July 15, 2008 -- Combining family fun with international equestrian competition in a country setting just 40 miles from Philadelphia, the Laurels At Landhope International Combined Driving Event hosts the best drivers from Canada, Mexico and the United States, who compete in a series of three events with combinations from single horses and ponies to four-in-hands. It features the U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) National Pairs Championships and the USEF National Pony Championships as well as competition in Preliminary, Intermediate and Advanced Divisions. It is also a selection trial for the World Championships to be held in Europe in August 2009.
An offshoot of ridden three-day eventing, combined driving features the elegance of dressage, the excitement of cross-country and a cones course, an intricate test of skill and precision. The competition begins at 8 a.m. each day. Dressage is held Friday, marathon on Saturday and cones on Sunday.
Though The Laurels At Landhope show grounds cover 44 acres, the two competition arenas, extremely popular trade fair, exhibition area with two restaurants, and the Patron Tent all adjoin one another. The marathon hazards, the highlight of the event, are adjacent and easily visible to spectators.
Kids' Corner, with games, face painting and crafts, runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The trade fair features a variety of vendors offering art, equine and equestrian equipment, country-style apparel, farm equipment and more.
Sunday's activities include Jack Russell terrier races and a parade and display of antique coaches pulled by four-in-hands. The Barbone Street Jazz Band plays throughout the day Saturday and Sunday. Members of the Chester County Antique Car Club will display their vintage automobiles both days.
For more information and tickets, visit www.laurelscde.org.