• USEF Network Horses and riders are at Lamplight this week for the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage Natl Championships http://t.co/DSf90A 8/21/2014 9:52:15 AM
  • USEF Network Waiting for a haircut? #USEFNetwork waits with you. #YourSportYourPlace http://t.co/5Ap74nWycI 8/20/2014 4:23:48 PM
  • USEF Network Update: We WILL be streaming the Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships this weekend. http://t.co/xgFuEmG7GK 8/20/2014 1:35:21 PM
  • USEF Network USEF Names Combinations for 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games U.S. Vaulting Team http://t.co/g7aOXXVl8C 8/20/2014 10:24:47 AM
  • USEF Network This side-by-side vid of hunter superstars ✨, Liza Boyd & Jen Alfano at #HunterDerbyChamps has 10k views already http://t.co/d3GUv4vKLX 8/19/2014 1:10:09 PM
  • USEF You can count the days on one hand, and hold a thumb up at the end. 👍 #WEG2014 is almost here. http://t.co/3zkZVDXJD7 Retweeted by USEFNetwork 8/19/2014 11:14:43 AM
  • USEF Network @MaddyBirks If you haven't found it already, the WCHS is streaming on the KSF website this year: http://t.co/mFVTMxxc8S 8/19/2014 9:39:25 AM
  • USEF Network @HorseShowTutor Glad you enjoyed the video :). Next time we tweet about it we will put the "e" on both sides too :) 8/17/2014 8:57:58 AM
  • USEF Network This is our first @instagram post to get 100 likes http://t.co/JMoNOlxcOV No surprise, it features Brunello & Liza Boyd 😄#HunterDerbyC 8/17/2014 8:56:23 AM
  • USEF Network Watch: Brunello and Jersey Boy #HunterDerbyChamps hand rounds side-by-sid - https://t.co/oYUnRAkN8i 8/17/2014 8:01:16 AM


Chester Weber, Suzy Stafford Take Early Leads Following Yellowframe Farm FEI Driven Dressage

RELEASE: March 20, 2014

Chester Weber and his team during the Yellowframe Farm FEI Driven Dressage. (Photo courtesy of PicsofYou.com)
Chester Weber and his team during the Yellowframe Farm FEI Driven Dressage. (Photo courtesy of PicsofYou.com)
Ocala, FL
 - The 2014 Live Oak International is underway, bringing the best competitors in show jumping and combined driving to Live Oak Plantation in Ocala, Florida.  The prestigious competition, considered the premier combined driving event in North America, was favored with flawless weather and a strong showing of appreciative spectators as the equestrian extravaganza began.

Wednesday opened with FEI Horse Inspections for the Combined Driving Event (CDE) whose modern roots trace to 1968 when Britain’s Prince Philip, then-president of the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), initiated the formulation of international rules for a sport performed by countless generations around the world.

The first phase of the CAI Live Oak International kicked off Thursday morning at 9am with the FEI driven dressage (from the French word, ‘to train’) that tested each driver and team with a prescribed sequence of movements, driven from memory, and executed within the parameters of lettered markers around the arena.

“Today was great sport and I have high hopes for the rest of the weekend,” said Chester Weber.  Facing a roster of challengers from the United States and Canada, defending Four-in-Hand champion Weber is seeded first (78.1%) in the FEI Four-in-Hand Horse USEF National Championship sponsored by Ariat with a better than 10-point lead ahead of closest contender and last year’s Pair Horse champion at Live Oak, Misdee Wrigley-Miller (67.5%). Proving once again why his crisp presentation and accuracy have earned Weber the nickname, Mr. Dressage, judges Skar, Turbe, Counsell, Nicoli and Christ all scored him handily (35.02 points) for this first of three deciding phases.

USA driver Suzy Stafford leads in the FEI Single Horse division, with a 74.3% top score ahead of closest contender, Leslie Berndl’s (USA) 71.9%.  Stafford trained for a career as a dressage and combined training instructor before a leg injury ended her riding career but became a boon to American combined driving.  In 2001, she began working with seven-time US National Pair Driving champion Lisa Singer and has since become one of the most respected lady whips in the world, as well as a top contender for Live Oak’s Single Horse driving crown.

During the lunch break, the Budweiser Clydesdales put on an impressive display with their six-in-hand, a remarkable spectacle that will be repeated on Saturday before the $50,000 Live Oak International CSI**-W Grand Prix.  Ten-time National Four-in-Hand champion, Chester Weber, who is hosting the equestrian extravaganza at his family’s Live Oak Plantation, was first introduced to driving taking the reins of Clydesdale horses.

USA drivers currently seeded first include Tracey Morgan, who leads (70.5%) the FEI Single Pony sponsored by Hillcroft Farm; Boots Wright leads in Intermediate Pair Pony (74.3%). Wiebe Dragstra is at the top in the Intermediate Pair Horse (73.3%), as is Steve Wilson and his Lipizzaners in the FEI Pair Horse (67.6%). 

Germany’s Carola Slater-Diener closes the first day of competition as its highest-placed international entry, leading (64.7%) the FEI Pair Pony, sponsored by Hillcroft Farm, ahead of US driver Jennifer Matheson (64%).

As glorious as any competing team was the special lunchtime appearance of the stars of the Superbowl TV commercials:  the Budweiser Clydesdales.  More than 16 tons of groomed horses and gleaming tack, hitched to a vintage Studebaker beer wagon, drew waves of fans of all ages as they effortlessly figure-eighted their way around the arena.

Thursday will open with the FEI Horse Inspection for show jumping horses and the Driving Marathon Course Inspection, followed by the Competitor’s Welcome event at 6pm.

Friday promises to be a day of exciting competition, offering the Intermediate Driven Dressage, the $5,000 1.30m Joan Pletcher Realty Power and Speed class, and $10,000 Waldron Wealth Welcome Stake.

Admission is $10 at the gate for adults and $5 for seniors and children under 12. It is strongly recommended that spectators bring lawn chairs. Concessions and a Vendor Village will be open during the entire competition. Tailgating is available for the Driving Marathon Saturday. To reserve a tailgating space contact 352-207-3615.

For more information on Live Oak International, including a full schedule of events, visit their website at www.liveoakinternational.com.  Listen to live radio broadcasts on Friday morning, 9:30-11 a.m. on WOCA 96.3FM/1370AM and Saturday morning, 8-9 a.m. on NBC Sports Radio 100.1FM/900AM.