Recap of the 2020 Live Oak International Combined Driving Event
Sunday, March 8, 2020
WEBER WINS RECORD 17TH USEF COMBINED DRIVING NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Chester Weber secured a record 17th USEF Four-in-Hand National Championship title and wins the cones FEI Four-in-Hand to conclude driving at the 2020 Live Oak International event.
“Number 17 feels nice. It’s always a big goal in my organization to win a national championship and now it’s checked off” said Chester Weber. “This week, I drove two younger horses that came out of my program. Julius on the left and Amadeus on the right wheel. I drove the Marathon team that I’m thinking about for the top sport, it’s the first time I’ve had these two leaders back together and my plan is to keep this team for the rest of the season.”
Jacob Arnold came out on the final day of competition and won the FEI Horse Pair Cones with Hermitage Farms owned horses. He takes home the FEI Horse Pair from Live Oak International and the USEF Advanced Horse Pair National Championship.
“I have three horses here this weekend, all of them by Steve Wilson. Two of them are a dressage pair that I took to the World Championships last year, but I was very pleased with all of them this week and we had some good strong results” said Jacob Arnold. But none of this would have been possible without the support of Steve. It means a lot to get a trophy for him, to get his trophy.”
Winning the FEI Pony Single Cones was Jennifer Keeler with Amazing Grace. Jennifer had an exceptional week at Live Oak International and defended her USEF Advanced Single Pony National Championship.
“Grace really was exceptional this week and she is actually going to be a mother, we have a baby Grace coming via embryo transfer” said Jennifer Keeler. “Live Oak International has been a great competition for us and we’ll continue to compete together. I'm lucky enough to have a second Advanced level pony, Zeppo, who won the intermediate championship here two years ago. Maybe if the national championships are back again next year, he will get his chance.”
Suzy Stafford wins the FEI Single Horse at Live Oak International and Taylor Bradish takes home the USEF Advanced Single Horse National Championship. “I couldn’t be more thrilled with this week at Live Oak International” said Suzy Stafford. “We didn’t know we’d be ready to compete here and to then win, it really is special.”
“My horse is 10 years old. She loves the marathon phase and just goes with it which is great. She’s not an easy horse, she makes me work for it for sure” said Taylor Bradish. Taylor won the Grand Oaks CDE earlier this year by a narrow margin and with this National Championship win she continues to make promising steps towards a place on the US Team this fall.
Katie Whaley is the USEF Advanced Pony Pair National Champion for the fifth consecutive time and winner of the FEI Pony Pair division. “Live Oak International sets the bar for all of us. I've competed at here for about 27 years. I'm dating myself, but to watch it evolve is really a highlight of the season for me” said Katie. I have a young pony in the pair and he did the dressage and he was amazing. The atmosphere in that ring is pretty high, he was really a good boy. I took my ponies on the marathon and cones, and that’s just like a party for me, I love that.”
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About Live Oak International
What began 30 years ago as a driving event in Ocala, Live Oak International has grown into a world-class equestrian event. Now run by co-Presidents Chester Weber and his sister, Juliet W. Reid, the tournament is the only in the United States to offer both international combined driving and show jumping competition. As Marion County’s largest spectator event, more than 10,000 spectators attend the four-day tournament to watch the exciting competition by athletes from all corners of the world.
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(Photo Credit for top photo and photo gallery: Erin Gilmore)