US World Pony Driving Championship Team Enroute to Germany

Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Posted by bossmare

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The all-woman team representing the United States at the World Pony Driving Championships has made it safely to Holland on their way to Greven, Germany.  The group will be training together prior to the start of the Championships on August 13-16.

Pony Team USA is made up of two drivers each in Single Ponies, Pairs and Teams (Four-in-hand).  Proudly displaying the Red, White and Blue are the following team members:


Sara Schmitt of Pittstown, NJ and Julia Greifeld’s Batman
Sara is a multi-tasker.  She is an accomplished upper level dressage rider as well as a USEF/USDF ‘S’ Dressage judge.  She also carries an ADS  ‘R’ judge’s card.

Somewhere in  between teaching and judging, Sara competes with Batman, a Morgan pony at the Advanced level.  This is Sara’s fourth World Championship bid.

Suzie Stafford of Bear, DE and Beverly Lesher’s Courage to Lead
Susie trains and teaches combined driving and was the Cinderella story of the 2005 World Championships.  At Catton in the UK, Suzie drove a pony she had only known for a week to be crowned the World Single Pony Champion!   Courage to Lead is also a Morgan and this would be his third WC had he not been injured in 2005.
Follow Suzie Stafford's Blog for the 2009 World Pony Driving Championship

Sherri Dolan
formerly of NJ now in Windsor, SC and her Smoke
Sherri is the first alternate and will drive as an individual and as a back-up team member in the event that one of her team-mates is unable to compete.    (Note- pairs and teams bring their own ‘spare’ pony)  Smoke is the diminutive member of the pony squad and is a Shetland.  This will be Smoke and Sherri’s first International outing.

Miranda Cadwell
, Southern Pines, NC with her mixed pair of Welsh/German Riding ponies
‘Randy’ and her sister Keady work out of their family’s Tremont Farm and both are accomplished drivers with formidable National and International records.  Randy won the Individual Gold Medal in the 2007 Pony World Championships with her customary lightening speed on the marathon.  

Tracey Morgan of Bealesville, MD with her pair of Dartmoors
Tracey is also a veteran team member and multi-National Champion. She can always be counted on for a solid performance and her cheery personality.  Tracey is heavily involved in the Dartmoor breed and many of her ponies can be found competing at the lower levels with their new owners .

Alison ‘Lisa’ Stroud
of West Grove PA with her team of Connemaras
Lisa stormed onto the four-in-hand scene about six years ago and hasn’t looked back!  She has been National Champion several times and has been to three Worlds with her Connemaras.  Lisa and her husband Dixon host the largest Combined Driving Competition in the Mid-Atlantic- The Laurels at Landhope.  

Laurie Astegiano,  Roussac, France and her mixed team of Welsh/Priomodu Pont Blanc
The lesser known team member to those of us stateside, Laurie is a US citizen from CA who has been competing abroad with her pony team for over five years.   Laurie will meet up with her team-mates on the other side of the pond for the second time but with a relatively short commute!

Boyd Exell, an Australian living and competing under the Union Jack will be coaching the US pony team and did a training session with the short listed drivers at Stroud’s Landhope Farm in July.   Boyd has been British National Champion five times and won the FEI World Cup Driving Championship in 2008.  Boyd is a popular competitor on the World Cup circuit and a huge draw at exhibitions as evidenced by his Youtube presence.  His extensive international success and vast experience in Europe is sure to serve the team well!

Another Driving Star in the line-up is the Chef d'Equipe for Pony Team USA.  Chester Weber is from Ocala, Florida and was Silver Medalist at last years’  World Four-in-Hand Championships in addition to being six time US National Champion.  The Weber family home, Live Oak Plantation, hosts the premiere  Combined Driving Competition in the US in addition to producing some very successful Thorobred racehorses.  This is Chester’s third time giving back to the sport by helping with the ponies and leaving his World Class Driving horses behind.   

Peter Tischer, of Frankfurt is a former member of the German Four-in-Hand Driving team and a top trainer in his home country.  Peter was recently hired by the USEF to lead the training effort for the developing Four-in-Hand Drivers in preparation for the World Equestrian Games to be held in Lexington, KY in 2010.  Peter also came to the US to share his expertise with long-listed drivers from the Pony and Single Horse contenders at Big Sky Farm in Southern Pines, NC in July.

Related Links

Official website for the 2009 Pony Driving World Championships