The Laurels at Landhope International Combined Driving Event, one of the most prestigious events of its kind in the US, will be held in West Grove, Chester County, PA September 11-13, 2009. Combining family fun with international equestrian competition in a beautiful country setting just 40 miles from Philadelphia, the 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 competition in Preliminary, Intermediate and Advanced Divisions and it is a US Equestrian Federation World Championship selection trial.
Combined driving requires a unique partnership between horse or pony and driver that relies on training and trust. An offshoot of ridden three-day eventing, it 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 am 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.
New for 2009 is an art show and sale, continuing all three days, featuring talented Brandywine Valley artists. Kids Corner, with games, face painting and crafts, runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm. The Trade Fair features a variety of vendors offering jewelry, art, antiques, collectibles, equine/canine inspired giftware, equine and equestrian equipment, elegant country-style apparel, farm equipment, carriages, and carriage appointments.
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.
Admission to The Laurels at Landhope CDE is $5 per car, $15 per car for a three day pass, which includes admission for all occupants. Tickets for the patron tent, which includes daily preferred parking and lunch Saturday and Sunday, are $85. For more information and directions, visit the web site, www.laurelscde.org or phone (610) 486-0710.