Images by picsofyou.com Kate Shields (Middleburg, Virginia) was the the first competitor in the single horse division of the Kentucky Classic CDE, which is hosting the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Singles and Four-in-Hand Driving National Championships setting the bar. With her own Welsh Cobb gelding Hastings Winslow she earned a 45.87 penalty score and will hold the lead entering Saturday's marathon. Shields, had a tune up the week before in Rapidan Virginia at Riverbend Farm presented by the James River Driving Association with World Champion Driver Suzy Stafford who gave her a "new gear" with Winston. Shields an accomplished Dressage trainer does a significant amount of training her driving horses under saddle. In her new Bennington Presentation carriage Shields negotiated the Advanced test in the Grass Driving arena at the Kentucky Horse Park which doubles as a polo field. Shields a long the breeder of quality Welsh Cobbs for dressage and hunter jumper in addition to Combined Driving. Winslow showed his quality uphill trot and extensions. Canter movements are included in the Advanced Driving Dressage test, as well as specific movements where the driver has the reins in one hand while holding the whip out with the other.
Leslie Berndl (Newcastle, California) gave Shields a challenge and put herself in good position with a 46.29. Finishing third were Donna Crookston (Saltsburg, Pennsylvania) and RG Cowboy's Black Cadillac on a score of 58.03.
Leading the Four-In-Hand Division USEF Driving veteran Chester Weber (Ocala, Florida) was earned a stellar 33.74. He'll be the first four-in-hand driver on the marathon course Saturday where he'll look to further his lead. In second after dressage is James Fairclough (Newtown, New Jersey), he earned a 50.06. Sitting third is Casey Zubek (Manhattan, Illinois)with a score of 57.34.
For National Championship updates over the weekend search the hashtag #KentuckyClassicCDE on twitter.
Cross country begins on Saturday at 9:30 AM at the Kentucky Horse Park.