U.S. Places Sixth in Pony Driving World Championships

The United States Equestrian Team finished sixth in the first World Driving Championships for Ponies. Teams and individuals from 15 nations competed. Germany dominated the competition taking all three individual Gold Medals as well as the team Gold. The team Silver Medal went to The Netherlands and the Bronze went to the host nation, Austria.

The championships included singles, pairs and four-in-hands and broke exciting new ground. The U.S. teams consisted of Miranda Cadwell of Southern Pines, NC, and Sara Schmitt of Glen Gardner, NJ, driving singles; Tracey Morgan of Beallsville, MD, and Allison Meyer of Newton, NJ, driving pairs; and Katie Whaley of Southern Pines, NC, and Boots Wright of Southern Pines, NC, driving four-in-hands. Allison Stroud of West Grove, PA, drove her pair of Connemaras as an individual.

Schmitt achieved the highest U.S. placing, sixth, with her Morgan pony, “High Country Doc”. After coming in third in the dressage phase, she was tenth in the marathon, maintaining her third place position before the cones phase. After cones, she dropped to sixth place. Fellow single driver, Cadwell, driving Kate Rivers’ Welsh Cob Red Robbo finished 14th overall.

In the pairs, Tracey Morgan was the highest placed for the U.S., finishing 11th with her Dartmoor ponies just two places ahead of teammate Allison Meyer with her Hackneys. Allison Stroud finished 20th.

Up against the experienced and well-practiced European four-in-hand drivers, Whaley and Wright did well to hold their own, completing all three phases of the competition to finish 13th and 17th respectively.

“This was a new experience for our pony drivers and it is safe to say that they all gained valuable experience by being there,” said Wendy Wares-Cooke, USET Director of Driving. “The Europeans have a great depth of talent and I am quite proud of our drivers. They put in an excellent performance. All in all, I am very happy with how things went.”

The United States Equestrian Team is a non-profit organization that selects, trains, equips and finances equestrians of the highest possible standard to represent our country in major international competition, including the Olympic Games, Pan American Games and World Championships. To accomplish this, the USET seeks out and nurtures the development of talented athletes – riders, drivers, vaulters, and horses – and provides the support and guidance they need to help them attain their fullest potential. For more information on the USET, please call (908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at www.uset.org.