Category Archives: Para-Equestrian

Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton Win FEI Para Team Test Grade I CPEDI 3* at AGDF

Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton in their winning test. ©SusanStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – March 8, 2019 – Week 9 of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) started on Friday, March 8, with FEI Para Team Tests. This is the second week of AGDF that offers international competition for para-dressage riders. Para riders from Grade I to Grade V will ride in FEI Individual Tests on Saturday, and those with an average combined score of 60.000% or higher will qualify for the FEI Para Freestyle Tests on Sunday.

Roxanne Trunnell (USA) and Dolton started the morning with a win in the FEI Para Team Test Grade I – CPEDI 3* with a score of 75.060%. Grade I Para Riders have severe impairments affecting all limbs and trunk. The riders usually require the use of a wheelchair, and their balance is severely impaired.

“I thought it went really well,” said Trunnell of her test with the seven-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Danone I owned by Kate Shoemaker. “We’ve been working on getting him stretching more. I thought the stretch was good. We want him more framed up, more in a compact position with his head, not so out in front and loose.”

Trunnell enjoys working with Dolton. She said, “He has a huge walk and a very cute personality. We’re starting to really bond. He’s only seven, and he’s just a baby. He still has those cute baby quirks to him. Every test is a learning experience for him. We’re learning how to make it better every time.

“I really like the facility,” commented Trunnell on AGDF. “It’s very handy and accessible.”

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Katie Johnson and Paxton Qualify for Iron Spring Farm Future Stars Performance Series Final

Katie Johnson and Paxton. ©SusanStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – February 16, 2019 – The sixth week of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) featured National competition with a riders and horses in a variety of divisions on February 15-16.

Katie Johnson (USA) and Paxton won the USEF Developing Prix St. Georges, presented by Vita Flex, with a score of 69.438%. The pair is now the first from the United States qualified for the Iron Spring Farm Future Stars Performance Series Final in Week 12 of AGDF. “I was very happy with my ride. He’s still really green at the Prix St. Georges level,” said Johnson about her partner, a 2011 Westphalian gelding by Dante Weltino owned by Kylee Lourie.

“I would say the highlight of our ride was our trot work. He really excelled there. His rideability has been progressing every day, and I’m happy with that. I’m hoping to ride in the final in Week 12, and am excited about the opportunity,” continued Johnson. “It’s good to have something to look forward to. I would like to do the USEF Developing Prix St. Georges at Lamplight and would love to get him in one CDI by the end of season.”

Johnson is extremely thankful to Kylee Lourie, Paxton’s owner, and to her trainer Adrienne Lyle and said, “None of it would be able to happen without both of them, so that’s very important to me.”

Melissa Vaughn (USA) and Belrano Gold, a 2011 Oldenburg gelding by Bellissimo M owned by Pferdes LLC, started off the morning on Saturday with a win in the Open section of the Fourth Level, Test 1. The pair earned a score of 70.513%. Linda Graves and De Ja Vu 2, her 2005 Oldenburg gelding by Dimaggio, won the Adult Amateur section with a score of 65.128%.

Roxanne Trunnell (USA) and Dolton, a 2012 Hanoverian gelding by Danone I, rode a strong Para I Test, and won the Para Equestrian Test of Choice class with a score of 72.143%.

Christilot Boylen (CAN) and Rocky Lane, a 2006 Westphalian gelding by Rock Forever owned by Rebecca Stromatt, concluded the day with a win in the Open FEI Grand Prix*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty. The pair earned a score of 66.739%. Carrie Schopf (ARM) and Saumur won the Adult Amateur section, presented by Harmony Sport Horses, with a score of 65.128%.

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Rebecca Hart and El Corona Texel Win FEI Para Freestyle Grade III-CPEDI 3* at AGDF

Rebecca Hart and El Corona Texel. ©SusanStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – January 20, 2019 – Week 2 of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), presented by Adequan®, Mission Control, Nutrena, and Fair Sky Farm, concluded on Sunday, January 20, with a win for Rebecca Hart (USA) and El Corona Texel in the FEI Para Freestyle Grade III – CPEDI 3*.

Hart and El Corona Texel, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding by Wynton and owned by Rowan O’Riley, earned a score of 75.278% in the Grade III Freestyle. Grade III is for riders who have severe impairments in both lower limbs with minimal or no impairment of the trunk or moderate impairments of the upper and lower limbs and trunk. Some riders in Grade III may use a wheelchair.

Hart is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and moved to Wellington, FL. “I have loved this horse from the moment I saw his video on YouTube. I love his personality and his intelligence,” said Hart about El Corona Texel. “He’s quite a fiery horse, but he’s an incredibly kind horse. I love how we can have a true conversation when we’re riding, and it just makes it a very unique, special partnership.

“Marlene Whittaker put the freestyle together for me, and we worked really hard on that one,” continued Hart of her freestyle music and choreography. “It’s actually the one that we rode at [the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games], so it’s a special freestyle for us. We actually all played [the music] for him so he could have a little bit of input. He would just be like, ‘Oh yeah’ and he’d start to get a little more exuberant, and we were like, ‘Okay, Tex likes this one!’”

Hart has been coming to AGDF for seven years and said, “I love having such a great facility for the 12 weeks. They have shows on the weekend, and we can just come and do a test and then go home. Having that availability, and in addition having the big three-stars and the four-star and the freestyles under the lights, that variety of atmosphere so that you can do a smaller national show or you can do a big three-star all within your backyard, is fantastic.”

Kate Shoemaker (USA) and Solitaer 40 won the FEI Para Freestyle Grade IV – CPEDI 3* with a score of 75.458%. Grade IV is for riders who are impaired in one or two limbs or have some visual impairment.

Shoemaker travels back and forth between her home in Phoenix, AZ, where she is an equine veterinarian, and Wellington to train. “He’s my heart horse, so just every day having the opportunity to ride him and to have that partnership is special. He’s a horse that when I got him I was told that I was never going to be able to ride him and that he would never be successful in Para,” said Shoemaker about Solitaer 40. “So to come this far with him – we’re now starting our fifth season together – I feel like it’s all about the partnership. He gives me so much that it’s just unbelievable.

“His elasticity is definitely his strength, and it was something that the judges noted this weekend that they really appreciated in him. Now we’re really starting to bring together a little bit more power and more balance in the arena, which is what’s been the big change,” added Shoemaker about her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Sandro Hit. “As much improvement as he’s had, he still gives me those moments where there’s the next step up that we’re working on. It’s really an exciting journey that we are on right now.”

Shoemaker said of her choreography, “Last summer I got together with Tom Hunt, and asked him if he would be willing to do a freestyle for me. I was ecstatic when he said yes. He actually custom composed the music to fit to ‘Solly’ and the choreography that we put together.”

Alanna Flax-Clark (USA) won the FEI Para Freestyle Grade II – CPEDI 3* with a score of 68.222%. Flax-Clark rode her horse El Paso, a 15-year-old Dutch Riding Pony gelding by Elegant.

Roxanne Trunnell (USA) ended the day with a win in the FEI Para Freestyle Grade I – CPEDI 3* with a score of 77.889%. Trunnell rode Dolton, a seven-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Danone I and owned by Kate Shoemaker.

For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton Kick Off CPEDI 3* Competition with Win at AGDF

Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton. ©SusanStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 18, 2019 – The second week of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) features CPEDI 1*/2*/3* Para Dressage, presented by Adequan®, Mission Control, Nutrena, and Fair Sky Farm.

Roxanne Trunnell (USA) started the day with a win in the FEI Para Team Test Grade I – CPEDI 3*, with a score of 73.690%. Trunnell rode Dolton, a seven-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Danone I and owned by Kate Shoemaker. Grade I is for riders with the most severe impairments.

Trunnell is from Kennewick, WA and moved to Florida to train with Andrea Woodard. About her relationship with Dolton, Trunnell said, “It’s getting stronger. What I really love about him is how friendly he is. He is a young horse, but on the ground he acts really cute. I love how calm he is under saddle. I’m used to riding spooky horses and he never spooks with me.

“The stretch circle – we’ve really be working on getting in the stretch,” said Trunnell of her test goals. “I want to get him up in the bridle a bit more and I’m hoping to do Tokyo [Olympics] with him. That would be exciting.”

Fellow USA rider Rebecca Hart won the FEI Para Team Test Grade III – CPEDI 3* with a score of 72.794%. Hart rode El Corona Texel, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding by Wynton and owned by Rowan O’Riley.

In the FEI Para Team Test Grade II – CPEDI 3*, Alanna Flax Clark (USA) won with a score of 64.899%. Clark rode her horse El Paso, a 15-year-old Dutch Riding gelding by Elegant.

To end the day, Kate Shoemaker (USA) won the FEI Para Team Test Grade IV – CPEDI 3* with a score of 74.208% (corrected score). Shoemaker rode her horse Solitaer 40, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Sandro Hit.

For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

US Equestrian Is Excited to Launch Para-Equestrian Dressage Coach Certificate Program

Michel Assouline working with Para-Dressage athlete and Coach.

Lexington, KY – January 16, 2019 – US Equestrian is excited to launch the Para-Equestrian Dressage Coach Certificate Program, a first of its kind for the industry. This certificate program covers the principles of para-dressage coaching including guided improvement process, coaching philosophy, and sport-specific skill acquisition.  It develops a coach’s ability to prepare athletes from grassroots education to international competitions, along a continuum of progressive certificate levels. With the goal of coach development, the program uses classroom lecture time as well as simulated lessons, where coaches are given information and feedback on their teaching, knowledge, and overall performance.  The certificate program will take 3-6 months to complete, with a fast-track program offered, and involves onsite practicums, self-study, online exams, and final assessments.

Michel Assouline, USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Technical Advisor and Head of Coach Development, is responsible for spearheading this initiative, bringing a decade of curriculum development and Paralympic coaching experience to bear. Michel will be joined by other USEF-approved faculty to approve applications, deliver on-site practicums, and perform final assessments. The 2019 dates for the Para-Dressage Coach Certificate Program are listed below. The link to the full information booklet showing the application process and certification levels can be found here:  https://www.usef.org/compete/disciplines/para-equestrian/para-equestrian-dressage-programs-forms/usef-para-dressage-coach-certificate-program.

US Equestrian would like to thank the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for providing the Federal Adaptive Sport Grant which has helped to make this coach certificate program possible. This initiative has been conducted in partnership with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship with a goal of increasing awareness and coach education opportunities within Paralympic Equestrian Sports and to aid in the development of a USEF Coach database to support the competition pipeline for para-eligible athletes.

2019 Dates: Para-Dressage Coach Certificate Program

Program Launch Announcement: January 11, 2019, USEF Annual Meeting, Wellington, FL

Fast Track Program: (candidates choose one if they are eligible)
*    Option 1: March 3-4; Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center, Loxahatchee, FL
*    Option 2: September 7-8; Tryon International Equestrian Center, Mill Spring, NC

Formal Program: (candidates attend both)
*    Onsite Practicum 1, May 15-16; Tryon International Equestrian Center, Mill Spring, NC
*    Final Practicum & Assessment, Sept 9-10; Tryon International Equestrian Center, Mill Spring, NC

For more information on dates and eligibility, please contact Laureen Johnson, Director of Para-Equestrian, at USEF, 859-225-7693, lkjohnson@usef.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.

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.