Weirsdale, FL- Gold Medalist Suzy Stafford gave “Demi-Mer” a six year old American Warmblood gelding a confident drive for the Win at the prestigious Grand Oaks Classic Carriage Driving Show. Stafford decided to use Grand Oaks as “Duo’s” maiden voyage in the show ring. The pairs first ring class of the day was the turn-out class. The class was well attended with entries in the double digits and the arena was filled with many beautiful turn-outs and seasoned competitors. Stafford and “Demi-Mer” bested the competition winning the class with a steady performance and a beautiful picture. “What an experience this show was for me, I had never shown myself at this venue. The show has the most gorgeous layout and the grounds are kept impeccably. “Duo” as we call him at home showed himself very well. He had never been in the ring with other horses and was a bit confused at first not knowing whether to catch up to them or hang back. He quickly sorted it out and went on like a seasoned veteran. This is one of his wonderful qualities. He is up for anything new and different and enjoys his work.” Stafford said.
The remaining classes consisted of a cross country drive class and a few cones classes. Stafford and “Duo” finished in the ribbons in every class.
“There was a bit of confusion on my part about the rules of the Cross Country class. I was driving for the Optimum time printed on the maps but the scores were based on fastest time. Needless to say we did not win the class but my first time groom Teresa Jackson helped me come in just a few seconds under Optimum time. ”Duo” was fabulous, trotted right through the water obstacle and held a nice steady pace that was asked of him. I could not have been more pleased with the results of our team” Stafford said with a smile.
The next step for the youngster is to find his own special partner. “I purchased “Duo” as a re-sale project. I saw a kind horse with good character, conformation and talent that needed the training and miles that I could provide. He is now ready for his “own person” and he will further his show career with me until sold.
Stafford, who operates Stafford Carriage Driving out of Chester County, Pennsylvania and Ocala, FL, is the reigning World Champion Morgan Carriage Driver and was the youngest and first American driver to win an Individual Gold Medal with Cefnoakpark Bouncer at the 2005 World Pony Driving Championships in England. Since then she has continued to drive to success, being named the 2005 Driver of the Year by Chronicle of the Horse, winning the 2008 and 2009 National Single Pony Championship with Courage to Lead, and being awarded the Becky Hart Trophy in 2009. In 2011, Stafford Miss Josephine put in a brilliant performance at the 2011 FEI World Pony Driving Championships in Slovenia where they were awarded with the Individual Silver Medal, Stafford’s second consecutive Individual medal.
For more information on Stafford, visit her website at www.staffordcarriagedriving.com.