Drivers put on the spit and polish

October 7, 2010

Driving at the World Equestrian Games has started in a sense, with an informal presentation competition that was just for fun.


Chester Weber's driving team.

The US competitors probably wish the competition counted toward the medal scores, after the three judges declared Chester Weber the winner, awarding him 49.5 of a possible 50 points. James Fairclough (48.33) and Tucker Johnson (48.17), who've been Weber's championship teammates for most of the last two decades, finished second and third.

A bottle of champagne was presented to each of the 17 drivers who took part.

The grooms and drivers spent about 10 hours polishing the horses, harnesses and vehicles, before putting on their finest driving livery. Not all drivers in the World Championships took part in this presentation.

Weber, 35, drove his four bay warmblood geldings put to a black dog cart presentation vehicle, finished with maroon-and-white pinstripes, with his wife sitting beside him.

Fairclough, 52, also drove four warmbloods (the wheelers being full sisters), put to a formal black Kuhnle presentation vehicle. Owner Jane F. Clark sat beside him.

Johnson, 46, drove a shooting brake.

Medal competition begins today (US time), with the first of two days of dressage. The challenging and exciting marathon will be a feature of the Games on Saturday, and Sunday's obstacles phase will climax the Driving World Championships and be the final competition of these World Games.

Total attendance through Day 11 of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games is 323,145.