Chester County, PA - May 19, 2011 - Gold medalist Suzy Stafford has been long-listed for the 2011 FEI World Pony Driving Championships with her registered half Arabian mare Miss Josephine. Stafford operates her Stafford Carriage Driving facility out of Chester County in Pennsylvania from April to December and is stationed in Aiken, South Carolina from January through April.
“I am very excited that Josephine has been long-listed for the Pony Driving Championships,” Stafford said. “I have owned her since September of 2010 and she doesn’t have quite the show experience that many of the other ponies I have competed had, but she does have the quality and the talent to win. I am confident she will be ready for the World Championships by September.”
Although their partnership is relatively new, Stafford and Josephine have already proven they have the drive to win. The pair won the Reserve National Single Pony Championships at Live Oak International earlier this year and as the most consistent competitors in three selection trials held in Florida, Stafford and Josephine drove away as the winners of the Triple Crown of Driving sponsored by Live Oak International, the Sunshine State CDE and Little Everglades CDE.
“Josephine has a lot of natural ability and I am excited to see what she will do in the future,” Stafford said. “I bought Josephine from Wendy O’Brien, who had purchased her as part of a pair, but she didn’t match the other pony. Josephine needs to gain more experience, but she is well on her way to doing that and her future looks great.”
Stafford said her goal for the 2011 World Pony Driving Championships is to win medals and represent the United States to the best of her ability, which isn’t a surprise coming from the highly decorated driver. “At the 2005 World Pony Championships I won an Individual Gold Medal with Cefnoakpark Bouncer and in 2007 Bouncer and I won a Team Bronze. Then in 2009, I won an Individual Bronze with Courage To Lead owned by Beverly Lesher,” Stafford said. “I am really excited to be chosen again and even more excited that Josephine will have a shot at making history. No other registered Arabian or part Arabian has ever competed on the team, so she will make history one way or another!”
Stafford also made history when in 2009 she was awarded the Becky Hart Trophy by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and she also received the prestigious honor of being named an Equestrian of Honor by the USEF. The Chronicle of the Horse named Stafford the 2005 and 2009 Horseman of the Year; Stafford and Courage To Lead were crowned the 2009 National Single Pony Champion at the Kentucky Classic CDE. Courage To Lead was also named a Horse of Honor by the USEF, one of only five horses in the United States to receive the honor.
“I have a great team of sponsors who really support me, both financially and through products,” Stafford said. “I appreciate all that my sponsors do for me. Traveling overseas with all of the equipment, carriages and horse is extremely expensive. The backing of my sponsors, owners and clients make this possible for me. We are a team and I am so grateful for that.”
Stafford is a highly sought after clinician and also trains horses and teaches students out of her Stafford Carriage Driving facility. To learn more about Stafford, visit her website at www.staffordcarriagedriving.com.