There were few surprises at the top of the leader board after the first day of dressage in the driving at Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The Dutch 2008 world champion Ijsbrand Chardon shares top spot with the silver medallist from that event, the USA’s Chester Weber (pictured), both having scored 35.97.
“My horses woke up in that stadium with the good crowd of spectators and I was happy with the way they moved in there,” said Chester, who is driving an experienced team of three 13-year-olds and a 10-year-old. “If I had a disappointment it was that a problem in the back probably cost me the necessary marks to be in the lead.”
Ijsbrand has a seven-year-old, Whooper, in his team alongside seasoned horses, and was also happy with his efforts, apart from a little mistake in the walk. He predicted that marathon day on Saturday will be influential and the drivers say the final obstacle is particularly tricky.
The Netherlands’ Theo Timmerman is third, having scored 40.19 with his young team — the oldest horse is nine. This means the Netherlands leads in the team standings, with the USA in second, but Chester today said that his team-mate Tucker Johnson, who will do his dressage tomorrow, has been performing a better test than him in practice so that bodes well for the home side.
The driving is the smallest competition at WEG with 25 individuals and seven teams competing. Only three teams are fielding a full three-driver team — the other teams consist of two drivers so will have no discard score. Britain did not send any drivers due to the cost and lack of funding.
The 2008 bronze medallist, British-based Australian Boyd Exell, is also expected to put in a good score tomorrow.
Log back on for updates on the driving at WEG, full report in H&H out 14 October.