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Lucky 13 For Team Weber at 2016 Live Oak International


2016/03/03


Ocala, FL (February 29, 2016) Chester Weber has set the bar even higher for four-in-hand driving, winning a record thirteenth USEF National Four-in-Hand Championship the weekend in February. “Thirteen is a lucky number in my family. We try our hardest. It’s not just me driving – there is a wonderful support team behind me. Everybody works as hard as they can to get it done,” said 13-time champion, Chester Weber at the conclusion of the 25th edition of the Live Oak International driving event. The 2016 Live Oak International horse show, held on February 25-28, 2016, presented the USEF National Four-in-Hand Championship on the 5,000-acre Ocala, Florida equestrian estate owned by the Weber family.

Weber piloted the four stalwart bay KWPN geldings co-owned with Jane Forbes Clark  -  Boris W, Danzer, Para, and Ultra – in dressage, then swapped Para out for Team Weber’s new rising star Amadeus in marathon and cones. Team Weber drove to a decisive 173.20 points overall to finish 38 points ahead of closest contenders, Pennsylvania whip Allison Stroud (211.62) and fellow Florida horseman Craig Grange (260.89).

Weber, known internationally as “Mr. Dressage,” drove the team to a fluid win in the opening dressage phase on Thursday and set a commanding lead after Saturday's marathon to drive towards a “lucky” 13th title. “I was really, really pleased. It was a great day for driving and I was really tickled with the horses. They did a great job. That’s what we are here for; it’s about the horses,” Weber commented.

The horses amply delivered for Weber and Clark, posting the fastest times across six of the seven obstacles on the spacious outdoor marathon course created by Gabor Fintha to add just 118.70 penalties to their first day score. On Sunday's closing cones phase, Team Weber dropped just a single tennis ball atop cone six to incur minimal penalties and clinch the championship title.

“This team is going to be really competitive internationally,” said Weber. “This was a real test of driving every step, because the course shared an arena set with show jumping fences. The course at the FEI Worlds probably won't have jumps in it, but will certainly offer its own technical challenges. There was a great atmosphere in our arena, similar to a World Championships.”

The FEI Four-in-Hand and Single Horse divisions at Live Oak International served as selection trials for drivers aiming for the 2016 FEI World Driving Championships, to be held on August 31- September 4 in Breda, The Netherlands. 

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