Live Oak International Returns with Driving and Show Jumping
Ocala, Florida – Live Oak International, the only equestrian event in North America to feature both world-class driving and show jumping, returns to Ocala, FL, from March 20 to 23, 2014.
For more than 20 years, Live Oak International has been known for its international driving competition. This year, it will offer the highest amount of prize money of any driving event in North America.
While driving has a long history at the Live Oak International, each year improvements are made for the benefit of competitors and spectators alike. The combined driving is held in three phases, beginning with Dressage on Thursday and Friday morning, Saturday’s Driving Marathon phase is especially thrilling as carriages negotiate complex obstacles, each individually sponsored. This year, Live Oak will host the USEF National Four In Hand Driving Championship. The Show Jumping program commences Friday afternoon followed on Saturday by the newly appointed World Cup Qualifier and Sunday’s world ranking jumping event. Last year, over 5,000 spectators enjoyed Saturday’s Driving Marathon competition, followed by the $50,000 CSI2* Grand Prix for show jumping.
Sanctioned as a CAI-B driving event by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) and offering single, pair and four-in-hand divisions for horses and ponies, Live Oak International attracts the top driving competitors from around the globe. Chester C. Weber, was the winner of last year’s FEI four-in-hand driving competition and Todd Minikus was the winner of the CSI2* Grand Prix.
In 2012, the Olympic equestrian sport of show jumping was added to rave reviews. Building on the success of its inaugural year, show jumping returns in 2014. In 2014 Live Oak International will host a World Cup Qualifying event for the first time. This event is the last qualifier for riders to earn valuable points to qualify for the Longines World Cup Final. Like driving, the show jumping events are also FEI-sanctioned, ensuring that highest standards of competition are upheld and giving drivers and riders alike an opportunity to earn points in the all-important world rankings.
Two-time Olympic show jumping course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela will set the tracks in the John Deere Arena. Show jumping competition begins on Friday with the $5,000 1.30m Speed competition as well as the $10,000 Live Oak Welcome Stake. The $50,000 CSI2-W Grand Prix is Saturday’s featured event, followed by the Exhibitor’s Party. Following the third and final phase of cones competition for driving, show jumping competition concludes on Sunday with the $34,000 CSI2* Winning Round. As an added incentive, Live Oak will offer a $10,000 Leading Rider bonus other awards such as the Leading Junior Rider and the Leading Amateur Rider.
An added special feature this year is the World famous Budweiser Clydesdales, who will be on display at Live Oak Thursday and Saturday.
Held at Live Oak Plantation, the private 5,000-acre farm of the Weber family, the Live Oak International is produced by nine-time winner of the USEF Four In Hand Driving Championship Chester C. Weber of Ocala, FL, and his sister, Juliet W. Reid, who has led the Washington International Horse Show as President of the Board for the past five years.
“The passion of countless volunteers has made Live Oak what it is today,” said Weber of the Live Oak International’s long-standing success. “My family and I are proud to be part of it. We have always been committed to delivering the highest quality event and continue to improve our event each year”.
Reid echoed Weber’s sentiments, saying, “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 our sponsors, competitors and spectators. Chester and I both play various roles within the equestrian community, and we both use our experiences in the sport to ensure that special care is taken to ensure that the Live Oak International is the best event it can be.”
Admission to the event is $10 per person, $5 for children under 12, with proceeds benefiting the Marion County Therapeutic Riding Association.
For more information on the Live Oak International, including VIP Hospitality seating and sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.liveoakinternational.com