DRIVING PONIES | DRIVING DAILY
Jennifer Keeler Takes Second Title at the USEF Advanced Pony Combined Driving National Championships
Monday, April 15, 2019
Posted by Kathleen Landwehr, US Equestrian
Raeford, N.C. – The USEF Advanced Pony Combined Driving National Championships concluded on Sunday with the cones phase at the Southern Pines Combined Driving Event (CDE). Two new national champions were crowned after strong performances against stiff competition.
USEF Advanced Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship
Jennifer Keeler (Paris, Ky.) and Amazing Grace won their second consecutive title on Sunday. Recapping the weekend, Keeler explained, “Dressage was solid start for us. We worked on that a lot this season. Unfortunately we had an expensive mistake, but it was a solid enough test that we were pleased to be in second place after the first day.”
The marathon phase proved to be challenging due to wet conditions and warm weather, but Keeler and her nine-year-old Dutch Harness cross mare aimed for a steady performance. “We thought it was a pretty solid round; we didn’t make any mistakes, and [Amazing Grace] just kept moving … to win every single obstacle was an incredible feeling.” Keeler said. “She just kept going, she just rose to occasion. She has an incredible amount of heart and she really showed it.” Keeler also thanked her navigator, David Harris, for the marathon win.
The cones course was difficult, but Keeler and Amazing Grace delivered a double-clear round. “I went in there and let her do her thing,” Keeler said. “She was so solid, she never looked at anything, and she just did her job.” The pair won on a score of 127.50, and Keeler dedicated the win to her mom, who celebrated her 86th birthday on Sunday.
Leslie Berndl (Lexington, Ky.) and Sweetwater’s Zorah Belle, Teressa Kandianis’s 15-year-old Norwegian Fjord mare, earned the reserve champion title by closing out their weekend with a double-clear cones round to finish on a total score of 138.78 penalty points.
Rebecca Gutierrez (Windsor, S.C.) and Naria BW 6, Mary-Anne Mitchell’s 16-year-old Haflinger mare, collected 13.55 penalty points in the cones phase to finish in third place on a total score of 152.39 penalty points.