Chester Weber won a sensational victory with his horse team at the CAI Live Oak event in Ocala, Florida.
Relative newcomer Chester, 25, driving a team of bay warmblood horses, defeated five times US national champion Tucker Johnson in a thrilling contest. As co-host with his mother Charlotte Weber of the event, which was held at the family’s 4,800-acre Live Oak Plantation, the young American driver’s victory delighted local supporters.
Tucker, who is currently ranked in the top 10 drivers in the world, won the dressage with his brown warmbloods to go into a narrow lead on the first day ahead of Chester Weber and Sem Groenewoud.
The drivers went on to tackle eight massively-constructed, lavishly-decorated and horse-friendly marathon obstacles designed and built by show organisers Susan and Joe Gilliland and their dedicated team.
In 87øF heat Tucker Johnson raced through the obstacles, but his carriage hit a post in obstacle seven and his groom was thrown off, incurring an extra 10 penalties. Sem Groenewoud had a steady round to maintain third place. Chester Weber skilfully navigated the obstacles with his well-schooled team to storm into the lead.
Only four penalties separated the top two horse team drivers goinginto the cone driving on the final day. Tucker drove a double clear round to pile the pressure on his young opponent, but Chester responded with an ice-cool and accurately-driven double clear of his own to secure his first major victory.
“I do a lot of the basic work in singles so that the foundations are good when I put the horses together as a team,” explained Chester.