In 2011, when The Laurels at Landhope CDE announced that their 25th annual event was to be their last, area drivers felt the loss of the venerable event was adding to the decline in the number of combined driving events in the mid-Atlantic region.
Instead of mourning the loss of The Laurels, organizers mustered the energy to create a new event on the same dates and location but with a different approach. The inaugural Glen Willow CDE was held Sept. 7-9 at The Laurels grounds in West Grove, PA.
“We see it as a brand new event. We purposely changed the name so there weren’t a lot of comparisons from the old Laurels to the new Laurels,” said organizer Ann Pringle. “Wipe the slate clean and start fresh.”
The atmosphere for the new CDE was informal, the event designed to offer the most for competitors. “This organizing committee was committed to making it a competition for the competitors, more so than a social event for the local community,” Pringle said. “There is a party tent that’s open to everyone. We wanted to be inclusive.”
Divisions for Training through Advanced, in singles, pairs and multiples were offered drawing entries from the immediate area and as far away as South Carolina Colorado and Ontario.
“We had great feedback from the people,” Pringle said. “When they arrived they were kind of awed. They gave the organizers a standing ovation.”
The Advanced Division was the lightest on entrants. Mary Mott-Kocsis and Allison Stroud were the only entrants in the Advanced Single Pony and Advanced Pony Teams classes respectively.
The Advanced Single Horse had just two entries, with Kimberly Stover driving Bruce Wayne taking the win over Sue Weirback driving Abella. The Advanced Pair Horse class had two entries as well with Lisa Singer winning, followed by Pat Hastings.
Intermediate Single Pony was a very competitive class of five entries where Suzy Stafford started the weekend in the lead after dressage driving TTE Tea Time. Stafford’s initial score of 38.89 penalty points put her solidly in first place after the first day of the competition but Dwayne Pash put on the pressure by flying through the marathon. Pash, driving Heydey Vermont Spirit, was about 5 and a half points back after dressage but turned in the best marathon score to gain nearly 9 points on Stafford and take over the lead. With a 3.44 points difference between the two going into the cones, Pash had a ball down for three penalties, but Stafford hit a cone as well, and had 1.59 time faults to leave the standings unchanged.
Intermediate Single Horse had six entries with Marcie Quist of North Carolina taking the lead after dressage and keeping it through to the final totals driving Halstead By Legacy.
Preliminary Single Horse
The class with the most entries of the weekend also had the most challenges. Seven drivers completed the dressage test in Preliminary Single Horse with Daphne White turning in the best score of the day with Halstead’s Shale. White also had the best score on the marathon where one driver was eliminated and two others retired to narrow the field to four. White made a wrong turn and was eliminated on cones, handing the victory to Gloria Ripperton with Nemo.
Ripperton was in the middle of the pack in dressage with a score of 58.67, and had the third best score in the marathon. With two cones down and .09 time faults on Sunday her final total of 132.19 was a close victory over David Forney, who scored 134.05 with Joker.
Other winning entries for the weekend were: Lisa Singer- Advanced Pair Horse; Newt Brosius – Intermediate Pair Horse; Janet Sizelove- Preliminary Single Pony; Daniel Rosenthal – Preliminary Pair Pony; Dana Bright – Preliminary Multiples; Terry Tobias - Preliminary Pair Horse, Janelle Marshall – Training Single Pony; Brooke Tadlock – Training Single Horse; Zenon Gal – Training Pair Horse.