Photo © 2013, Friederike Scheytt, www.scheytt-photography.de
For Chester Weber, a four-in-hand driving champion based in Ocala, Florida, 2014 is starting out in a big way, in an already impressive career. He was named one of the USEF’s “Equestrians of Honor” in January, and nominated as a candidate for the USEF Pegasus Awards Equestrian of the Year for 2013.
Weber’s success as a driver relies heavily on the health and condition of his horses. He asks his team of mixed Warmbloods to do a lot for him — such as moving rapidly and precisely through courses, and pulling a carriage that’s around 1,000 pounds. That kind of work requires a well-conditioned, happy horse that’s nutritionally sound.
“There’s that old adage: ‘No hoof, no horse’ — but there’s also what happens when a horse goes off his feed,” Weber said. “Then it’s ‘no food, no nutrition. No nutrition, no energy; no energy, no performance.’ There’s a direct correlation between eating well and being a successful competitor.”
Feeding SUCCEED to Maintain or Gain Weight
Weber, an 11-time winner of the USEF Four-In-Hand Champion and a multiple medalist at the World Equestrian Games and the World Driving Championships, can’t afford to gamble on his horses’ digestive wellness. He currently has every single horse in his barn on SUCCEED, a practice that he first started in 2006.
We weigh our horses twice per month and adjust their hay rations accordingly, and since we’ve been feeding SUCCEED we’ve seen objective proof that our horses maintain better weight at competitions, Weber said. We need them to maintain mass when they’re mid-season, so we do anything we can to keep them interested in the feed tub. We’d stand on our heads every day if it would help!
At Weber’s barn, that means feeding SUCCEED as a daily top dressing, then using syringes of SUCCEED Oral Paste before traveling. Weber will also give a syringe to a nervous horse before the cross-country segment — “just as a bit of a buffer.”
What’s Next for Chester Weber
The first selection trials for the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy began this month for Weber, and he recently hosted (and won his 11th title) in the Live Oak International at his home farm. Running March 19-23, the combined driving and show jumping event is one of the largest combined driving and show jumping events in North America. As the reigning champion of the FEI Horse Teams division at Live Oak and the host of the event, Weber says that it was a busy and challenging event for the “home team.” After Live Oak, he has a full line up of European competitions on his schedule, culminating in the Caen World Equestrian games in France.
Best of luck to SUCCEED sponsored rider Chester Weber!