Lexington, KY - Drivers from nine countries presented 130 horses to the Ground Jury for the World Driving Championships at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Seven horses were held for re-inspection. Regrettably, Nordby Shadow's Sam Spade and Nordby Shadow's Rocky, presented by the United States' David Saunders were not accepted. Also not accepted were Lucky Boy presented by Deborah Laderoute (CAN), and Red-Run presented by Ludwig Weinmayr (GER). Twenty-five drivers will contest the Championships with seven countries represented in team competition. David Saunders was named to represent the U.S. as an individual; the U.S. will now be represented by six individuals and a team of three drivers:
Jim Fairclough/51/Newtown, NJ
Tucker Johnson/46/Hobe Sound, FL
Chester Weber/35/Ocala, FL
Josh Rector/28/Phoenix, AZ
Bill Long/65/Southern Pines, NC
Mike McLennan/65/Brenham, TX
Cindy O'Reilly/47/Cameron, NC
Gary Stover/61/Southern Pines, NC
Casey Zubek/53/Manhattan, IL
Fairclough, Johnson and Weber represented the U.S. together at the 2002 Jerez, Spain World Equestrian Games and earned the Team Silver medal. Between the three team members they have won the USEF Four-in-Hand National Championship 17 times and have each represented the U.S. in many World Championships. The individual drivers for the U.S. include veteran Long, who has represented the U.S. in six World Championships and O'Reilly who is one of only two female drivers at the Games. The team is under the leadership of Chef d'Equipe Ed Young.
Today the drivers paraded their teams in the Driving Stadium for the Driving Presentation, a fiercely contested best turned-out competition. Teams are judged by three judges located around the dressage arena at E, C and B. Every inch of the team's presentation was inspected in five categories, with deductions being made from a perfect score of 50. It was a U.S. sweep of the presentation with Weber taking top bragging rights, earning a score of 49.5, Fairclough was second with a 48.33 and Johnson was third with 48.17.
Photo: Chester Weber and his team. Photo by Shannon Brinkman for USEF.