Ocala, Florida – March 7, 2019 – Chester Weber took a first step to a record 16th national championship title with a leading performance in Thursday’s dressage at Live Oak International. He currently leads the USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship, while James Miller tops the USEF Advanced Pairs Combined Driving National Championship.
Weber, the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) team gold and individual silver medalist, drove his talented team of horses to an impressive dressage score of 38.26.
“It’s always a challenge to compete at home. My horses stay in their own stables, so they come up here and it’s a different atmosphere,” Weber said. “They’re used to coming up here and seeing nothing but grass and maybe a cow or two, and now there’s spectators and white tents and advertisements from our wonderful sponsors. Frankly, they were really good.”
Weber is followed by his WEG teammate, Misdee Wrigley-Miller, in second place. She and her foursome earned a score of 43.45.
“Today my leaders were spot on. Driving a team of four horses, to get everyone just right at the right time, is like finding a unicorn. I had one get a little nervous in the atmosphere, but we’re all super pleased with the test today,” she said.
Lisa Stroud currently holds third place on a score of 57.77, and Paul Maye is fourth on a score of 68.43.
James Miller rocked his dressage test Thursday morning, driving to the lead in the USEF Advanced
Pairs Combined Driving National Championship. This is a new pair for Miller, but his duo’s performance looked anything but inexperienced as they earned a score of 53.91.
“They felt good. They felt sometimes a little too good, but we get that out of horses in a performance ring like Live Oak’s. It’s always a challenge to go from quieter shows to a show with more atmosphere like this,” Miller said.
Steve Wilson’s pair earned a dressage score of 58.77, which sits them in second place.
“I always get anxious about dressage. There’s never a perfect day, but I’m happy with how I drove, and I’m looking forward to marathon and cones. In this sport it usually boils down to the last day,” Wilson said.
Other Thursday dressage leaders include Jennifer Keeler in the FEI 2* Pony Single division; Nifty Hamilton in the FEI 2* Horse Single class; and Carina Crawford in the FEI 2* Pony Pairs division.
Dressage continues with Intermediate divisions Friday, March 8, ahead of the thrilling Marathon phase on Saturday, March 9. Competition concludes with the Cones phase on Sunday, March 10.
Live Oak International is the last opportunity for show jumping riders to qualify for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden. Hopeful riders will give it all they’ve got in Sunday’s $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Ocala. Other classes include the $10,000 Waldron Private Wealth 1.40m Power and Speed on Friday as well as the $35,700 CSI3* Longines World Ranking classes on Friday and Saturday.
For its 2019 edition, Live Oak International offers some exciting new features to include even more members of the local and regional communities.
The Live Oak International Car Show is organized by Ocala Street Cruisers. This is a people’s choice, cruise-in car show. The car show will take place on Sunday, March 10 and 30 trophies will be presented at 3:00 p.m. Entrance to Live Oak International allows entrance to car show. More information can be found at www.ocalastreetcruisers.com.
The No Limits Sunday Funday is a collaboration of local non-profit service providers dedicated to providing hope and encouragement to people with a disability. Held on Sunday on the marathon course, entrance to Live Oak International also allows entrance to this special event. Non-profits participating are Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses, ARC Marion, Inc., Champions for Champions, Inc., Kimberly’s Center, Stirrups ‘n Strides Therapeutic Riding Center, Special Olympics Florida, TLC (Transitions Life Center), We Who Care, Amrit Yoga Institute, Florida Kids Helping Kids, Marion County Parks & Recreation, Just As I Am, Ocala Recreation & Parks, United Universes, The Pearl Project, Outreach Autism Services Network, and Ocala Marion County Community Foundation. Families and individuals will enjoy a Stick Horse Obstacle Course, Bocce, Music & Dance Activities with demonstrations, Archery, Corn Hole, Balloon Darts, Robotic Maze, Wagon Pull Maze, Bowling, Fishing Game, Lazer Target Shooting. Photo Booth, Spiderman, Capt. America & other Marvel Characters, Art Activity and more. *In recognition of the No Limits Sunday Funday, children 12 and under are admitted to all the day’s events free.
The Paso Fino Horse Association Parade of Breeds Exhibit is an extension of the Live OakInternational Parade of Nations. Parade goers will see many different breeds of horses on Thursday evening, but Live Oak International spectators will actually have the chance to meet horses at the showgrounds, March 7 – 10. Breeds include Paso Finos, Clydesdales, miniature horses and more!
Daily general admission tickets, week passes, and VIP hospitality packages are available. *Thursday through Saturday, children 6 and younger enter free.
A limited number of tailgating spots are available at each of the seven obstacles during the combined driving marathon portion of the event on Saturday, March 9, 2019.Tailgaters are invited to enter the Live Oak International Tailgating Competition, presented by Ocala Magazine. Find tailgating information at www.liveoakinternational.com/tailgating-with-style/
Guests will also enjoy boutique shopping, the Audi biergarten, local food vendors and more. Visit www.liveoakinternational.com to purchase your tickets.