Jamaica

Photo courtesy of My Elizabeth Webber
(1991 – )
Owned by Chester Craig Weber
Inducted: 2013

Photos

Photo courtesy of USEF Archive
Photo courtesy of Madeleine Augustsson
Photo courtesy of Madeleine Augustsson
Photo courtesy of PicsofYou.com
Jamaica spent years building his character and has no shortage of it. As a key component of Chester Weber's Four-in-Hand team, Jamaica became one of the best U.S. Driving horses in the world.

Jamaica was a very athletic horse with lots of energy and fabulous gaits. He was used in the wheel in dressage and in the left lead in marathon and cones and his finicky personality and bold nature gave him the key to be a top horse in the sport, including six U.S. National Championships, two FEI World Equestrian Games) and a total of four world championships (from 2002 to 2008).

However, life didn't start out quite so glamorously for the Dutch warmblood gelding. At a young age, Jamaica was sent to the slaughter house, where Belgian driver and FEI official Mark Wentein bought him from a meat dealer. At the time, Wentein ran a horse and carriage business in the city of Bruges and Jamaica was put to work there as a tourist carriage horse. This career didn't last long though because he refused to stand still and be patient.

When Jamaica and Weber's paths crossed, it was this spirit that attracted Weber's attention. His tenacity and strength of character paid off and he landed in Weber's stable and joined Weber's team in 2001. Who would have thought that this horse, a rescue saved from slaughter, would become one of the most respected driving horses in the world and named Horse of the Year by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) for 2008.

On accepting the award for Jamaica, Weber remarked, "It's a real honor to share this journey with such an unbelievable horse, U.S. Driving is a very small discipline in this country and the support from the rescue organizations and the letters I got from kids was amazing. It's great to be part of his life."

Jamaica lives life on his own terms, and Weber has given up trying to change him because when it really mattered, Jamaica always delivered. He fought harder than horses half his age at the last hazard on the marathon when some horses would just find it easier to give up. He tried his hardest when it counted the most. His will to win, like his personality, refused to be suppressed.

What he achieved in his competitive career was remarkable. In 2008, Weber's team won a sixth consecutive United States Equestrian Federation national championship for the driver. Jamaica was the foundation of all six of Weber's Four-in-Hand National Championship teams, and was selected as the team's Most Valuable Player (MVP) on each of those occasions.

He was also a key to Weber's Silver-Medal victory at the World Championships in Holland in September 2008. In preparation for the World Championships, Jamaica was part of the third-place team at the prestigious CAIO Aachen in July and of the winning team at Riesenbeck, both in Germany. Jamaica took on the best in the U.S. and in the world in 2008 and never came home without a top placing.

Jamaica captivated the nation with his rags to riches story. It was only fitting when he was immortalized as a Breyer horse, which was debuted at the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

While fans can now have a Jamaica Breyer of their own to love and cherish, the real Jamaica is spending his days eating grass in the rolling fields of Weber's Live Oak Stud in Ocala, Florida.

"I always said that Jamaica would live out his days with me because no one else would put up with him," Weber said. "In actuality, it is my honor to care for him for the rest of his life. As horsemen, we are lucky if in our lifetime we have the opportunity to partner with one horse with the greatness, stamina and tenacity of a true champion. Jamaica embodies all of these characteristics and I will always feel fortunate to have been along for the ride."