June 6, 2014 --The United States got off to a strong start at the Saumur CAIO4* driving to a second-place finish in the dressage in Nations Cup competition on a team score of 83.05. They stand 7/10s of a point behind the Dutch team heading into Saturday's marathon. Additionally, all four American competitors drove into the top six ndividually following the dressage in their respective divisions. Posting the best score in the first phase in any division was 11-time National Champion, Chester Weber on a score of 32.91.
Weber (Ocala, Fla.) holds more than a five point lead over second-placed Theo Timmerman of The Netherlands in Four-in-Hand competition heading into the marathon following his exemplary effort in the dressage. The 2012 FEI Four-in-Hand Driving World Championships Team Bronze and Silver Individual medalist is looking to score a repeat of his 2013 Saumur victory this weekend.
Lying fifth in the Four-in-Hand division after the first phase, is the United States' Misdee Wrigley-Miller (Lakewood Ranch, Fla.) on a score of 50.14. The 2014 Reserve National Champion is in her first year of driving a Four-in-Hand team and looks to impress this weekend in France.
Standing right behind Wrigley-Miller in sixth place is nine-time Pony Team National Champion Lisa Stroud of West Grove, Pa. The driver, who is also competing in the Four-in-Hand Horse ranks for the first time in 2014, heads onto the marathon with a score of 50.26.
Laurie Astegiano (Roussac, France) is the sole U.S. representative in the Pony Team division and drove to a fourth-place finish on Thursday with a score of 58.24. The two-time World Championship Team Bronze medalist was the winner in Saumur in 2013 and is looking to claim back-to-back victories at the prestigious French competition.
Olivier Thiriez of France leads Pony Team competition following the dressage on a score of 47.79.
Learn more about the Saumur CAIO4* here: http://www.saumur.org/cai/accueil-gb.html
Follow the U.S. Driving Team here.