Ocala, Florida (March 30, 2015) Chester Weber pulled of yet another win in four-in-hand driving while simultaneously presiding over the 2015 Live Oak International combined driving and show jumping event in Ocala, Florida. The much-anticipated show, presented
by Weber and his family members Juliet W. Reid and Charlotte C. Weber, featured a CSI2*W Grand Prix World Cup qualifier, U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) Horse Pair and Pony Single, Pair, and Four-in-Hand national titles, and a sold-out Saturday night pirate-themed Exhibitors Party.
“It takes the hands-on attention of a team to make the event succeed, and it was a success because of the efforts of everyone who was part of it, from exhibitors to volunteers,” said the 11-time USEF National Four-in-Hand champion and three-time World Equestrian Games Silver medalist Chester Weber, who had the unique perspective of seeing the event from both the point of view of an exhibitor and a host.
“The whole event went off perfectly. In the weeks leading up to it I tried to have the horses prepared and do my own horse training in the morning before coming to the show grounds. I go to the gym, I go to the barn, and I get the ‘horse stuff’ done first,” he said, before turning the rest of his day’s attention to planning what is known as the favorite equestrian event of ‘America’s horse capital’ in Ocala, Florida. “It’s rewarding to do the work.”
Live Oak International has been hosted on the Weber family’s 5,000-acre equestrian estate since 1992 and this year for the first time reflected the creative hospitality of a new generation— Chloe Reid. Like her cousin Chester, Reid balanced her own competitive schedule (coming away as the High Point Amateur Rider) with joining her family in welcoming thousands of equine enthusiasts to their Ocala farm.
In fact, the loudly applauded pirate theme to Saturday night’s traditional Exhibitors Party was, Weber added with a laugh, also his cousin’s idea.
“I didn’t get it at first. She said, ‘Let’s have a pirate theme,’ so I thought ‘sure, why not?’ It was a lot of fun and an overall success. There was a live dance band that played until 1:30 in the morning, fire eaters, a mechanical shark to ‘bull ride’ and it was a great chance for show jumpers and drivers to mix together.” And talk horse while throwing a few ‘Arr, mateys’ in along the way.
“Put a costume on people and they assume the role,” grinned Weber, who wholeheartedly joined in the idea and hosted the evening’s festivities in equally swash-buckling style.
But when its sumptuous banquet and entertainment was over, it was back to business the next morning with the KWPN team co-owned by Weber and Jane F. Clark. Weber lived up to his moniker of ‘Mr. Dressage’ on Friday, setting an early lead in the FEI Four-in-Hand class with a superb 33.45 score in the opening dressage, and lead through Saturday’s marathon before returning to the grass stadium on Sunday to set the lowest score in cones (9.25) and win the FEI title on a cumulative 147.49 finish. Sarasota, Florida entries Misdee Wrigley-Miller and Allison Stroud were second (212.26) and third (214.53) respectively, followed by Darryl Billing of Canada (252.67).
“The horses were great,” Weber concluded. “I was especially pleased with Dancer. This was his second show where I had him at the right wheel for dressage, and right lead for marathon and cones. I think in another year he’ll have matured a little more and be ready for a big tour. We’ll see. Our next show will be in mid-April at Grand Oaks in Weirsdale, just south of here. I plan to take the same team I took to the majors last year, to brush them up a little,” Weber planned, adding, “All the horses finished Live Oak sound, and feeling and looking good, so we’re ready.”
Follow Team Weber as their season unfolds at www.chesterweber.com