Lipica, Slovenia – The world’s best pair drivers have traveled to the famed Lipica Stud Farm to prove their mettle against stiff competition in the FEI World Driving Championships for Pairs from September 20-24.
The U.S. team of Kathrin Dancer, Vernon Helmuth, and Steve Wilson will drive under the expert guidance of Chef d’Equipe Laurie Astegiano, Assistant Chef d'Equipe Danielle Aamodt, and Team Coach Thorsten Zarembowicz. After a week of intensive training in Austria, the U.S. driving athletes are poised to have strong performances.
Dancer (Woodside, Calif.) had respectable performances at European combined driving events (CDE) in preparation for her third world championships. She will drive Redford, the 18-year-old Hessen gelding she owns with her husband Scott Dancer; Watson, the 18-year-old Hanoverian gelding she also owns with Scott Dancer; and Joop van den Bruel, Scott Dancer’s eight-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding. In 2015, Dancer competed with this same group of horses to finish in 18th place in that year’s FEI World Driving Championships for Pairs, and she hopes to improve upon that placing.
Helmuth (Lodi, Calif.) has been diligently training for his world championships debut. He will partner with Firminus, Erwin Gillinger’s seven-year-old KWPN gelding; Cobold 44, Rafael Wojtacha’s nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding; and Incitato Kaplar, Attila Újházi and Koch’s Torma Hung. Kft.’s 10-year-old Lippizan gelding. Helmuth has had solid results while competing in Europe this spring and summer, highlighted by a ninth-place finish in the CAI3*-H2 division at CAI Chablis in France.
Wilson (Louisville, KY), a three-time USEF Pair Horse Combined Driving National Champion, also makes his world championship debut in Lipica. He will drive Endorro, his eight-year-old KWPN gelding; Mr Lindsey G, his 13-year-old KWPN gelding; and Favory Franky, his 15-year-old Lippizan gelding. After winning Palm Tree CDE at Little Everglades and Live Oak International CDE earlier this year, Wilson gained more experience on the European circuit over the summer. Most recently, he and his horses finished 11th in the CAI3*-H2 division at CAI Ptakowice in Poland.