June 10th, 2013 -- Drivers from the United States put the world on notice over the weekend in France as they stormed to victory in both the Four-in-Hand and Pony Team divisions at the Saumur CAI-A4. Chester Weber cruised to victory in a world class Four-in-Hand division, finishing on a three-day total of 128.5, while in Pony Team competition Laurie Astegiano ended on an overall score of 145.93 to earn her first Saumur victory.
Weber (Ocala, Fla.) demonstrated why he is a nine-time USEF Four-in-Hand National Champion and two-time FEI Four-in-Hand Driving World Championship Silver medalist with his impressive performance in France. Driving a team he co-owns with Jane Clark, Weber scored 36.22 in the dressage to lead the field of 21 from the very start. He once again dominated on Saturday"s marathon, posting the best score of the Four-in-Hand division, 89.28, to head into the final cones phase the overnight leader. A single ball down in the cones for an additional three penalties meant Weber scored a wire-to-wire victory on a score of 128.5.
Weber will look to continue his success in Europe, as he next heads to Aachen, Germany for the Aachen CAIO-4.
Astegiano (Roussac, France) has a history of solid performances in Saumur, including asecond place finish in 2012, but had not been able to earn top honors until this year. The two-time FEI World Pony Driving Championship Team Bronze medalist grabbed the early lead with her team of ponies winning the dressage phase on a score of 56.26. The following day she placed second on the marathon with a score of 85.56. In the cones phase, Astegiano added just 4.11 penalties to complete the prestigious competition on a score of 145.93 and claim first place honors.
For more information about the Saumur CAI-4A visit; http://www.saumur.org/cai/accueil-gb.html