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LEXINGTON, Ky. — A lovely weekend at the Kentucky Classic CDE played host to the 2016 USEF Pony Driving National Championships. Held Oct. 6-9 at the Kentucky Horse Park, the championships crowned two  National Champions, including Leslie Berndl of Newcastle.

Driving Sweetwater’s Zorah Belle, Berndl began their quest for a national title with a lovely dressage test to win the phase with a score of 53.69 from the Ground Jury of Anne-Marie Turbe (FRA), Elimar Thunert (GER), and Kail Palmer-Miller (USA). Berndl boldly drove Teressa Kandianis’ 2004 Norwegian Fjord mare in the marathon phase, having the fastest times in four of the seven obstacles designed by Richard Nicoll (USA). They won the phase and added 86.19 penalties to their score. Despite the fact that less than three points separated first and second place, Berndl and Sweetwater’s Zorah Belle kept their cool in the cones phase to have a double-clear round and earn the USEF Single Pony Driving National Championship title with a final score of
139.88.

Ping Pong and Julie Flettner, CIC1* champs

Ping Pong and Julie Flettner, CIC1* champs

Sherry Stewart photo

WOODSIDE — Mary Burke and Prince William added another winning chapter to a bio that the 13-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred has compiled over their 10-year partnership, as the Ellensburg, Wash., duo secured the CIC3* win in true copybook fashion at the Woodside International.

Riding in reverse order of standing, overnight CIC3* leader Frankie Thieriot Stutes of Occidental and the Chatwin Group’s Chatwin were last to start. The pair confidently jumped clear in only their second CIC3*, adding 7.6 time penalties to drop them to second place on a final score of 49.4.

Both the CIC3* and Advanced divisions were designated Adequan USEA Gold Cup Qualifiers; Riders who complete a qualifying event earn the opportunity to compete at the 2017 USEA Eventing Championships to be held in Tryon, N.C. In the Advanced division, a small field of lady owner-riders spiritedly competed. Helen Bouscaren and her experienced Thoroughbred partner, Ben, held the overnight lead despite two rails down in the show jumping (53.4

SAUGERTIES, N.Y. — Horse sport royalty descended on the Hudson Valley Sept. 12 for the nation’s highest-ranked class of the year, the Saugerties $1 Million Grand Prix FEI-CSI 5*. Jessica Springsteen, riding Stone Hill Farm’s Cynar Va, captured first in the Florida-based equestrian’s first CSI-5* victory.

“It feels amazing to win this class — I’m really happy,” said the daughter of musician Bruce Springsteen. “My horse was feeling fresh this morning and was jumping around the course nicely, so I’m very pleased.”

CALGARY, Alberta, Can. — The United States’ McLain Ward and HH Azur went head-to-head against Great Britain’s Scott Brash and Ursula XII in a nail-biting jump-off Sept. 11 at the CP International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex. Because the defending champions went triple-clear, Ward and HH Azur needed to complete the jump-off under 41.19 seconds. Unfortunately, they had a rail at fence two, a Rolex vertical, to end on four faults for second place. Italy’s Lorenzo De Luca and Ensor De Litrange LXII finished third with one time fault. Kent Farrington and Voyeur, also part of the U.S. contingent, finished just outside the top three with four faults.

WAYNE, Ill. – Champions were named Aug. 27 at the 2016 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships, and two of the three were from the Golden State.

Christian Hartung of Vacaville and Desario, who received record marks, claimed the Markel/USEF Five-Year-Old National Championship, while Craig Stanley of Madera and Habanero CWS overtook Justine Wilson and Hero BHS for the Markel/USEF Four-Year-Old Championship title.

900412-1607B Newstrader PHOTO_A US dressage

Steffen Peters (far right) and the U.S. team.

Shannon Brinkman photo

AACHEN, Germany – The United States Dressage Team had solid performances throughout the Lambertz Nations Cup July 14-16 at CHIO Aachen. Led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover, the team of Katherine Bateson-Chandler, Shelly Francis, Arlene “Tuny” Page, and Steffen Peters garnered the Silver medal with a total score of 437.139. Saturday’s final placing also clinched the inaugural FEI Nations Cup™ series title for the U.S. Germany had a dominant performance in the eight-nation field, taking the top three places in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special and earning the Gold medal with a total of 492.598. Denmark finished with the Bronze medal on a total of 430.418.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has named the U.S. Driving Team for the 2016 FEI World Driving Championships for Singles. The championship will take place Aug. 3-7, 2016, in Piber Köflach, Austria.

Leslie Berndl of Newcastle and her own Uminco, a 2001 KWPN gelding, have been selected to the U.S. Driving Team that will compete in singles.

Michael Freund will serve as Chef d’Equipe and Thorsten Zarembowicz will be the team coach.

WOODSIDE — The heightened atmosphere of the Horse Park at Woodside’s Grand Prix arena, with crowds packed all around, gave the competitors in the Preliminary Challenge divisions at the Spring Event at Woodside the feeling of the “Preliminary Olympics”.

Only a one-tenth of a point separated the top two in the Preliminary Challenge Horse division heading into show jumping. Busy California-based British rider James Alliston held second, third, ninth and eleventh places after cross country. A clear round by Alliston on Sophie Hulme’s Thomascourt Cooley sealed the win on 28.7 penalties after overnight leader En Vogue, owned by Ruth Bley, and ridden by Kimmy Steinbuch, had two rails down.

Christine Traurig, in her second year as the USEF Young Horse Coach, seeks to further develop the Young Horse Program and supports the riders, owners and breeders in the U.S. Traurig also encourages communication on the progress of the Young Horse Program, as she oversees horses and riders preparing for the World Breeding Championships in Holland as well as those preparing for the Markel/USEF Young Horse Finals in Illinois.

For more than 30 years, Traurig has been a successful rider and trainer of young horses. She was born on her parent’s farm in Altenbuecken, Germany, near Verden where they bred, raised and prepared Hanoverians for the Verden Hanoverian Elite Auction.

LAKESIDE — Diana Cavender, a veteran of more than 50 parades since she joined the Escondido Mounted Posse six years ago, was killed April 23 when her horse spooked and fell, knocking her to the ground at the Lakeside Western Days Parade. The incident occured about 10:50 a.m. after the posse had concluded the parade, as Cavender and her horse were approaching a staging area. Emergency crews rushed her to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, where she died at 5:41 p.m.