OCALA, Florida - On March 9-12, Ocala, Fla., will be the backdrop for a one-of-a-kind, world class sporting event. Top equestrians and equine athletes will compete in show jumping and combined driving at the Live Oak International. And the stakes are high; it will be the last chance this season for show jumping riders to qualify to compete at the World Cup Final of Show Jumping, March 29-April 2, in Omaha, Neb.
As the last leg of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping North American League, riders not yet qualified for the World Cup Final will be pulling out all the stops to win the $100,000 CSI-W3* Longines FEI World Cup Qualifier, presented by Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, on Sunday, March 12. Leading up to the big class will be the $10,000 Waldron Private Wealth 1.40m Power and Speed and $35,000 Hollow Creek FarmCSI3* Longines World Ranking Class Qualifier on Friday, March 10 and the $35,000 Sovaro CSI3* Longines World Ranking Competition on Saturday, March 11.
"We are very excited to be this year's final qualifying leg for the Longines FEI World Cup," said Chester Weber, co-president of the event. "We are expecting competitors from some 20 countries and the stakes are high, so this will be an intensely exciting event that you will not want to miss!"
As if that isn't enough excitement for one weekend, four USEF National Champions will be crowned in combined driving. Top combined driving athletes competing in Four-In-Hand Horse, Pair Horse, Four-In-Hand Pony, Pair Pony and FEI Single Pony will dazzle crowds with their elegance, strength and stamina throughout the weekend at Live Oak Plantation. Driving begins with Dressage on Thursday, March 9; continues with the thrilling Marathon on Saturday, March 11 and concludes with the culminating Obstacles on Sunday, March 12.
Competition begins each day at 9:00 a.m. and continues through the afternoon. Over 10,000 spectators attend each year so everyone will want to be sure to arrive early. General admission tickets are now available online or at the gate for $10 per person, with proceeds going to Marion Therapeutic Riding Association. Children under 12 receive free admission. Parking for the event is free.
Live Oak International offers spectators a unique opportunity to get a true front row seat for the action during the marathon phase of the combined driving event. You and your friends can get a clear view of the horses and carriages as they speed through the complicated made of fences or splash through the water hazards. Every spot includes a 12x12 space with 1 vehicle pass and 6 general admission tickets. If you've not seen the combined driving marathon phase, few sporting events - equestrian or otherwise - can match it for breathtaking excitement! A limited number of tailgating locations are available at each of the seven obstacles during the marathon portion of the event on Saturday, March 11, 2017. Act quickly, because the best spots go fast! Sign up online at https://liveoakinternational.com/product/liveoak-tailgate-reservation.
Attendance at Live Oak International offers spectators a rare chance to visit the normally private Live Oak Plantation, known for its outstanding race horse breeding operation as well as its 1,000-head beef cattle operation. Now in its 26th year, the event counts among its competitors some of the world's leading drivers, riders, trainers, coaches and owners from over 20 countries in both disciplines.
For the non-horse enthusiast, come test drive a new Porsche, shop the beautiful jewelry designs of Lugano Diamonds, or let Joan Pletcher show you the hottest real estate available in Ocala.
"We would like to thank all of our sponsors who have made Live Oak International possible," said Juliet W. Reid, co-president of the event. "Several of our sponsors have been with us from the very beginning!"
General admission tickets, week passes and tailgate reservations are all available online at https://liveoakinternational.com/shop/.