Driving Marathon Day at Windsor Stirs the Pot
Sunday, May 15, 2022
Posted by Mary Phelps
The top 15 four-in-hand drivers in the world drove true to form over Jeroen Houterman’s open and flowing, yet questioning, marathon course. All the drivers chose to follow different routes reflecting the brilliance in course design.
Photo: American Chester Weber rises to second position after a fault free marathon, ©Krisztina Horvath/Hoefnet.com
Flowing Course Made For Great Sport
Showing their skills to the large and appreciative crowd gathered around the eight beautifully designed obstacles, the result of the course designer and director of Driving Andrew Counsel was achieved. “A lot of work was put into the eight obstacles and we felt that they really flowed. They didn’t cause the horses difficulty and there were both tight turns and flowing routes. There was some really good driving which is what Jeroen and I planned ahead of the event. We really appreciate having the world’s top drivers here in this wonderful setting.”
The difficulty was more in maintaining speed and accuracy in the obstacles, driving close to the elements without taking down balls. That was where the results were affected as knockdowns added to the result, even with fast and flowing execution,
American Chester Weber and His Team Showed No Jet Lag Moving up Into Second Place
Chester Weber drove his up-and-coming team of horses smoothly to go from fourth to second place, having flown them in from the USA on Wednesday. The heat suited the team who are used to the Florida temperatures and they performed to their best. Weber was only one of two drivers (Dries Degriek- BEL) with no knockdowns in the marathon, the unusual undoing of the rest of the field. He showed his time spent at home in the USA the last two years was time well spent, training and running his own 3* event, Live Oak International.
Germany’s marathon specialist Michael Brauchle put in a brilliant and consistent performance to lead the Marathon and go up one place overnight to sixth. Dressage leader, Boyd Exell, had a few costly knock-down balls and although he only finished fifth on the Marathon, retains his lead after the dressage.
Belgium's Steady Rise In Driving Sport
The two Belgian drivers Glenn Geerts and Dries Degrieck are neck and neck after the two phases, and lying in third and fourth place respectively, with less than a point separating them. Top lady driver Mareike Harm drove an elegant round and, although not quite as fast on the clock, sits in fifth. Speaking after her round, the German driver said: “We really enjoy being here at Windsor. It was fantastic yesterday in the dressage and I was so happy to be third. The marathon was brilliant and I'm very happy.”
Balls and Detours For the British and Dutch
The three British drivers accrued penalty points for corrected errors of course. British driver Karen Basset said: “I’ve had a great time and it was a great learning curve but I felt I let them down today as I went sailing past Gate A in the last obstacle before I corrected my course! My horses gave me everything.”
A correction of course for Dutch veteran Ijsbrand Chardon nixed what could have been a second place result overall. The frequent marathon victor Koos De Ronde was also derailed by three knockdowns, tying with World Cup Bronze medalist Glenn Geerts.
Images by ©Krisztina Horvath/Hoefnet.com
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