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Posted by Joan Pletcher on July 9, 2019
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Live Oak International: A Celebration of Equine Excellence

 

He helped create the largest Combined Driving and Show Jumping event in the United States. But he couldn’t compete that first year, because he wasn’t yet 18 years old.

That was back in 1992. When he finally did reach 18 the next year, he became the youngest driver ever to be named to the United States Equestrian Team. Today Chester Weber is the country’s most celebrated combined driver. His name is virtually synonymous with Four-in-Hand carriage driving.

Now the Live Oak International event he co-founded with his sister, Juliet Reid, brings top competitors from 20 countries together for a week of extraordinary equine events every March. It’s America’s premier combined driving event, bringing together the best horses, drivers and carriage teams in the world. And in 2017, Live Oak International inaugurated the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League.

What is so special about this event? What do you enjoy the most about it?

Combined Driving is a horse-and-carriage sport modeled after three-day eventing, and it includes three phases. First comes Driven Dressage, which is dressage in harness. The Marathon phase includes a cross country course, hazards and tight turns. The Obstacle, or cones course, puts carriage and riders through a maze that demands absolute precision.

All of this excitement, along with the Show Jumping competition, makes the Live Oak International an event that draws crowds locally and from around the world. It’s a signature celebration of Ocala’s equestrian culture.

There could be no more delightful setting for the event than Live Oak Plantation, an exquisite 4,500-acre thoroughbred farm that is among the leading Florida breeders. Opened in 1968 by Charlotte Weber, granddaughter of Campbell Soup founder John T. Dorrance, Live Oak preserves some of Ocala’s most scenic farm land.

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