|Click for larger image. Chester Weber is tied for the lead after day one of combined driving. Photo: Leslie Potter
The first day of the combined driving world championship at the World Equestrian Games ended with the unlikely result of a tie for first place. With scores of 35.97, Chester Weber of the United States and Ijsbrand Chardon of the Netherlands shared the top spot on the leaderboard after their dressage tests on Thursday. Theo Timmerman, also of the Netherlands, is in third place.
“I was quite pleased with my test today,” said Weber. “My horses’ movement was fantastic. They really wake up in a stadium like that.”
Weber’s team for dressage consists of four bay Warmblood geldings. Three are 13 years old and one is 10. His famous Jamaica, the USEF horse of the year for 2008, is now 19 years old and did not make the trip to the WEG.
Combined driving is scored in the same way as eventing with points representing penalties so the winning score is actually the lowest. In driven dressage, horses are tested through various elements including extended trots, circles, halting and backing and are judged on their quiet, mannerly execution of the test. Unlike ridden dressage, drivers are permitted to use vocal commands to guide their horses.
|Click for larger image. Deborah Laderoute of Canada is one of only two women competing in combined driving at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Photo: Leslie Potter
Due in part to the expense of transporting four horses and two carriages overseas, many European countries did not send full driving teams to Kentucky. Combined Driving is still a young sport in the United States, and the American drivers are taking advantage of this world championship on their own turf. The U.S. team consists of three drivers: Weber, James Fairclough, and Tucker Johnson. Six other Americans are competing as individuals. A seventh individual, David Saunders, withdrew after two of his horses did not pass the initial inspection on Wednesday.
The dressage phase of the four-in-hand world championship continues on Friday with Boyd Exell, one of the favorites, still to compete.
For full results, visit www.alltechfeigames.com/results
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