|IJsbrand Chardon (NED) shares the lead (©Nan Rawlins/Equimage®)|
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.
|Chester Weber (USA) co-leader after Day of Driving (©Nan Rawlins/Equimage®)|
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.”
“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.”
|Theo Timmerman lies in 3rd place after day 1 (Nan Rawlins/Equimage®)|
“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.