Ten-time USEF National Four-in-Hand Champion, 2012 World Driving Championships Individual Silver and Team Bronze Medalist, and 2010 World Equestrian Games Silver medalist Chester Weber has been nominated for the one of the most prestigious titles in American horse sport: the USEF Pegasus Award as Equestrian Of The Year (EOTY). But to win, Weber needs an act of teamwork from his nation’s horsemen comparable to that of his champion horses.
Weber’s competition record abroad as well as in the US was one of the prime motivators behind his nomination for Equestrian of the Year, and through his success, leadership, horsemanship and generosity he has continued to demonstrate his dedication to the sport and industry. In addition to his landmark 10th national title, he drove his team to a string of European successes including wins at the 2014 WEG test event at CAI-Caen, CAIO Saumur, and top three finishes at Beekbergen and Aachen, assuring that 2013 will go down as one of the greatest seasons ever in the history of American combined driving. As the European press cited, this year’s list of nominees for Equestrian of the Year is lacking dressage representation, a vote for the Weber would take the edge off such accusations, as his near-flawless dressage phases have earned him the worldwide sobriquet of “Mr. Dressage.”
Through winning its 2013 Becky Grand Hart Award for international success in a non-Olympic discipline, Weber became an USEF Equestrian of Honor and candidate for its coveted Equestrian of the Year title. The nomination stems from exceptional performance in the international arena and a dedication to community service and improving the equestrian industry.
Weber’s own history of giving back is as impressive as his competitive record. He has served on numerous boards and committees, including a current seat on the USEF Board of Directors, and his philanthropic contributions to the sport and his community remain numerous year after year.
His most endearing accomplishment has been equal parts philanthropy and competitive achievement. In 2001, he purchased Jamaica, a partbred Hackney rescued from slaughter in Holland. When life as a Bruges carriage horse didn’t pan out, he was purchased by Weber and integrated into his team. The results exceeded anyone’s expectations.
With the plucky rescue horse in harness, Team Weber collected multiple victories including national titles and a Silver Medal at the 2008 World FEI Championships. The same year, Jamaica was named Farnam Platform Horse of the Year by the USEF and, in keeping with his dedication to the equine industry and his horse’s history as a rescue, he donated Jamaica’s Horse of the Year winnings — a year’s worth of feed – to local horse rescues in Ocala.
“My commitment has always been to present American horses and horse sport in the best possible light on the international stage and to lead by example that great horses are the product of strong foundations in training and care. Jamaica’s story, from slaughterhouse to medals podium, helped raise awareness for rescue programs, which play an important role at the grassroots level of our industry. I’m humbled to have been nominated as an Equestrian of Honor and will continue to focus on great horse care as the foundation to great horse careers,” said Weber.
Voting for the Equestrian of the Year, from among the Equestrians of Honor is now open to all USEF members through December 30, 2013. The winner will be announced on January 10, 2014. To vote, visit the Equestrian of the Year website at https://www.usef.org/_IFrames/eoty/.
Follow Team Weber at www.chesterweber.com and via Facebook.