Marathon is always one of the most exciting days during a Combined Driving event and today in Minden Germany did not disappoint. 

  Katie Whaley holds onto 6th place after a tough marathon course. "It was the hardest marathon I've ever done." Katie posted on Facebook shortly after she and her pair of ponies finished the course. She is only 4 points out of silver, and only 9 out of gold.  

Sunday the drivers compete through a cones course, which could easily shake up the placings.

"It is a difficult course but Thorsten Zarembowicz (US Team Coach) has been torturing us with courses like this all season so that should help." Katie said about the Minden cones course.

 Miranda "Randy" Cadwell and her mare Cannon's Majestic Leyla started out the day hot. Cadwell is known for being a tough competition through marathon courses all over the world. The first several obstacles went smoothly, and their times landed them in the middle of the pack, though with each obstacle they got faster and faster ending up 3rd fasted in obstacle 6. 

   In obstacle 7 however they were met with some bad luck. " I had a momentary lapse of concentration when Leyla never slowed down running up the mound and missed my turn." The carriage rolled over, and Cadwell was transported to the hospital for X-rays. Although she did not break any bones, she did severely bruise her ribs. Leyla did not suffer any injuries, and is reported to be unfazed by the accident. Unfortunately, Cadwell was eliminated due to the rollover.

 The other American Single's driver Tracey Morgan and her 16 year old pony Fuego 88 completed the marathon in good form. Morgan and Fuego 88 had a wonderful dressage test which placed them in 6th place going into Marathon. Hazard #1 proved to be one of their fastest hazards ranking them 17th in that hazard. Morgan and Fuego 88 sit in 21st after marathon, with only 17 points separating Morgan and gold. Surely there will be a show down in the very large singles division tomorrow on the equally difficult cones course.


Randy Cadwell Sporting American Spirit

Tracey Morgan and Fuego 88

Katie Whaley's Freshly Painted Nails 

Even after a very difficult marathon, the cones course was no walk in the park!  Course designer Jeroen Houterman of the Netherlands designed a very tough course. Tracey Morgan and her German Riding Pony Fuego 88 was the first US combintation on course, they sat in 21st position after Marathon.  Morgan is known for her prowess on the cones course, even difficult ones. They did not dissapoint! Putting in the first double clear round of the day, one of only 7 double clear out of 40 competitors.

  Katie Whaley and her pair of ponies had spent all summer training with Team Coach Thorsten Z in preperation for the World Championships. "It is a very difficult course but Thorsten has been torturing us with courses like this all season, so that should help." And help it did. Whaley had no balls down, but incurred 7.52 time penaltys dropping her from 6th place to 9th.  " All I can say is that I am so grateful to have this opportunity to represent the US ." Whaley Said.

Cannon's Majestic Leyla Ready for the jog

US Drivers Ready to Take On Marathon

   American Katie Whaley finished dressage today in the pairs division with  two American bred Welsh Ponies, with a 51.20, setting her in 6th place heading into Marathon Saturday. 

   "I am very happy with her performance today She is known for many years to be an expert in the obstacles so we are planning to get closer to the lead on Saturday by and get her a good position for Sunday's Cones." Team Coach Thorsten Zarembowicz said about Whaley. 

Zarembowicz feels great about the three US Drivers who are competing as individuals as they prepare for Marathon on Saturday. "Randy will have to go full out and take some risk as she has to make up some points. The strategy for Tracey is to get a good Saturday and try to defend her position from today since she is one of the best cones drivers there is. I expect a bunch of drivers hanging together on Sunday and then the cones will bring the decision." Zarembowicz said when asked about the strategy for the drivers. 

Marathon Day

Randy Cadwell and Cannon's Majestic Leyla      Photo Credit: Meghan Benge

Katie Whaley Top 10 Finish

Tracey Morgan with her German Riding Pony Fuego 88 is the highest placed US Driver, sitting in 6th in the Single Pony division with 53.61 Penalties. First place is held by Germany's Herbert Rietzler with Julia Linder's stallion Nakuri. Only about 3 penalty points separates the top 6 Drivers.

  Tracey Morgan and her 16 year old imported German Riding Pony (Famos X Balthasar) also competing in the 2015 Combined Driving World Champions in Breda, Netherlands where they finished 19th overall. 

  Miranda "Randy" Cadwell with her own 14 year old American bred Welsh Cross pony mare Cannon's Majestic Leyla is sitting in 36th position, only 14 points behind the leader.  "My  pony was wonderful in an electric atmosphere and had one of her best tests to date even though the score did not reflect it.  I am very happy with her performance" Randy says.

"The marathon is very difficult flagged so I think all is possible on Saturday for anyone." The national coach Thorsten Zarembowicz said about upcoming marathon.  

Photo Credit: Meghan Benge