Raeford, N.C. - A talented field of 11 drivers descends upon Raeford, N.C., this weekend as they look to lay claim on the 2014 USEF National Single Horse Driving Championship. The annual championship will be held in conjunction with the Southern Pines CDE, April 11-13, at the Carolina Horse Park. Competition gets underway Friday with the dressage, with drivers heading out on the marathon course the following day. Sunday hosts the final phase of competition as the 2014 champion will be crowned at the conclusion of the cones.
Reigning USEF National Single Horse Driving Champion Leslie Berndl (Newcastle, Calif.) and her own 13-year-old KWPN gelding Uminco, head to the Carolina Horse Park with their sights firmly set on retaining their title. They come into the weekend on strong form after earning a victory at the Kingdom of the Sun CDE and second-place finishes at Sunshine State and Live Oak this winter.
Additionally, a pair of former USEF National Combined Driving Single Pony Champions look to earn their first Single Horse National title. Suzy Stafford (Wilmington, Del.) has three Single Pony Championship titles (2004, 2008, and 2009) to her name and heads into the weekend with her own seven-year-old Morgan mare PVF Peace of Mind after having won at Live Oak three weeks ago. Sara Schmitt (Flemington, N.J.) earned the Single Pony title in 2005 and 2007 and looks to add a Single Horse Championship to her resume. She and her own eight-year-old Friesian Heritage mare Savannah enter Southern Pines after having earned seventh- and sixth-place finishes at Kingdom of the Sun and Live Oak, respectively.
Also lining up this weekend is 2011 USEF Junior Equestrian of the Year, Jacob Arnold, who has been training with Four-in-Hand National Champion Chester Weber as part of the Live Oak Combined Driving Developing Driver Program. Arnold (Snow Camp, N.C.) and Ijsbrand Chardon's 11-year-old KWPN gelding Whopper has been enjoying a 2014 season earning a fifth-place finish at Kingdom of the Sun and driving to third place at Live Oak.
This weekend will be doubly important for Single Horse drivers as it also serves as a Selection Trial for the 2014 FEI Single World Driving Championship.
To learn more about the Southern Pines CDE visit; http://www.carolinahorsepark.com/events/driving/2014/4/southern-pines-co...
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