CARRIAGE DRIVING NEWS 2001

Ludwig Weinmayr wins in Mechelen
27 December 2001

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German four-in-hand driver Ludwig Weinmayr has won the fourth indoor world cup competition for horse teams at Mechelen in Belgium. The driver from Bayern, who also won the warm up round on the previous day, impressed the crowd in the sold out Nekkerhal by driving a clear round in a time that was 2 seconds faster than his countryman Christoph Sandmann, who ended on the second place.

USA?s Chester Weber, who was in much better form than yesterday, ended in third place. Weber has already completed his four world cup events and is currently in the lead with 27 points, which include a win at Stockholm and second place at Amsterdam. Weinmayr moves into second place with 17 points, but still has 2 events to compete in. During the next four indoor events, the other drivers will get the chance to decide who will win this first World Cup Series.

The results at Mechelen were:

1. Ludwig Weinmayr (Ger) 110?78
2. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) 112?56
3. Chester Weber (Usa) 125?70
4. Ijsbrand Chardon (Ned) 139?31
5. Gert Schrijvers (Bel) 139?49
6. Felix Brasseur (Bel) 139?65

The next event will take place in Bordeaux, France, on 8 and 10 February 2002.

to see the latest points standings in the World Cup series.

Dutchman Harry de Ruyter wins Amsterdam World Cup round.
14 December 2001

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Harry de Ruyter from the Netherlands has won the third round of the indoor World Cup competition for four-in-hand driving in Amsterdam on 14 December. American Chester Weber, winner of the previous round in Stockholm, ended in second place. Gert Schrijvers from Belgium, the only driver with a clear round came third.

IJsbrand Chardon, also from the Netherlands, had three cones down and ended in fourth place despite winning the previous day's warm-up round. Dutch four-in-hand driver Ton Monhemius from the Amsterdam region received the wild card for the Amsterdam event and ended this round in fourth place, ahead of Werner Ulrich from Switzerland.

Chester Weber, who is currently at the top of the points table, made up for his somewhat disappointing round during the warm up by setting up a very fast time of 146.92 seconds, despite 5 seconds for a knock down. This put the pressure on De Ruyter, who really went for it and finished in a time of 143.90 seconds, including one knock down as well.

The results in Amsterdam were:
1. Harry de Ruyter (Ned) 143.90
2. Chester Weber (Usa) 146.92
3. Gert Schrijvers (Bel) 150.79
4. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 158.35
5. Ton Monhemius (Ned) 159.29
6. Werner Ulrich (Sui) 176.46

The next world cup competition will take place in Mechelen, Belgium, on 27 December 2001.

to see the latest points standings in the World Cup series.

Chester Weber wins at Stockholm
2 December 2001

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Chester Weber from the United States was the winner of the 2nd World Cup Driving competition at Stockholm on Saturday, 1st December 2001. The results were:

Weber finished the summer season in sixth place on the worldwide Top Drivers list. This ranking secured his position as one of the ten four-in-hand drivers qualified to compete at eight indoor World Cup events throughout the winter season. Each of the ten qualified drivers, plus one wild card driver, will compete in four of the eight events and will accumulate points over the course of the series. With a win at Stockholm and a third place finish at Stuttgart, Chester currently has 15 points toward the World Cup Championship and is in the lead.

The course at each indoor World Cup competition consists of two marathon-type obstacles (with up to five gates each), a bridge and about ten cone-type obstacles. Each driver's best four results over the course of the series will count, and the driver with the most points will be declared the World Cup Champion.

The results at Stockholm were:

1 Chester WEBER (USA) 89.94 sec.
2 Christoph SANDMANN (GER) 92.84 sec.
3 Fredrik PERSSON (SWE) 96.14 sec.
4 Tomas ERIKSSON (SWE) 107.89 sec.
5 Harry DE RUYTER (NED) 114.43 sec.
6 Daniel WUERGLER (SUI) 124.94 sec.

to see the latest standings in the World Cup series. The next competition is at Amsterdam on 14 December.

Good start for Michael Freund in the Driving World Cup
19 November 2001

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German driver Michael Freund won the opening competition of the Indoor Word Cup Driving for four-in-hand drivers in Stuttgart (GER) last week-end.

At first it looked like his fellow countryman Ludwig Weinmayr was going to win when he set the fastest time so far of 123.22 seconds, but he had a ball down in the last gate. Freund drove the obstacles in a record time of 110.89 seconds and despite a 10 second penalty for two cones down, he was still faster than Weinmayr. US driver Chester C. Weber came third.

The public was very enthusiastic and saluted the drivers? performance with a standing ovation. The two faults from the favourite Michael Freund made the 30 minutes World Cup competition thrilling until the last second.

1. Michael Freund (GER) 120.89 sec.
2. Ludwig Weinmayr (GER) 128.22 sec.
3. Chester C. Weber (USA) 135.25 sec.
4. Werner Ulrich (SUI) 137.07 sec.
5. Hansj?g Hammann (SUI) 144.07 sec.
6. Gert Schrijvers (BEL) 149.83 sec

The next Indoor World Cup competition will take place in Stockholm on 30 November and 1 December. The following drivers will compete there: Tomas Eriksson, Chester Weber, Harry de Ruyter, Christoph Sandmann en Fredrik Persson (Wild card).

to see pictures from the event (this is an external website in German)

James Fairclough Wins USET Four-In-Hand Driving Championship
29 October 2001

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Veteran United States Equestrian Team (USET) driver, James Fairclough of Newton, New Jersey won the USET Four-In-Hand Driving Championship at the Fair Hill International driving trials in Fair Hill, Maryland, USA, held on October 25 ? 27. The Championship served as a USET selection trial for the 2002 Four-In-Hand Driving World Championship to be held at the World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain.

Fairclough, driving Jane Clark?s team of horses, swept the competition by winning all three phases of the competition, and finished with a final score of 160.34 penalties.

Five-time USET champion, Tucker Johnson of Oldwick, New Jersey placed second with his team of horses with a score of 303.40 ending his winning streak of four consecutive championship titles.

Fairclough commented on his win, ? It was nice that I did well on the first and last day, however, I didn?t do as well as I would have liked in the marathon, but then again, everyone had trouble with it.?

It was the third USET Four-In Hand Championship for Fairclough who previously won the title in 1982 and 1994. Additionally, he has finished as Reserve Champion eight times.

The United States Equestrian Team is a non-profit organization that selects, trains, equips and finances equestrians of the highest possible standard to represent our country in major international competition, including the Olympic Games and the World Championships. To accomplish this the USET seeks out and nurtures the development of talented athletes - riders, drivers and horses - and provides the support and guidance they need to help them attain their fullest potential. For more information on the USET, please visit USET ONLINE at www.uset.org

Driving World Cup 2001-2002 competitors
22 September 2001

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After the CAI Donaueschingen qualifier, the ten Four-in-Hand Drivers qualified for the FEI Indoor World Cup Driving are now known. Each of the ten drivers must select four of the eight events on the  2001 / 2002 World Cup calendar.

The drivers and their chosen events are:

Michael Freund GER Stuttgart, Bordeaux, Dortmund, G?eborg
Werner Ulrich SUI Stuttgart, Amsterdam, Bordeaux, G?eborg
Tomas Eriksson SWE Stockholm, Dortmund, ?s-Hertogenbosch, G?eborg
IJsbrand Chardon NED Amsterdam, Mechelen, Dortmund, ?s-Hertogenbosch
Gert Schrijvers  BEL Stuttgart, Amsterdam, Mechelen, ?s-Hertogenbosch
Chester Weber  USA Stuttgart, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Mechelen
Ludwig Weinmayr GER Stuttgart, Mechelen, Dortmund, ?s-Hertogenbosch
Daniel W?gler  SUI Stockholm, Bordeaux, Dortmund, ?s-Hertogenbosch
Harry de Ruyter  NED Stockholm, Amsterdam, Bordeaux, G?eborg
Christoph Sandmann  GER Stockholm, Mechelen, Bordeaux, G?eborg
1st Reserve: Ton Monhemius, NED          2nd Reserve: Fredrik Persson, SWE

The World Cup starts on 17 November 2001 in Stuttgart, followed in two weeks-intervals by Stockholm, Amsterdam and Mechelen. After a break of six weeks, the World Cup resumes on 10 February in Bordeaux 2002, followed by Dortmund, ?s-Hertogenbosch and G?eborg.

The five drivers who will compete in the World Cup Opener in Stuttgart are Freund, Ulrich, Schrijvers, Weber and Weinmayr. They will be joined by a local driver with a Wild Card.

Of the five Stuttgart starters, only Weber will travel to Stockholm, where he will compete against Eriksson, W?gler, de Ruyter, Sandman and a Wild Card from Sweden.

In Amsterdam Chardon starts in his first World Cup, together with Ulrich, Schrijvers, Weber, de Ruyter and again a Wild Card from the home country.

In Mechelen, the five drivers are: Chardon, Schrijvers, Weber, Weinmayr and Sandmann, plus a Wild Card from Belgium.

FEI World Cup Driving 2001 / 2002 CALENDAR

Stuttgart GER 17 November
Stockholm SWE 1 December
Amsterdam NED 14 December
Mechelen BEL 27 December
Bordeaux FRA 10 February
Dortmund GER 16 March
?s-Hertogenbosch NED 23 March
G?eborg SWE 6 April
International Driving Competition at Jerez, Spain
17 September 2001

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JEREZ PASSES ITS FIRST EXAM WITH A SUCCESSFUL INTERNATIONAL DRIVING COMPETITION

There was great curiosity last weekend (14/16 September) in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain) where the Organizing Committee of 2002 World Equestrian Games faced its first important test in the lead-up to the 'big one', the World Championships for seven equestrian disciplines which will take place in twelve months time. People from Jerez, horse fans, officials and foreign delegates cheered in Chapin (the complex which next year will host competitions for jumping, dressage, vaulting, reining, as well as the dressage tests for eventing and driving) the winners of this first Test Event (an International Driving Competition, CAI-A).

THE WINNERS
Frederic Bousquet from France achieved his first ever International win by maintaining his leadership after the third and last phase, the cones. Bousquet, despite an error in the final leg of the event, was able to beat Magdalena Abecassis from Portugal who was the best driver in the cones. In third place came Sebastian Sabater Espolet from Spain who lost one placing due to two errors in the cones. "This was a very good event and I wish the best of luck to the organizers for next year's World Championships - said the winner - The location is very good and I am sure that within the next twelve months they will be able to make all the necessary improvements in Garapillos for the marathon". Sebasti? Sabater, best placed Spanish driver of the competition commented: "This trial was very good for the organization of the World Championships. There are details to be improved but, I believe, this is the reason why they decided to run a test! I hope that hosting a World Championships in this country will help the promotion of carriage driving and, even more important, that we can still use  Garapillos as a competition venue in the future".

Juan Robles Marchena from Spain won the Four in Hand class, confirming to be the number one driver in Spain and a very strong contender for next year's WEG. Robles left behind both French drivers competing in this class: Patrick Rebulard in second place and Louis Basty in third. The course that Arjan Brink from The Netherlands designed for the cones test was very technical and it proved to be very hard to score a clear round: at the end of the competition none of the nine drivers left in competition after the marathon went clear, and Louis Basty was the best with only one point accumulated for exceeding the allowed time. Robles, who comes from Jerez, was obviously very pleased to win in front of his home crowd. During the prize giving ceremony he expressed his feelings to the Deputy Mayor, Rosa Bautista thanking her for all the local authorities are doing to promote the sport and to make sure that Jerez 2002 WEG will be an unforgettable event.

GARAPILLOS - THE PERFECT THEATRE FOR THE MARATHON
Over 3.000 spectators made their way to Garapillos (17 km. North of Jerez) to witness the marathon. This was a true test for this venue (a military horse breeding establishment) that was chosen to host next year's cross-country for eventing, the driving arathon as well as the endurance championships. This year's marathon (a course of six obstacles designed by Dutch specialist Arjan Brink) marked the 'official' debut for Garapillos and it seems that the venue has fully passed the exam. A satisfying crowd was present and all officials expressed positive comments about the day and even more in projection to next year's big event. Amongst the spectators at Garapillos was the Secretary General of the FEI, Bo Helander who commented: "I am absolutely thrilled with the venue. I must admit that when I came here several months ago I was sceptical about the footing at Garapillos, but now I can easily say that the organizers have done a fantastic job and I am really confident for the Eventing Test Event at the end of this month and for the World Games in 2002. The Spanish people have proved today that they are fully ready to face the great commitment which is needed to put together what is considered the biggest equestrian event in the world". Spanish National Champion Juan Robles Marchena, who eventually won the Four in Hand class, said: "I found the marathon course very good. While in Chapin there is still a lot of wor that needs to be completed in the next twelve month, here at Garapillos the venue is already excellent. Being from Jerez, it means a lot to me that the World Equestrian Games are going to be hosted in my home town and I am very proud of how the organizing committee is working".

ORGANIZING COMMITTEE AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES SATISFIED WITH THE TEST
Rosa Bautista, Deputy Mayor of Jerez, followed with interest the competition on behalf of Jerez' local administration, which is highly involved in the organization of 2002 WEG: "This test has given us the priceless opportunity to verify what we have been doing in the last years and to test the staff. I think everything turned out to be very good. There are a few things that have to be adjusted but I think that we can be satisfied for what we have achieved till now. There is a nice atmosphere around the Games. People from Jerez need to understand the magnitude of the event and the impact it will have on the town. Jerez will present itself to the world through the event and we have to be well prepared".

Antonio Ortiz Rufino, general manager of Jerez 2002 welcomed the many foreign guests and officials who arrived in Jerez for the occasion: "It was good to see that in general competitors and International delegates where satisfied with the installations and facilities - commented Mr Ortiz - From my point of view this test event was very useful to tune my team and to get to know which might be our weak aspects. I have a notebook full of notes and more will come from the eventing test event at the end of the month".

Amongst the spectators of the final day of the driving test event there was also WEG's official mascot FINO who took the opportunity to jump on Juan Robles carriage and greet the public. A perfect ambassador for WEG, FINO is expected to travel a lot in the next few months to 'personally' invite the whole world to Jerez in September 2002 .

Further information and photos can be find at www.jerez2002weg.com

World Pairs Championships - Riesenbeck
20 August 2001

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Hungary dominated the World Driving Pairs Championship which was held from 17 to 19 August in Riesenbeck, Germany. With 124.76 points, Vilmos Lazar renewed his world title which he won in his home country at the 1999 Championships in Keckskemet. A talented young Portuguese driver Frederico de Beck won the silver medal, followed by Zoltan Nyul from Hungary who earned the bronze.

Composed of the same drivers as in 1999, Vilmos and Zoltan Lazar and Zoltan Nyul, The Hungarian team found its way back to the podium after 12 years without a team medal. A strong Dutch team composed of the experienced driver Riny Rutjens, vice-champion in 1997 and two new drivers, Gerard Leijten and Bennie Grosschalk, won a merited silver medal. Bronze went to Germany (Mario Junhhanns, August Gr?dker and Rolf von Aschwege).

On Sunday, in front of a gasping crowd, the Portugese newcomer Federico de Beck made a spectacular obstacle driving course, in 170 seconds and without faults, and became a serious threat to the Hungarian title-holder Vilmos Lazar. The latter could afford no fault and only one second time penalty when he entered the arena. Looking very serene and cool-tempered, Lazar had no intention to let his title go, and made an impeccable course in two second less than his runner-up.

On 15 August, the World Driving Pairs Championships was saddened by the sudden and unexpected death of the world champion August Dubey from Switzerland, who was officiating in the Appeal Committee. He was 79. August Dubey was three times World Champion (Individual and team in 1972 in M?ster, and Team in 1974 in St-Gallen) and European Champion in 1973 at Windsor. August Dubey was very dedicated to the Driving discipline and officiated many years as national and international judge, technical delegate and trainer for Swiss Federation. Member and then President of the Driving Committee of the Swiss Equestrian Federation, he was member of the FEI Driving Committee from 1980 to 1984 and officiated at European and World Championship from 1982 to 1995.

Australia wins Saumur CAI-A Driving Pairs
17 July 2001

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Australian Boyd Exell, in a preliminary to the World Pairs Driving Championships to be held in Germany in August, won the 2001 International Saumur Driving Event held 13 to 15 July in Saumur, France. Driving his two 16 hand black Gelderlander horses trained by Sarah Garnett, Deemster & Julius, Exell scored the best dressage test on Friday to take a commanding lead over thirty-one European pairs drivers.

Exell stretched his lead to nearly 20 points by winning the rain-shortened marathon on Saturday, driving a technically proficient and quick marathon. Hazard number 6, was closed by the officials, after torrential rains the previous night had made the hazard with a steep bank too dangerous.

A double-clear perfect cones round, one of only two in the class, in front of more than 10,000 spectators which filled the Prince Albert arena of the Hippodrome, sealed the victory for Exell, who is based in England in order to compete internationally.

American, Chester Weber, another of the young breed of international drivers, was not as fortunate. Weber saw his two-point lead in the horse teams class evaporate when he picked up 9 penalties in the final phase, allowing Holland?s Harry DeRuyter to win, with Swiss drivers Daniel Wurgler and Werner Ulrich finishing second and third. Weber had the best score in dressage, and was able to hold the lead after the marathon that was won by George Knell of Germany. But one cone and four time penalties dropped Weber from first to a fifth place overall finish.

SAUMUR FINAL RESULTS

HORSE TEAMS ? Harry DeRuyter (NED) 139.54, Daniel Wurgler (SUI) 140.94, Werner Ulrich (SUI) 142.61
HORSE PAIRS ? Boyd Exell (AUS) 106.68, Beat Schenk (SUI) 128.36, Daniel Wuthrich (SUI) 130.63
PONY TEAMS ? Mia Allo (BEL) 156.93, Louis Droemont (GER) 162.25, Anton Hugentobler (SUI) 184.02

F.E.I. press release - article by Peter Dallow

du Comit?Equestre de Saumur website - www.saumur.org

Open Forum for Driving at Riesenbeck
12 July 2001

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An F.E.I. Open Forum for Driving will be organised on 15 August 2001 at Riesenbeck, Germany in conjunction with the World Driving Pairs Championships. Jack Pemberton, Chairman of the F.E.I. Driving Committee, will chair the forum.

Among other things pertaining to corrections to the Driving Rules, the main items on the agenda will be the Four-in-Hand Indoor World Cup, the conclusions after the Dressage and Marathon new formulae tested in Aachen last June, as well as other proposals from the Driving Think Tank working group. The development of the discipline worldwide will also be an important item of discussion.

Many thanks to the F.E.I. for providing the above information. We will bring you any news and developments on this website.

Team Driving Championships at Aachen
19 June 2001

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One of the world's top drivers IJsbrand Chardon from Holland drove to victory at this years International Four-in-hand combined driving competition held at Aachen in Germany. The reigning world champion, Sweden's Tomas Eriksson came a close second.

Chardon went into the lead with his perfectly executed dressage test, ahead of Belgium's Felix Brasseur and the home nation's top driver, Michael Freund.

Following the FEI Driving Think Tank recommendation (see our earlier story), the cross-country marathon featured only one section instead of the usual five. This was an 8.8km long Section E which included eight obstacles.

Although Chardon drove an excellent marathon, his times were no match for the experience of Tomas Eriksson who won the marathon by nearly 10 points, to take first place overall. Belgian Felix Brasseur drove with customary competence through the first seven obstacles but unfortunately in the final one he got into difficulties and had to unhitch his horses. Spending more than the allowed time in the obstacle, he was eliminated.

The extremely technical cones course set drivers a tough challenge. Finding it difficult to complete the course in the time allowed, no other driver produced a double clear, until Jozsef Bozsik from Hungary, who was in fourth place. Michael Freund made the time, but had five driving penalties, dropping him a place. Chardon drove a cautious round which gave him a clear round but with 1.5 time penalties. With mounting tension, Tomas Eriksson drove carefully and was clear most of the way round the course until he clipped a cone to drop a ball for five penalties and then hit the next pair as well. This was enough to give Chardon first place, with Eriksson, the winner here for the last two years, second and Bozsik third.

The only woman driver to compete at Aachen this year was Great Britain's leading female four-in-hand driver Karen Bassett, who drove Robert Wilkinson's team of Gelderlanders. The team has never competed in a combined driving event before and although she couldn't hope to compete seriously against the world's best drivers, she did give the horses some valuable experience. Karen received the invitation to attend little more than two weeks before the event. Because of the Foot & Mouth cancellations of most of Britain's driving events, the horses have done little more than tick over and had not been training for international competition.

In both dressage tests ? one a freestyle to music and the other part of the combined event ? Karen was placed low down the order but her moment of triumph came closest in the Cones Top Score Competition, where competitors had to drive their own line through a course in which each element is allotted a certain number of points. The course contained a box which scored 200 points, but if knocked down this number was also deducted from the accumulated score. The Gelderlanders had never seen a box, so Karen planned to leave it until last. Having driven clear through the course and in the lead on points, Karen took the Gelderlanders into the 200-point box at the end of her allowed time. She drove it clear until the final turn when she just clipped one of the rails. The resulting 200 penalty deduction lost her first position.

Throughout the competition Karen's handling of this totally inexperienced team with her accompanying good sportsmanship drew continued admiration from spectators, officials, judges and above all, fellow competitors.

FEI General Assembly 2001
28 April 2001

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The FEI held its annual General Assembly at the invitation of the American Horse Shows Association on 26 and 27 April 2001 in San Francisco. In connection with the General Assembly, both the Bureau and the Executive Board met twice. The four days of meetings were extremely well organised by the host federation and were held in an very cooperative and friendly atmosphere.

DRIVING
The introduction of a Driving World Cup was approved. This World Cup will consist in a Series for Four-in-Hand drivers competing at eight indoor events, and will commence on 16 November 2001 in Stuttgart (GER).

APPOINTMENTS
Mr Richard C.V. Nicoll (USA) replaces Mr Joseph P. Moore on the FEI driving committee.

DRIVING THINK TANK IDEAS TESTED IN AACHEN 
8 March 2001

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DRIVING THINK TANK IDEAS TESTED IN AACHEN
Freestyle to Music replaces Compulsory Dressage Competition

On a trial basis, the new ideas for the four-in-hand drivers will be tested at the International Championships (CHIO) in Aachen from 12 to 17 June 2001. The new driving programme was approved at a recent meeting in Aachen.

The Driving working group called the "Think-Tank", was created in 2000 to consider the future of the driving discipline and to develop proposals to render it more attractive. Its report was presented at World Four-in-Hand Driving Championships 2000. The CHIO Aachen Organising Committee immediately applied to the FEI for permission to test some of the ideas developed in the report.

The first day of the event will start with a freestyle to music. This competition should lend the driving sport a bit more zest through the interplay of drivers, horses and music.

For the first time, a demonstration will also take place in Aachen to present a dressage driving competition with four drivers in the arena at the same time, giving them a chance to present their skills similar to suitability competitions. The multiple World Driving Champion Michael Freund, who was also member of the Think-Tank working group is a strong supporter of this idea.

The marathon competition will be shortened this year. The compulsory walk and trot sections A through D will be excluded, only leaving the obstacle section E with an approximate length of 9 km. In addition there will be warm-up section of 5 km.

However, not available for the CAIO Aachen are the security gates for the obstacles in the marathon competition, as proposed in the "Think-Tank" report. They have not been tested sufficiently. However drivers will be confronted with knockable elements in the obstacles, which will cause penalties if they fall off.

Click here to go to the CHIO Aachen website.