The nominated entries for the FEI Driving World Championship for Four-in-Hand have been confirmed with 16 nations and 39 athletes, as of 22 August 2022. CLICK HERE
The Netherlands, Hungary and Germany have each put forward six athletes, while France has nominated four. On 12 September the FEI will announce the definite entry list by which time the National Federations will have made their selections with a maximum of three athletes per team.
Come the event at the end of September – which follows the FEI Eventing World Championship – all eyes will be on world number one Boyd Exell (AUS) who aims to take his sixth outdoor world title, which he first won at the Lexington WEG in 2010.
He will be challenged all the way by some of Driving’s biggest names, such as 2018 WEG team gold and individual silver medallist Chester Webber (USA), who flew his horses to Europe from Florida in May to start his campaign at Royal Windsor (GBR).
Also on the list is current FEI World Cup™ Champion, Bram Chardon (NED) who pipped Boyd to the post at the indoor finals in Leipzig (GER) earlier this year.
Bram’s father, the legendary Ijsbrand, is another famous name to be selected. A former World Champion, he was a member of the Dutch gold medal team when the WEG were held at Pratoni in 1998.
Winner of May’s Test Event Anthony Horde is one of the four nominated French athletes, and father and son competitors, József Dobrovitz Snr. & Jnr., also competitors in May, are potential members of Hungary’s squad.
Leading the way for the ladies is on form Mareike Harm (GER), plus Anna Sandmann (GER) and the USA’s Misdee Wrigley Miller, who was at Pratoni in May with a Horse Pair. Uruguay is represented by veteran driver Ernesto Colman Mena and flying the flag for the host nation is Luca Cassottana (ITA).
The team competition will be an exciting one. With a full quota of match-fit competitors to consider, The Netherlands, Hungary and Germany are all in contention for medals. Defending champions, the USA, only has two members in Chester and Misdee, so no scores can be discounted. Belgium has fielded a formidable team which includes current FEI World Cup™ bronze medallist Glenn Geerts. Two of France’s contenders travelled to Pratoni in May, Anthony and Benjamin Aillaud, which will help their bid for a podium place.
For the marathon, the eight new obstacles have been positioned so that they can be seen from a central vantage point in the park. Made from softwood imported from Poland, they were designed by Germany’s Josef Middendorf. Like Eventing’s cross-country jumps, several of the obstacles are portable so that they can be removed and stored, ensuring a longer lifespan.
Pratoni last held a FEI Driving Championship in 2010 when the Horse Singles converged at the iconic venue. After the two successful FEI Test Events in May for Eventing and Driving, the organisers have been busy fine-tuning the venue to ensure that it is ready to host World Championships once again. The new arenas, stable block, veterinary area and wash down zones are part of an investment which aims to put equine welfare first. With an exciting entry list, new infrastructure and an enthusiastic team behind the scenes preparing to welcome everyone to Pratoni dell Vivaro, it promises to be a fantastic two weeks of competition.
Photo: Jozsef Dobrovitz junior (HUN) during the Test Event at Pratoni del Vivaro - © Massimo Argenziano