Articles: Horse News
Fairclough Wins Third USEF National Four-In-Hand Driving Championship After
Photo: Richard Moore.
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2011
USEF Communications Department
Lexington, KY - The 2011 U.S. National Four-In-Hand Championship was
contested over the weekend in Kennett Square, PA, at the 25th annual Laurels
at Landhope International Combined Driving Event, one of the most
prestigious events of its kind in the U.S.
The 2011 U.S. National Four-In-Hand Championship included four entries in
the Four-in- Hand division - three Americans, Chester Weber, James
Fairclough and Josh Rector, who vied for the National title, and one
Canadian, Eugen Hug.
Competitors took to the soggy, post-Tropical Storm Lee dressage arenas on
Friday, with Chester Weber of Ocala, FL, getting off to an early lead with a
picture-perfect dressage test with a score of 39.04, putting him up by a
margin of eight points over Fairclough.
But Fairclough took the lead on Saturday during the Marathon when Weber made
an uncharacteristic mistake, going the wrong way through a gate in the third
hazard to put him a little under eight points behind Fairclough as they
headed into Sunday's Cones phase. It wasn't clear sailing for Fairclough
either as he had a glitch in the water hazard causing his team to take some
stutter steps. "My whip got caught," he said. "It cost me four or five
Weber was disappointed with the Marathon but blamed no one but himself. "I
had a gate backward in hazard No. 3," he said. "We walked it that way. It
was just a mistake and I have nothing to say except it was inexcusable." He
was very pleased with how well his horses went. "I thought the course was
very heavy-going," he said. "It was terribly hot and the whole Section E,
you could be going downhill and the horses had to pull."
Fairclough sealed the win in the Cones on Sunday and despite adding 10.3
points to his overnight score, he held his lead over Weber - scoring his
third USEF National Four-In-Hand Driving Championship on a final total score
of 132.76. Weber won the cones portion on a score of 6.55 with an overall
final of 136.89.
Fairclough was thrilled with his performance over the three days: "My
dressage was very good, I was hoping for something a little better but 47 is
a really good score. The marathon went really well, first competition since
WEG so I was a little rusty but it went well, and today (the cones) went
well. They were very consistent all the way through. I do it because I love
it, I love to drive a four-in-hand and I love to represent our country, and
it's been 10 years since I last won the National title so it's pretty cool
to win it on 9/11 ten years later."
For Fairclough it was a relief - he put a team together after parting ways
with long-time owner Jane Clark last year.
Fairclough won his first USEF National Championship in 1982, he has been a
stalwart member of the U.S. Driving Team, and most recently he and Weber
were members the Bronze Medal-winning Team at the Alltech FEI World
"I'm looking for another sponsor," said Fairclough. "And I would like to
pull something together before the next World Games (in 2014)."
The vision of the United States Equestrian Federation 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