Gladstone, NJ—April 11, 2002—James Fairclough of Newton, NJ and Kate Shields of Middleburg VA, won the USET World Championship selection trials at the Georgia International Combined Driving Event in Conyers, Georgia.
Fairclough, current USET Four-In-Hand Champion, was second to Chester Weber in the Four-In-Hand World Championship selection trial after dressage. Marathon day held a surprise as Fairclough and Weber finished the marathon with the same score, leaving Weber with a 2.6 point lead in the overall competition. Sunday’s cones competition was the deciding factor in Fairclough’s victory, as Weber had two balls down, to Fairclough’s one, giving Fairclough the victory.
The Four-In-Hand World Championship will be held as part of the World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, September 18-21.
Besting a field of 10, Kate Shields, driving her own “Hastening Mayflower,” won the selection trial for the Singles World Championship to be held in Conty, France, August 28 – September 1 . Shields won the dressage phase with a score of 41.7, followed by Fred Merriam of Brattleboro, VT, with 44.0 and Kelly Valdes with 46.3. The marathon was won by Merriam driving Winchester Stables’ “Gaitwood Lightwing”, which moved him into the overall lead over Shields and Valdes, driving her “White Hall”. Ultimately, with 16 penalty points accrued in cones, Merriam lost his lead to Shields.
All of the first three placing singles drivers had just participated in a USET Training Session in Aiken, SC given by Lisa Singer, and hosted by Jack Wetzel, the week before this competition.