The Laurels at Landhope International Combined Driving Event, one of the most prestigious events of its kind in the U.S., will be held in West Grove, Chester County, PA September 10-12, 2010. 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. The Laurels features the U.S. National Championships for ponies and pair horses.
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.
Returning in 2010 is the very popular Artists of the Brandywine Art Show and Sale, continuing all three days, featuring talented Brandywine Valley artists, many of them equine veterinarians by profession or deeply involved in the local horse industry. 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.
Rock Around The Clock, an evening of dinner, drinks, live music and dancing, will raise funds to support The Laurels on Saturday night. Tickets are $40; a premier reserved table for eight is $500. On Friday evening, September 10, a free reception will kick off the opening of the Artists of the Brandywine Valley exhibition. The reception runs from 5 pm to 7 pm and is open to the public.
New this year, The Laurels will launch the first Laurels at Landhope cookbook, Combined Cooking. The cookbook, which will be on sale at the event, features recipes from the collections of Laurels committee members. The cookbook, along with quality Laurels at Landhope souvenir apparel including polo shirts and visor caps, can be purchased on the web site, www.laurelscde.org.
Admission to The Laurels at Landhope CDE is $10 per car, which includes admission for all occupants. Tickets for the patron tent, which includes daily preferred parking and lunch Saturday and Sunday, are $150. For more information and directions, visit the web site, www.laurelscde.org or phone (610) 486-0710.