Wednesday, September 30, 2009

20 Questions for Chester Weber

Check out our featured athlete of the week, Kentucky Cup Driving contestant, Chester Weber. Watch Chester and other World Equestrian Games veterans at the official driving test event of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Kentucky Cup Driving, this weekend (October 1-4) at the Kentucky Horse Park.

CHESTER C. WEBER
AGE: JUNE 3 1975 (33)
DISCIPLINE: DRIVING
COUNTRY: USA

1. When did you start in your discipline?
In 1989

2. How did you get into driving?
I first started to compete with draft horses, specifically with Clydesdales, and when I went off to Boarding school at Blair Academy in Blairstown, NJ I was introduced to Combined Driving by Jimmy Fairclough

3. Do you have any lucky driving attire?
Not really, I joke some times that there is magic in my old top hat

4. Do you have any advice for younger riders aspiring within your discipline?
Concentrate on the details and remembers winners train and losers complain

5. Who is your equestrian idol?
Michael Freund

6. If there was one other discipline you could compete in, what would it be?
Jumping

7. What characteristic or quality do you value most in a horse?
Temperament of a winner, without that training is for nothing

8. Where will you be in 5, 10 years?
At Live Oak Stud with my wife and family

9. What are 3 things you are most likely to find in your refrigerator?
St. Pellegrino water, limes and fresh fish

10. What is one thing you always take with you to horse shows/on the road?
Movies for amusement

11. What is the coolest place in the world driving has taken you?
Aachen during the CHIO

12. Given the chance, what horse(s) other than your own would you like to compete with?
Chardon’s team from 1998

13. What is your favorite horse show?
CHIO Aachen

14. What is the best/worst part about driving and competing?
Best, the travels. Worst, packing

15. What have horses and competing taught you?
“Winners train losers complain” all good horsemen and women can cull ruthlessly, and with horses you need humility

16. What have been the biggest rewards of your career?
Getting to work with fabulous horses

17. What are you most likely to be doing if/when you’re not driving?
Skiing on the snow or in the water or playing tennis

18. How do you unwind after a long day?
Glass of French Burgundy

19. How do you juggle your driving career with your life as a mom/dad?
I am neither mom nor dad that I know of

20. What excites you most about the 2010 Games in Kentucky?
Competing in my backyard aginst the world’s best

21. Have you ever ridden any other disciplines?
Not really

22. What music are you currently listening to?
Country

23. What do you think when you think about possibly riding in next year’s WEG?
The challenges of tomorrow’s training

24. What are you doing to try to get there?
Training and keeping focused

25. What impact do you think having WEG in the US will have on horse sports in this country?
It will have a great impact on bringing our sport to the masses of horse lovers in the US.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Get Your Games Face On

Wow, what a weekend! In case you missed it tickets went on sale Friday (if you did check out Ticketmaster.com and get yours today!) There were many, many long days spent prepping for ticket sales to begin, but our team survived and we were so relieved to see everything go smoothly for ticketbuyers Friday.

Some fans may not have purchased this weekend thinking, “I’ll still get to see everything I want.” Well, if you’re a fan of dressage, eventing, jumping, reining, or opening ceremonies, you might want to “pony” up before they’re gone!

With dressage, eventing, and jumping being Olympic disciplines they have a strong following and so we anticipated those events going fast, what we didn’t expect was how fast. They’re not sold out, but they may be gone before you realize.

That is by not means to miss out on driving, endurance, para-dressage or vaulting. Tickets have been sold for every one of the 49 sessions of ticketed events available. We’ve sold tickets in all 50 states and over 25 countries. This first week of sales has by far exceeded our expectations, and we can't wait to see all of you in Kentucky.

The support has been great and we’ll continue to work hard to make your experience next fall great! Over the past few weeks you may have noticed our recent partnership with the National Reining Horse Association. This agreement led to the NRHA putting on a Reining Freestyle Exhibition. With the Games being in the U.S. for the first time and reining being such a western sport, the fit seemed natural. The Reining Freestyle Exhibition on September 30, 2010 at 6 p.m. will be a special event whether you’re a diehard fan or experiencing reining for the first time.

In addition to ticket sales we also launched information regarding accommodations, parking, daily hospitality passes and World Games Radio. If you want to add to your experience at the 2010 Games any and all of these options will certainly help. As more information becomes available please be sure to check our website. There are two phases of the site and we’re currently in the first and planning towards the second. As the Games near we’ll make changes and add information to make the Games a once-in-a-lifetime-experience.

In the meantime, did you see our latest video?


Matt Reiter
Marketing and Sales
video

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reese Koffler-Stanfield Gets Ready for WEG

Wow - I'm so excited to be selected as the Kentucky Athlete Representative at the One Year Away Celebration for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. I want to introduce myself and my horse Goubergh's Kasper.

I am a true Kentucky girl born and raised right here in Lexington. I attended Sayre High School and the University of Kentucky. I graduated from UK with a B.S. in Agriculture Economics and a M.A. from the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce. My first experience on a horse was during my second birthday party which was held at the Kentucky Horse Park. Since that moment I've been passionate about riding.

For years I have dreamed of the possibility of representing my country in the sport of Dressage. That dream now holds extra special meaning for me as my hometown of Lexington, KY, has been chosen as the site of the World Equestrian Games in 2010. The World Games are considered the highest honor for any rider. I am currently a USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold medalist, a USDF Certified Instructor through Fourth Level, and the principle Trainer at Maplecrest Farm of Lexington. My husband Travis Stanfield, my parents Bruce and Margee Koffler, my uncle Dr. Michael Koffler, and all of my students and the staff of Maplecrest farm make up the most loving and supportive team that any rider could ever hope to have.

Kasper (aka “Kaspie” or “Goober”) is truly an amazing partner. His kind and witty personality never ceases to put a smile on my face each day. Kasper is a 16.2 hand Chestnut Gelding with a lengthy and prestigious resume. My parents and uncle purchased Kasper in 2008 and we became instant friends. Our goal for 2009 was to qualify for the United States Equestrian Federation Festival of Champions at the Grand Prix level. To achieve this goal Kasper and I began training with internationally known “S” judge, trainer, mentor, and friend Kathy Connelly, in Wellington Florida. Kathy and I have worked together for the past seven year with the goal of competing at the international level. This year Kasper and I competed in several international shows.... we made a huge splash! We won the Grand Prix Special at the Wellington Classic CDI ***, we were the leading Americans in the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W at the Wellington Equestrian Festival, and won the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle at the Lamplight CDI *** in May. We were thrilled when we received our invitation to compete in the United States Equestrian Federation Grand Prix Dressage Festival of Champions held at USET Headquarters in Gladstone, New Jersey. Kasper and I finished 4th overall!!! Our goal now is to again qualify for the USEF Festival of Champions which will also serve as the final selection trial for the WEG!

Kasper and I are working hard to prepare for the upcoming qualifying shows. We will be working very hard to secure a place on the 2010 WEG team which would truly be a dream come true. I am often asked what steps I am taking to prepare for the WEG. I have certainly modified my daily routine and am working to improve my strength and physical fitness with the same veracity that Kasper approaches his training each day. I visit my personal trainer, Matt Veigel of Body Structure, at least 4 days a week. After Kasper has had his breakfast and enjoyed a few hours of turnout on our beautiful Kentucky bluegrass, we get to work. After our daily workouts and a bit of lunch, Kasper settles in for a nice long nap (of which I am jealous). Then in the afternoon he goes for a walk and has a massage from Jennifer Oliver of Central Kentucky Equine Massage Therapy, before dinner. Kasper's favorite treat is bananas. He will beg ALL day for one. I spend the rest of my day working with several horses that I am currently training, and having lessons with my many wonderful students. All of my students are hardworking and unique individuals so helping them reach their goals is definitely a priority.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Here We Go!

Today has been a very busy day at the WEG office. In between radio interviews and planning for a huge celebration this Friday, our staff also met to walk through the DMAS, or detailed activities schedule, for our next two test events.

One Year to Go. Ticket Sales Launch. Kentucky Cup Driving and Kentucky Cup Endurance. There's just so much going on!

Jamie Link (our CEO) and I are visiting TV stations througout the region this week, inviting everyone to downtown Lexington on Friday, September 25, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. as we celebrate "One Year to Go" with a festival at Lexington's Courthouse Plaza. And for those of you who cannot join us in Kentucky, I hope you'll celebrate with us through a live Web stream of the festivities on the city government Web site.

Our next two test events are also coming together very nicely. Kentucky Cup Driving will feature the largest gathering of Four-in-Hand drivers ever in America, and Kentucky Cup Endurance will include competitors from 22 countries. We have several international media outlets coming to Kentucky for these test events, and it's a great opportunity to showcase everything that makes the Kentucky Horse Park a premier facility for top equestrian competition.

It is always fun to hear and see the excitement growing, and the immense support that so many people have for this event.

Don't forget--we're giving YOU a chance to ask us questions about the Games. What staff do you want to hear from? What athletes do you want to see featured? Let us know who you want to hear from and your questions--just reply to Louise's blog from September 17th and we'll get the answers.

See you in downtown Lexington--or on the Web--on September 25th.

Amy Walker
Public Relations

Friday, September 18, 2009

We Want to Hear from You

When I first started riding, I was that kid who would rather be in my riding breeches than in a party dress. I would rather be giving pony rides on my vacation than going to the beach. I had posters of all of the top riders from every discipline plastered over my bedroom walls, much to my Mother’s chagrin. And much to my disbelief, I somehow landed a job working for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, the eight world championships of equestrian sport; the most prestigious equestrian competition in the world.

If you were ever like me, you would have loved the opportunity to ask the insider questions. Now is your chance! For all of you horse-crazy kids just like me, equine-loving adults, or those just excited that the 2010 Games are coming to the United States or to your back yard, we want to hear from you.

What do you want to know about the Games? What staff members do you want to hear from? What questions do you want to ask athletes? You ask the questions, we’ll give you the answers.

Post your questions below and we will choose the comment with the best questions. And don’t forget to read all of the comments before posting your own…The more original the questions, the better!

Louise Bowden
Public Relations

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On the Road with Sinead Halpin

A few months ago I was in the middle of a whirlwind of activity. I had had a super run on my advanced horse, Tate, at the CIC 3* at The Fork, qualifying us for Jersey CCI 3*. My business on the other hand was an uphill battle. I was living in Middleburg trying desperately to get the training, sales and teaching back up to where it had been before shutting down to move to England the previous year. I was living on one of my best friend’s couches as I just hadn’t had the time to find a place to live. I was running in circles and not sure if I was getting anything done, and a broken arm caused real insult to injury.

In an effort to keep my mental game on track, since my physical game had a set back, I pulled out some sports psychology books, bought Badmington, Burghley and Rolex DVD’s, and tried to figure out what it was going to take to get to the top of the sport and still get a balance in day to day life.

In one book I read “not push the boat upstream." Instead, it said to survive in nature one must learn to “go with the flow." I quickly realized that is why I was “breaking” literally and figuratively. Why was I continuing to run around in circles, not have consistency in all my horses and not enough business to survive? I decided I needed a fresh start.

I moved to Gladstone, New Jersey where I had friends and peers and there were fewer horses and professionals than Middleburg. I headed back across the pond to get re-inspired and watched some good friends as well as greats such as Mark Todd, Mary King and William Fox-Pitt compete.

Physically healed, I headed to New Jersey. The first event back was one I was glad to get under my belt. I had only jumped a couple of times and I was determined to have a good run. Tate was a star, winning the Intermediate division, and with Geoffrey I placed in the OP division at Stuart Horse Trials. The feeling was more “relief” than “excitement” to be honest.

Since then things have been very positive. I love my new barn in New Jersey. Business is picking up and I have never been hungrier to take advantage of everyday I’m in the tack, and every day with my horses. Tate finished 5th at the CIC3* World Cup Qualifier in Canada last month and Geoffrey finished 2nd in the OP. The young horses at the barn have been stepping up to the plate as well! White Gloves Adamus “racer” just won his first begginer novice and Sir Bally Patrick Ricardo has won his last two Novices on 23's! Tate is headed to the CIC3* at Plantation Field next week and Geoffrey the CIC1*.

I have been lucky enough to remain on the Developing Rider list which made me eligible for a training grant. With the grant I have been able to get help from Show Jumpers Katie Prudant and Anne Kursinski and Dressage rider Betsy Steiner. I have read that most people who have been successful in their business or sport were not handed everything, but when a door opened they walked through without hesitation, or when an opportunity arose they took full advantage of it. I am aware that I have an amazing horse, have positive people surrounding me and am lucky enough to do a job that I love. I plan to take full advantage of every day that I have that.

My goals this season are to have successful outings at Fairhill CCI3* and qualify for Rolex 4* this spring—and I hope both will be great previews for the kind of competition we will see at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games next September. I also plan to enjoy every day on the journey there!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Those Countdown Clocks

If you get emails from the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, you’ve recently been hit with several emails themed “Tickets On Sale Soon” and “Games Are Almost One Year Away.”

I hope every reminder of this big moment for the 2010 Games makes you just as excited as I am. And if you think you’re seeing Games information all the time, just imagine what it would be like if EVERY DAY, you were reminded that there’s one less day left to plan!

The Lexington, Kentucky community is counting down to the Games—literally. Every time I drive through downtown Lexington, I am reminded of this as I pass underneath two big countdown clocks posted over the city’s major downtown roadways. Friends send me text messages and email me photos of the countdown clock on significant days—500, 400, 399—just in case I ever forget that time is ticking away.

The first time that clock hit a number beginning with “3” was an important day for our staff. Momentum is building, preparations are coming together and our visitors are planning their trips for next year. But we are also reminded daily that we have one chance on this world’s stage. We have one chance to make a great first impression. We have one chance to get this right.

Personally, it was a little nostalgic; the unveiling of our countdown clocks was one of my first big press conferences as a member of our PR staff. Those countdown clocks began ticking with 1000 days to go. Now there are only 375.

As a native Kentuckian, I am so proud of this chance to welcome you all to my home state and showcase our Kentucky Horse Park. We in Lexington are thinking about these Games every day. I hope you are counting down with me!

(And if you’re not getting our emails, you’re missing out. Shameless plug now: go to www.alltechfeigames.com to register and find out about our other social media sites!)

Amy Walker
Public Relations

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hello From Spruce Meadows

Marilee and I arrived at Spruce Meadows on a beautiful brisk sunny Tuesday and were greeted by a spectacular facility with green tidy lawns, an abundance of beautiful flowers and sprinklers spraying vast amounts of water over the riding arenas. The sight was awesome. There was harried activity in the trade show as exhibitors set up their booths in preparation for the upcoming days of the Masters. The organization of Spruce Meadows is spot on and everythingruns like clockwork.

Wednesday morning presented a very different mood with everything setup and ready for business. Spectators were milling around beginning to make their purchases. Spruce Meadows offers a diverse trade show with many types of exhibitors, ranging from breed associations, fashion shows, English and Western tack and apparel, jewelry, art and much, much more!

Wednesday evening, in Congress Hall, the Exhibitor Reception presented by the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games was ready, set up with lovely flowers imported directly from Holland and delivered on the plane with the horses arriving from Europe. Linda Southern, CEO of Spruce Meadows, stopped by to extend a welcome to the exhibitors after which the Games promo video was shown. Marilee captured everyone’s attention with a great trade show presentation and we spoke with several interested vendors. Makers Mark was present offering a tasting of their Kentucky Bourbon and the Mint Juleps were a hit! We were thrilled with the turnout.

The 2010 Games booth has had a lot of activity over the past several days. So many peoplealready have the Games on their calendar. Many Canadians have already secured their tickets through pre-purchase programs and those who haven’t are anxiously awaiting September 25th to purchase their tickets . Spruce Meadows exhibitors have stopped by to ask questions about the WEG trade show, and we expect to see increased activity over the weekend. The excitement is mounting!

We extend our thanks to Cheryl Hatcher of the Kentucky Department of Tourism, and Mary Quinn Ramer and Lou Ann Pelle of the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau for their presence in our booth and the assistance they have given us.

We have had a great experience here at Spruce Meadows, but look forward to returning home next week to continue our preparations for The Games!

Debbie Blair and Marilee Meyers
Trade Show