Category Archives: Para-Equestrian

FEI World Equestrian Games Medallists Celebrate Achievements in Olympia Parade

Photo: © BEF / Jon Stroud Media.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show will welcome Team GBR’s medallists from the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) Tryon 2018 to the annual event to take part in a celebratory parade on the evening of Thursday 20 December 2018.

The parade marks the success of British athletes, who won eight medals this summer, giving spectators the opportunity to show their appreciation for these top riders, owners and Chefs d’Équipe, after their successful campaign at the WEG.

Reigning Olympic champion, Charlotte Dujardin CBE, will be a central figure in the parade after she and her nine-year-old mare won individual bronze in the Dressage Grand Prix Special competition, with a personal best score of 81.48%. Dujardin, who also clinched team bronze in the Dressage Grand Prix on the first day of the dressage competition, will be joined by fellow bronze medallists and teammates, Carl Hester MBE, Spencer Wilton, and Emile Faurie.

Olympia will also celebrate the achievements of Gemma Tattersall, Piggy French, Tom McEwen, and Ros Canter who, after a commendable year, took prime podium position in the Eventing at the WEG. Not only helping the team to post the lowest score in world championship history, Ros Canter held her own to take individual gold, making it a double sweep for the record-breaking Brits.

Adding to the line-up will be Natasha Baker MBE, who stormed the Dressage arena to take a silver medal in the Grade III Para-Dressage Individual Championship. Baker’s win came aboard Mount St. John Diva, adding to Mount St. John Equestrian’s medal haul, the breeder of Dujardin’s ride, Mount St. John Freestyle. Baker will be joined by Nottinghamshire’s Sophie Wells MBE, whose world championship got off to a golden start by taking top honours in the Grade V Individual test. She topped off a successful Games by winning her second gold medal, this time in the Grade V Individual Freestyle. Baker and Wells will be accompanied by Sir Lee Pearson and WEG debutant, Erin Orford, who, together, won silver in the Para Dressage team competition.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: “It is an honour to be welcoming the leading British equestrian teams to this year’s Olympia. The parade hails the fantastic achievements of Team GBR and the exceptional group of riders.”

The WEG athletes will be accompanied by the successful British Youth teams, as this next generation of riders join the Thursday evening parade to celebrate their own medal achievements of 2018. One athlete who will take part is Jack Whitaker, son of Show Jumping legend Michael; Jack won individual Show Jumping silver at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina this September.

Taking place from 17-23 December, Olympia will provide the platform for top international equestrian competition, with many of the World’s elite riders expected to compete at the Show. Highlights include three FEI World Cup™ competitions in Show Jumping, Dressage, and Carriage Driving, not to mention international displays from La Garde Républicaine, and ‘Land of Fire’ Azerbaijan, bringing their traditional Karabakh horses to the Grand Hall.

For more information on how to purchase tickets, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gtelford@revolutionworld.com +44(0)7717 776928

US Olympic Committee Announces Best of September Finalists for Team USA Awards

Laura Graves and Verdades (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Colorado Springs, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee announced finalists for the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of September, which recognize the outstanding achievements of Team USA athletes from last month. Fans are invited to vote for their favorite athletes and teams at Awards.TeamUSA.org through midnight Monday, Oct. 8.

A total of eight sports – including basketball, equestrian, Para-equestrian, paratriathlon, shooting, triathlon, volleyball, and wrestling – are represented among the 13 finalists across men’s, women’s and team categories. The finalists’ collective accomplishments tell the inspiring story of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes year-round.

In addition to Dow, the presenting sponsor, the Team USA Awards are supported by Dick’s Sporting Goods and USG.

SEPTEMBER FINALISTS

Male Athlete of the Month

Matt Anderson (West Seneca, New York), Indoor Volleyball
Named best opposite at the FIVB World Championship, finishing as the second-leading scorer and second-leading attacker and helping lead Team USA to its first world championship medal – a bronze – in 24 years.

Mark Barr (Davis, California), Paratriathlon
Capped his undefeated season with a gold medal in the men’s PTS2 at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships.

G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colorado), Wrestling
Earned the gold medal in the 97 kg. division of the Pytlasinski Memorial International after pinning 2016 Olympic champion and three-time world champion Artur Aleksanyan in the semifinal in 27 seconds.

Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia), Shooting
Won his fourth world championship title in skeet shooting at the ISSF World Championships, tying the world record in qualification by shooting a perfect 125-125 targets, and tying the finals world record by missing only one target.

McLain Ward (Brewster, New York), Equestrian
Aboard Clinta, anchored the U.S. Jumping Team at the FEI World Equestrian Games, helping Team USA win the gold medal in a jump-off to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Female Athlete of the Month

Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana), Shooting
Won her first career international gold medal in skeet shooting at the ISSF World Championships, edging six-time Olympic medalist and U.S. teammate Kim Rhode in the final, 57-56.

Laura Graves (Geneva, Florida), Equestrian
Aboard Verdades, claimed the grand prix special individual silver medal and the team silver medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games, becoming the first U.S. dressage combination to lead the FEI Dressage World Rankings.

Rebecca Hart (Wellington, Florida), Para-equestrian
Earned the bronze medal in the individual test and silver in freestyle at the FEI World Equestrian Games, marking the first-ever WEG medals won by a Team USA para-equestrian individual rider.

Allysa Seely (Glendale, Arizona), Paratriathlon
Earned the gold medal in the women’s PTS2 division at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, completing her season sweep of the ITU World Paratriathlon Series.

Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Maryland), Triathlon
Finished third at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final, capturing the ITU World Triathlon Series overall silver medal.

Team of the Month

USA Women’s World Cup Team, Basketball
With just two practices with its complete, 12-member team, won its third straight world cup title – and 10th overall – at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, becoming the second women’s basketball team to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

U.S. Jumping Team, Equestrian
Won a historic gold medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games in a thrilling jump-off against Sweden – marking the first world title for the U.S. since 1986 – and secured a national team quota spot for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

U.S. Men’s World Championship Team, Indoor Volleyball
Earned a historic bronze medal at the FIVB World Championship, marking the first world championship medal for the U.S. in 24 years.

SELECTION PROCESS
Each National Governing Body may nominate one female, one male, and one team per sport discipline. An internal nominating committee selects finalists to advance to the voting round. Votes received from NGB representatives and select members of the media account for 50 percent of the final tally, with the other half determined by online fan voting via Awards.TeamUSA.org.

From the United States Olympic Committee Communications Department

Stunning Day of Freestyle Rounds Off Para Dressage Championships

Italy’s Sarah Morganti. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

On the day of the “dancing horses,” The Netherlands’ Sanne Voets became the first ever non-British rider to win three gold medals in one major international championship before team-mate van der Horst put the icing on the Dutch cake by doing exactly the same. And topping off an incredible five days of competition there was a history-making moment when Japan secured its first ever Para Dressage medal at the Adequan© World Para Dressage Championships at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, USA.

Competing in the Grade V competition, and less than two years out from the Tokyo Paralympic Games, Japan’s Tomoko Nakamura and Djazz F scored 73.540 to take a surprise bronze. Nakamura said, “I was so nervous and it went so quickly and I feel so honoured to be in such a big competition.”

An imperious score of 80.150% was more than enough for Great Britain’s Sophie Wells to pick up her second gold of these Games in the grade’s Freestyle. Riding C Fatal Attraction, she finished ahead of The Netherlands’ Frank Hosmar and Alphaville N.O.P. who scored 79.155% to take his second silver.

Speaking after the test, Wells said her horse was “a little bit tense today and on edge but he’s come out this week and given me everything. When you miss out on an Individual Gold [WEG 2014] after training every day it’s hard, but to achieve this after a big gap like I’ve had is amazing. That’s why Rio 2016 was so special because I missed out on the gold in London 2012 too!”

The day started with victory for Sanne Voets, and that first ever non-British triple in the Grade IV competition. Riding her beloved Demantur N.O.P. she scored 79.645% to finish ahead of Brazil’s Rodolpho Riskalla on Don Henrico who posted 77.780%.

“This horse two years ago won the first ever Paralympic gold medal for the Netherlands, and he contributed very much to our first ever team gold medal on Friday, and now he is the first one taking home triple gold for the Netherlands in the World Games. I couldn’t be happier!” — Sanne Voets (NED)

There was double joy for Team USA too, as Kate Shoemaker claimed the bronze on Solitaer with 73.230%. It was the host nation’s second medal of the Games and comes hot on the heels of their amazing fifth place in the team competition.

A stunning display of control and grace by Italy’s Sara Morganti took the freestyle gold in the Grade I competition – her second of the Games. Riding Royal Delight, her horse for the past eight years, Morganti scored 78.867 ahead of Rihards Snikus of Latvia. Snikus, a keen DJ in his spare time, rode King of the Dance to score 76.113% and pick up his first ever global medal, having broken onto international scene at the FEI European Championships in Gothenburg in 2017, where he picked up a silver and a bronze.

“It’s incredible and so big an emotion I can’t even describe it,” Morganti said after waiting for confirmation of her win. “We won three out of three [the pair had the highest score in their grade’s team test as well] and I was hoping for a medal, but I didn’t dare hope for two gold medals. It’s a dream come true and so very fantastic!”

The two wins here at WEG will help Morganti put the disappointment of Rio 2016, when her horse didn’t pass the compulsory veterinary check, behind her. “I needed to come out here with my horse and show how good she is,” she said, “and we worked so hard at home to do our best and she’s improved. The beautiful thing is she continues performing at the top of the ranking and competitions. This is even more than a gold!”

And double US joy turned to triple when Roxanne Trunnel, riding Dolton scored 75.587 to pick up her nation’s third Para Dressage medal by taking the bronze.

There was a huge squeal of delight from Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup when she saw her score in the Grade II contest. Riding Horsebo Smarties she posted 78.947%% to take the gold ahead of Austria’s Pepo Puch on Sailor’s Blue with 75.500. The Netherlands’ Nicole den Dulk took bronze on Wallace N.O.P. with 74.573 – a replay of the grade’s individual and freestyle contests.

“I don’t think there are any words for how amazing I feel. It’s been out of this world and incredible and much more than we ever hoped for. I’m really proud and really happy. I don’t know what else to say. All the years of hard work make this all meaningful.” — Stinna Tange Kaastrup (Team Country)

The Grade III freestyle rounded off the day and The Netherlands’ Rixt van der Horst joined team-mate Voets as a triple gold winner, scoring 77.437% on Findsley. Continuing the USA’s incredible run, Rebecca Hart added silver to her bronze from the individual on El Corona Texel with an impressive 73.240%. Germany’s Angelika Trabert continued her return to the sport by taking the bronze on Diamond’s Shine, with a score of 71.840%.

“It has been such an amazing year for the Netherlands. I have no words for it, both in terms of me and what the team did!” van der Horst said.

But there was high drama when Great Britain’s Paralympic Champion Natasha Baker was thrown from her horse, Mount St John Diva Dannebrog, during her test, eliminating her from the competition. “My ego was bruised and so was my backside,” she joked afterwards, “but at least I landed on the centre line!”

So at the end of a brilliant week of competition, The Netherlands sits comfortably atop the overall medal table, with five golds, two silvers and two bronzes, followed by Great Britain with two golds, and one silver. Denmark is third with two golds and a bronze, while Riskalla’s two silvers give Brazil the fourth spot. The USA sits fifth with one silver and three bronzes.

Results here.

By Rob Howell

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Orange the New Gold as Dutch Win Team Competition and Ticket to Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

Team Netherlands celebrates an incredible win. (FEI/Arnd Bronkhurst)

The Netherlands has turned the established order of international Para Dressage on its head by winning the team competition at the Adequan© Para Dressage at the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon (USA). In doing so, the Dutch team not only secured the first team spot, out of three, to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, it also knocked Great Britain off the top of the podium for the very first time at European, world, and Paralympic championship level.

“I feel like I just can’t believe it. It’s been a dream since I started this job six years ago after London 2012 and the gap with Great Britain was so big.” — Joyce Heuitink, Chef d’Equipe (Team Netherlands)

“But every year the gap seemed to be getting closer so we kept working hard and just worked on everything that we can. And then you happen to have four amazing riders that do four amazing tests. But we were so nervous and thought, ‘What if they beat us by just one percent?’”

The Dutch team – Grade II’s Nicole den Dulk, Grade III’s Rixt van der Horst, Grade IV’s Sanne Voets, and Grade V’s Frank Hosmar – clinched the championship with a total score of 223.597% after van der Horst, on Findsley, scored 73.559%, the first score of the day in her grade’s team test.

That initially left the door slightly open for Great Britain to catch up and would have needed scores of 73 plus from both Natasha Baker and Erin Orford to defend their title. Baker rode first and was the highest scorer in the grade, with a personal best 74.118% on Mount St John Diva Dannebrog. Orford, competing at her first global championships on Dior, then scored 69.029%. In the end the gap between the two countries was just 0.622 of a percentage point. Heuitink added: “We watched Erin [Orford, Great Britain’s final rider] and said we would not be noisy.

“We gave her good applause and waited to be sure it was on the scoreboard that we were ahead and then her score came up and it was true. My team manager went straight to the general store to get champagne. I’ve been full of tears for the last two days and I’m afraid I will break into tears when I stand on the podium.”

With the top two spots decided in the first session of the day, the afternoon’s grade I contest turned into a battle royal between Germany and Denmark for bronze, and the final qualifying spot for Tokyo.

Denmark’s Line Munk Madsen was up first, on Hoennerups Beebob, and scored 73.179%, leaving Germany’s individual bronze medal winning Elke Philipp a target of 73.208%. Riding Fuerst Sinclair, Philipp scored 74.375 and Germany was on the way to Tokyo by just 0.150 of a percentage point.

By winning the competition, Hosmar and den Dulk picked up their first ever world gold medals. Speaking after the ceremony, Hosmar said: “It’s really nice. We worked hard for it and finally we beat the British. Every year we were closer and closer and closer and then, today, we beat them. Yeah! We have freestyle tomorrow so we won’t celebrate too much tonight, but tomorrow night I think we will.”

“First gold – that’s amazing,” added den Dulk. “We really rode as a team and there are no words for it yet. Riding here is such a big deal and being here as a team and actually doing it, that’s something else – wanting it and doing it. We’re all ecstatic.

“We rode our hearts out and the judges saw that today and yesterday – happy horses and happy athletes.”

Click here for full results.

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Italian Victory in Vaulting Pair’s Competition

Jasmin Lindner and Lukas Wacha ©Sportfot .

Italian flags flew high when Lorenzo Lupacchini and Silvia Stopazzini jumped on the podium winning gold in the Christie’s International Real Estate’s Vaulting Pas de Deux at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG). Silver went to Austria’s overnight leaders Lindner/Wacha and Bronze was for Germany’s Derks/Kay.

The world’s No.1 pair from Italy set all their heart in the Freestyle, earning 9.027 with high 9s for artistic value as well as the technical execution.

Lupacchini had set his own ambitions as an individual vaulter aside for the sake of the pair’s competition and it was worth it.

“We are really happy because we did what we prepared in training over this year,” he said.

In the end, it was the horse’s scores and a little wobble that put the Austrian title holders from WEG 2014 on Silver. Jasmin Lindner and Lukas Wacha have trained together for eight years and won the first ever Pas de Deux World Championship title in 2012. Understandably they were quite disappointed after they lost first place by 0.014 point, finishing on 9.013.

“We had invested a lot and then a small mistake in the beginning of the Freestyle made all the difference,” said the 31-year-old physiotherapist, Wacha.

Germany’s Janika Derks and Johannes Kay interpreted the emotions of energy to score 8.872.

“We showed the utmost what we can do and are happy with a medal. Competition was very tight and it was a great final.”

Torben Jacobs and partner Theresa-Sophie Bresch (GER), finishing fourth with a Spanish medley, and summed it up. “This must have been the strongest pairs’ competition ever. So many 8’s and 9’s – and to be here at WEG will be in our hearts forever.”

Boe Leads Heading into Women’s Finale in Individual Vaulting Competition

Germany’s Kristina Boe leads the overall Individual Female’s ranking going into Saturday’s final Freestyle on 8.278 in front of Austria’s Lisa Wild (8.229) and her compatriot Janika Derks on 8.228.

Derks is known for her power and strength in Vaulting, but could not quite stand her dismount from Carousso Hit. Despite this mishap her technical was the best of the day.

“The dismount was expensive. Touching the ground is one point off (from the performance score). But the others have to get everything right as well,” said Derks.

World cup winner Boe kept her lead from the previous Compulsory and Freestyle even though strong Janika Derks topped her in the technical movements.

Italy’s defending WEG-silver medalist Anna Cavallaro injured a knee when dismounting, and although she is still ranked fifth overall, it is doubtful that she will participate in the final competition on Saturday.

France’s Leclezio Moves into First Place in Men’s Individual Program

France’s Lambert Leclezio put his best foot forward showing the top technical program of the day with fluid sequences between the prescribed movements, earning 8.443 points, placing him in front of Colombia’s 18-year-old Juan Martin Clavijo (8.166) and Jannis Drewell (GER) on 8.166.

“I just wanted to go out on the good vibes after the Freestyle yesterday, which was not good at all,” said 21-year-old Leclezio who had moved from the island of Mauritius to France for better Vaulting opportunities.

At his second WEG, the top technical score pushed Leclezio in the overall lead before the final Freestyle for the medals on Saturday.

Germany’s Jannik Heiland and Jannis Drewell are in second and third. The third German Thomas Brüsewitz, fourth at WEG 2014 and vaulting as the Prince of Bel Air in the technical, lost his lead and now ranks fourth.

“It is not all lost yet,” said Brüsewitz.

Team Germany Leads the Squads Ranking

Team Germany leads the Squad standings on 8.405 after two rounds before going into the final Freestyle for the medals to be hosted on Saturday. The defending title holder’s advantage from Team Norka is the thinnest possible, as they are only 0.001 points ahead of Team Luetisburg for Switzerland. The silver medalists from WEG 2014 are on 8.404.

Austria (7.977) has more to catch up on if they want to improve their medal with Italy breathing down their necks (7.846), and it will be a hotly contested lunging circle at TIEC’s Indoor Arena on Saturday, starting at 12:00 p.m. EST.

Race for Team Medals Underway in Adequan® Para-Dressage

Great Britain’s Sophie Wells led from the front as the race for team medals took center-stage in Adequan® Para-Dressage on Thursday.

Britain’s Para-Dressage team boasts one of the longest unbeaten records in sport, having won every Team Gold medal available at World, Paralympic and European levels.

Wells ensured a strong start for them at Tryon Stadium after posting a score of 77.233% to top Grade V by an emphatic margin from the Netherlands’ Frank Hosmar, riding Alphaville N.O.P.

Wells’ teammate Sir Lee Pearson, meanwhile, put behind his retirement in the Grade II Individual championship with Styletta on Tuesday to finish third in his section and ensure Britain were well-placed overnight, with two more riders – Natasha Baker and Erin Orford – set to complete their tests on Friday.

France currently leads the way, but all four team riders have performed their tests, with the in-form Netherlands second and Japan third. Strongly-fancied trio Britain, Denmark, and Brazil all have half their team line-ups still to ride, while the Netherlands are also strong Gold medal contenders.

“I knew I needed to up my game from the other day for the team,” Wells said. “I had a look at my test with my coaches and looked at different areas. You learn to deal with the pressure and I just focused on what I needed to do. All the other nations are getting so much stronger and the horsepower is incredible in the sport. We want to retain our title, but we can only do the best that we can do.”

For Pearson, who needs one medal in Tryon to become the most decorated Para-Dressage rider in FEI World Equestrian Games™ history, it was a case of him showcasing all his ability and experience to score 71.606% in a section that saw Individual Gold medallist Stinna Tange Kaastrup again come out on top.

“I was not worried about the placing today,” Pearson said. “I rode calmly and passionately in there, and said thank you to her (Styletta) on every transition. She has been brilliant here, with the environment, with the arenas. I thought she would be petrified, but she hasn’t been, and I do believe that she will be a fantastic championship horse for the future.”

Kaastrup, meanwhile, continued her impressive championship on Horsebo Smarties, recording a winning margin of almost two per cent from the Netherlands’ Nicole den Dulk, who finished second on Wallace N.O.P.

“Everything that we talked about that I was supposed to do in there, we did, and I am super proud about that,” Kaastrup said. “The horse is amazing and I learn a lot from him. I am feeling really good, especially with the score I delivered.”

Grade IV riders closed the opening day of team competition – medals will be awarded following Grade III and Grade I on Friday – and it was Individual Gold medalist Sanne Voets who again delivered the goods with Demantur N.O.P.

Their score of 76.550% beat Brazil’s Rodolpho Riskalla and Don Henrico into second, with Belgium’s Manon Claeys taking third.

“He was amazing. He was so sharp, willing and obedient, and I think this is what makes it so beautiful when two becomes one – when a horse and you are in perfect harmony,” Voets said.

“The pressure is on the British now, and we like that. We came here with one aim, and that was to win a team medal to qualify directly for Tokyo.”

For more information on the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 and to view start lists and results, please visit www.Tryon2018.com.

A Golden Day for the Dutch as Rixt van der Horst Enjoys Para-Dressage Glory in Tryon

Rixt van der Horst and Findsley ©Sportfot.

Netherlands star Rixt van der Horst reflected on the “amazing” feeling of winning another Gold medal after she headlined day two of Adequan® Para-Dressage at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018.

Van der Horst, who took double Gold at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in France, sealed top spot in the Grade III Individual Championship on her bay mare Findsley.

Their score of 73.735% edged long-time leader Natasha Baker, of Great Britain, into second place as she excelled with new top horse Mount St John Diva Dannebrog, while American Rebecca Hart and El Corona Texel collected Bronze to become her country’s first world Para-Dressage medalist.

“I am really thrilled,” Van der Horst said. “It is so amazing to be world champion again. During my test, I didn’t realize it was that good.

“I was just riding my test and doing what I do and it was not until afterwards that I realized it was good. In the beginning I was nervous, but I relaxed during the test and it got better and better. It’s our first international competition together and I am so proud of her.”

Baker, a mainstay of Britain’s all-conquering Para-Dressage teams in recent years, was similarly delighted with the performance of her horse in what was a major championship debut for the partnership, as it had been for Van der Horst and Findsley.

“She was amazing, so, so, good and she went in there like she owned it,” Baker said. “I am just so proud of everything that we have achieved in such a short space of time.

“It is an honor to get called up for the team, especially after such a short space of time. I’ve only had her since January, and to have done everything we have and for the selectors to have the trust in us to come and do our best is fantastic.”

Italy’s Sara Morganti came out on top in the Grade I Individual Championship, winning an anticipated head-to-head battle with Singapore’s current world number one Laurentia Tan.

The pair was drawn as the last to two to ride in Tryon Stadium, and did not disappoint, with Morganti’s score of 74.750% on Royal Delight enough for victory as Tan and Fuerst Sherlock finished on 73.750%. Germany’s Elke Philipp claimed the bronze medal aboard Fuerst Sinclair with 73.143%.

“It was wonderful,” said Morganti, who won world Individual Gold and Silver medals in 2014.

“It’s incredible. I’ve had a very difficult year because of health problems and for a moment I thought I couldn’t go on.

“My horse was amazing and I have to thank my trainers who have been with me all along the way. I am happy because I wanted to get a medal for me, but also for them.”

Tan, meanwhile, added, “It’s really important to get a medal for my country. I felt relaxed and I just had to keep going.”

Philipp could scarcely believe the scale of her achievement as she completed the medal podium.

“I can’t have any words for this,” she said. “I hoped that I would win a medal, but now I have a medal! The arena is perfect for me and my horse and I think we did a good job.”

Long Standing Partnership Catapults Sheena Bendixen to Christie’s International Real Estate Vaulting Freestyle

Denmark’s Sheena Bendixen won the Individual Female’s Freestyle of the Christie’s International Real Estate’s Vaulting competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 on Wednesday, her score of 8.539 piping Germany’s Janika Derks and Sarah Kay.

Sheena Bendixen and Klintholms Ramstein ©Sportfot

The 25-year-old Bendixen, ranked in the world’s top ten, danced to victory and credited her long-standing partnership with black gelding Klintholms Ramstein and lunger Lasse Kristensen for the success. She won her first European Bronze medal with the same duo seven years ago in 2011.

“One stand was a bit shaky, but I just continued and smiled,” Bendixen said, earning top score for the Trakehner breed horse Ramstein, owned by her groom.

“We call him the psycho mouse. He loves the arena and always says ‘Here, look at me!’ I wanted to dance my emotions at this WEG, relaxation, power, elegance, harmony – everything should be in it,” Bendixen said.

“I had warned her that there is nothing more difficult than really dancing on a horse, not only with expressive hands, but also with your feet and she did it,” Kristensen said, a former world class Vaulter himself.

Janika Derks scored 9.473 for her technique, the best of the morning. For her Freestyle she used the music “La Terre en Ciel” that had already brought a Bronze medal on ice, dancing for Germany.

“I wanted it to look easy, soft and fluffy, quite a contrast to my usual vaulting. I am a very technical and strong vaulter and to show elegance and harmony is the hardest for me,” Derks said.

“It is always the same, the easier something looks the harder it is,” Derks’ lunger Jessica Lichtenberg said.

Several female competitors managed to dance a complete story. U.S. athlete Tessa Dirks danced to the music of the movie “Little Red Riding Hood.”

“I am kind of an upbeat person and I had to pretend to be afraid which is not quite like me. The panic of the wolf is more like the panic of the vaulter of not finishing on time.”

That fear was unnecessary because she finished on rank 7, with lunger Christoph Lensing, a double WEG Silver medalist himself.

Germany’s Thomas Brüsewitz Turns In His Second Vaulting Win at Tryon 2018

Germany’s Thomas Brüsewitz won the Individual Freestyle at Christie’s International Real Estate’s Vaulting discipline at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 on Wednesday, duplicating his success from Tuesday’s compulsory. Vaulting for a score of 8.987, he kept France’s Lambert Leclezio and Jannis Drewell for Germany at bay.

It was fireworks in the arena when world No.3, Brüsewitz did his Freestyle following the theme of the movie “The Truman Show.”

“The person in the show is a star because he is true to himself, a real person. Our vaulting is true as well. I thought this a fitting theme for the world championship here.”

Brüsewitz did not go the limit and kept it safe, omitting one handstand.

“When I had my signature movement out of the way, the flic flac backwards, I felt I should play it safe. I will keep it up my sleeve for the final Freestyle,” the student at a sports university in Cologne, Germany said.

FEI World Cup™ winner Jannis Drewell “danced with wolves” for his Freestyle, collecting 8.924 with four scores of 9 from the judges’ panel.

“I had this theme ten years ago for my very first national youth championship and I thought it was a good moment to come up with it again. It was much better than ten years ago.”

French Lambert Leclezio was not happy with his performance, finishing on 8.832.

“Two big movements did not go to plan, but maybe people on the outside did not notice.”

Austria’s Lindner/Wacha Set to Defend Their Pairs Title in Vaulting

The sparkle of 15,000 rhinestones lit the Indoor Arena in the Christie’s International Real Estate’s Vaulting competition at Tryon 2018, when the world’s best pair met for their first round of Freestyle.

Austria’s Jasmin Lindner and Lukas Wacha look set to defend their WEG title from 2014. They scored an average of 9.138, topping their Freestyle performance at WEG 2014.

Wearing a black-and-white costume, they interpreted the theme of the literature piece Chess Novel. It was the first time the freestyle was shown in public. It has been a work in progress since they started planning it two years ago.

“It was a wonderful feeling to go out and to know it will stun everybody. When you then get it all together at the right time the feeling is just hard to describe,” said Lukaas Wacha.

Their costumes had been handcrafted by both of their grandmothers, who are tailors in Vienna and Salzburg. It had been Jasmin Linder’s job then to attach the close to 15,000 rhinestones.

“Luckily Svarovski sits in Tyrolia where those two come from,” said team chief Manfred Reber.

The world’s highest ranked pair Italy’s Lorenzo Lupacchini and Silvia Stopazzini set the tone for a great competition. Vaulting as a pair for two years, they came out first into the competition and vaulted for a 9.057, earning six scores of 9s.

Breathing down their necks, only 0.001 point behind, are Germany’s Janika Derks and Johannes Kay. Her neon pink costume stood out against horse Dark Beluga when they showed their stunning lifts and elevations, defying gravity.

For more information on the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 and to view start lists and results, please visit www.Tryon2018.com.

Stinna Steals the Show as Adequan Para-Dressage Makes Its Entry at Tryon

Stinna Tange Kaastrup and Horsebo Smarties ©Sportfot.

TRYON, NC, USA – September 18, 2018 – Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup won her first world gold medal as Adequan® Para-Dressage began in exciting fashion at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, hosted in Tryon Stadium at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC).

The 24-year-old European champion, who was born without legs, continued a memorable year by taking Grade II Individual honors ahead of prolific medal-winning Austrian Pepo Puch.

Kaastrup, riding 17-year-old Horsebo Smarties, posted a score of 72.735%, and Puch – the last of nine competitors – fell just short aboard Sailor’s Blue on 72.676%, with Netherlands challenger Nicole den Dulk and Wallace N.O.P. finishing third, just under two percent behind Puch.

There was disappointment for Great Britain’s Sir Lee Pearson, though, who needs one more medal to become the most decorated Para-Dressage rider in FEI World Equestrian Games™ history, as he retired his new ride, nine-year-old mare Styletta, two-thirds of the way through his test.

Kaastrup said, “I was upset because of a mistake I made because the horse was feeling amazing and doing such a wonderful job, but still it was enough [to medal] and it didn’t matter in the end. I was so nervous looking at the scores as it was so close all the way through, and I wondered if we were going to make it. My horse is really enjoying it, and as soon as we got into the arena his ears were like ‘hey, I’m here, is everyone watching me’? He is a darling.”

The Adequan® Para-Dressage program began with a thrilling Grade IV competition that saw the three medallists separated by just 0.781%, with the Netherlands’ Sanne Voets taking gold.

Voets, who won a freestyle Gold and two Silvers at the last FEI World Equestrian Games™ in France four years ago, led from a number one draw on Demantur N.O.P. as their score of 73.927% edged out Brazil’s Rodolpho Riskalla and Don Henrico (73.366%), with Danish rider Susanne Jensby Sunesen third aboard CSK’s Que Faire (73.146%).

“Nobody wants to be the first to go, but it doesn’t change the job,” Voets said. “You just have to do what you do and do it best. I think we smashed it.”

Riskalla’s life was turned upside down in 2015 when he contracted bacterial meningitis on a trip home to Brazil from his Paris base following the death of his father, and he had to have both legs amputated below the knee, in addition to losing his right hand and two fingers on his left hand.

Reflecting on his test, Riskalla said, “It was super. His style sometimes can be super-sensitive, but he performed just like he was at home.”

Grade V action concluded the opening day, and there was a victory for Britain’s Sophie Wells, riding C Fatal Attraction.

As with Voets, 28-year-old Wells went first in her class, and she delivered a commanding performance to finish on 75.429%, beating the Netherlands’ Frank Hosmar and Alphaville N.O.P. on 73.167%, with the bronze medal going to Belgium’s Regine Mispelkamp and Look At Me Now on 71.452%.

Wells, a mainstay of Britain’s dominant Para-Dressage team, won the world individual title at Kentucky in 2010, and three medals at the 2014 Normandy FEI World Equestrian Games™ including team gold.

“I am really pleased,” she said. “I had a little bit of a blip at the beginning where he was just a bit nervous, but compared to last year at the Europeans where the first day was the individual and he was a bit nervous there, he was so much better here and came back to me and built his confidence back up.”

Vaulters Reignite Friendly Rivalry

European neighbors Switzerland, Germany and Austria are taking on the rivalry again in the Christie’s International Real Estate’s Vaulting discipline at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 Vaulting team competition. The Swiss squad finished first in the compulsory, scoring 7.979. Germany ranks second on 7.794 and Austria (7.355) is third.

The score for the horses decided first and second place, with Swiss gelding Rayo de la Luz getting an average of 8.3. Germany’s Danny Boy Old collected 8.11 from two of the eight judges whose task it is to solely assess the horses’ performance.

“With four years of vaulting under his belt, we [have been] vaulting him since two years and he has developed fantastically,” said lunger Monika Winkler-Bischofberger on the 13-year-old gelding.

The U.S. team of Pacific Coast Vaulters finished fourth on their squad horse, Diva, with lunger Carolyn Bland.

“The horse and the lunger were amazing,” the vaulters raved afterwards. “That was the best it has gone all year and it is great to be on home turf.”

Fifth-placed Italy had a bad start when going over time and therefore the last movement was not scored.

“That was not our best compulsory, but we are better in the Freestyle anyway. We are Italians!” said Laura Carnabuci, lunger for former dressage horse Hot Tek Date.

The confrontation at the top of the field of eleven teams even goes down to a personal level, with Swiss lunger Monika Winkler-Bischofsberger and counterpart Patric Looser for Germany originally coming from the same club in Switzerland, in Luetisburg near the city of St. Gallen.

“It is a friendly rivalry between us, but we both treat it as a fair competition. I wished Monika lots of luck back at the stables before we started out,” said Patric Looser, who won the individual World championship title at WEG 2010 in Kentucky for Switzerland and founded the German team based in Cologne three years later. He still carries a Swiss passport.

“But I am at home there now. And vaulters are one big family anyway,” Looser said.

Austria Tops the Vaulting Female Compulsory

Austria’s Katharina Luschin scored 8.506 in the Christie’s International Real Estate’s Vaulting discipline at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 on Tuesday, thus topping the winning compulsory result from the previous WEG in France. All three Austrian female competitors are in the top four spots with Germany’s Kristina Boe wedged in between on second position (8.347).

“It was a super feeling to go in here. I just did my thing, but I never thought this result could be possible,” said leading Luschin after the first of three more rounds to come towards the individual title. The 26-year-old is at her second WEG, after finishing 4th individually in Normandy and taking Bronze at the previous World Championship in Le Mans 2016.

With Daniela Fritz on 8.294 in third place and 23-year-old Lisa Wild sitting fourth, Austria has set a solid foundation for their road to medal success.

“We took a risk, putting all three of them on this one horse, Fairytale, but it worked out,” said Manfred Rebel, team chief for Austria.

Germany’s Vaulting World Cup winner Kristina Boe showed extraordinary elevation in her compulsory and led the competition until Luschin took over.

“The higher the pressure, the better I do,” said the 32-year-old trauma surgeon.

The top ten female vaulters of 30 in total all scored above 8.0, showing the new class of the sport.

The placing also shows how tight the competition at the top has developed. Germany places all three female vaulters in the top ten, with Sarah Kay and Janina Derks trailing Boe in sixth and seventh place.  Switzerland has Nadja Büttiker, Marina Mohar and Ilona Haennich placed in a row up to currently rank 11th.

World’s No.1 Anna Cavallaro, silver medalist at WEG 2014, is sitting with Derks on 7th place. The medical doctor is known for her freestyle abilities.

German Thomas Brüsewitz Earns Vaulting Male Compulsory’s Top Score

Germany’s Thomas Brüsewitz took the lead in the Christie’s International Real Estate’s Individual Male Compulsory at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 on Tuesday. The No. 3-ranked athlete scored a 8.480 in the Individual Male Compulsory, besting compatriot Jannik Heiland on 8.468 and Lambert Leclezio (8.440) representing France.

The compulsory was the second appearance for Brüsewitz on Danny Boy Old after he had competed within the team in the morning.

“The double burden does not phase me. I am used to it. It is like that since two years,” said the 24-year-old who comes from a vaulting family. Danny Boy got out much fresher the second time and helped Thomas to a good score after he had to be on as the first vaulter this morning because he knows the horse best and could set him up for the others in the team,” said lunger Patric Looser.

Jannik Heiland, twice an FEI World Cup™ Bronze medal winner, might have lost the lead in the first part of the compulsory, he acknowledged. “The scissors could have been a bit better, but the rest went okay. I felt very well-prepared and was mentally up to it,” Heiland said

France’s Lambert Leclezio, the 21-year-old World Champion 2016, had to go out first. His 8.440 average was the lead until Brüsewitz performed.

World’s No.1 Jannis Drewell from Germany sits fourth, competing for the first time without his mother at the lunge line. He opted for Lars Hansen and experienced Feliciano 44 instead.

“We did not want to overstrain our young horse at this world championship level,” said Drewell, who serves in the German military and devotes his time professionally to vaulting.

The surprise of the day was young Juan Martin Clavijo from Colombia, scoring 8.146 and finishing within the top six vaulters out of 19 who finished above 8.0. The 18-year-old is one of only around 150 vaulters in Colombia. After he had finished school near Bogota in June, he is now preparing for a year in Switzerland and spends his time either vaulting or learning German.

For more information on the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 and to view start lists and results, please visit www.Tryon2018.com.

US Para-Driving Team Successful at FEI World Single and Para Driving Championships

Tracy Bowman (in the Marathon Course). Photo by Marie de Ronde-Oudemans, Hoefnet’s Krisztina Horvath, and Daphne White.

Kronenberg, The Netherlands – September 17, 2018 – Over six days the 2018 FEI World Driving and Para-Driving Championships for singles took place at Grandorse in Kronenberg, The Netherlands. U.S. Para-Driving Team included Driver and horse combinations Tracy Bowman and Taylormore Laurabelle in Grade 1, Bob Giles and First Lady in Grade 2, and Diane Kastama and horse Oosterwijk’s Kasper in Grade 1, with Coach Sara Schmitt and Chef d’Equipe Marcie Quist. Drivers contested the dressage, marathon, and cones courses, over the August 28 – September 2, 2018, week. The Singles and Para-driving championships were held simultaneously for the first time in the history of this equestrian sport. The top international drivers competed for the coveted title in their category: World Champion. U.S. Para-Drivers had a successful showing earning fourth in the Team competition.

“We would like to thank world class four-in-hand driver Koos De Ronde and his wife, FEI Combined Driving judge Marie De Ronde, in Zwartewaal, Netherlands for hosting the para-driving training camp at their home farm Stal De Ronde. We would also like to thank the navigators including Diane Kastama’s navigator Lila Hewitt, Tracy Bowman’s navigator Jolie Wentworth, and Bob Giles’ navigator Barbra Hewitt and everyone who so generously offered their support.  We would especially like to thank team coach Sara Schmitt, our Chef d’Equipe, Marcia Quist, Danielle d’Aamodt Single’s Chef and Thorsten Zarembowicz Singles Coach.”

Following the Championships, Para-drivers headed back to the United States where they will be cheering on the U.S. Equestrian Teams at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, NC and heir Dutch host and hostess Koos and Marie de Ronde who will be competing in the four-in-hand driving at the World Equestrian Games.

Results can be found on Hoefnet at: https://www.hoefnet.nl/en/kalender-uitslagen-startlijsten/wk-enkelspannen-wk-paramennen-horst/.

For more information about USA Para-Driving, please visit United States Driving for the Disabled at http://usdfd.org.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Riders May Now Apply for the Dressage Foundation Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund

Over the past several years, the sport of Para-Equestrian Dressage has grown and welcomed many new athletes.  Throughout this time, The Dressage Foundation (TDF) has received requests for support from these riders, and is proud to announce that the TDF Board of Directors has developed the Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund through a gift from the Lowell Boomer Family Charitable Remainder Unitrust.  TDF will continue its fundraising efforts to ensure that grants for Para-Dressage riders are available perpetually.

The purpose of the Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund is to provide financial support for para-dressage riders to attend educational events, such as clinics/seminars at the USEF/USPEA Para-Equestrian Centers of Excellence (COE), lessons with a trainer of choice, or other educational opportunities that will enable the rider to improve and reach his/her goals.  Funds should not be requested for competition.  US Equestrian’s Developing or Emerging para-dressage athletes are welcome to apply, as well as para-dressage riders who are dedicated to the sport but have not yet been named as a Developing or Emerging athlete (see US Equestrian for descriptions).

The amount of the grants can vary depending on the need and request of the applicants but will typically range from $500 – $1,000.  One or more grants will be available each year to qualified applicants, chosen by an independent selection committee.

The selection committee will take into consideration that the applicant:

  • Is dedicated to the sport of Para-Equestrian Dressage
  • Demonstrates qualities of horsemanship and sportsmanship
  • Can be an ambassador for the sport
  • Presents well-defined goals in the application with a clear plan to achieve goals

The selection committee will also take into account:

  • Availability of other funding for chosen event/training
  • Accessibility/availability of events in rider’s local area
  • Training plan that is different than the rider’s typical routine and not readily available to him/her on a regular basis

Additional Grant Information:

1. Applicant must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.
2. Riders designated as Elite Athletes by U.S. Equestrian are not eligible.
3. Funding must be used for the event/training specified in the grant application. Funds are not to be used for competition.
4. An applicant may not receive the grant in consecutive years.
5. The committee reserves the right to not award a grant in any given year if they determine that no candidate has met the criteria. Grant money would then be held in the Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund for use in future years. The applications and discussions of the selection committee are confidential, and their decisions are final.
6. If the grant recipient is unable to attend the specified event/training, The Dressage Foundation must be notified as soon as possible. Approval for a change in the use of funds is at the discretion of The Dressage Foundation and the grant Selection Committee.
7. The online application form and all required documents must be submitted to The Dressage Foundation on or before November 1st. A final decision will be announced by December 31st.
8. The grant must be used for an event that falls after December 31st of the year in which you apply. Recipients will have one year from the date of the award to use the grant funds.

For more information, please visit The Dressage Foundation.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

“Generation Z” Athletes Aiming to Shine at FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018

Photo: Liz Gregg/FEI.

Lausanne (SUI), 17 August 2018 — Over 100 “Generation Z” athletes – born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s – have been named on the nominated entry list for next month’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, the pinnacle of equestrian sport, in North Carolina (USA).

Amongst these athletes are three 10-year-old vaulters who, alongside their fellow “Gen Zs” from 27 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America and the Middle East, are bidding to represent their nation at the FEI World Equestrian Games™.

A total of 71 countries are included in the nominated entries, a massive increase on the 58 that contested the medals at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Kentucky 2010 when the multi-discipline event was first held outside Europe.

The full nominated entries (listed by discipline) for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, from which the final entries will be selected next month, is here: https://inside.fei.org/fei/fei-weg/2018.

The next and final stages in the Games entry process are the deadlines for definite entries: 3 September for the first week’s competition in Dressage, Eventing, Endurance and Reining, and 10 September for the second week’s events in Driving, Para-Dressage, Jumping and Vaulting.

With an anticipated 800 athletes and over 820 horses from six of the world’s seven continents scheduled to attend, the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 will be one of the biggest sporting events on US soil this year, and will be held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, set against the stunning backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Year of youth

Young equestrian athletes are really taking centre stage in 2018. Just one month after the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, 30 nations will send equestrians aged between 15-18 years to the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games held from 6 to 18 October 2018.

#BeOne

Equestrian fans, athletes and teams from across the globe are coming together to celebrate the sport as one and as part of the FEI campaign for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 – #BeOne.

To buy tickets for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, go to https://tryon2018.com/tickets/event-tickets and for more information on the Games, visit www.Tryon2018.com and www.fei.org/events/fei-world-equestrian-games-tryon.

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46