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Chester Weber Earns 12th USEF National Four-in-Hand Championship
Chester Weber wins the 2015 Kentucky Classic CAI2* and earns his 12th USEF National Four-in-Hand Championship title (Photo courtesy of Pics Of You)
Chester Weber wins the Marathon phase at the 2015 Kentucky Classic CAI2*, leading to his historic 12th U.S. Four-in-Hand national title. (Photo courtesy of Pics Of You)
The Kentucky Classic is a 4-day combined driving event, held October 2-5, 2015 at the Kentucky Horse Park, with preliminary, intermediate, and advanced level divisions and featured the USEF National Four-in-Hand Championship. The advanced-level competition was an FEI-level two-star (CAI**) event.
Team Weber delivered clean and decisive victories across a spectrum of phases and weather conditions: first place (38.07) in Dressage, first place (145.92) in Marathon, and first place (3.00) in Cones.
The four-in-hand division opened under dark and rainy skies, necessitating the relocation of the dressage tests from the grass arena into the Rolex Stadium. A fresh combination of KWPN Dutch Warmblood veterans Ultra, Para, and Boris W, paired with rising star Danzer, didn’t miss a beat. The team delivered brilliant trot work and a confident rein back.
Eleven-time U.S. National Four-in-Hand Driving champion Chester Weber of Ocala, Florida finished first in dressage with a score of 38.07 in the opening FEI 2* Horse Teams Dressage phase of the 2015 CAI2* Kentucky Classic CDE in Lexington, KY.
“I was really pleased with my and Jane Clark's team (in dressage),” said Weber, who is seeking his 12th National Championship with several new and younger horses in front of him. “It was exciting to have the younger horses do so well and the Rolex Stadium had a nice feel.” Inclement weather had moved the dressage phase from its traditional grass arena to the Rolex Stadium.
The Ground Jury of Martha Hanks-Nicoli (USA), Marsoe LaRose (CAN) and Nikke Palsson (SWE), rewarded Team Weber for their trot work brilliance and strong rein back with a decisive 38.07 score, establishing an almost 10-point lead ahead of closest (45.05) contender, Allison Stroud, who was in second after dressage. Misdee Wrigley-Miller was a close third with 45.44 points.
Despite a continuation of the inclement weather into Saturday’s Marathon, Team Weber’s performance remained unbeatable. They won the cross-country Marathon, and also posted the fastest times in their division on five of course designer Richard Nicoll’s seven obstacles. “The horses were very fresh in the cool, damp weather in Kentucky this past weekend,” Weber added.
Team Weber added 107.85 penalty points after Marathon, which kept them in the lead going into Sunday’s cones phase. James Fairclough moved up to second place with 116.00 points. Allison Stroud dropped to third with 126.90 points; and Misdee Wrigley-Miller dropped to fourth with 135.78 penalty points.
In the Cones phase, Weber remained in the lead, with a single ball at cone 5 added just three penalties to an overall 148.92 score. Fairclough retained second with 4.94 penalty points. Stroud and Wrigley-Miller retained their third and fourth positions respectively with 6.00 penalty points each.
When the final scores were tallied, the winner was Chester Weber with 148.92 points. Fairclough finished second with 166.48 points. Stroud finished third with 177.95 points. And Wrigley-Miller finished fourth with 187.22points.
“I was pleased with the team, they worked well together,” Weber said. “I had Boris in the left wheel and Para in the right wheel. I have driven them a lot this way, but I haven’t really competed them in the cones phase. I was pleased with how they handled everything. Unfortunately, I had one down that I think Danzer kicked. He is inexperienced, so the way that the course was set up – having to drive between two cars – made him unsure. He lost his concentration, and dropped out of the contact. Besides that I was pleased. We drove to plan and it was pretty straightforward.”
Find more information on the Kentucky Classic CDE at: kentuckyclassiccde.com
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