2015 Live Oak International: The Horse Capital of America’s Favorite Equestrian Event
If you weren’t one of the 10,000 people who attended the 2014 Live Oak International, you missed interacting with the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales, watching two-time National Football League Superbowl linebacker Max Montoya claim the Intermediate Pair Horse Division Championship title, seeing a driving legend arrive on the show grounds by helicopter, and being surrounded by world-class show jumpers and drivers as they competed for top titles. Not to mention a worldwind of gala parties, excellent shopping, and prime tailgating. Never fear— the excitement of the most unique equestrian competition in North America is back. The 2015 Live Oak International will take place in Ocala, Florida— known as the “Horse Capital of America— on March 18-22 at Live Oak Plantation.
The one-of-a-kind driving and show jumping competition Live Oak International has awed spectators and challenged competitors for over twenty years. Each year seems more exciting than the last. After an incredible 2014 show, the upcoming LOI is sure to impress. The 2014 Live Oak International featured live coverage on NBC Sports Radio and WOCA Radio, and was filled with history-making moments such as FEI’s number one four-in-hand driver Chester Weber setting a new record by claiming his 11th FEI Four-in-Hand Horse USEF National Championship. Olympic Gold Medalist Ben Maher set the standards high in the show jumping divisions, as well, by winning the $50,000 CSI2*W in a race close enough to keep everyone at the edge of their saddles.
The 2015 Live Oak International will continue to attract the most talented equestrians in the sport, as it is the richest CDE driving competition in prize money in the United States. The Live Oak International CDE/CSI2*W this March 18-22 is also a World Cup Qualifier for the 2015 FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Las Vegas in April. The 2015 LOI will have more than 100,000 reasons to ride and drive to Ocala as prizes, purses, and awards top a hundred thousand dollars. The 2015 event also hosts the USEF National Pair Horse Championship and the USEF National Pony Driving Championships.
Among more than fifteen special awards to be presented will be the Florida Triple Crown. The award will be earned by the lowest-scoring Intermediate and FEI drivers from its three jewels— The Sunshine State CDE, The Kingdom of the Sun CDE, and The Live Oak International— and a $10,000 Leading Rider Award. The Show jumping portion of LOI has drawn such CSI2* Grand Prix-winning duos as Todd Minikus and Quality Girl (who put in three consecutive victories during their 2013 appearance), and defending champion Mahr of Great Britain on Jane Clark’s Aristo Z.
Since Live Oak International’s beginnings as a combined driving competition, the event has become a staple for those working toward being placed on the United States Combined Driving Team. The event first welcomed show jumpers in 2012, becoming the first U.S. competition to ever host world-class jumping and driving competitions at the same time. Currently, the annual Live Oak International is looked forward to as both an elite competition and an amazing celebration of the equestrian sports.
Live Oak International presidents Chester C. Weber, Charlotte C. Weber, and Juliet Reid are eager to present the 2015 Live Oak International at their Live Oak Plantation. “The Live Oak International was born out of our family’s passion, strength, and commitment to excellence in equestrian sport, and continues to strive for the highest standards in sport and sportsmanship,” explains Chester Weber. “The event offers the chance to see two very unique events at the one location. While recognized as a fun and well-managed show, it is important to know that horsemanship and sportsmanship come first. Live Oak International again has committed more than $100,000 in prize money spread over its jumping classes plus a rider bonus of $10,000 for the leading rider with the most points. Live Oak International is leading the way in Combined Driving events by providing prize money in all divisions. We hope that you will join us.”
“We appreciate our Ocala horse community coming out to show their support,” continues Weber, who won an Individual Silver Medal with his four-in-hand team at the World Equestrian Games earlier this year. Weber strives to bring such international experiences back to The Live Oak International’s own drawing boards. He envisions the event— traditionally hosted for more than two decades on the Weber family’s 5,000-acre equestrian and Thoroughbred breeding estate— as “an American Aachen. It’s important to see a horse show spectator as a customer.”
Elegant marathon tailgating (reservations still available), trend-setting boutiques at the Vendor Village, and the Charles Owen Competitors Club assure that every LOI guest— outside and inside the show ring— finds just the right event and experience.
“As The Live Oak International is a family-owned and family-managed event on our own property, we have the ability to tailor our event to meet the needs of competitors, spectators, and sponsors,” adds Charlotte Weber. “Chester and I both play several roles within our equestrian community, and we try to use our experiences in the sport to ensure that every detail is scrutinized, to make The Live Oak International an event Ocala— and the horse world— can be proud of.”
For a unique experience in the worlds of show jumping, combined driving and world-class equestrian fun, the 2015 Live Oak International is the place to be. So mark your calendars for March 18-22, and immerse yourself in Ocala’s equestrian excitement— Live Oak International style! For more information on The 2015 Live Oak International, including VIP Hospitality seating and sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.liveoakinternational.com.
All photos courtesy of Pics of You.com, except where otherwise noted.