Elite equestrians to compete in Ocala

The 33rd annual Live Oak International will again draw equestrians from around the world for FEI jumping and combined driving national championships.

From March 14 to 17, the Horse Capital of the World will showcase international combined driving teams and show jumping individuals during the 33rd annual Live Oak International.

The event takes place at the renowned Live Oak Stud just west of Ocala’s city centre. The expansive property, with its rolling acres accented by mature oak trees, is the perfect location for guests to see the top competitors in the world, including Live Oak Stud’s Chester Weber, a 20-time Four-in-Hand National Combined Driving Champion.

Weber is co-president of Live Oak International, along with his niece, Chloe Reid, who is a competitive show jumper. Combining the family’s equestrian disciplines of jumping and driving, Live Oak International also offers the CSI4*-W and CSI1* jumping divisions. The highlight of this discipline will be Sunday’s $200,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Ocala, presented by Lugano Diamonds. 

The driving event is divided into three phases: dressage, marathon and cones, and will bring international teams of horses and drivers to race for victory. A crowd highlight is Saturday’s driving marathon, during which horses will splash through water hazards and navigate tight turns at exhilarating speeds. 

This year’s tournament will once again host the USEF Driving National Championship for Four-in-Hand.

“I am delighted to host this esteemed championship once again in the global arena where it rightfully belongs. As an active participant in this discipline, I understand firsthand the significance of a premier venue hosting world-class competition,” said Chester Weber. “Every year, Live Oak International is determined to grow bigger and better. As a co-president of the tournament, I work alongside my team, who work incredibly hard to ensure the grounds are ready and our offerings are deserving of the world’s top competition. Our team is focused on increasing awareness of combined driving in the U.S. and making this championship the best national championship to date.”

The event will feature a diverse range of driving divisions for worldwide competitors, including FEI 3*, FEI 2*, intermediate driving, para driving and youth driving. 

The LOI Youth Driving Division, which made a successful debut in 2022, will return and will provide “emerging talents with the unique opportunity to compete at an elite facility and gain invaluable experience.” 

“The youth division holds immense significance for me as it embodies the future of the sport.  I believe providing younger competitors with the chance to participate at the same venue as the sport’s best offers a valuable learning experience on a world-class stage. Having the younger competitors rubbing shoulders with some of the sports elite can only inspire the next generation” Weber stated.

Live Oak International provides not only elite equestrian competitions, it also has social elements for participants and guests, such as a VIP party, which this year has a theme of “Welcome to the Jungle.” There will be a food truck competition on Saturday afternoon. 

Spectators will be able to see the KWPN Dutch Harness Horse Competition, in which six Dutch harness horses will compete for the first ever KWPN-NA Fine Harness Trophy, a classic in Dutch fine harness sports that is driven in traditional attire and is spectacular to watch. 

Attendees can see Weber vie for his 21st USEF Driving National Championship for Four-in-Hand as the driving competitors engage in a number of competition phases, including dressage, cones and marathon. 

Also, LOI is the last chance for jumping competitors to qualify for the 2024 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final, which will take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This high level of jumping will guarantee some fierce competition.

“Every edition, we strive to surpass our previous years’ achievements. Our world-class facility is truly exceptional and with our fantastic team we’re determined to share this experience with as many competitors, sponsors and spectators as possible. We certainly cannot wait for March to come around and give an unforgettable experience to all,” said Reid.

Live Oak International Farm is located at 2215 SW 110th Ave., Ocala. Tickets range from $15 for a day pass and parking (free for ages 6 and under) up to VIP packages starting at $250, which include meals, premium parking, parties and reserved seating.

For more information, go to liveoakinternational.com/buy-tickets

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