LEXINGTON, Ky. — Combined driving competitors have gathered at The Horse Park of New Jersey for a shot at winning a national title at the Garden State Combined Driving Event (CDE) set to run Oct. 12 to 14.

There are 21 entrants across six USEF Preliminary Combined Driving National Championship divisions. The preliminary national championships make their debut in 2018 as a catalyst to ignite further interest in the combined driving discipline and cultivate combinations for the development and elite levels.

With eight combinations, the USEF Preliminary Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship division makes up the largest number of entrants. Maggie O’Leary (Califon, N.J.), a USEF Development Athlete Program for Combined Driving participant, will compete with Chander's Creek Eclips, Sara Schmitt’s 10-year-old Morgan gelding. Robin Foster (Bridgehampton, N.Y.) and Susan Rogers (Boynton Beach, Fla.) return to combined driving competition following a hiatus. Foster will harness Sarde's Wise Guy, her eight-year-old Morgan gelding, and Rogers will compete with her six-year-old Welsh Cob mare.

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A group of seven combinations will contest the USEF Preliminary Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship, which includes USEF Development Athlete Program for Combined Driving combination Leslie Berndl (Lexington, Ky.) and Impressive. Berndl and her five-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding won the Hermitage Classic CDE in August. With the 2013 and 2014 Advanced Single Horse and 2016 Advanced Single Pony titles, she will look to add her first with Impressive.

Other preliminary national championship divisions include Pair Horse, Four-In-Hand Pony, Pair Pony, and Single Very Small Equine.

Competition begins with the driven dressage phase beginning on Friday at 9 a.m.

Stay up to date with the Garden State CDE by following USA Combined Driving on Facebook and US Equestrian on Twitter and Instagram. Use #USADriving.

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