Ocala, Fla.—Many of the world’s most talented equestrians will again descend upon Ocala’s Live Oak Plantation this spring for the largest combined driving and show jumping event in the United States. For the third year in a row, US Equestrian has named Live Oak International as the host for the USEF Combined Driving Advanced Four- in-Hand Horse National Championships, but this year, champions will also be crowned in Ocala for the new intermediate divisions of Single Pony, Pair Pony, Pony Team, Single Horse, Pair Horse, and Four-in- Hand Horse.
Chester Weber, who won the USEF Four-In- Hand National Championship at Live Oak International last year for a record 14th title, is also the founder of the event. “We are excited to welcome competitors in the new USEF intermediate divisions to the world-class competition at Live Oak International,” Weber said. “We’re also honored to again host the advanced four-in- hand championships, and look forward to welcoming leading drivers, horses, trainers and coaches from Europe and North America.”
While not vying for a national championship, top-level show jumping athletes will have their eyes on another prize—a ticket to Paris, France for the Longines FEI World Cup Final. The Live Oak International Grand Prix is the final chance to qualify for the international indoor show jumping championship.
In 2012, Weber and his sister, Juliet W. Reid, collaborated on the effort to bring show jumping to Live Oak International. As the event has grown, so has the familial involvement. Reid’s daughter Chloe is a show jumper at the sport’s top level, and a regular competitor at the event. This year she hopes to make her first trip to a Longines FEI World Cup Final.
“Last year my top horse had been injured, so although I wanted to make the World Cup a goal with him, we weren’t able to qualify. This year, however, we hope take advantage of the [Live Oak International] Grand Prix as our last chance to get points for the [Longines FEI World Cup] Final,” said Chloe, who has maintained top international placings since her sixth-place finish in last year’s LOI Grand Prix. “But no matter what, this is always a special event for my family.”
Live Oak Plantation is first and foremost the home of Live Oak Stud, a Thoroughbred breeding and training business owned by Charlotte C. Weber, Chester and Juliet’s mother, and Chloe’s grandmother. Besides being the location of Chester’s Live Oak Combined Driving, and the venue for Live Oak International, the Weber property is home to the 2017 $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile winner, World Approval. World Approval is the second Breeders’ Cup winner that Mrs. Weber has bred, in addition to many other stakes-winning horses of note. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Live Oak Plantation, and the Weber’s continue to prove that equestrian excellence runs in the family.
Live Oak International has now grown to be the largest spectator event in Ocala, and receives support from notable sponsors including but not limited to Longines, Horse Network, Lugano Diamonds, Golden Ocala, Hollow Creek Farm, Palm Chevrolet, and Hilton Ocala. For more information about the event, visit www.liveoakinternational.com.