Chester C. Weber
Combined Driver Chester Weber, whose name has become synonymous with Four-in-Hand driving throughout the world, achieved what no other driver has even done before when in March of 2010 he won the USEF National Four-In-Hand Championship for a record eighth year in a row. Well known for being a driver who sets goals and achieves them, following his eighth win Weber turned his attention to the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Held in Lexington, Kentucky, the 2010 Games marked the third time that Weber proudly represented the United States at the prestigious World Equestrian Games.
Weber showed himself to be a world-class competitor during the 2010 World Equestrian Games, when he brilliantly won the cones phase of the Combined Driving event with a lightning fast time of 200.42 to help the U.S. team clinch the Silver Medal. On the first day of the Combined Driving competition, a standout dressage test had Weber tied for second place with Ijsbrand Chardon of the Netherlands. However, things weren’t all smooth sailing for Weber and he experienced bad luck on the marathon phase when one of his horse’s put a leg over a trace and a groom had to dismount to help the horse. The groom dismounting added points to Weber’s score and put him out of the running for an individual medal.
Finding himself out of the running for an individual medal didn’t slow Weber down, however, and he and his team attacked the cones phase with a vengeance on the final day of WEG. Any pressure Weber put on himself for a clean and fast cones phase proved to be the silver lining of the weekend, as it pushed the U.S. team into second and helped them take home the Silver Medal.
A phenomenal 2010 comes on the heels of a stellar 2009 in which Team Weber dominating the Four-In-Hand division by winning all events entered. Weber won the prestigious CAI-A Live Oak International, a world class qualifying competition that draws top competitors to Ocala each year and is considered to be one of the premiere Combined Driving events in North America. Team Weber also won the FEI division for Four-In-Hand horses at the Sunshine State FEI Combined Driving Event in Ocala and the dressage phase at the Laurels At Landhope International Combined Driving Event in Pennsylvania. The dressage phase was the only portion of the combined driving event Weber entered at The Laurels, withdrawing following dressage due to deep mud and torrential rain.
Weber’s successful 2008 summer campaign in Europe saw Weber breaking records again when he won an Individual Silver Medal in the Four-in-Hand World Driving Championships in Beesd, The Netherlands – making him the first American to ever win an Individual Medal at the World Driving Championships. Weber was also named a 2008 USEF Equestrian of Honor and his horse, Jamaica, took home top honors as the 2008 Farnam Platform/USEF Horse of the Year. Weber took his role as a 2008 Equestrian of Honor seriously by not only actively promoted the sport of combined driving, but also by wholeheartedly supported the USEF throughout the year by serving on the Board of Directors, the High Performance Driving Committee, the National Driving Committee and the Safety Committee. Weber also served as the Chairman for the Active Athlete’s Committee and the Dressage Search Committee.
Weber raised the bar to a new standard as an ambassador for the USEF. With Jamaica, who was rescued from a slaughter house before going on to become part of Weber’s international team, Chester and Jamaica made public appearances, promoted rescue organizations and horse adoption and took part in a variety of charities. While Jamaica’s story captivated the nation, the story didn’t end with his win of the HOTY title. Weber and Jamaica followed a “pay it forward” mentality and donated all of Jamaica’s winning feed from Farnam to two different horse rescues.
Weber’s success in combined driving started early. At 18 years old, he was the youngest driver to be named to the United States Equestrian Team (USET) and to qualify for the World Pairs Driving Championship. By 1999, Weber had won 12 consecutive Advanced combined driving events and then transitioned to Four-in-Hand driving, where he has made a name for himself internationally. At the 2002 FEI World Equestrian Games, Weber helped the U.S. Driving Team earn a Silver Medal and placed fifth individually in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. The next year he claimed his first, of now eight, consecutive USEF Four-In-Hand National Championship titles. In July 2004, Weber became the first American to win the prestigious German Fahrderby held at CAI-A Riesenbeck, an achievement he handily repeated in 2008.
In 2005, Weber decided not to compete overseas. In the United States, he recorded several wins including his third consecutive national title. He won each of the competitions he entered, which included three CAI and two CDE competitions. Weber was selected to represent the United States at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2006 where his team took eighth place. Again in 2007, Weber made the choice to stay in the United States where he proceeded to win every competition he entered that year; including another national combined driving championship.
As an athlete, Chester brings a rare combination of talent, commitment, sportsmanship and showmanship to Four-In-Hand Combined Driving. A truly driven Combined Driver who continues to leave an amazing mark on the Combined Driving world, Weber now has his sights set on competing in the 2012 World Championships in Riesenbeck, Germany – another step in the journey of this remarkable horseman’s legendary career.