule Salox Gold®. This innovative material – a high-copper alloy with anti-tarnishing properties specifically designed as a mouthpiece material – is formulated for high thermal conductivity and promotes acceptance and relaxed communication. Neue Schule's design promotes comfort, softness, and relaxation in the horse's mouth for both professional and amateur riders. Top riders of all disciplines, including Neue Schule Ambassadors: Todd Minikus, Steffen and Shannon Peters, Laura Graves, Allison Springer, Danielle Goldstein, Kasey Perry Glass, Allison Brock, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz, and Katherine Bateson-Chandler, use Neue Schule bits.
Neue Schule is also committed to educating riders on proper bitting, and offers The Academy by Neue Schule, which is an online educational program designed to teach the principles of bitting. To learn more about The Academy, log onto https://academy.nsbits.com. To learn more about Neue Schule USA, visit us at www.BitByBitUSA.com or call 631-252-5574. You can also check out Neue Schule USA on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Neueschulebits/?fref=nf or on Instagram @neueschuleusa.
Wellington Insider Tours Offers March Madness Discount on Exclusive Tours of the Winter Equestrian Capital of the World
Wellington, FL (February 23, 2017) – Wellington, Florida, the Winter Equestrian Capital of the World, is internationally famous for its polo, show jumping, and dressage competitions throughout the winter season. To experience the heart of winter equestrian sports like a true Wellington insider, sign up for the complete experience with Wellington Insider Tours. Wellington Insider Tours is offering guests a special March Madness Discount for any tours during the month of March 2017, which is the final month of the winter equestrian show season. Each insider experience takes visitors on a journey through the elite equestrian community of Wellington to explore the area's distinctive attractions and attend top international horse shows.
Wellington Insider Tours is offering a 10-percent-off March Madness Discount on both its three-day Introductory Insider Tour and five-day Luxury Insider Tour. Additionally, visitors will receive a "Wellington Wallet," complete with gift certificates to local specialty equestrian boutiques.
Wellington Insider Tours brings guests to the front row for the action at legendary equestrian events, including Friday Night Stars Grand Prix Dressage Freestyle at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, Saturday Night Lights Grand Prix Show Jumping at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), and the Sunday afternoon polo matches at the International Polo Club of Palm Beach. Additionally, guests have the opportunity meet and learn directly from licensed judges and top competitors and get behind-the-scenes looks at the stables of elite equestrians, as well as visit local tack boutiques. Guided by knowledgeable and seasoned tour liaisons that are South Florida locals, guests will be able to experience everything that the unique Wellington equestrian community offers.
Wellington Insider Tours Founder Lisa El-Ramey (Hyslop), a longtime equestrian and Florida native, created this insider experience for equestrians after considering her own travel desires. "I came to realize that what I was searching for was actually missing from my own local area!" she said. "I enjoy traveling myself, and thought this would be a great way to introduce people to what so many of us 'locals' are fortunate enough to take for granted. There truly is nothing like Wellington's equestrian community in the Western Hemisphere, if not in the world."
Wellington Insider Tours offers two exciting tour packages: a three-day Introductory Insider Tour and a five-day Luxury Insider Tour. The five-day Luxury Insider Tour includes dining and spirits in the VIP Pavilion at the Global Dressage Festival and a signature Sunday afternoon champagne soiree at the polo grounds. Both packages include transportation and hotel accommodations for guests, who will spend their trip immersed in international dressage, show jumping, and polo competitions. Along with attending the exciting equestrian events, guests can enjoy the best beaches, spas, and golf courses in the area.
El-Ramey plans to show guests all that the village of Wellington has to offer during the month of March, and hopes each guest will leave with memories of the exceptional horses, riders, stabling, and great attractions in Palm Beach County.
"We want our guests to go home with a better understanding of our equestrian sports and the dedication that both human and horse athletes make to this endeavor!" she said.
To learn more about the exclusive Wellington Insider Tours packages and the special 10-percent-off March Madness Discount, visit www.WellingtonInsiderTours.com or call El-Ramey at 561-425-8566.
Photo: Wellington Insider Tours is now offering a March Madness Discount for all March tours in the Winter Equestrian Capital of the World (Photo courtesy of SocialCircuitEquine.com)
Breakfast with a Champion: 13-Time Combined Driving National Champion Chester Weber to be Keynote Speaker at Ocala ExCEPtional Breakfast
Ocala, FL (February 13, 2017) – Three-time World Equestrian Games Silver medalist and 13-time U.S. Four-in-Hand National Champion Chester Weber will be the keynote speaker for the February 15, 2017 exCEPtional Mornings Business Briefing Breakfast at the ITW Facility at Ocala Breeders' Sales in Ocala, Florida.
The event is put on by the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP).
Weber was tapped to present at the event because of both his significant accomplishments in the sport of combined driving and his family's multi-generational contributions to a range of equestrian sports – from racing, show jumping, and driving to hosting the Live Oak International, the largest equestrian competition to feature both jumping and driving in the U.S. The 26th Live Oak International will be held on March 9-12, 2017, on the pristine grounds of the 5,000-acre Weber family estate.
Director of Equine Engagement at the Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP) Louisa Barton explained, "We wanted our keynote speaker to be someone who is a superstar in Ocala and the surrounding area, and Chester certainly is that. We felt like we could highlight Live Oak International, which is a very important event in our community hosted at the Weber family's Live Oak Plantation. The Weber family is so rooted in the equine industry – not only in the four-in-hand, but in all aspects of the industry."
"The economic value of the equine industry in the Ocala/Marion County is estimated at 2.6 billion a year," Barton continued. "That's billion with a 'B' – and we feel like the Weber family is a big part of the equine industry here in Ocala. Whether you are a feed store, a tack store, a restaurant, or a grocery store in Ocala, you must certainly feel the impact of the equine industry."
When asked why he chose to take time out of his busy training and competition schedule to speak at the exCEPtional Mornings Business Briefing Breakfast, Weber said, "I want to spread awareness about Live Oak International and promote horse sports in general within the local community. This will be our 26th year hosting Live Oak, which is the largest spectator event in Marion County. Last year, we drew an audience of about 10,000."
Weber expounded, "The local impact is tremendous – the hotels are all fully booked that week. The restaurants are all full. Live Oak International appeals to equestrians and non-horse people, as well."
Barton said, "We really want to encourage people to come out and enjoy a day at Live Oak this year. Enjoy the rolling hills, the Spanish moss, and the lovely weather. The four-in hand obstacles are so exciting, whether you are a horse person or not!"
The exCEPtional Mornings Business Briefing Breakfast events offer CEP partners an opportunity to learn from keynote speakers like Chester Weber about topics of significance to the regional or national business scene, while also providing an opportunity to network.
For all news on Team Weber's latest achievements, upcoming events, and new horse additions, visit Team Weber's official Facebook, Instagram @ChesterWeber, and www.ChesterWeber.com. For information about attending Live Oak International, visit www.liveoakinernational.com. For information about the ExCEPtional Breakfast with keynote speaker Chester Weber, please call the CEP at 352-629- 8051.
Photo: Chester Weber in the Ariat Hazard at Live Oak International (Photo courtesy of Noelle Floyd)
Chester Weber Kicks Off 2017 Combined Driving Season with a Victory at Little Everglades CAI2*
Ocala, FL (February 4, 2017) – Team Weber opened the 2017 combined driving season with a victorious performance in the Little Everglades CAI2* on January 26-29 in Dade City, Florida, with three new additions to his four-in-hand team.
Chester Weber, three-time World Equestrian Games Silver medalist and 13-time U.S. Four-in-Hand National Champion, did not fail to live up to his reputation as 'Mr. Dressage' at Little Everglades. Weber piloted his carefully selected KWPN combination of Boris W, Bastiaan, Splash, and First Edition to a winning score of 35.90 in the dressage phase, taking a firm lead over their closest contender.
Swapping Splash for Gouvernor, Weber then delivered a fast marathon phase to hold the lead (143.06) going into cones. In the cones phase, America's only two-time Royal Windsor CAI3* winner wisely opted to keep the same foursome in harness, and finished with just 6.88 added penalties to their overall score. This resulted in a handy 50-point margin over a coast-to-coast roster of entries. Team Weber's overall score was 149.94 to secure the win at Little Everglades.
"Our focus is now on the national championship at Live Oak International in March. We feel like we had a pretty commanding lead at this last event, so we are feeling particularly bullish going into Live Oak," said Weber, of Ocala, Florida. The 2017 Live Oak International, held at the equestrian estate owned by the Weber family, will be held on March 9-12.
Weber was quick to credit his team and sponsors for his win at Little Everglades. "We are working with a relatively new group of horses. Gouvernor was part of our young horse program – we've had him since he was three. We've had Bastiaan, owned by Fritz Grupe, since mid-September. This was only their second show. Their last show was at Hermitage, and they have made real progress since then," said Weber.
"Jane Clark's Splash did a fantastic job. I was very pleased; the dressage judges all commented on the quality of the team and the movement - they were excited to see them continue to develop. That's always a great feeling."
Weber was particularly proud of the performance of another of his newer horses, First Edition, who had a rough introduction to his new home country after catching pneumonia while shipping to the United States in November. "First Edition, 'Edison' had an outstanding show in all three phases in the left lead. He is an eight-year-old that I think has big potential for the top of the international sport - evidenced by ending up with a dressage score in the mid-thirties and then having a dominating performance on marathon and cones."
It's no surprise to combined driving enthusiasts that Weber took home first place at his first show of 2017, as he closed 2016 as the top-placed American entry at the FEI World Four-in-Hand Championships in Breda, The Netherlands. Team Weber will next continue to hone its winning form by competing at The Florida Horse Park Spring Fling CDE/DT/CT (CAC) Driving Competition in Ocala February 17-19.
After Live Oak International in March, Weber and his team will forge ahead to Europe to compete at several top sport competitions including The World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen, and FEI World Championships for Four-in-Hand. Follow Team Weber's tournament schedule on www.ChesterWeber.com and learn all about Weber's latest results, favorite equestrian products, and his star four-in-hand team on his official social media sites on Facebook and Instagram @ChesterWeber.
Photo: Chester Weber and his team dominate the Four-in-Hand competition at Little Everglades. (Photo courtesy of Picsofyou.com)
PLEASE LOOK AND BEWARE OF PLASTIC IN HORSE FEED!
Be sure to check your horse feed as we found plastic lots (pictured nest to bag in photo below) in four bags.
World Equestrian Center South
Get ready Florida! The World Equestrian Center (WEC) is coming for you. WEC has partnered with Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club to develop a world-class equestrian sports venue in Central Florida.
Equestrian Spirits, Inc.
Providing unique opportunities for rescue and rehab horses to redefine their lives.
A revolution in horse transportation - pick your ride, pay from your smartphone, get ready to Equo!
International Combined Driver Chester Weber Launches New Website; 2017 Tournament Schedule Revealed
Ocala, FL (November 11, 2016) – International Four-in-Hand combined driving champion Chester Weber, of Ocala, Florida, has unveiled his newly streamlined website www.ChesterWeber.com. The fresh, dramatically updated website allows fans from around the world to learn all about Team Weber's latest competitions, sponsors, and new horses. Additionally, the website features Weber's 2017 Four-in-Hand tournament schedule.
Weber, a World Equestrian Games Silver Medalist and 13-time U.S. Four-in-Hand National Champion, will commence his 2017 season with national CAI2* competitions, including the Live Oak International CDE on March 7-12. Team Weber will then embark to Europe to take the international stage at hotly contested tournaments including the Royal Windsor Horse Show, the World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen, and the FEI World Championships for Four-in-Hand. To view Team Weber's full 2017 tournament schedule, click here.
During the 2016 competition season, Weber triumphed nationally by earning his 13th U.S. Four-in-Hand National Champion title before going on to win top honors at the Drebaku CAI3* tournament in Germany. Weber and Jane F. Clark's team of matched KWPN geldings then took third place overall in the CAIO4* at CHIO Aachen World Equestrian Festival in Germany before finishing the summer as the top-placed American at the FEI World Four-in-Hand Championships in Breda, the Netherlands.
Weber then returned to his Live Oak Plantation base in Ocala, Florida with two new additions to his talented team. Nobly named Gouvernor is a five-year-old KWPN gelding that was in training with Jan van den Berghe in Weber's Belgium-based young horse program since he was three years old. The other talented equine welcomed to Team Weber was 10-year-old KWNP gelding Bastiaan, who had been successful competing in pairs competitions with Hungarian driver Kristof Osztertag.
With new horses, a new website, and the same consistent history for victory in the four-in-hand division, the 2017 season is sure to be exciting for both Weber and his supporters.
Photo: International Four-in-Hand combined driving champion Chester Weber, of Ocala, Florida, has unveiled his newly streamlined website www.ChesterWeber.com.
Friesian Mare Trained by Suzy Stafford Wins TheraPlate Peak Performance Award at 2016 IFSHA World Championship
Springfield, OH (November 7, 2016) – Even for a breed that is world-famous for its majestic carriage, muscular legs, and luxurious mane, tail, and forelock, Gail Aumiller's 11-year-old Friesian mare Sjaantje is a showstopper. At the International Friesian Show Horse Association World & Grand National Championship Horse Show held at the Champions Center in Springfield, Ohio this October, Sjaantje stood out among the finest Friesian horses in the world for her exceptionally fit and athletic body condition. The judges were so impressed with Sjaantje that they presented her with the TheraPlate Peak Performance Award.
TheraPlate Revolution Therapy Platforms, the Official Therapy Plate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), awards the TheraPlate Peak Performance Award to horses that embody TheraPlate's core values of excellent equine fitness, soundness, and health. Sjaantje's health and build, in addition to her victories in most of her classes at the IFSHA World Championship, made her an ideal recipient for the TheraPlate Peak Performance Award.
Aumiller entered Sjaantje in 13 driving classes, of which she won nine World Champion titles and three Reserve Champion titles. In addition, the pair drove away with three perpetual trophies – the high score driven dressage trophy, the high point driving trophy, and the high point show horse trophy. "She was incredible," said Aumiller. "I was especially proud of winning the Dreams Come True Farm High Score Driven Dressage Perpetual Trophy when I drove her to a Preliminary Level Test 2 score of 73.75 percent, as I am very passionate about driven dressage."
Aumiller purchased Sjaantje in 2005 when she was just three days old, and had her and her dam imported to the U.S. when Sjaantje was one month old. She first competed Sjaantje in 2009 while training with Griffin Sport Horses in Virginia. "I was smitten with carriage pleasure driving, so in 2011 we began training with World Champion Driver and Gold Medalist Suzy Stafford," Aumiller explained. "Since then, we have been on an incredible journey with both Sjaantje and myself getting national accolades that I had never even known existed!" The pair did not show in 2014 or 2015, as Sjaantje was bred and on maternity leave, so 2016 has been an especially exciting year for them as they returned to the show ring. Based out of Dreams Come True Farm in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, they are currently wintering in Ocala, Florida at Suzy Stafford's training facility, Stafford Carriage Driving.
The key to keeping Sjaantje so fit for competition, said Aumiller, is making sure that she receives multiple forms of exercise during her daily training routines. "My trainer mostly drives, but occasionally rides her five days a week for an hour, so she is really in good condition during the show season."
Sjaantje was presented with a TheraPlate Peak Performance Award silver engraved tray and ribbon. Aumiller was pleased to win TheraPlate's award, as she has used the company's innovative therapy platforms before and is planning to try them out with Sjaantje through the company's free three-week trial, an offer which is open to anyone and can be claimed by visiting the TheraPlate website www.theraplate.com. "I first heard of TheraPlate when Griffin Sport Horses became a dealer, and I have used it myself," she explained. "My trainer, Suzy Stafford, has been wanting to try that piece of equipment and has many more horses who she can try it with when she moves her training barn to Ocala, Florida for the winter. We plan to arrange our three-week trial then."
With a TheraPlate, achieving fitness is as easy as stepping onto the therapy platform. TheraPlate Revolution Therapy Platforms is dedicated to helping horses achieve the fitness levels necessary to excel in any discipline. TheraPlate's benefits include increased bone strength, muscle mass, hoof growth, and circulation; reduced inflammation, injuries, pain, healing time, and stress; and improved balance, joint health, and function.
To find out more about TheraPlate and how it can help your horse reach fitness levels worthy of the TheraPlate Peak Performance Award, visit www.theraplate.com or call (800) 920-3685.
Photo: Sjaantje, owned by Gail Aumiller (far left) and trained by Suzy Stafford (in carriage), won the TheraPlate Peak Performance Award at the 2016 International Friesian Show Horse Association World & Grand National Championship Horse Show (Photo courtesy of Avalon Photography)
Chester Weber's Beloved Jamaica Turns 25
From Rescue Horse to USEF Horse of the Year
Ocala, FL (February 5, 2016) — He was the international rags to riches story that won the hearts of America and the world. A Dutch-bred gelding destined for slaughter who proved too high-spirited for a job pulling a city carriage, then plucked from obscurity by one of the greatest four-in-hand drivers in history. He became a champion whose steel shoes were gifted to Prince Phillip by President Obama, and who was commemorated as a Breyer™ horse model. His athleticism and driving honors earned him the title of 2008 USEF Horse of the Year, and made him a 2013 inductee into the EQUUS Foundation Horse Hall of Fame.
We know him as the horse called Jamaica, whose 25 extraordinary years so far on this planet were recently celebrated by his loving owner, Chester Weber, at Live Oak Stud farm in Ocala, Florida. Weber, a three-time World Equestrian Games Silver medalist and 12-time U.S. National Four-in-Hand champion, is proud to have had Jamaica as his partner and companion for many years.
Jamaica's story began in 1991 in Holland, when the partbred bay Hackney gelding, sired by British stallion Cambridge Cole (Walton Searchlight x Cambridge Madge) out of a mare with the inviting name of Welkom, was destined for slaughter. Jamaica's fate changed when he was found by Belgian driver and FEI official Mark Wenten, who brought the gelding into a service role as a tourist carriage horse in the city of Bruges, Belgium. Jamaica's notorious impatience for standing still to allow visitors into a carriage proved precisely the kind of get-up-and-go attitude that Wenten knew his friend Weber was seeking in a new wheel horse. Weber purchased Jamaica from Wenten in 2001.
Jamaica demonstrated aptitude for going in the wheel for the opening phase for 'Mr. Dressage' (as Weber has been dubbed thanks to his extraordinary success in the dressage phase), and left lead for the marathons. This placement became integral to an award-winning Team Weber, whose victory laps included seven National titles, a Silver Medal at the 2008 World FEI Championships, and the USEF National Combined Driving Single Horse Championship perpetual trophy named in Jamaica's honor. In 2008, Jamaica was recognized with the Farnam Platform Horse of the Year award from the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), and received one ton of Platform feed. Jamaica and Weber in turn paid-it-forward by donating the feed to two different horse rescue organizations.
In his role as an 'equine ambassador,’ Jamaica also participated in 'Kiss the Horse' literacy campaigns, was featured in three books (For The Love Of The Horse, Volume III; True Horse Stories; and Beloved Horses in Second Careers), and raised funds for ReRun Thoroughbreds by painting a "Moneigh" masterpiece with his muzzle. Furthermore, when President Obama was searching for the perfect gift for Prince Phillip, he requested Jamaica's shoes from Weber, which now hang in the Royal Stables.
In 2011, amid fans, family, and friends at the Live Oak International CAI-B, Weber retired his four-legged teammate. Now age 25, Jamaica has been basking in golden retirement at Weber's Live Oak Stud property.
Team up with Team Weber and the horses that continue the tradition of the great Jamaica as they seek to qualify for the 2016 World Four-in-Hand Championships in Breda this summer. Follow news, live posts, video and photo galleries, and preferred product reviews at www.chesterweber.com.
Photo courtesy of Warmbloods Today Magazine
Team Weber Sets a Winning Tone in Dressage as
2015 Hermitage Classic CDE and Fall Festival Opens
Goshen, KY (October 16, 2015) — The sixth annual Hermitage Classic CDE and Fall Festival, October 16-18, officially began with the FEI 2* driving competition's dressage phase on the grounds of Goshen, Kentucky's historic Hermitage farm. The event has so far lived up to all promises of breathtaking landscapes, Kentucky southern socials, and, of course, the festival's main attraction — world-class combined driving. Twelve-time USEF Four-in-Hand National Champion Chester Weber entered the dressage arena Friday morning with his dynamic KWPN team leading his carriage.
As Chester Weber went in to the Hermitage Classic's FEI 2* opening phase of competition, he had a deep well of talent to draw from in his and Jane F. Clark's team of KWPN bays. Weber brought Boris W, Danzer, Para, and Ultra, plus new talents Erik and Zeppelin Let's W to Goshen, Kentucky. “I used Zeppelin and Ultra in the lead, and Danzer and Boris in the wheel in the dressage phase,” Weber said.
His decision proved wise, as Team Weber's results were nothing short of winning for the horseman dubbed 'Mr. Dressage.' Weber credited his team for their 40.82 points overall for the first-place position going into Saturday's marathon: “The horses were great. I am very pleased with them all, and plan to drive the same team tomorrow.” Leading on a 74.5 percent overall, Team Weber will face the marathon questions of multiple world championship combined driving course designer Barry Hunter of Great Britain.
Questions, said Leslie Cashion of the Hermitage Classic CDE committee, that will demand drivers' answers. &lduo;I think one of our toughest hazards in the marathon is the newest one, which is an actual tepee and totem pole. It presents an interesting and challenging element,” Cashion stated.
“We are excited for this year's event to be bigger than ever and to be able to share the festival with the community,” said Cashion. “The Hermitage Classic CDE is growing bigger and reaching more people from farther away each year.”
As dressage concludes, Weber looks forward to driving into the marathon phase tomorrow, and maintaining his team's strength throughout the entirety of the Hermitage Classic CDE. Team up with Team Weber and follow news, live posts, video and photo galleries, and preferred product reviews at www.chesterweber.com.
Photos Courtesy of Pics of You