Monthly Archives: February 2011

Chester Weber Gets New Horses

Ocala, FL (February 15, 2011) As the eight-time USEF National Four-In-Hand Combined Driving Champion, Chester Weber has made history with his team of horses. Now, the highly-successful and decorated driver is adding two new equine teammates to his barn with the goal of increasing the depth and talent of his world-class combined driving team.

Uniek (pronounced unique and called Nick around the barn) and Splash, two bay, 16.2-hand KWPN horses bred in Holland, are now part of Team Weber thanks to the generosity of Jane Forbes Clark, an active supporter of high performance equestrian sports as well as President and CEO of the United States Equestrian Team Foundation. “Following the 2010 World Equestrian Games, Jane and I had a long conversation with the U.S. team coach, Michael Freund, and we identified Nick and Splash as two of the most talented horses in the sport,” Weber said. “We were lucky enough that they seem to fit with the group we have going in size and color. Jane had previously leased the horses but when we made the decision to move forward she purchased them.”

Nick and Splash bring international experience to the table, a component that benefits Team Weber. “With these new horses added to my existing team, our goals for 2011 are to prepare ourselves for the 2012 World Championships in Riesenbeck and to continue to insure our preparedness for the 2014 World Equestrian Games in France,” Weber said. “It would also be nice to win a ninth USEF National Four-In-Hand Combined Driving Championship.”

Clark said she is happy to have Nick and Splash as permanent members of Team Clark. “I had leased them for the 2010 competition year and they were part of the US Team Silver Medal effort at the World Equestrian Games with Jimmy Fairclough,” Clark said. “I look forward to many more medal winning occasions with these horses as they become additions to Chester’s extremely successful International Combined Driving Team for 2011 and going forward to Normandy.”

Weber said that Nick and Splash will start showing with his team in the spring, as Weber and Freund are evaluating where the two horses best fit. “Michael and I both feel that Nick and Splash add quality and depth to our program. We had them at the Sunshine State Combined Driving Event last weekend and trained them on the competition grounds, and they were perfect,” Weber said.

While Weber is looking forward to adding the two powerhouse horses to his string, Freund is equally excited and thanked Clark for sponsoring Weber. “These two new horses in Chester’s group make him very strong for the future,” Freund said. “This gives Chester the possibility of driving a dressage under 30 points!”

Keady Cadwell, of Tremont Farm in Southern Pines, North Carolina, previously owned and competed the two Dutch Warmbloods. “I am happy that Nick and Splash will be able to help Jane, Chester and ultimately the USA driving reach their goals,” Cadwell said.

Cadwell described the horses as “big movers with easy going temperaments. Nick is a wise gentleman always on his best behavior and Splash is a clown and likes to be the center of attention,” she said, adding that both horses also have the WOW factor. “They are big boys with lots and lots of white. White faces, white legs and Splash also has a white spot on his side. He was named for this but it turns out that he also loves water, buckets, streams, hoses and, of course, automatic waterers.”

Cadwell purchased Nick as a four-year-old from Spain and bought Splash as a three-year-old in Holland. “Nick does it all and is a superstar in all phases. As well as a truly beautiful dressage horse, he is quick and smart in the marathon. Splash has also done all phases, and is an amazingly talented horse that makes you smile every day,” Cadwell said. “It doesn’t matter if you are at Aachen or working at home by yourself, they both give you their best! Both have competed in the pair, all phases left and right. In the team they go in the lead. They match unbelievable well and work so well together.”

As a driving force in the world of combined driving, Weber is excited about the future. “We have increased the depth of our string of horses with the addition of Jane Clark’s horses to my stable,” Weber said. “It is a great addition and certainly increases our assets. I couldn’t be more pleased.”

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Instant Gratification

Does anyone remember when we had to wait for a print publication to come out to see the complete results of a competition?  Then came faxes, but not everyone had a machine  available to send or receive them, particularly from a World Championship in Europe.

Fast forward to today.  Some of us have been waiting breathlessly for results from the first major combined driving event – Sunshine State – in Ocala, Florida. Now that some shows are able to post scores by “live scoring,” not everyone has that equipment or internet access.  We have become spoiled.

For those of us enduring crappy, winter weather, we look forward to ‘spectating’ via the internet. The score board tells a good story.  Last year, there were 13 four-in-hands competing at the FEI level at Sunshine State. This year, there is one – Chester Weber.  Last year, there were 10 Single Horses. This year, there are four (I think). Last year, there was one FEI pair horse entry. This year there are eight. It’s all about who’s World Championship year it is.

I like to see who the competitors are.  Who has moved up, changed from a single to a pair, or who is now driving a four-in-hand.  I see that my friend Barbara Chapman from Michigan is driving a pair at the FEI level – go Barb! I see that Joe Yoder is back on the scene driving a pair for Jack Wetzel. One thing that is missing from the results sheet is the owner of the horses.  I just happen to know that Joe has moved from Montana and is now working and driving for Wetzel.

If you want to follow the results of most competitions, both sanctioned events and club competitions, check out http://www.drivingnews.us  If the scorers and/or organizers send them to this site, they will be there.

Now to wait for today’s results with the Training through Intermediate levels to see how my friend Kelly Valdes did with her new horse Wonderboy!