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The Laurels At Landhope International Combined Driving Event Completes Most Successful Year Ever

West Grove, PA—September 8, 2003—World-class drivers brought their horses and ponies from all across the United States and Canada to compete for championship honors in the United States’ most prestigious combined driving event, The Laurels at Landhope CDE, held at Landhope Farm in West Grove, PA.

Championship titles at stake included the USA Equestrian National Combined Driving Pony Championship, presented by Driving Essentials. The winner of the Advanced Single Pony Division and this honor was Betsy Cowperthwaithe of Aiken, SC who won with an overall score of 121.23 penalties.

“I was thrilled to win,” said Cowperthwaithe. “I was a little worried after I dropped a ball in the cones, but fortunately it did not make a difference.”

It was a fierce but friendly battle in this division between Cowperthwaite and Jack Wetzel of Aiken, SC, who held the lead through the dressage and marathon phases. Wetzel dropped to the Reserve Champion position after a less-than-satisfactory seventh place finish in cones. Last year Wetzel won at The Laurels by less than one point. “At least the championship is still going back to Aiken,” said Cowperthwaithe.

The other National Championship at stake was the Advanced Pair Pony Division. It was won by the defending champion, Tracey Morgan of Beallsville, MD, who recently finished 11th in the inaugural World Championship for Ponies in Austria. She finished The Laurels with an overall score of 126.24 penalties.

“I am really pleased with the Ponies,” said Morgan of her pair of Dartmoors. “They are now going to get a well deserved holiday! This competition was so beautiful and a culmination to a really great year.”

Fred Merriam of Newfane, VT, individual Bronze Medalist at the 2002 World Singles Driving Championship, won the Advanced Single Horse Division, which served as a Selection Trial for the 2004 World Championships in Sweden. As winner of this division, Merriam also claimed the Martin Auctioneer/Kuhnle Carriage North American Single Horse Challenge, scoring 100.07 penalties.

“The course was awesome,” said Merriam referring the marathon course designed by Harry Buurman of The Netherlands. “We all had fun with it. It’s fantastic to compete here because all of the drivers here are top notch. I want to thank the Laurels for putting on such a great event.”

Chester Weber of Ocala, FL led from start to finish in the Advanced Multiple Horse Division, claiming victory with a score of 125.17 penalties. Weber’s fourth consecutive international win came over five other four-in-hand teams. “My goal this year has been to win all the international events that I compete in and so far I have to say that it’s going according to plan,” Weber said. “I hope that things will continue to go well.”

In the Advanced Pair Horse Division, Eleanor Gallagher of Southern Pines, NC, took top honors with 167.60 penalties.

In the Preliminary divisions, Scott Adcox of Mendenhall, PA, won the Preliminary Single Horse “A” Division, going clean in the cones for a combined score of 92.94 penalties. Rochelle Temple of Powhatan, VA, won the “B” Division after she also went clean in cones for a final tally of 107.57. Ellen Epstein of Newtown, PA won the Preliminary Pair Horse Division with 122.40. In the Preliminary Single Pony “A” Division, Suzy Stafford of Bear, DE took top honors with a clean go in the cones for a final score of 94.30 penalties. The “B” Division was won by Leslie Griewe of Southern Pines, NC who was also clean in the cones and finished with 104.95. Joan McGurren of Great Falls,VA captured the Preliminary Pair Pony division with 102.77 penalties and Claire Reid won the Preliminary Multiple Pony scoring 174.21.

The Laurels at Landhope Autumn Celebration benefited the Brandywine Conservancy, the Cheshire Hunt Conservancy, the Large Animal Protection Society and the University of Pennsylvania New Bolton Center.

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