As 18 four-in-hand teams battle stateside for US team slots at the World Equestrian Games, a well respected US driver has slipped back onto the radar. Tucker Johnson of Oldwick, NJ and Hobe Sound, FL made a re-appearance at the FEI level in Germany last weekend winning the dressage at CAI-A Donaueschingen with a 42.75. Even more remarkable is the fact that he did this with a team he has only driven a few times and with a last minute leader replacement.
phelpsphoto: Tucker Johnson and organizer for the driving at the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games - Susan Gilliland
With a respectable Marathon showing and one ball down in Cones on Sunday, Johnson’s return to the limelight came with a third place to eventual winner Theo Timmerman and second place Koos de Ronde, ,both of the Netherlands. A little more than 10 points separated the three in the final results.
For the past several years Johnson has been missing from the US CDE scene opting to spend time with his family including a daughter and two young sons. In 2008, Johnson got his foot back in the door by competing in Europe with an 8th in Aachen, 3rd in Riesenbeck and finishing 16th at the World Championships. On this side of the pond, Johnson could be found at coaching outings with the US Four-in-Hand Club, most recently in Newport, RI. With one team here in the US, another has been kept in training with Michael Freund in Germany. Between the two groups of horses, Tucker will have his pick of the top four among the teams to compete in Europe this spring.
That choice will allow him to have a resounding edge in the WEG selections and put him back in top contention with his close friend and rival Chester Weber of Ocala, FL. It’s an easy prediction to say that Johnson and Weber will represent the cream of the crop for the US as the WEG looms on the horizon.
Complete results for CAI-A Donaueschingen can be found on www.hoefnet.nl.