In 2016, Driving Valkenswaard International successfully hosted the inaugural edition of the Pro-Am Challenge, where a ‘Pro’ four-in-hand driver was paired with an ‘Amateur’ four-in-hand driver. This proved to be a huge crowd-pleaser and much fun for the competitors. This year the challenge will also extend to the pair drivers.
Teams will be formed by pairing a ‘Pro’ driver – a driver ranked in the top 15 on the 2016 FEI Top Driver Award rankings with an ‘Amateur’ – a driver who falls outside of the top 15. The top three teams in the standings after marathon will take part in a shortened cones course of 12 gates once the official cones has been completed Sunday afternoon.
The results from both drivers in the dressage, marathon and the shortened cones will be tabulated and the team with the least amount of penalty points will win the 2017 Pro-Am Challenge.
The main goal of the Pro-Am Challenge is to inspire the drivers to work together. Ideally the ‘Pro’ driver will take the time to help his/her teammate with among other things, warming up for dressage, or walking the obstacles and the cones course. “We need to encourage more collaboration within our sport to ensure the future of carriage driving,” tells initiator Boyd Exell.
The Pro-Am Challenge is made possible through the sponsorship of American couple Boots and Dave Wright from WeBoth Farms in Ocala.