U.S. Drivers Weber and Johnson Off to a Winning Start at World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen
RELEASE: July 3, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Joanie Morris
Lexington, KY - Two of the top U.S. drivers are taking on some of the world’s best at the World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen in Aachen, Germany as part of their important preparation for the 2008 World Driving Championships. After the dressage, U.S. drivers Chester Weber and Tucker Johnson are sitting comfortably in first and third.
Weber, the current USEF National Champion, bested a star studded field of 25 four-in-hands to go into the lead after the dressage on a score of 36.48. Driving Grumus, Jamaica, Rolex W and Senate he put in his customary elegant performance in the first phase.
“They are really seasoned,” said Weber. “They were perfectly round, moving big. The lead pair look like a perfect couple. They have great expression and movement, they have their ears forward and are happy doing their job. The expression and presence is really great.”
The 33-year-old Ocala, FL driver drove the same horses at the 2006 World Equestrian Games achieving a very similar result.
“I haven’t had them all together since 2006,” said Weber. “The score is about the same so I think it is a bright future for the Americans for the summer.”
Weber looks forward to Saturday’s marathon.
“The marathon course, it’s always tough here,” said Weber. “I start out really early in the morning, we’ve had quite a bit of rain so that’s good that I go early I think. I want to build the marathon up between now and the World Championships. I don’t think we’ll win the marathon but I want to stay close. It will take some luck but my intention is to try. I’m a fighter.”
Eight points behind Weber is another U.S. driving veteran: Tucker Johnson. Johnson, of Hobe Sound, FL drove Argus, Spotlight, Williams and Der Consul to a score of 44.42. Johnson’s horses have been based in Europe with Michael Freund but he has driven lightly over the past two years.
“I was very excited after such a long hiatus from international competition that I was able to come back and put in such a respectable score and finish so well in such a strong field,” said Johnson. “My last major competition was the World Equestrian Games and I only did one national show in America last year in October. I was very nervous I wouldn’t have it together enough. Michael had them very well prepared.”
The U.S. is the only country with two drivers in the top five and only Sweden has two in the top 10 (placed eighth and 10th), giving the Americans a large lead in the team competition. Weber and Johnson scores combined for 80.90, followed by the Netherlands with 96.13 and Switzerland on 99.97.
“Today puts us in a very good chance as a nation,” said Johnson. “Chester drove the best test I’ve seen him drive. As a nation we are about 16 points in the lead. It is a big deal to go out of first day that far in front.”
The marathon gets underway Saturday morning at 2.00 p.m. local time. For live scoring and complete results, please see http://www.chioaachen.de/default_e.asp.
For more information, please contact Joanie Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org.