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SEPTEMBER 13-16, 2012

The following drivers have been named by the United States Equestrian Federation to represent the U.S. in the 2012 FEI World Driving Championships for Singles.

2 2012 FEI World Driving Championships for Singles

Leslie Berndl

Born: April 20, 1962 Residence: Newcastle, CA Uminco – 11-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Fritz Grupe Leslie Berndl has found much success in the sport of combined driving. In the fall of 2007, Berndl and Koopman’s Lightning Rod won the FEI Single Horse division at the CAI-B Shady Oaks in California. She made the trip east in 2008, coming in third in the FEI Single Horse division at the Sunshine State Combined Driving Event and fourth in the Advanced Single Horse at the Southern Pines Driving Event.

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Berndl and Uminco started the 2012 season at the Sunshine State Combined Driving Event where they finished second in the Advanced Single Horse class. They followed that up with another second at the Little Ever-

Berndl went on to place third in the Advanced Single

glades International in the FEI Single Horse class. The

Horse class at the Garden State Combined Driving Event

Live Oak Combined Driving Event would see the pair in

the next month. She returned home that Fall to win the

the winner’s circle when they won the Advanced Single

CAI-B Shady Oaks Advanced Single Horse class. Berndl

Horse division. They followed that victory up with a sixth

then traveled to Europe to represent the U.S. at the FEI

place finish at the Southern Pines Combined Driving

World Singles Championships in Jarantow, Poland.

event in April.

To start off 2009, Berndl placed fourth in the FEI Single

Berndl is a California highway patrol officer and para-

Pony Class with Greenvale’s Fred Astaire at Live Oak.

medic. She has been flying as a crew member of an

The duo then upped their results by placing third at the

advanced life support helicopter for over 15 years. When

Southern Pines event in the Advanced Single Pony Class.

Berndl is not driving, she enjoys hiking, biking, and going

Following their pattern for the year, they pulled off a

to air shows. Berndl and husband, Mike, have two chil-

second place drive in the FEI Pony Single Class at Brom-

dren, Austin and Ashley.

ont. Berndl ended 2009 with a second place finish in the Intermediate Single Horse class at the CAI-B Shady Oaks event. Berndl returned to Live Oak in March of 2010 to place second in the FEI Single Horse event with Uminco. The pair continued on to Southern Pines where they placed second in the Advanced Single Horse class. In 2011, Uminco and Berndl finished second in the CAI-B Shady Oaks Advanced Horse Division.

2012 FEI World Driving Championships for Singles


Donna Crookston Born: May 18, 1948 Residence: Saltsburg, PA

RG Cowboys Black Cadillac – 16-year-old Morgan gelding owned by Donna Crookston Donna Crookston was nine years old when she got her first pony. She rode bareback until she talked her parents into buying a saddle when she was 13. As a kid, she showed Western before switching to hunters, jumpers, eventing, and dressage.

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She started foxhunting in 1972, and it’s been a passion ever

2009 started off with a win for Crookston and Cowboy as they

since. Crookston hunts with the Rolling Rock Hunt in Ligonier,

led the field in the FEI Single Horse class at the Sunshine State

PA. She’s been out with a number of packs in the U.S., as well

Combined Driving Event. They followed that up with a second

as Ireland, England, and Australia.

at the Live Oak Combined Driving Event and a third at Bro-

Crookston started driving in June 2002 after she retired. She bought her first driving horse, Romeo, because he could ride and drive. Crookston knew nothing about how to get started

mont. They brought home a pair of fourths at The Laurels at Landhope and the Kentucky Horse Park CDE to finish off their season.

in driving so she contacted Lisa Singer. She visited Singer in

A pair of second places brought in their 2010 season with red

August 2002 for her first lesson – and has been working with

ribbons at the Little Everglades International and Sunshine

her ever since.

State Combined Driving Event. A fourth place finish at the Gar-

Crookston showed Romeo at preliminary and advanced CDEs and did some pleasure shows. Romeo developed stifle issues and she began to look for another horse. She saw a video of

den State Combined Driving event broke that streak and the pair finished up their year with a win at The Laurels at Landhope in the Advanced Single Horse class.

Cowboy and was so pleased that she bought him at a sale in

Crookston and Cowboy started their 2011 season at the Live

December 2004. Crookston and Cowboy went to two training

Oak International in March where they finished seventh. After

events and worked at preliminary for the rest of 2005. Cowboy

a lengthy break, they came back in October for the Kentucky

has competed at advanced since 2006.

Classic CDE where they won the Advanced Single Horse class.

2007 was an exciting year. Cowboy was USEF Reserve Single Horse National Champion, USEF Single Horse CDE Champion,

They finished off the year with a fifth place finish at the Katydid Combined Driving Event.

and AMHA Single Horse CDE Champion, and Crookston and

This year, the pair has been successful in multiple events with

Cowboy were the FEI North American Single Horse Challenge

a sixth at the 2012 Live Oaks International and a second place


finish in the USEF National Single Horse Championship at the

In 2008, she and Cowboy went onto represent the U.S. at the FEI World Singles Championships in Jarantow, Poland.

4 2012 FEI World Driving Championships for Singles

Southern Pines Combined Driving Event.

Sterling Graburn Born: February 20, 1963 Residence: Georgetown, KY

Ulano – 11-year-old Dutch Harness gelding owned by Larry Denny Sterling Graburn has been involved with horses all of his life. His mother, Sally Eastman Graburn, was a well-established trainer continuing a family tradition that began with his great grandfather. He was brought up in south eastern Pennsylvania, an area steeped in equestrian tradition. Graburn spent his early childhood competing in combined training, in part as a member of the Radnor Hunt Pony Club, adding combined driving in his teens. Graburn owes his strong dressage foundation to his mother who was always a dressage trainer first and emphasized that dressage is training on the continuum. While Graburn presents horses for breed inspections and sport horse in-hand shows, his true love is the sport of driving. He began his driving career in 1977, and entered his first Combined Driving Event in 1979. Graburn participated in his first international event in 1984 as navigator for the Four-in-Hand of Emil-Bernhard Jung, a member of the American team, at the World Four-inHand Championships in Szilvasvarad, Hungary. In 1993, he again was navigator, this time for numerous times National Pair Champion Larry Poulin for the World Pairs Championship. Graburn was also groom/navigator for

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Challenge and Single Horse championship three times each. In 2008 he won the USEF National Combined Driving Single Horse National Championship with Dante, a Sport Cob owned in partnership with Dr. Wendy Ying, and Dante won USEF Combined Driving Single Reserve Horse of the Year 2008. In recent years, Graburn has found much success driving Ulano. In 2011, he and Ulano finished sixth in the Katydid Combined Driving Event in the Advanced Single Horse division. 2012 has been a banner year for Graburn and Ulano. They started out the year by finishing third in the Little Everglades International CDE in the Single Horse division. The pair then improved to a second place finish at Live Oak CDE in the Advanced Single Horse division. At the Southern Pines CDE, Graburn and Ulano took top honors in the Advanced Single Horse division.

his partner, Wendy Ying, DVM at the 2005 World Pony

Graburn competes in both Pleasure and Combined

Championships at Catton Hall, England.

Driving, with singles, pairs, tandems, unicorns, and four-

In 2006, Graburn competed as an individual at the FEI World Singles Driving Championships at Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy, where he was fourth on the marathon and the highest overall placed American driver with Alexander Hewitt’s Belgian Warmblood gelding, Quincey. He has

in-hands. Prior to moving to Gayla Driving Center in Georgetown, KY, Graburn, along with Wendy, operated the Kingsforth Hall Training Center and Wysiwyg Sport Cobs in Bonifay, FL where they specialized in teaching horses and their people to ride and drive.

won the FEI Top Driver Award, North American

2012 FEI World Driving Championships for Singles


Marie de Ronde

Born: April 18, 1965 Residence: Zwartewaal, The Netherlands Chef d’Equipe Marie de Ronde has years of experience in the sport of combined driving. She is the wife of Dutch Four-in-Hand driver Koos de Ronde, with whom she collaborates as a groom. From 1994 to 2007, she was the Chef d’Equipe for the Dutch national pairs team. In 2008, de Ronde took on the job of Show Secretary for the 2008 FEI Four-in-Hand World Championship in Beesd, The Netherlands. Her various experiences in the world of driving will help her guide the U.S. driving team to success.

6 2012 FEI World Driving Championships for Singles

Elizabeth Staller Born: November 7, 1966 Residence: Bedminister, NJ Team Leader Elizabeth “Lizzy” Staller has been involved in equestrian sports since the age of 10 when she began riding with Sally Graburn. Although her chosen sport was eventing all of Graburn’s students were taught to drive a pony. After completing school, Staller rode and trained with noted Canadian eventer, Lorraine Laframboise. An equine radiology and endoscopy technician, Staller worked at the University of Pennsylvania’s Large Animal School of Veterinary Medicine New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, PA. After moving to New Jersey in 1992,

Photo Credit: USEF Archives

Staller spent several years with well known Four-in-Hand driver James Fairclough and had a formal introduction to driving. She was taken with the sport and helped Fairclough with his team, grooming horses, assisting at vet checks, and riding on the carriage. She went to many combined driving events in the U.S. with the Fairclough team, and in 1996 assisted him at the World Championships in Waregem, Belgium. Staller worked at the USET Foundation in 2004, fundraising for the Olympics in Greece. In the spring of 2009 she joined the USEF as the Director of High Performance Driving Disciplines. With her husband, Bill Denney, Staller keeps a home in Philadelphia as well as in Bedminster, NJ. Staller and Bill have three children between them.

2012 FEI World Driving Championships for Singles


2012 FEI World Driving Championships for Singles