Articles: Horse News
United States Wins Team Silver and Tucker Johnson Wins Individual Bronze in
Career Finale in the Combined Driving Championships at the Alltech FEI World
U.S. Drivers. Photo by Shannon Brinkman for USEF.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
by Leah Oliveto
Lexington, KY - The Combined Driving Championships came to an exciting
conclusion today with the United States taking the Team Silver medal and
Tucker Johnson winning his first ever individual medal, the Bronze. The
Netherlands maintained their lead after yesterday's marathon to earn the
Team Gold and Germany won the Team Bronze. Boyd Exell (AUS) took the
Individual Gold and Isjbrand Chardon (NED) was the Individual Silver
It was a hard fought battle with only four drivers going double clear
through the Cones. After a lengthy time delay due to technical problems with
the timers, Chester Weber was first to go for the U.S. Team and set the bar
high. He turned in the first double clear round of the day in just 200.42, a
pace that could not be beaten. Driving his team of warmblood geldings, Weber
made light work of the Richard Nicoll designed course and was foot perfect
through all the Cones.
"It's a nice way to finish, if you leave the World Games with a Team medal
you're going to be happy," said Weber.
Following right after Weber was teammate Jimmy Fairclough who also laid down
a double clear round to finish second the Cones phase, just three seconds
off Weber's pace. Fairclough's first World Championships was in 1980 and his
experience showed as he guided his team through the technically demanding
"After 12 D I was nine seconds behind the time I wanted so I really had to
go from there to the finish to make the time allowed," said Fairclough.
Last to go for the U.S. was Johnson, who went into the ring with one ball in
hand for an Individual medal. Known for his prowess in the final phase
Johnson drove the course smoothly, although he had an unfortunate ball down
at 17 he finished with no time penalties.
U.S. Drivers. Photo by Shannon Brinkman for USEF.10-10 Driving Cones
"The horses were easy and I regained my composure after that one little
moment at 17. I've contributed to a Team Gold in 1991 and a Team Silver in
2002, it feels good to get the Silver again, they [Weber and Fairclough]
made the job easy today," said Johnson.
This was Johnson's final appearance representing the U.S. as he has
announced his retirement from driving competitively. Johnson is the first
American to win an Individual Driving medal since the World Equestrian
Games' inception in 1990.
"To be able to hold it together enough to take home a Bronze means
everything to me as I've come to the end of my competitive driving
career. It didn't end perfect, I had a ball down, but I think that makes my
total ball count in 25 years of World Championships around five, all in all
it felt good."
This marks the second Team Silver medal at a World Equestrian Games for
Weber, Fairclough and Johnson, having accomplished the feat together at the
2002 Jerez, Spain Games.
Moving up two spots after the Cones, Josh Rector was the highest ranked
U.S. Individual in 16th place. Also completing the competition for the
U.S. was Gary Stover (18th), Mike McLennan (19th) and Cindy O'Reilly
(20th). Casey Zubek and Bill Long were eliminated in the marathon.
The vision of the United States Equestrian Federation(r) is to provide
for equestrian sport in the United States of America by promoting the
of excellence from the grassroots to the Olympic Games, based on a
foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare
of its human and equine athletes.