Live Oak and USEF Pathway Program For Combined Driving Team Experience for US Drivers

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Posted by Mary Phelps


Team 1.jpg

The sport of Combined Driving, a FEI International Discipline in equestrian sport has the distinction of offering a World Championship for each division; Single Horses, Pair Horses, and Four-In-Hand Horses. There is also an FEI World Driving Championships for Ponies, which combines all divisions into one, with the top single, pair and four-in-hand ponies making up teams for participating countries. Every year there are two FEI World Driving Championships. In 2019 it will be the FEI World Driving Championships for Pairs, September 11-15, in Drebkau, (GER), and the FEI World Driving Championships for Ponies, September Aszár Kisber (HUN), September 25-29.

Combined Driving in the US has a strong and growing interest at the grass roots level, with talent being spotted and nurtured through the USEF Developing Athlete Program for Combined Driving

USEF Pathway Program Team Challenge Created a World Championship Experience at Live Oak

At the Live Oak International the US Equestrian Pathway Program Team Challenge was implemented to offer USEF Pathway Program athletes or team applicants the experience and benefits of competing with a team at a home competition. The theme for Team Names was famous racehorses, given Live Oak's long time standing as successful breeders of thoroughbreds. Competing as part of a team requires time management for team meetings and events, creates camaraderie, develops understanding of how team results are calculated, and encourages mentorships between team members that leads to improved results. Each Team has a Chef d'Equipe, acting as a team manager from the arrival to awards. 

Teams for Live Oak
Team 4 - "Holding Gold" won Gold, Team 2 "Bold Ruler" Won Silver, and Team 1 - "Tapwrit" won Bronze. 

Live Oak International created the best opportunity for this program, as an International FEI 2* Competition which also hosted a World Class Show Jumping event. Much of what goes on at a World Championships was experienced in this event, with the teams leading The Live Oak International Parade of Nations in downtown Ocala Thursday, March 7. Team members were bussed in from the event, given VIP passes and special seating, and then entertained with food and drink in the historic downtown square. 

Individuals training for the Chef d'Equipe position had multiple meetings, training sessions and valuable information shared. 

"As a member of "Team Bold Ruler" our Chef was Dee Aldrich who flew in from New York and took to her task as if this was a real World Championships. Setting us up with WhatsApp communication, as well as always appearing to be visible whenever we competed was an experience we all benefitted from, and enjoyed. Team meetings, organizing team photos as well as advising on rules, protocols, and juggling drivers working with individual trainers and schedules, enriched the experience of being at the greatest driving event in the US." Horsesdaily's Mary Phelps

In conjunction with the Team Challenge, a Chef d’Equipe Pilot Training Program took place, led by Karen Everett from London, England. Karen has served many years as a Chef d’Equipe for Australia, primarily working with top international driver Boyd Exell, and was invited to instruct a handful of qualified individuals during the event. Through both presentations and open discussion, participants learned about the official and unofficial roles of a Chef d’Equipe and explored how to handle difficult situations. The Driving Sport Committee is pleased with this initial program and looks forward to developing more opportunities for future Chefs d’Equipe.

US Equestrian Pathway Program Team Challenge
Results of the US Equestrian Pathway Team Challenge at Live Oak

Photos ©Andrea Evans/US Equestrian