The 22 ponies of the eight American competitors at the World Combined Pony Championships in Greven-Bockholt, Germany, passed the veterinary inspection on Wednesday morning without problems.
Single pony drivers Sherri Dolan, Sara Schmitt and Suzy Stafford, pony pair competitors Miranda Cadwell and Tracey Morgan and pony team drivers Kathleen Whaley, Laurie Astegiano and Allison Stroud presented their adorable ponies to the veterinary delegates and judges in Greven.
Team USA arrived in Greven after a stay at the stables of successful Dutch four-in-hand driver and trainer, Koos de Ronde in Zwartewaal, The Netherlands.
Chef d’Equipe Chester Weber and Team Trainer Boyd Exell from Australia, both top competitors in World Four-in-Hand Driving with Individual Silver and Bronze medals in 2008, and veterinarian Rüdiger Brems from Germany complete the team.
Weber is very pleased with his team. “Everything seems to be in good order; the ponies are all fit and ready for the competition,” he said. “The U.S. competitors are nearly all experienced World Championship drivers, which makes the atmosphere in the camp very relaxed.”
Biggest Field of Competitors Ever
Ninety drivers from 18 nations will compete in the single, pair and four-in-hand classes for the individual titles. This is the biggest field of competitors in history of the World Combined Pony Driving Championships, which celebrates its fourth anniversary in Greven.
Nine countries will field teams that will battle for the team medals at the site of riding and driving center, Greven-Bockholt in Greven, a small village close to the Northern German city of Münster.
Each nation’s team consists of a minimum of one and a maximum of two single, pair and four-in-hand drivers. In addition, the championship is open to individual competitors (maximum one per nation per class) as well.
Greven has hosted national and international driving competitions for many years and the Organizing Committee was also responsible for the 2008 World Driving Championship for the disabled.
Miranda Cadwell is defending her World title in the pony pairs class she won in Dorthealyst in 2007. Titleholder in the pony teams class, Jan de Boer from The Netherlands, and single pony World Champion Peter Koux from Denmark are also competing to defend their titles.
Home nation Germany has the advantage of defending its Team Gold medal on home soil.
Germany’s Dr. Wolfgang Asendorf, who was also responsible for the course at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Aachen in 2006, is responsible for the course design in Greven. The Jury is chaired by Hans-Peter Rüschlin from Switzerland and is completed by Gé König from the Netherlands, Klaus Peppersack from Germany, Anne Marie Turbé from France and A