from a press release sent by the organizing committee at Lipica:

Seventeen nations will be represented at next weekend’s FEI World Pony Driving Championships in Lipica, Slovenia. In all, seventy-seven drivers will compete in singles, pairs, and four-in-hand divisions: for individual medals in each division and — for those nations with enough drivers to field a full combined team — overall, combined team medals, with each nation using team members’ scores from each division to determine the winners.

In the Single Pony division, the reigning world champion, Melanie Becker (NED) and her 2009 world championship pony, Ostara’s Sandor, will defend their individual gold medal.

The 2009 individual gold medalist in the Pony Pair division, Daniel Schneiders (GER), has successfully moved on to the Pony Four-in-Hand division, in which he will compete in Lipica. One of Schneider’s biggest opponents will be the reigning Pony Four-in-Hand World Champion, Tobias Bücker (GER).

The eldest competitor is sixty-five-year-old Hannu Kalalahti (FIN), who makes his world championship debut at Lipica.

David Palkovics (HUN) is the youngest competitor in Lipica. The thirteen-year-old schoolboy will celebrate his fourteenth birthday on the marathon day of his first world championship!

Six teams, each consisting of at least one, but no more than two drivers per division per nation, will be fighting for the team medals. Title defender Germany and the silver-medal Dutch drivers are considered the favorites for the nations’ competition.

The driven dressage and cones competitions will be held in the main stadium, with the cones course designed by Swiss FEI O-level course designer Christian Iseli. He has also designed eight beautiful marathon obstacles, which are situated close to each other in the fields of the Lipica Stud Farm. For the first time, the marathon will include a cool-down section after the finish to allow the ponies to cool down before the compulsory veterinary inspection.

Stay tuned here and to Hoefnet and to the event website for updates!