Chester Weber Wins Dressage at Laurels At Landhope Despite Mud and Torrential Rain
Chester Weber, the six-time United States National Champion in Four-In-Hand Combined Driving, dominated the Advanced Four-In-Hand dressage phase at the Laurels At Landhope International Combined Driving Event in West Grove, Pennsylvania, easily winning with a score of 70.0%. Following the dressage phase however, Weber, along with half of the eleven four-in-hand teams, withdrew from the event due to deep mud and torrential rain.
“The organization and the officials did a great job with the event however Mother Nature dealt us some cards that were difficult to play,” Weber said. “I felt that it was conservatively prudent that I not drive after reviewing the risk/reward associated with the four inches of rain that turned the course into the consistency of chocolate pudding.”
Weber said he communicated with the selectors prior to making his decision to not drive on Saturday. “I believe they understood our decision for being conservative,” Weber said. “Together with my team, our coaches and our chef d’equip Ed Young we decided to withdraw in an effort to keep the horses sound and fresh for the upcoming World Equestrian Games.”
Weber said that despite the weather, he was very pleased with his dressage phase. “My team was made up of Reno W, Rolex W, Para and Boy W and I believe they drove the best test possible with the extreme conditions of eight inches of mud,” Weber said. “I am looking forward to the National Championships and have high hopes for a score in the mid to low 30’s if they stay in the same form and Mother Nature cooperates.”
James Fairclough, who was second behind Weber following the rain-soaked dressage, won the Advanced Four-In-Hand class. “I did stay for the remainder of the show to cheer on my fellow competitors,” Weber said. “I was glad I stayed but I will admit I am not that good at sitting still on the sidelines.”
Next up for Weber is the National Championships where Team Weber will defend their title and try to become the first team to win seven consecutive years in a row. Weber also has his sights set on the World Equestrian Games in 2010, which will be held in Lexington, Kentucky.
For more information on Weber and his combined driving team, visit their website at www.chesterweber.com.