Lexington CDE

The intermediate-level dressage tests are now finished, and with them, the entire dressage phase at this year’s Lexington Combined Driving Classic.

Here are the top three drivers in each of the intermediate-level classes:

Single ponies (eight competitors): Debbie Schuster is in the lead, with a score of 49.56; Sybil Humphreys is in second place (51.56); and Janelle Marshall is in third (52.00).

Pony pairs (three competitors): Caroline Whittle is in the lead, with a score of 62.22; Linda Yutzy is in second place (68.00); and Ray Mansur is in third (71.78).

There is only one driver in the tandem pony class. Mark Dahlberg scored 65.78 on his dressage test.

Single horses (seven competitors): Sue Mott is in the lead, with a score of 49.78; Boo Fitch West is in second place (53.78); and Marcie Quist is in third (62.67).

Horse pairs (five competitors): Misdee Wrigley Miller is in the lead, with a score of 49.56; Pat Hastings is in second place (57.11); and Rae Fischer is in third (66.78).

I made it out to the dressage arena late this afternoon (after a walk around some of the marathon obstacles, but more on that in a minute). The only class I was able to see all of were the intermediate horse pairs. So, naturally, I offer a few photos (in no particular order):

although she said she wasn’t very pleased with her test, Misdee Wrigley Miller is leading her class and is tied with Debbie Schuster for the best dressage score among the intermediate-level drivers

Pat Hastings, who finished in second place, was driving an adorable pair of Dales, which is an English pony breed, although these two have matured to horse size

Rae Fischer, the 2008 winner in this class, finished in third place despite five points being added for an error of course

Terry Tobias is in fourth place after dressage; look at his rear wheel to see how bad the mud had gotten by this afternoon, after this morning’s heavy rain

As mentioned, I did a bit of a walk around to see some of the marathon obstacles decorated for tomorrow (before the ground gets churned up too much by all those hooves and wheels). Here are three of the seven obstacles:

obstacle number 1, the Wishing Well

obstacle number 4 (this is one we’ve been calling the “hill” … it’s official name is “Mick’s Mountain”); the people on top of the hill lend a bit of perspective, don’t you think?

the entrance to obstacle number 5, the Hollow

The preliminary-level dressage tests are now finished, and all the event officials have had their lunch (here in the CAA offices) and are back to work for this afternoon’s intermediate classes.

Here are the top three drivers in each of the four preliminary-level classes:

Single ponies (seven competitors): Paul Maye is in the lead, with a score of 47.33; Suzi Dixon is in second place (61.33); and Dona Love is in third (63.56).

Pony pairs (three competitors): Boots Wright is in the lead, with a score of 56.22; Meghan Benge is in second place (60.00); and Irene Gillis is in third (83.33).

Single horses (eight competitors): Dean Lacey is in the lead, with a score of 56.00; Bonnie Hudson is in second place (57.11); and Pamela Gordon is in third (58.22).

Horse pairs (three competitors): Lew Smith is in the lead, with a score of 65.78; Glenn McGirr is in second place (77.11); and Fred Dearborn is in third (79.11).

Unfortunately (or fortunately, I suppose, since I missed all of this morning’s terrible rain), I was only able to watch about one and a half tests late in the morning. Fred Dearborn (pictured below with his pair of Morgans) is from nearby Danville, KY, and is the father of Katharine, who works (for the Carriage Museum of America) in our CAA office. During his test, practically an entire flock of geese flew overhead, low and honking the whole way. His pair of horses, though, never batted an eye so, as he said later, they passed the “goose test” even though the rest of the dressage test didn’t go as well as he would’ve liked.

Fred Dearborn (prelim. horse pair) wasn’t very happy with his dressage test, but his Morgans passed the “goose test”

Stay tuned for intermediate-level dressage results and photos. And tomorrow and Sunday, I won’t need to keep running back to the office (it will be the weekend, after all!), so I’ll have lots of marathon and cones photos from all the various divisions.

Here, without further ado, are photos from yesterday afternoon (see the previous post for dressage results and wrap-up info from the first day of competition) …

These are in no particular order.

Bill Long performing his dressage test with Jack Wetzel’s team of horses; Bill is in eleventh place after dressage, with a score of 67.71

Boyd Exell (who lives in England but drives for Australia) finished in third place with Keady Cadwell’s team of horses

Gary Stover driving a one-handed circle; he’s in tenth place after dressage (67.46)

Gavin Robson, the other Australian driver, actually lives in Ohio and so is somewhat of a local favorite among the area driving clubs; he’s in fifth place after dressage (60.80)

Jimmy Fairclough drives a team of horses owned by Jane Clark; he’s been National Champion several times and has represented the U.S. internationally many times as well (here, he’s in fourth place after dressage, with 52.61)

Josh Rector (from Arizona) finished the dressage phase in seventh place (64.64)

Mike McLennan of Texas finished the dressage phase in sixth place, with a score of 63.36

Wendy Ying is currently in fourteenth place out of sixteen competitors (74.75)

in second place after dressage, Tucker Johnson is less than two points behind the leader … should make for an intense competition as he and Chester Weber each vie for a record seventh National Championship

Chester Weber is in the lead by a slim margin after the dressage phase; his right leader is a five-year-old being trained as a new dressage partner for Chester’s successful, veteran dressage horse Rolex

Larry Poulin, who plans to retire from competition after this event, drove Natasha Grigg’s pair of horses to the best dressage score of the day (37.50)

I apologize for the delay in getting these updates posted today, but I had to go from the competition to the press conference to the CAA office, as we (the CAA) were hosting this evening’s competitors’ briefing. Once that was over, there was a bit more work to be done, and then I finally got home and sat down to dinner at about 9:30. Tomorrow morning, I’ll add photos, I promise!

Out of a class of three drivers, Tracey Morgan leads the FEI-level pair pony division after dressage, with a score of 54.14 penalty points. In second place: Jennifer Matheson (60.42), and in third, Katie Whaley (69.12). Tracey said later that it was “a thrill” to drive in the arena (which will be used again for next year’s WEG), and that she was pleased with her mares’ performance and with the outcome.

In the FEI-level pony team division, Lisa Stroud is in the lead after dressage, with a score of 50.30. In second place is Elizabeth Keathley (73.60), who is also the only other competitor in this division. Lisa said later that, despite a new leader in her team, her ponies were very consistent. She was, not surprisingly, pleased with how they performed.

The FEI-level horse pair division also has only two competitors: veteran national champions and world championship competitors Lisa Singer and Larry Poulin. Larry ended the dressage portion of his final competition (he’s planning to retire from competition after this event) with a score of only 37.50 (the best dressage score of the day).  Lisa is in second place with 48.78 penalty points. Larry admitted later that he was a bit emotional about this final dressage test, but that he was pleased that it ended this way. He said that his horses usually need time to settle before a competition and that they were a bit off yesterday; if he had had to perform his dressage test a day earlier, he feared he might have been in trouble. Today, however, Larry felt that Natasha Grigg’s horses had an excellent warmup and that the atmosphere here at the KY Horse Park was perfect. The horses were forward and supple and gave him their full attention.

This event, in addition to being the WEG test event, will also decide the 2009 USEF National Champions in each of the FEI-level divisions.

The current leader in the four-in-hand (horses) division, Chester Weber (40.06), and the driver currently in second place, Tucker Johnson (41.98), are both six-time National Champions. Fewer than 2 points separates these two, so the stage has been set for an intense competition for a record seventh National Championship. Currently in third place is Australia’s Boyd Exell (47.87), who’s driving Keady Cadwell’s team of horses.

When asked whether their focus this weekend was more on this competition (and a possible seventh National Championship) or next year’s WEG, both Chester and Tucker said that, this weekend, they’re concentrating on this show.

Chester described his dressage score as “acceptable.” He said that he expects this new team will be capable of the types of scores his previous team received last year (in the low 30s), but he was pleased with how this team is working. He explained that one of his leaders is only 5 and is in training to replace a successful veteran leader — but he understands that it’s important to “continue to develop new horses behind the good, steady old ones.”

When asked what he thinks of the marathon obstacles for Saturday, Tucker said that the obstacles for this event are meant to accommodate a wide variety of levels and types of driving (singles, pairs, and fours), so that they’re more “flowing.” He said that he expect next year’s (WEG’s) obstacles to be geared specifically to the FEI-level four-in-hand drivers, which would typically mean more changes of direction and shorter turns.

Boyd said that he was pleased with the performance of Keady’s horses, especially since the team had only just been “cobbled together” this week from the pair Keady had competed at this year’s World Pair Championship and another pair. Although she’s trained with them some as a team, this was, in fact, their first dressage test as a team.

Having been for many years two of only a small handful of consistent international-level competitors, both Chester and Tucker said they were encouraged by the interest in four-in-hand driving that next year’s WEG has ignited in many U.S. drivers. As Chester said, they “hope this will stick.”

Don’t forget that scores will be posted each day, as they become available, at www.hoefnet.com and at www.alltechfeigames.com.

Unfortunately, I’ve either been in the office or the media center so far today, and I have no photos (yet!), but I do have the (UNOFFICIAL) dressage results for the FEI-level single ponies and single horses.

In the advanced/FEI single pony division, Shelley Temple is in the lead with 45.82 penalty points. In second place is Suzy Stafford (48.00). Phyllis Grupe and Sherri Dolan are tied for third place (52.35). Behind them are Dale Govus in fifth (64.51, Pixie Keating in sixth (71.55), Jada Neubauer in seventh (71.55), and Tasha Wilkie in eighth (75.52).

In the advanced/FEI single horse division, Fritz Grupe is in the lead with 50.05 penalty points. Robin Groves is in second (54.14), Scott Monroe in third (61.06), Donna Crookston in fourth (61.18), and Kate Shields in fifth (61.45, including 5 course penalties). Wilson Groves and Robin Foster are tied for sixth (62.98). Kimberly Stover is in eighth (63.10), Bill Allen is in ninth (63.74) and, rounding out the top ten, is Bill Peacock in tenth place with 66.30 penalty points.

The FEI-level pair and four-in-hand teams of both ponies and horses do their dressage tests this afternoon, so we’ll have photos and more results later today. Stay tuned for more updates!

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