Ocala, FL - March 25, 2011 - Four United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Driving National Championship titles are at stake at the 2011 CAI-B Live Oak in Ocala, FL, as Ponies (four-in-hand, singles and pairs) and Horse Pairs vie for top honors. The first phase of competition for the FEI classes - dressage - is now complete.
Shelly Temple of Windsor, SC, put herself well ahead of the competition, winning the FEI single pony dressage with a score of 41.60. Driving her Morgan, LR Ami B-Line, Temple was happy with her score. "With Michael Freund's help, we are working toward elevation and expression," she said. "It's challenging to do both and be accurate and consistent." Temple is pleased with the progress they are making, but said she knows that there is still work to do. "Michael and Fred (Freund, Michael's brother) have been a tremendous help to us all."
Jennifer Matheson of Aiken, SC, earned a dressage score of 50.82 driving Katrina Becker's pair of German riding ponies, Danyloo and Topper. Matheson is the defending USEF pair pony champion and hopes to make it two in a row.
The lone entry in the FEI pony four-in-hand class was Allison Stroud of West Grove, PA. Stroud scored 52.48 with her four Connemara ponies.
One point separates Misdee Wrigley-Miller from Joe Yoder after dressage in the FEI horse pair class. Wrigley-Miller scored 45.95 to stand first in dressage. President of the Jury Diana Brownlie noted, "The first two places showed some excellent basic paces and some nice movements which bodes well for the future of the U.S. Team. They were also notable for their excellent presentation."
The best dressage score in the FEI single horse class was earned by Marcie Quist of Vass, NC, driving her nine-year-old Hackney gelding, Halstead's Shale. "I was really pleased, but disappointed that I had that mistake in the reinback," she said. "We got into a spot I couldn't get him to back up."
Hometown favorite Chester Weber gave himself a more than 22-point cushion to take into the marathon, earning 37.63 penalty points from the five-person jury. Weber this spring is driving two new horses provided by his sponsor Jane Clark. "They are a welcome addition to the program," Weber said. "They've added depth and they've added quality. It takes a little time to figure out where they best fit, so we're working on it slowly. This is the third competition they've done but never in the same position."
Intermediate and preliminary competitors will drive their dressage tests today.