Lexington, Ky.,--The battle has begun for the Individual and Team medals in the Four-In-Hand Driving World Championships, held as part of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, and tied for the top spot are two of the sport’s biggest names.
IJsbrand Chardon of The Netherlands, was the second driver in the arena for the opening Dressage phase, and he turned in a spectacular performance to score a 35.97.
In the next to last position was Chester Weber, driving for the United States, and he turned in the identical score to stand tied with Chardon for first place.
Neither Chardon nor Weber is a stranger to this top level of competition. Chardon, a legend in the sport of Driving, has been Dutch National Champion twenty-one times and has won medals in four World Equestrian Games, including Team and Individual Gold. Weber has won eight consecutive U.S. National Championships and has a Team Silver Medal from the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
“The horses went well,” commented Chardon after his test. “The field was very good and I had a good feeling about the test. I had a little mistake at the walk, but that is the game.
“I have good horses. As part of their training we ride them three times a week, this gives them their light feel and responsiveness which is so important. We are very happy with our test and are looking forward to the marathon competition. The course is very technical and long, with long gallops. I am looking forward to a good fight on Saturday.”
“IJsbrand drove a nice, harmonious, risk-free test and certainly got rewarded for it,” commented Weber. “I, together with the chef d’equipe, made a hard strategic decision to stay domestic this summer and not to compete at the major European venues, so I was anxious about the dressage. I think that the extended trot from my team was great -- clearly where it’s at. Their movement was fantastic. They really woke up in the arena. I was a little bit unfortunate with the back, which cost me points, but the horses seem to be fit and in top form. I’m pleased with them.
“The arena is good. It looks like they watered it quite a bit recently so it actually pulls a lot heavier than the dried up ground out here. The marathon course looks like it’s going to be good sport regardless. There’s nothing for free here. The challenge with the hills is that you are pushing them going up and supporting them coming down. It will pay off for the teams that have horses with power left at the end. We’ve worked a lot on the marathon recently. The team coaches here have been helping me a lot. We’re going to go out and do our best and see what it all looks like on Sunday afternoon.”
Standing in third place is Theo Timmerman, also of The Netherlands. His score of 40.19 belies the youth of his team, as the oldest horse is merely nine, and his two wheel horses have only been working together this year.
“I am happy about my horses today,” said Timmerman. “We will wait and see what happens tomorrow with the other drivers.
The provisional Team scores after this first day of competition places The Netherlands solidly in first place with a score of 76.16, followed by the United States with 87.94 and Germany with 103.04.
The Driving World Championships continue Friday, October 8, with the second half of the Dressage phase, followed on Saturday by the exciting Marathon before concluding on Sunday with the Obstacles competition, after which both Team and Individual Medals will be awarded.
Today’s attendance was 27,419.
About the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games
The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are the world championships of eight equestrian disciplines recognized by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI). The Games are held every four years and this will be the first occurrence in the United States. Tickets to the 2010 Games are still available and can be purchased at www.alltechfeigames.com/tickets, at www.ticketmaster.com, through the Ticketmaster hotline at 1-800-745-3000, or at your local Ticketmaster outlet.
The Games are being broadcast on NBC Sports, which marks the largest commitment to network coverage of equestrian sport in U.S. television history. The 2010 Games are expected to have a statewide economic impact of $167 million, and current sponsors include Alltech, Rolex, John Deere, Ariat International, Inc., Meydan, Kentucky Ale, and Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. For more information on the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games please visit, www.alltechfeigames.com.
Founded by Dr Pearse Lyons, Alltech is a global animal health and nutrition company with 30 years’ experience in developing natural products that are scientifically proven to enhance animal health and performance. With more than 2300 employees in 120 countries, the company has developed a strong regional presence in Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. For further information, visit www.alltech.com.
To download photos from the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, go to http://vip.alltech.com/pressbox/Pages/Photos2.aspx
Chester Webber - Driving