• Peter Tischer from Germany, who has been hired by the U.S. Equestrian Federation to coach the four-in-hand drivers on a monthly basis leading up to the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (Ky.), was pleased with his drivers’ performances at Live Oak.
“They need more experience, all of them, but I can see from the last show at Sunshine State until now they made improvements,” he said. All the drivers under his tutelage completed the marathon without incident. Tischer will continue working with his drivers before the Southern Pines CDE (N.C.) in April and will be on hand to walk the hazards and cones with them.
• Tracey Morgan and her pair of Dartmoor ponies took a decisive lead in dressage, ultimately ensuring her win in the FEI advanced pair pony class. A 16-point cushion put her in good stead against marathon specialist Miranda Cadwell. Although Cadwell won the marathon with her German ponies, it was only by a few points over Morgan, not enough to pull ahead. Each had one cone down and a few time penalties on the final phase, so Morgan’s lead stayed intact.
• Mary Clark Lind was probably surprised to find herself accepting the blue ribbon in the intermediate pony pair class after Paul Martin, well in the lead, missed one set of cones and was eliminated in the last few seconds of the competition.
“The ponies were fantastic,” said Martin generously, blaming himself for the error.
• All three members of the U.S. team from the 2008 World Singles Championship competed at Live Oak. Robin Groves drove Thor’s Toy Truck to a first-placed finish. Second in dressage to Sherri Lower, Groves edged out Donna Crookston with Cowboy’s Black Cadillac in the marathon by just more than 1 penalty point. Crookston won the cones, but it wasn’t enough to overtake Groves. Bill Peacock was at the event with a new horse, Emily.