Experienced World Driving Championship pair drivers Kathrin and Scott Dancer (California) will lead the U.S. team into the 2015 FEI World Pair Driving Championship Hungary this weekend. Jacob Arnold (North Carolina) will round out the U.S. team as they take on a field of sixty-four competitors from nineteen nations. Thorsten Zarembowicz is serving as chef d'equipe, and Michael Freund is the team coach.
The U.S. trio will take on the formidable Hungarians and Germans, the 2013 FEI World Pair Driving Champion and Reserve Champion teams, respectively. Hungarian and German drivers made up the top eight overall in the 2013 World Championship. Hungary returns three drivers from its 2013 World Champion team: brothers Vilmos and Zoltán Lázár, the 2013 individual champion and third-place finisher, respectively, and Márk Osztertág, who finished seventh. Germany returns two drivers: Sebastian Warneck, the 2013 reserve champion, and sixth-place finisher Arndt Lörcher.
The U.S. team understands the challenging international competition it is up against. Arnold competed in the 2014 FEI World Driving Championship for Singles and won the marathon phase, Scott Dancer competed on the fourth-place U.S. team at the 2013 World Championship, and Kathrin Dancer participated in the 2011 FEI World Pair Driving Championship. The Dancers have been training for two years with their coach, Gerard Leijten, a member of the Dutch pairs team that won the gold medal at CAIO4* Riesenbeck in 2014. They also have been competing internationally throughout the year. Arnold made the jump to pair driving this year and is coming off a great July in international competition. He won the pairs division at a CAI3* World Cup competition in the Czech Republic, and finished tenth at CAIO Riesenbeck in Germany.
During this week's championship, Scott Dancer will drive Carumbus, a stallion of unknown breeding owned by Wayne Van Niekirk; Dapper, a KWPN gelding owned by Jan Greve; and Deniro, his own KWPN gelding. Kathrin Dancer brings Joop van den Bruel, a Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Scott Dancer; her own and Scott Dancer's Redford, a Hessen gelding; and her own and Scott Dancer's Wimbledon, a KWPN gelding. Arnold will team up with Dax 62, a Westphalian gelding owned by Lajos Móró; Janni 12, a gelding of unknown breeding owned by Marco Freund; and Twilight, a KWPN gelding owned by Belle Grey Farm, LLC.
The 2015 FEI World Pair Driving Championship starts tomorrow with the first section of dressage. For news updates from the championship, visit the event website.