Piber Köflach, Austria – Aug. 4, 2016 – The 2016 FEI World Driving Championships for Singles got underway Thursday with the first of two days of driven dressage. The U.S. contingent is off to a solid start with Donna Crookston, Suzy Stafford and Leslie Berndl performing polished tests. Stafford and PVF Peace of Mind currently lead the international field with a score of 49.34.
Stafford (Wilmington, Delaware) had an excellent test with her own PVF Peace of Mind. She and the 2007 Morgan mare produced a lovely, obedient effort with great trot work. Their performance was rewarded with the best score of the day to put them at the top of the leaderboard and aid the U.S. team.
“I was thrilled with my test! This mare is a rock star; she went into the arena like a true professional. The drivability she gave me was super. I was confident with the way she warmed up and felt ready,” Stafford explained. “The standout moments were my transitions and the extensions. My diagonal yields could have been stronger, but I felt very good about the day. This mare knows when to give me her all, and I appreciate her every day.”
Competing as an individual, Berndl (Newcastle, California) had a strong performance with her own Uminco. She and her 2001 KWPN gelding had an accurate test, aside from a bobble in the left lead canter depart. They sit in ninth place with a score of 56.86.
Crookston (Saltsburg, Pennsylvania) and her own Viktor were the first U.S. team combination to head down the centerline on Thursday. The pair had a respectable test with the 2008 Dutch Harness gelding handling the electric atmosphere well in his European debut. They lie in 31st place with a score of 69.61.
Sterling Graburn (Paris, Kentucky) and his and Laura Corsentino’s 2001 Dutch Harness gelding, Mannkato, will be the final U.S. team combination to perform their test on Friday at 6 a.m. EST.
Find out more information about the FEI World Driving Championships for Singles and watch the live stream on the FEI YouTube channel.
The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC and USEF sponsors and members.