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Ocala Gears Up For 30th Annual Live Oak International - World Class Combined Driving and Longines ShowJumping

Friday, February 21, 2020
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LIVE OAK INTERNATIONAL

Chester Weber © Pics of You_LOI_3_9_2019_0.jpg

Ocala, Fla. (February 21, 2020)- The only international combined driving and show jumping tournament in the U.S. returns to Live Oak Stud, March 5-8, 2020. Live Oak International, now in its 30th year, attracts equestrian athletes and horses from more than 20 countries to Ocala each year to compete at this unique world class event.

USEF Combined Driving National Championships for All Advanced Divisions Featured at LOI

Kimba and Al at Live Oak
Mary Phelps and The Flying Gangsters ©picsofyou.com

Live Oak International will again host the USEF Combined Driving National Championships for the Advanced Four-in-Hand Horse, Advanced Pair Horse, Pony Single, Pony Pair, Single Horse and Pony Four-in-Hand, as well as offer classes at the Intermediate level. Driving begins with Dressage on Thursday and Friday, continues with the Marathon on Saturday, and concludes with the Cones phase on Sunday, March 8. Co-president Chester Weber will be chasing his 17th Four-In-Hand national title.

Other notable drivers this year include crowd favorite Mary Phelps, and her "Flying Gangster" ponies. It was at Live Oak they qualified for the 2019 FEI World Driving Championships for Ponies, held in Kisber Hungary. They won the Gold Medal for the cones phase, and finished 12th overall in the world. Phelps has yet to win a National Title, and is hoping this year will be her year. "Katey Whaley is a tough competitor and and will be fighting hard to stay on top," said Phelps. "But we will make her work for it, every step of the way."

The talented Jennifer Keeler and her amazing mare, Amazing Grace will both be competing in the Advanced Division to defend their National Championships. Keeler who migrates each winter from her home base in Lexington, Kentucky has been based at the Grand Oaks Equestrian Resort, in Weirsdale, Florida, a USEF Training location to train and compete. 

Advanced Single Horse Division Working Towards a World Championship

Jennifer Thompson loves Live Oak
Jennifer Thompson loves Live Oak

In the Advanced Single Horse Division, a large field of drivers will be fighting for the chance to qualify for the FEI World Driving Championships for Single Horses, to be held in Pau, France October 21-26. US Pony Gold Medalist Suzy Stafford from New Jersey, returns to the Live Oak stage, as a contender. Veterinarian Jennifer Thompson, 2019 National Single Horse Champion and has been commuting from Wisconsin where she maintains a busy practice, to defend her title. In the mix is Taylor Bradish, and her small but mighty Morgan mare Katydid Duchess. Known for her blistering marathon, with father Ryan as her navigator, Taylor will be the one to watch on Marathon day.

National Horse Pairs Champion Steve Wilson retired from competition and passed his pair onto his long time manager Jacob Arnold to defent the title at Live Oak.

Not only the host and co-organizer with his sister Juliet Reid, Chester Weber will be part of the Four-In-Hand contingent seeking his 17th Four-In-Hand national title. Four-In-Hand drivers from the USA and Canada will also be vying for an FEI World Championship spot for Four-In-Hand Drivers, to be held in Kronenberg, the Netherlands, September 2-6. Paul Maye, and the Harmony Sport Horse Team will be in hot contention as they solidify their position as FEI World Class Drivers. Canadian Gerben Steinbeck brings his team of Friesians back to Live Oak in hopes of returning to his native country in September to represent Canada.

Longines Show Jumping - Last Chance to Qualify for 2020 Longines FEI World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas

Kristen Vander VeenShow jumping competition includes the $10,000 Waldron Private Wealth Power &Speed, two $36,600 Longines World Ranking Classes, and concludes with the thrilling $100,000 CSI-W3* Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Ocala on Sunday, March 8. It is the last chance for U.S. riders to qualify for the 2020 Longines FEI World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas.

Adrienne Sternlicht, a member of the gold medal-winning show jumping team at the 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG), is one of many talented show jumpers who have chosen LOI as a stop on their competition calendar. Adrienne is planning to bring her WEG mount, Cristalline. Also scheduled to compete at LOI is young rider superstar Katie Dinan, and previous winner of the World Cup Final, Beat Mändli.

The Live Oak Experience Has Something for Everyone

Budweiser Clydesdales return to Live Oak
The world famous Budweiser Clydesdales return to Live Oak

“As we celebrate 30 years of Live Oak International, competitors and spectators will see that we’ve worked hard over the years to ensure this tournament is well rounded and is fit to be on a global scale.” said Live Oak International co-president, Chester Weber. “Live Oak International caters to all riders, drivers, sponsors and spectators. At LOI our goal is that all Live Oak International attendees leave having had an unforgettable, first class and very memorable experience.”

This unique event is a must see for spectators. In addition to some of the world’s best riders and drivers, this year Live Oak International will feature special presentations by the Budweiser Clydesdales, the Young Living Essential Oil Percherons and the Paso Finos Horse Association. With an AdventHealth KidsZone, Audi Biergarten, and the Stella Artois Airstream Trailer this year’s event is set to be four days full of live action with something for all to enjoy. 

Daily general admission tickets, week passes, tailgating options, and hospitality packages are available. Visit www.liveoakinternational.com/shop to purchase your tickets.