LANCASTER, Pennsylvania, January 20, 2009 — It was a night of high energy, excitement and recognition for a year of dedication and hard work among equestrians from coast to coast. But you could have heard a pin drop in the room prior to the most anticipated award of the night – the 2008 USEF Horse of the Year. The black-tie crowd was ecstatic at the announcement that a horse, who at one time was slated for the slaughterhouse, would be named the most exceptional horse in the country. Chester Weber’s most valuable team player, Jamaica - the horse that won his heart eight years ago in a tourist stable in Belgium, and whom Weber gambled would one day be a champion - was now bestowed with the most prestigious award in the nation: USEF Horse of the Year.
It turned out to be a celebrated night for Pennfield Feed as well. For the second year in a row, the USEF Horse of the Year designation has been awarded to a Pennfield-fed horse. Jamaica, a Pennfield Promise Partner horse, follows in the footsteps of the legendary Theodore O’Connor, who was also a Pennfield Promise Partner horse, and who in 2007 was the recipient of the sought-after award.
Jamaica’s story is what movies of the week are made of. Rescued from a slaughterhouse and trained to be a tourist carriage horse, Jamaica’s antsy temperament and high energy made him unmanageable for carting tourists around Bruges. But Weber saw those traits in a positive light, and connected with the tell-tale spark in Jamaica’s eye that gave him a sense of what lay beneath his rough exterior. He took a gamble on the misfit horse, purchased him and brought him back to his home in Ocala, Florida, Live Oak Stud, to train as a potential combined driving horse. A bit Jekyll and Hyde, a bit naughty yet playful, and fired up with a tremendous spirit and intelligence, Jamaica worked his way not only into Weber’s heart, but also into Weber’s top four-in-hand driving team. Now 18, Jamaica has competed in two World Equestrian Games and four World Championships, taking home a team silver medal from the ’02 World Equestrian Games held in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, and the individual silver medal from the ’08 World Driving Championships held in Beesd, The Netherlands. Additionally, with two firsts, one second and a third in the dressage phase, his World Championship record is impressive. He has also been Weber’s team MVP for six consecutive National Championship wins, and will be the lead horse when Weber attempts a record breaking seventh National Championship later this year.
Combined driving is a fast and furious sport that requires a lot out of a horse. Despite Jamaica’s age Weber doesn’t see the horse slowing down anytime soon, and sees him on his team for the 2010 World Equestrian Games to be held in Kentucky. Recognizing that it’s just as important to keep his horses fit on the inside as it is on the outside; Weber chooses to feed Pennfield Feeds, knowing that they ensure his team will be at peak performance. “Chester’s been successful in his career because he knows that the horse comes first, which is exactly what Pennfield stands for,” said Jeff Katelan, national sales and marketing manager for Pennfield’s Country Life Products. “That’s why Jamaica has been named the USEF Horse of the Year. When it comes to Pennfield Feed, that recognition just about says it all. Two things I admire and respect about Chester is that he knows what’s in his control, and he knows exactly what his goals are. With WEG in his sights, one thing that without a doubt is within his control between now and then is the nutrition that goes into his horses. He knows that’s what gives him an edge, and that’s why he chooses to feed Pennfield.”
Recently announced as the “Official Feed of the USEF”, Pennfield is known for using only the finest, most consistent feed ingredients and precise manufacturing techniques that ensure top quality "fixed formula" feeds, meaning each lot is identical to the one that came before it. This quality and consistency has not only earned Pennfield the trust of the USEF, but also of world-class trainers and competitors throughout the equine industry who rely on Pennfield feed to fuel their horses, just as Weber does. And it shows in his brightest star, Jamaica. “Jamaica is one of the great ones. At 18-years-old, he’s quirky and headstrong, and will play games with you, but he shows up for work. He can do any job, on any day, anywhere. To this day Jamaica still bucks when he is excited in the lead and he’s still the most forward horse at the end of every cross country marathon,” says Weber. “He’s definitely a once in a lifetime horse. And when he tells me it’s time to retire he doesn’t have to worry where he’ll go. Jamaica will live out his days with me at home in Ocala. I’ll stand by him to the bitter end, just as he’s stood by me. “
Weber and several other Pennfield Promise Partners, like Olympians Karen and David O’Connor, Phillip Dutton, Bruce Davidson, John Williams, Kim Severson and Michael Barisone; and top Irish show jumper Jonathon McCrea and his wife, U.S. show jumper Christine McCrea, will be showing their dedication to Pennfield by helping to host the upcoming eight-city “That’s a Promise Tour”, presented by Pennfield, Kentucky Equine Research and USEF. The tour will kick off with a gala held in Wellington, FL on February 8th and will follow the competition season north. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.thatsapromisetour.com
Pennfield is a widely respected, family-owned feed company headquartered in Lancaster, Pennsylvania that has been serving the Mid-Atlantic since 1919, and was named in 2008 as the “Official Feed of the U.S. Equestrian Federation”. Pennfield is known for using only the finest, most consistent feed ingredients and precise manufacturing techniques that ensure top quality "fixed formula" feeds. In 1996, Pennfield joined forces with Kentucky Equine Research and consequently merged tradition and technology. Pennfield's quality manufacturing and personal service combined with KER's state-of-the-art nutritional expertise gives Pennfield customers advanced equine nutrition and uncontested technical support. For more information, please visit pennfield.com or call 800-995-0333.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/chester-weber-jamaica-usef-exceptional-horse-01-09.html">Chester Weber’s “Jamaica” Honored as USEF’s Most Exceptional Horse in 2008</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com