Ocala, FL - The last time Chester Weber competed at England's Royal Windsor CAI3* was 1996, when he took his victory lap with a horse pair. Eighteen years and 11 national four-in-hand team titles later, he has won there again. Weber, who is the first American to win the Four-in-Hand division in almost three decades, also posted one of only three double clear performances in the final cones phase of the Land Rover International Grand Prix's hotly-contested challenge. During the awards presentation Weber was congratuated by Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II.
“This really means a lot to me – to win at Royal Windsor is particularly special,” said Weber, of Ocala, FL. Driving the matched team KWPN bay geldings he co-owns with Jane Clark, the reigning USEF National Four-in-Hand champion set an early five-point lead over six-time IDGP winner, Boyd Exell of Australia, and a judicious pace through the marathon, finishing fourth overall but still keeping a lead of more than two penalties over the Australian whip.
Three penalties in the cones phase cost Exell any advantage he may have hoped to leverage to claim the lead while a picture-perfect performance by Team Weber (one of only three double clears in the class, which hosted 32 competitors from 13 countries) assured a win and smile 18 years in the making.
“I was overjoyed with the performance from our team. Not only did the horses show they are in their best form ever, but the countless hours put forth by the people in the background made this win extra special,” said a proud Weber.
“We are on the way back to Frankfurt where we will prepare for Saumur in a few weeks.” Last June, Weber set the tone for a superb international campaign towards Aachen, returning to France's Saumur CAI-A4 for the first time since 2001 and winning all three phases – including his first international marathon victory – of the 2013 Saumur CAI-A4.
Weber’s horses are no strangers to royal treatment. In 2011, Weber was asked to donate a pair of horse shoes from his horse Jamaica, the 2008 Horse of the Year and a horse he rescued from slaughter, to be a gift from the Obamas to Prince Phiilip during their state visit to the United Kingdom. Jamaica shoes now hang in the Royal Stables in London and Weber had a chance to talk with Prince Phillip during the show.
Team Weber is keeping an eye on the prize representing the U.S. this summer at the 2014 World Equestrian Games-Normandy. Follow them at www.chesterweber.com and via Facebook.