World Driving Championships for Ponies Finished Today

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The FEI World Championships for ponies started on Wednesday in Lipica, Slovenia, and finished today. Almost 80 competitors from 17 countries from all over the world competed in singles, pairs and four-in-hand driving with more than 200 ponies. The title of the new World Champion for four-in-hand went to the Netherlands, as young Bram Chardon celebrated victory, new World Champion in pairs is Dieter Baackman from Germany, Kristina Klindt from Denmark became the World Champion in singles and the USA won the title of the Team World Champion.

The World Championship competitions were organized in three categories, dressage, marathon and obstacle driving test, where the best competitors showed some impressive performances. The World Championship for singles was marked by great performances of women, as the new World Champion became Kristina Klindt from Denmark, who rode the Lipizzaner horse – a wonderful victory in the home of this breed, and did not expect to win. She was followed by Susanne Ankermark from Sweden and Suzy Stafford from the USA.

Dieter Baackman from Germany celebrated victory in pairs, followed by his team mate Stephan Koch and Italian competitor Johann Weitlaner. Baackman comented on his success “I saw I had a good chance and took it.”

New World Champion in four-in-hands is Bram Chardon from Holland, followed by his team mate Jan De Boer and Daniel Schneiders from Germany. Bram who also won yesterday’s marathon was more than satisfied with the competition area that enabled his clear drive. In the future he does not plan to change to the horse competitions as he would rather stay with ponies.

The title of the World Champion for teams went to Germany, with the Netherlands on the second place and the USA on the third. German chef d’equipe, Fritz Otto-Erley commented it was “difficult to select only six drivers for the team.”

Representatives of the FEI, judges and competitors were very satisfied with the organization of the championships in Stud Farm Lipica that hosted such an important event for the first time. President of the organization committee and director of Stud Farm Lipica Tomi Rumpf thanked the FEI for this amazing opportunity and congratulated to the winners.

The obstacle driving test for singles was marked by the best results of women. The winner today was Susanne Ankermark from Sweden, followed by Kristina Klindt from Denmark who took the second place and Doris Schmid from Switzerland on the third. In pairs, Johann Weitlaner from the Italian team won the first place, Dieter Baackman from Germany came in second and his team mate Stephan Koch on the third place. Jozsef Dobrovitz jr. from Hungary won the first place in four-in-hand today, followed by Bram Chardon and Jan De Boer, both from the Netherlands.

The impressions of the competitors were very positive, not only with the competition part but also with the organization. Otto-Erley was “impressed what has been done for everybody in Lipica. Everyone tried to help us, the stables were great and everything we needed was made possible.”

Photo: Suzy Stafford and Josephine taken earlier this year