OCALA, Fla--Chester Weber won a record 16th Four-in-Hand National Championship title, Steve Wilson won the Advanced Pairs Combined Driving National Championshipand Brian Moggre won the $100,000 World Cup class at Live Oak International on March 10..
Weber of Ocala, the Tryon World Equestrian Games individual silver and team gold medalist, had the lead in the Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship from start to finish.
He accurately navigated his team of Amadeus, Hendrik, First Edition and Gouveneu through razor thin margins, leaving all the balls on their cones and adding just 1.56 time penalties for a final result of 166.13.
"I was pleased to start the weekend with a dressage score in the 30s," said Weber. "In the dressage I used two horses that were different from my WEG team, so I was pleased with that depth. Today in the cones I put the two leaders that I drove last season together because they're my strongest combination. I drove my 7-year-old, Henrik, again as well. He's gotten better and better. He's telling me that he's ready for the big stuff in Europe."
Misdee Wrigley-Miller of Paris, Ky., won the Reserve Championship.
SHE AND the team of of Bolino D, Calipso 86, Daan 8 and Saco, demonstrated a brilliant display of harmony through the tricky course to add 36.32 points for a final score of 222.46.
"The dressage and cones arena here is second to none anywhere in the world," said Wrigley-Miller. "There's no other place where you navigate around jumps in your cones course. It makes it very challenging in that way, but I was very happy with my horses."
Paul Maye's expert work through the cones phase moved him up into third place with the Harmony Sporthorse's foursome of Harmony's Cotessa, Harmony's Zandoburga, Harmony's Zeppelin and Harmony's Ziezo, just beating out Lisa Stroud of Kennett Square, Pa.
He had three balls, down, but the fastest time of the group with only 1.28 penalties added to end on a three-day score of 226.58.
"I consider myself the rookie since it's only my third year in Four-in-Hand," said Maye. "The highlight this weekend for me was my two young horses. It's their first time at Live Oak, and they performed magnificently the whole weekend."
Weber had also had a dominating performance across all seven hazards of the marathon at Live oak International to carry 164.57 points into the final cones phase.
"I couldn't be more pleased with the horses," said Weber after the marathon. "The team of horses did a fantastic job and really tried their hearts out. I drove a new combination in the lead, First Edition, whom I had all last season, together with a horse named Gouveneur,. Gouveneur was a little shocked by the crowd, but he grew as the course went and got better and better, so that was really nice."
Wrigley-Miller, despite a last minute change to her team, made quick work of the track to finish second in that phase with 186.14 points.
"I did not have my same marathon team that I had at WEG," said Wrigley-Miller. "Part of it was by design and part of it definitely was not. My normal right-wheeler is no longer with me, so I had to turn to my old man, who is 20-years-old. I said, 'Saco, Sorry old man. You're up again.' And he just absolutely delivered for me today."
Stroud kept hold of third place with a two-phase score of 204.91.
"I enjoyed all the hazards, I always do here. This is a combination I haven't driven a lot, and they really rose to the challenge. I was really pleased with them. I had a great day," Stroud said. "This is the best event in America and I love being here!"
WILSON OF Louisville, Ky., won his 4th Advanced Pair National Championship after the final cones phase with Favory Fantom and Favory Fáraó.
With four balls coming down and an addition of 8.4 time penalties, Wilson ended on 203.91 points.
He also celebrated his success with his grandson, 18-year-old Avery Wilson, who also won this weekend in the Intermediate Pairs division.
"The course here was extremely advanced, and I'm always intent on doing the best I can," Wilson said. "This was a day to be doubly nervous because Avery was competing. He won, so that was a good inspiration for me. I was delighted, and really proud of Avery and his accomplishments. He helped me win as well."
Wilson took over the lead of the Advanced Pairs after a brilliant performance in the marathon phase with a score of 183.71.
"I always love competing here at Live Oak," said Wilson. "It's the most challenging course in America. This was the first time I had driven this pair together. Initially they didn't look like they'd make a great pair, but they worked really well together. They worked hard for me, and I was really pleased with the results."
IN A FIELD full of experience and talent, it was the the young, 17-year-old Brian Moggre, who won the $100,000 Jumping World Cup qualifier on Ocala Sunday.
Riding MTM Vivre le Reve, Moggre, who also won Friday's $35,700 CSI3* World Ranking Competition, earned the first clear round of the jump-off, and his red hot time of 41.29 seconds was unmatched by the rest of the group.
"I have to say I had low expectations for myself, but I never do for my horses," said Moggre of his first time riding in a World Cup class. "I really wanted to go in today and jump a clear round. That was the main goal, so once that happened I went pedal to the metal in the jump-off."
Of the 38 starters, six made it to the jump-off over the course designed by Olaf Peterson, Jr.
The exciting jump-off thrilled the crowd of nearly 5,000 spectators which brought to total for this year's Live Oak International to a record 15,000.
Of the six who returned to test their skill against the clock, only three, Moggre, second-placed Andre Thieme and third-placed Sharn Wordley, jumped a final clear round.
Germany's Thieme made quick work of the track with Aretino for second place, finishing in 41.56 seconds.
New Zealand Olympic veteran Sharn Wordley on Casper finished in 43.96 for third.
"We had a good show, we always have a good show here," said Wordley. "I've been coming since its inception, and it's a favorite of mine on the circuit. Sometimes you have shows you just do well at, and I always do well here, so I keep it on my calendar. This is one of the nicest horse shows you can find anywhere. The facility is magnificent, and I tip my hat to Chester and Juliet for all they do."
Sunday's $100,000 World Cup was the last chance for U.S. riders to qualify for the 2019 World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Live Oak International is the only show in the United States that offers both combined driving and show jumping, attracting some of the country's most talented riders and drivers.