Chester County, PA (July 8, 2011) - Gold medalist Suzy Stafford's registered half-Arabian mare Miss Josephine may be long-listed for the 2011 FEI World Pony Driving Championships in Slovenia, but the 14-hand FEI mare's career has also included much "smaller" competitions. Those competitions include being a patient and wonderful leadline mount for children.
"Josie has an amazing heart and loves a challenge, which is what makes her a fantastic international competitor," Stafford said. "But like most Arabians, she is very sweet and being a child's leadline mount also suited her. In addition to being a leadline mount, Josie was part of a driving pair before I bought her. I do think going from a leadline mount to a world champion competitor is pretty remarkable."
Stafford also thinks it is remarkable that Josie will be the first registered Arabian to compete in the World Pony Driving Championships for the United States. "Arabians are a very versatile breed and they really can excel in any discipline," Stafford said. "Arabians are a great mount for children and adults. Even though Josie has the ability to win in the leadline division with a small child, she also has the ability to become an award-winning FEI World Driving Pony Champion. As one of the oldest and most popular breeds in the United States, the Arabian is known for having boundless energy, great intellect and a gentle disposition and that is a great description of Josie."
Leadline rider Addison Cross shows off her blue ribbon while riding Miss Josephine, a 14-hand registered half-Arabian mare owned by National and World Champion Combined Driver Suzy Stafford. Miss Josephine has gone from leadline to world headlines as she is long-listed for the 2011 FEI World Pony Driving Championships with Stafford. (Photo courtesy of Amy Cross)
Stafford and Josie became partners in September of 2010, and the pair has already proven they have the drive to win. Stafford and Josie won the Reserve National Single Pony Championships at Live Oak International earlier this year and as the most consistent competitors in three selection trials held in Florida, the pair also drove away as the winners of the Triple Crown of Driving sponsored by Live Oak International, the Sunshine State CDE and Little Everglades CDE.
"Josie has a lot of natural ability and her Arabian bloodlines give her a tremendous amount of endurance, which is something Arabians are known for. I am excited to be partnering with Josie in our World Championship adventure and trust that her heritage will be a benefit to us. I also know there are many Arabian fans out there who will be rooting for Josie as she represents the Arabian breed on the international competitive field," Stafford said. "I am hoping that Josie goes down in history by winning medals in Slovenia, but regardless of the outcome Josie will go down in history as the first registered half-Arabian to represent the United States on the driving team."
For more information on Stafford, visit her website at www.staffordcarriagedriving.com. Stafford is currently raising funds for her trip to the World Championships, a trip that will cost over $40,000 with roundtrip airfare for Josie and the cost of transporting the carriages and equipment. Donations for Stafford's trip to the World Pony Championships can be made directly through her website.
Suzy Stafford, a National and World Champion Combined Driver, has been long-listed for the 2011 FEI World Pony Driving Championships in Slovenia with her half-Arabian pony Miss Josephine. The talented Arabian mare will be the first Arabian to compete in the World Pony Driving Championships. (Photo courtesy of Pics Of You)