Category Archives: Western/Reining

Deaf Horse Dazzles at Western Dressage World Show

With his pure white coat with just a black “sun visor” for a marking, Smokin White Gun, known as “Danny,” has become one of the best-recognized horses at the Western Dressage World Show.

But Danny is unique for another reason: He is deaf.

Deafness can be associated with lack of skin pigmentation, says his rider, Joanne Haughan from Pennsylvania. Joanne, who is a veterinarian, explains that the cells governing a horse’s pigment and its hearing have a similar origin in the embryo and genes responsible for skin pigmentation are associated with deafness in some Paint horses.

Working with a deaf horse does pose some unusual challenges, Joanne says. “He doesn’t spook at things ordinary horses spook at,” she says. At their farm, while the other horses will flee from the lawnmower, Danny will follow it around, hoping for treats.

But he will spook at things that suddenly appear in his field of vision. He hasn’t heard them coming, so they startle him. Joanne says she has learned to be his ears, listening for anything she can hear coming that’s likely to bother him, recognizing when it’s likely to appear for him and then distracting him or keeping him turned away from it.

Where he lives at Bally Vae Farm, near Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, his handlers have all learned that he may have issues with things over his head, or with sudden contrasts between light and dark.

“It has been a learning curve for both of us,” Joanne says.

But for all that, she wouldn’t trade him for the world.

He started life as a reining horse and came to a barn where Joanne was learning reining. Having been born in England and grown up in Austria, she’d ridden a number of horses there, but as soon as she met Danny, she knew he was special.

That was three years ago.

“The minute I sat on him, I thought, ‘This is the horse for me’,” she said. She rode him for about two weeks, under the tutelage of her trainer, Lauren Annett, then bought him.

She started riding him as a reining horse, but after a while, “I think both of us were getting a little bit burned out with that.”

Joanne in particular was having a particularly hectic year. She was working full time, trying to finish work for her Ph.D. in veterinary medicine (her subject of study is analysis of the relationship between osteoarthritis and periodontal disease in horses), working full time, and trying to ride and show, as well.

She ended up moving Danny to Bally Vae Farm, which is much closer to her home, and gradually switched to Western Dressage.

“It has really done him a world of good,” she says, noting how much his gaits have improved. “But I think he chose it more than I did.” He made it clear that this was work he liked, and “he does have a great work ethic.”

But still, she laughs, “I think his dream job would be to be in a petting zoo… he’d love to stand around being petted all day and being given treats.”

By Barb McLintock
Western Dressage Association of America

© 2018 US Equestrian Federation

Fonck and What A Wave Conquer Scoreboard and Gold Medal in Individual Reining

Bernard Fonck and What A Wave (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Reining competition closed the week at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 with great performances and big scores as some of the world’s best riders battled it out for the FEI medals at the Johnson Controls Individual Reining Competition finals. When the curtain fell upon the TIEC Indoor Arena, the dream team made up of Bernard Fonck (BEL) and What A Wave once again made history by claiming the gold medal for Belgium with a perfect execution of pattern #12.

The Belgian rider has won close to $1,800,000 in reining competition and his mount, an 11-year-old American Quarter Horse stallion owned by Gina De Pauw and Steve Vannietvelt, who has left his mark in many an international arena with Fonck in the saddle, scored a 227 for the win claiming the highest step of the podium. “This is the first time in history that a European rider leaves the World Equestrian Games with the individual gold medal and I could not be any prouder,” said Fonck. “What A Wave is the sweetest horse I have ever had the pleasure of riding. I am very fortunate to have had more than one ‘once in a lifetime’ horse, and he is at the top of this list. Every time we show, he gives me all he has and every time it gets better and better. When I came here I knew that we could probably make it to the top five positions, but I would have never imagined that we would claim the gold.”

Team USA’s Dan Huss and his double-registered American Quarter Horse and American Paint Horse mare Ms Dreamy, owned by Frederick Christen, set the crowd on fire as they burst into the arena setting the dirt flying and spinning fast to mark a 226.5. The duo clinched the silver medal and they too made history: The talented 8-year-old horse is the first mare to earn an individual medal in reining at the FEI World Equestrian Games™.

“Mares are a little more sensitive, so you have to be very good as far as technique and horsemanship are concerned,” said the 58-year-old professional. “They are not so forgiving but, if you understand them, your better mares will step up and compete with the boys. [Ms Dreamy has] probably taught me more than I’ve taught her, and it’s been a great experience.”

A run off determined who would take home the bronze medal as both Cade McCutcheon (USA), riding Custom Made Gun, and Joao Felipe Lacerda (BRA) aboard Gunner Dun It Again scored a 225 during the finals. They returned to the arena to battle it out and both horse-rider combinations once again thrilled the crowd.

Lacerda and Gunner Dun It Again, a 7-year-old American Quarter Horse stallion owned by Paulo Francisco Tripoloni, laid down a powerful performance paid back by the judges with their highest score of the Games: a 227. “I am so proud of my mount,” he said. “He has a heart as big as this arena and is one of the most powerful horses I’ve ever ridden. He was great for me from day one and I am truly blessed to have had this opportunity.”

Fighting until the bitter end was 18-year-old Cade McCutcheon aboard Custom Made Gun, the flashy 7-year-old double registered AQHA/APHA palomino stallion owned by his grandparents, Tim and Colleen McQuay. Having topped the first individual qualifier with an outstanding 229 score, the pair was last to go in the seeded Individual finals. Once it was time to ride back into the arena, they performed to a 228 score and firmly captured the bronze medal.

“I was a little disappointed with myself after my first ride so I let him catch his breath and, when we went back in, I tried to perform a cleaner run,” said the young rider. “He was incredibly good for me and I am thrilled to have represented my country and to have won the team gold and individual bronze medals. I could not have done this without my team, my coach and my family and I still cannot believe that I made it to the podium. It will take a while before it sinks in!”

Amazingly enough, both Gunner Dun It Again and Custom Made Gun were both bred by McCutcheon’s grandparents and they are both by the legendary stallion Gunner (AQHA Colonels Shining Gun) and out of two mares by yet another stallion that has made history, Hollywood Dun It. Both stallions are owned by the McQuays.

Reining competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 will go down in the history books as the event that showcased some of the world’s most talented reining horses guided by the some of the world’s elite western horsemen.

Click here for full results.

By Simona Diale

Media contact:

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

Remarkable Day of Sport at the FEI World Equestrian Games

Reining Reigns Supreme as the Johnson Controls Individual Reining Competition Finalists Are Determined

The Johnson Controls Reining Team Competition and first Individual Qualifier at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 offered an amazingly high level of competition. The athletic ability of the great reining horses competing was superbly highlighted by riders representing 20 National Federations. Team USA clinched the gold, led by the talented 18-year-old Cade McCutcheon who posted a 229-top score on Custom Made Gun. It was silver for Team Belgium and bronze for Germany. In the first Individual Qualifier, the top 15 placed horse-rider combinations officially claimed their spot in the finals which will be held on Saturday, September 15. Once the competition was over, an impressive 221 score, or higher, was needed to qualify.

Julia Krajewski Shines in the Sun as Eventers Wow the Crowds

German Eventer Julia Krajewski treated the sun-drenched spectators to one of the great dressage rides of all time as she finished a thrilling first day 7.2 points clear of the field.

The German and her mount Chipmunk FRH have been in scintillating form in the dressage arena this season and the duo lived up to their billing as one of the favourites for gold with a mark of 19.90 – the third best dressage score ever recorded at a WEG.

Home hero Boyd Martin fed off the packed stands to saunter his way to second place, with a score of 27.10, while Great Britain’s Piggy French lies third, just 0.70 points behind.

Watch live on FEI TV.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Germany Wins Team Gold in Helgstrand Dressage Competition

Isabell Werth and Bella Rose. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

Tryon, NC USA – September 13, 2018 – It was anything less than routine when Germany took the Team Gold medal, adding number 12 to their collection in Helgstrand Dressage competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 on Thursday, September 13 in U.S. Trust Arena. Team veteran Isabell Werth’s tears ran freely after her stellar performance with Bella Rose, which brought the team score up to 242.950 points to secure their stance at the top of the podium.

Sönke Rothenberger (23) and Cosmo, both at their first WEG, had added 81.444 to the scores of Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Dorothee Schneider. Those two had set the foundation for the Gold medal on Wednesday during the FEI Grand Prix competition.

Team USA finished second on 233.136 points, securing their second WEG Team Silver thanks to a top performance from Laura Graves and Verdades. The pair rode in last and turned in 81.630 points, the second best result of the competition.

“I was a bit under the weather today, but it is amazing what adrenaline can do. There was a lot of pressure on me today,” Graves said.

Great Britain secured bronze on 229.628 keeping the Swedish team at bay by just 0.172 points. Defending champion Charlotte Dujardin and veteran Carl Hester both had brought two very young horses and Dujardin’s nine-year-old Mount St John Freestyle seems set to fill in the big hoof prints left by golden horse Valegro, coming fifth individually in the mare’s sixth’s FEI Grand Prix appearance.

“For the last six or seven years I think that people thought that British Dressage was just Valegro and that was it.

“I think this has proven that we do still have depth in British Dressage, which was the main point of coming here,” Carl Hester said.

Dressage queen Isabell Werth, at her seventh WEG, changed between crying and beaming even long after the last halt in front of the judges had earned her the top score of 84.829.

“This was my answer to all those who did not understand how I could leave the world’s number one horse at home for this one. Most horse people here know how close I am to Bella and to bring her back after the long recovery after WEG 2014 is extra special. We always knew it could be a risk, but it is like that with every horse.”

German Eventing Star Julia Krajewski Sets Scorching Pace in Tryon Sunshine

Germany’s Julia Krajewski produced a staggering performance in the North Carolina sunshine as Mars, Inc. Eventing began at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 Tryon on Thursday.

Krajewski, a renowned superstar performer in the dressage phase with Chipmunk FRH, did not disappoint the electric atmosphere in Tryon Stadium that lapped up every moment of what at times looked like an exhibition performance.

The rider herself admitted she was close to tears, such was the horse’s brilliance in scoring just 19.9 penalties, as defending champions Germany made an immediate statement of intent in their quest to capture the Mars, Inc. Eventing crown.

There were some strong dressage displays on day one of the competition, with the likes of USA’s Boyd Martin, Great Britain’s Piggy French, Australian Christopher Burton and France’s Donatien Schuly all posting sub-30 scores.

But, the German was in a different league, and she said, “Maybe something really good was going to happen today and he felt awesome during the test.

“He has done good dressage tests before, but to produce it in such an atmosphere on this day, the people went crazy.

“It is not a personal best – he has had scores of 19 something before – but it is not just push a button and get 19. With a horse like him that can really do it, it is all about the detail.

“I am so proud. I had to stop the tears when I finished the test. It is an amazing feeling.”

Boyd Martin rose to the challenge impressively on home soil with Tsetserleg to post a 27.1 score and lie second overnight, just ahead of Piggy French and Quarrycrest Echo on 27.8.

“I am very happy with him,” he said of the 11-year-old gelding. “It is only the second time he has done that test. He’s a good boy and just gets in there and does it.”

French led the British challenge on day one as they bid to reclaim a title won impressively in Kentucky eight years ago.

“He is a really cool horse,” French said. “He’s still not the most experienced and there is still more to come from him, but he has got an amazing brain and so you can be quite brave. I always give it a good go.”

Eventing icons Blyth Tait and Andrew Hoy, meanwhile, showed they had lost none of their world-class quality by holding top 10 placings overnight after New Zealander Tait – twice an Eventing World Champion – and Australian Hoy, a three-time Olympic Gold medalist, shone on Dassett Courage and Vassily de Lassos, respectively.

“I was thrilled to bits with him, to be honest,” Tait said. “My team mates told me to be brave, but when you are going out first for the team you want to post a solid score, and he did that.”

And Hoy added, “He (Vassily de Lassos) could not have done one step better. He is not the finished product, he is a long way from it, but his test was a personal best. I jokingly said on Wednesday night that I was going to ride for a sub-30 score!”

Final Qualifying Places Filled in Race for Individual Johnson Controls Reining Medals

The full picture is now complete for the Johnson Controls Reining Individual Final at FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 Tryon.

Thursday’s second Individual Qualifier saw six remaining places to be filled, joining the other athletes who had progressed from the first qualifier.

It was Austria’s Martin Muhlstatter, riding Blo Gun, that took the top spot with a score of 223 points and was followed by Italy’s Pierluigi Chioldo and Gun at the Gate, with French challenger Axel Pesek also progressing on Uncle Sparky.

“She’s an amazing mare,” said Pierluigi, of his horse. “She was in the pasture, but she started being ridden again for WEG. She’s ten and she’s great.”

The three other spots were taken by two more Italian riders – Mirko Midili on Arc Sparkle Magnetic and Mirjam Stillo with Ruff Spook – plus Uruguay’s Brigido Gabriel Diano Riccetto, riding Magnum Starlights.

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

McCutcheon Steals the Show as United States Retains Reining Team Title

Cade McCutcheon and Custom Made Gun. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

Tryon, NC USA – September 12, 2018 – The United States underlined their domination of Johnson Controls Reining competition by taking Team Gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 on Wednesday, September 12. The American team, led by the brilliant 18-year-old Cade McCutcheon on his grandfather’s horse, Custom Made Gun, claimed a comprehensive victory from Belgium in second and third-placed Germany. It was Team USA’s third successive FEI World Equestrian Games™ Gold medal triumph as they claimed the Johnson Controls Reining crown on a team score of 681 points.

Belgium, meanwhile, completed a hat trick of silver medals, while Germany’s bronze was a Reining first for them at WEG.

For Cade, who was joined in the team by Casey Deary, Daniel L Huss and Jordan Larson, it continued the family’s remarkable connection to WEG success, given that his father won Individual Gold in 2010 and his mother Mandy claimed silver four years ago.

“I was real nervous, but all the guys really helped me and that made a huge difference,” Cade said. “My grandfather owns my horse and he’s trained it as well. He is a pretty good owner to work for.”

And Deary added, “Cade did an amazing job. He showed all that he had and we are all extremely proud of the job he did.”

Reflecting on another second-placed finish, Belgium’s Bernard Fonck said, “I think everybody did everything that they could do with their horses and although it was a strong competition, I think Belgium was also pretty strong.”

With the crowd adding to a memorable atmosphere by getting fully involved in the action, there was also plenty for Germany to celebrate as they completed the podium places.

“This is the fifth WEG I have been a competitor at,” said Grischa Ludwig. “All the other competitions we’ve always been fourth and fifth, we’ve been beaten so many times by a half point and one point and now we’ve beaten the others (Austria) by a half point, which makes this feel even sweeter.”

“I did not think that it takes five FEI World Equestrian Games to get a medal! But, in the end, we really deserve it. This team really deserved it. We’ve been consistent. We had no low score and we were really fighting for the medal.”

Endurance Competition Canceled

Competition for the discipline of Endurance at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 Tryon was cancelled on Wednesday.

Equestrian sport’s governing body, Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), said in a statement that the decision was made “due to a potentially dangerously high combination of heat and humidity, and the conditions out on the trail following heavy rain this afternoon.”

“The decision to cancel, which is in accordance with FEI General Regulations, Article 109.12 was unanimous between the President of the Ground Jury, Technical Delegate and President of the Veterinary Commission, and the Organizing Committee.”

Earlier in the day, the event was reduced from its original 100-mile (160 kilometers) distance to 74 miles (120 kilometers) – and from five course loops to four – after it was announced that some teams had been “unfortunately misdirected” at the 6:30 am EST start.

The competition was stopped at the first Vet Gate inspection and each horse underwent a vet check before the race could restart. No substitution of horses was allowed.

A restart took place 45 minutes after the last horse was inspected and a statement released on behalf of the FEI read: “As there is no possibility to reschedule the ride tomorrow, the President of the Ground Jury, the President of the Veterinary Commission, Foreign Veterinary Delegate and the Organizing Committee agreed that this was the only pragmatic solution.”

The FEI said the cancellation decision “was also in line with the FEI Code of Conduct for the Welfare of the Horse, which states ‘extreme weather – competitions must not take place in extreme weather conditions that may compromise welfare or safety of the horse’.”

President of the Veterinary Commission, Thomas Timmons, said: “This was a difficult decision to make, but it was done with horse and athlete welfare in mind as the conditions this afternoon after the rain resulted in extremely high levels of humidity and combined with rising heat, it was deemed unsafe to continue the ride.”

British scientist Dr. David Marlin, who has been working on heat and humidity studies for the FEI for more than 20 years, provided the Ground Jury with data from the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) index which showed a reading of 31. Anything over 25 is monitored very closely, and the officials agreed unanimously that 31 presented an unacceptable risk to horse welfare for the sport of Endurance.

The decision was backed by Netherlands Chef d’Equipe Pieter Wiersinga, who said: “The race was stopped, and I was asked as the Chef d’Equipe if I was okay with the decision.

“I spoke to my veterinary (team) and asked them what they thought. They said that in terms of it [race] continuing that for horse welfare it might be a problem and then I told them I was okay with that. It was the right decision. For horse welfare, yes, always,” he concluded.

In an update, meanwhile, on events in the morning, the FEI said: “Following this morning’s false start, the FEI has tasked the independent Equestrian Community Integrity Unit (ECIU), which is onsite here at Tryon, to do a full investigation into the circumstances that resulted in some horse/athlete combinations being misdirected.

“The investigation will include interviews with the officials, volunteers, Organizing Committee and all other relevant personnel to provide a full picture of what happened.

“The findings will be presented to the FEI Bureau and the conclusions will then be made.”

Germany Marking the Territory for Team Gold in Helgstrand Dressage

Team Germany is reaching out for the next medal in their collection by building up a strong lead in the Helgstrand Dressage discipline at FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018. After two riders out on the first day of competition at Tryon International Equestrian Center, the current champions sit on 76.677%, aiming to complete their medal dozen. Jessica von Bredow-Werndl leads the individual ranking and Dorothee Schneider currently sits in third place with a 75.062%.

Sweden came out as the day’s surprise when veteran Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Juliette Ramel both turned in top performances for ranking their team second on 75.248%. Ramel squeezed in between the favorites on silver position individually, presenting her gelding Buriel K.H. in a much improved way. “Most of that is my trainer’s doing. Patrik Kittel gives me a lot of confidence and he believes in us. That makes me stronger,” Ramel explained.

Adrienne Lyle and Steffen Peters brought the U.S. team to third position. Lyle’s score of 74.581 % has her and stallion Salvino sit fourth individually. “I was really pleased with him, especially considering we warmed up in a downpour and then it’s blazing hot the next second. Fitness is a big factor – he’s a big dark horse and I’ve done my best to get him fit, and I’m glad that I did, because it took every ounce of fitness today,” Lyle beamed.

It was rain and shine at the opening of the Helgstrand Dressage competition, not only because of changing weather. Isabel Cool from Belgium had to retire when her stallion Aranco V quit following her aids, leaving her team without a scratch result.

But, for Australian Alexis Hellyer, day one of the competition already felt like an unexpectedly happy end. The first-timer at WEG had to present her horse Bluefields Floreno for re-inspection only in the morning of the competition and was relieved to find that the stallion was considered fit to compete. “His infection in the foot got better at the last minute. If I am called into the team ever again, I hope it is a little smoother,” she said, placing 23rd in Wednesday’s ranking.

Will the Price Be Right for New Zealand Eventing Couple?

Husband and wife dream team Tim and Jonelle Price will turn their attention to possible world domination of Eventing at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG).

The New Zealand riders have enjoyed a stellar season, with Jonelle claiming her first Badminton Horse Trials title in May before Tim landed the United Kingdom’s other major four-star event – the Burghley Horse Trials – in early September.

Now they are part of a New Zealand team that also features double Olympic champion Mark Todd and twice World individual gold medalist Blyth Tait, as they chase a third WEG crown in the Mars, Inc. Eventing.

“It is obviously a different situation here than Burghley,” Tim Price said. “But it was only a couple of weeks ago of being out there with a bit of pressure, and I will keep reminding myself of Burghley.

“But this is very much a team effort, and it is not going to be about one single individual performance.”

Lining up alongside them, though, are a host of teams and riders with serious gold medal aspirations in both the team and individual competitions.

Defending world champions Germany might be without the genial reigning Olympic champion Michael Jung, but it says everything about their remarkable strength that the team still features current world champion Sandra Auffarth and 2017 European Individual Gold medal winner Ingrid Klimke, who was part of German World Equestrian Games-winning teams in 2006 and 2014.

“I am really happy to be here with my horse,” Klimke said. “We are ready for the next adventure. We have a wonderful venue and I am very proud to be here and be a part of it all.”

Great Britain, world title winners in 1994 and 2010, might have seen a major selection surprise with current world number one Oliver Townend not making their team, but few can doubt claims to a podium finish, given the presence of multiple major championship medalist Tina Cook, world number three Ros Canter and 2011 Olympic Test event winner Piggy French.

And the quality is further emphasized by France fielding two members of their Rio 2016 gold medal-winning team in Thibaut Vallette and Astier Nicolas, the United States being led by Rio individual Bronze medalist Phillip Dutton and Australia featuring Andrew Hoy, a three-time Olympic team gold medal winner.

Considerable interest, too, will surround a Japanese team led by the highly experienced and reigning Asian Games champion Yoshiaki Oiwa two years out from the Tokyo Olympics.

A total of 83 combinations from 23 countries were presented at Wednesday’s first horse inspection in front of judges Anne-Mette Binder (Denmark), Jane Hamlin (USA) and Andrew Bennie (New Zealand), with all being accepted.

Belgium’s Joris Vanspringel with Imperial van de Holtakkers was held, but then passed on re-inspection, along with the Netherlands’ Merel Blom and Rumour Has It N.O.P, but they also passed after being held.

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

Stars from across the Globe Fly the Flag at World Equestrian Games Opening Ceremony

Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

Tryon, NC USA – September 11, 2018 – The FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 were officially opened with a stylish two-hour ceremony at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.

Some of equestrian sport’s most famous names took a central role for their countries during the traditional parade of flags that highlighted proceedings at a packed Tryon Stadium before a crowd of athletes, grooms, National Federation staff, and spectators. Rising country musician Joe Lasher opened for Grammy-nominated artist Hunter Hayes, while athlete representatives were welcomed into Tryon Stadium to officially commence the start of competition.

Carrying the American flag was dressage sensation Laura Graves, who said, “Tonight is really special for me. It is September 11, so getting the chance to raise this flag was very emotional.

“I am looking forward to a really great next few days of competition. It is going to be exciting for us in Dressage and it looks like all the horses have a terrific venue and great facilities. We are ready to get going,” she continued.

Triple Olympic Team Eventing Gold medalist Andrew Hoy had the honor for Australia and he said, “Last time I rode in a World Eventing Championship in America it was in 1978, so it is absolutely wonderful to be back.

“It is a great honor to be a flag-bearer for my country. I’m looking forward to getting out there and the competition starting.”

Dressage rider Julio Mendoza, who represents Ecuador, but lives relatively locally to the venue, added, “I’m really excited to be here in Tryon. This is my first FEI World Equestrian Games and I am beyond happy to be here representing my country and to have such a great opportunity. To be in the same ring with such amazing athletes and great horses is so exciting and I can’t wait for the competition to get started,” he concluded.

Eventing icon Ingrid Klimke (GER), a winner of numerous major championship medals, did the honors for Germany and she commented, “I am really happy to be here with my horse. We are ready for the next adventure. We have a wonderful venue and I am very proud to be here and be a part of it all.”

China’s Alex Hua Tian is also set to be among the field when Eventing gets under way on Thursday.

“I am here in the U.S. for the first time ever, competing in my second FEI World Equestrian Games. It’s the largest equestrian festival in the world, so to fly the flag for China for the first time ever in Eventing is a wonderful thing.”

Meydan Endurance Set to Launch Competition

Meydan Endurance will have the honor of launching the eighth FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) on Wednesday, September 12. Eight different equestrian disciplines governed by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) will be showcased throughout the duration of the two-week event, which will conclude on Sunday, September 23.

The discipline of Endurance takes center stage from before sunrise, beginning at 6:30 a.m. EST, when competitors tackle a course of 100 miles (160 kilometers) that will traverse through the states of both North and South Carolina.

More than 100 athletes from 40 countries will head into the countryside with the winner expected to return home and across the finish line later in the evening.

The long-distance competition, viewed as the ultimate test of the partnership between horse and rider, is against the clock and tests speed and stamina of both horse and rider, challenging each combination to ensure an effective use of pace and navigational skills of undulating terrains. Mandatory veterinary inspections are required following each course loop, where horses are cooled, their heart rates monitored, and jogged for soundness in order to further continue. Rest periods are also a key aspect of the competition, ensuring horse and rider welfare throughout the 100-mile test.

The Tryon 2018 track will feature the region’s natural and spectacular terrain, starting and finishing on the main TIEC property.

The horse inspection took place on Tuesday afternoon, with a bumper nominated entry list being highlighted by defending champion HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum from the UAE, who won the world title in Normandy four years ago.

A strong finish is also expected of Spain’s Jaume Punti Dachs, who starred when his country won 2010 Team Endurance Gold and is aiming for a top finish in this year’s competition.

Host Nation Aiming to Rein In Their Rivals

It should come as no surprise whatsoever that the United States remains Johnson Controls Reining’s dominant force.  Other countries have barely had a look-in since the WEG first welcomed the discipline of Reining during the early 1990s. The United States has won a remarkable seven titles, with only Canada breaking that sequence 12 years ago.

Reining originates from the working movements of horses and riders when herding cattle and is a judged event designed to show the athletic ability of ranch-type horses in an arena setting.

With large fast circles, flying lead changes, 360-degree spins and sliding stops all required within individual performances, Reining is a truly thrilling spectacle. It is also the only western discipline showcased at WEG.

There is also considerable crowd involvement, with the audience clapping and cheering loudly at every turn as competitors go through their paces. Team USA newcomer Cade McCutcheon, a first time WEG competitor, comes from a long lineage of top Reining competitors, and will take center stage at the international event.

Dark Horses Face Each Other in First Day of Helgstrand Dressage Competition

Dressage is predictable, people say, but it won’t be at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018.

Horses from 31 countries were declared fit to compete on Tuesday following their jog inspection. Discipline competition opens with the Grand Prix over two days and deciding the medals for teams, to be handed out on Thursday. The top 30 move on to the Grand Prix Special on Friday with the top 15 showing their Grand Prix Freestyle to music on “Super Sunday” on September 16, concluding the first week of WEG.

Isabell Werth from Germany might add more gold to the already incredible seven WEG medals she already holds. Werth stunned insiders by her decision not to bring her top horse Weihegold OLD, instead opting to bring her favorite mount, Bella Rose, who has recently returned from a long-term illness.

One of Werth’s strongest contenders will be one of her own teammates. The scores for Sönke Rothenberger and Cosmo have been rising since they were members of the winning 2017 European Championship team for Germany.

The United States’ has hopes set on Laura Graves and her ride Verdades, breathing down the current necks of both Werth and Rothenberger since the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where they finished fourth, followed by a second-place finish at the FEI World Cup™ Finals in early 2018.

Adding to this roster of elite riders, the defending champion from the WEG in Normandy, France, as Charlotte Dujardin and her new partner, Mount St John Freestyle will represent Great Britain. The mare is only nine and the “dark horse” of the competition. “I’m not sure what to expect, but she’s felt brilliant this far and taken everything on board, so we’ll see what the next few days bring,” Dujardin said confidently.

Team Germany won their 11th World Championship Gold medal in Normandy 2014 and brings a strong squad to Tryon, to complete the dozen. Fourteen other teams will attempt to prevent that, with the USA, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden set to be the most optimistic for a medal.

For more information on the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, please visit www.Tryon2018.com.

“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

Some Tips on Getting Your Horse to Roll Back Perfectly

Practice makes the perfect rollback. Journal photo.

The rollback consists of three separate maneuvers – a stop, a 180-degree turn and a lead departure. The rollback should be one continuous, fluid motion. However, this is easier said than done. National Reining Horse Association $3 million-dollar rider Craig Schmersal describes some of the techniques he uses at home to ensure precise rollbacks.

Getting Started

1. The first thing you need on a horse before teaching the rollback is suppleness. He must be willing to give his face. Using two hands, if I pull his head to the right, I only want him to move his head. I do not want his body to move to the right until I add the left neck rein.

2. The horse needs to know how to yield to leg pressure.

3. The horse has to know how to back up. When I take hold of him and back him up, I don’t want to be pulling him back. I want him to back up on a fairly loose rein.

I want the horse to almost lock in the reverse position in the backup. I then apply the outside rein to see if the horse will step into a turn by himself. If he doesn’t, then I’ll take my direct rein and pull him through a time or two into a good spin and a half or two spins.

I’ll stop, back up and ask him with the neck rein again. I don’t want to crowd my horse too much, especially in the beginning steps of learning the rollback.

I just want him to back up, and when I add the neck rein, to come to me. I don’t want him to pick up his head. I don’t want him to take three more steps backward as soon as he feels the neck rein. When I move my hand, if I’ve done my job properly, the horse goes. He won’t get stuck.

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104

IHSA Members to Compete for 2018 NRHA Collegiate Reining Championship at NRHA Derby

Danielle Paulson and Juice owned by Andrew Wolf. Photo by alcookphoto.com.

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – June 26, 2018 – The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby is an annual one-week event held in Oklahoma City, June 23 – July 1. The competition showcases the world’s best reining horses and riders and attracts thousands of spectators each year. One of the highlights of the Derby is the Collegiate Reining Championship scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, June 29, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, featuring the top college riders from North America.

This year, four standout Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) riders are slated to compete in the Collegiate Reining Championship. The riders include Morgan Knerr, Danielle Paulson, Kendall Woellmer and Travis Fortune. The draw takes place Thursday at 1 p.m. The warm-up starts Friday at 1 p.m. with the class kicking off at 1:30 p.m.

Morgan Knerr is the IHSA 2018 NRHA Individual Open Reining champion and is a freshman at the University of Findlay studying pharmacy. From Plain City, Ohio, her parents are actively involved in reining and she has grown up in the sport. Before joining the University of Findlay, Knerr rode at Autumn Rose with Ollie and Debbie Griffiths. She has held multiple positions as an NRHyA officer, including president in 2017, vice president in 2016 and secretary in 2015.

“Showing in the Collegiate catch ride is a great opportunity,” Knerr said. “I’m really excited because it will be a completely different experience. I’m really looking forward to it!”

Danielle Paulson is from Rochester, Minnesota and is a junior at the University of Wisconsin River Falls. She qualified for IHSA Nationals for the first time this year and earned the 2018 IHSA Nationals AQHA Team Reining Open Reining championship and was third in 2018 NRHA Individual Open Reining. Paulson has shown American Quarter Horses for 10 years, this is her first year competing in reining. She credits her coach, Janie Huot, for giving her a leg up in the sport.

“I am so excited; it’s such a blessing to compete at this huge event,” Paulson said. “(Competing in) IHSA is the only time I’ve reined in my life. I hope to ride my best on some amazing horses that they’re providing for us.”

Travis Fortune is from Booneville, Indiana and studies at Murray State University. Fortune finished second in the NRHA Open Reining at Western Semi-Finals and fourth the 2018 IHSA Nationals.

“I am really excited about competing at the Derby,” said Fortune. “For me, it’s the fact that I made it there. The first horse show that I reined at was in October for IHSA. To go to Nationals and be fourth and qualify for the Derby for the Collegiate Championship is just really awesome.”

Kendall Woellmer is a sophomore from Sedona, Arizona and attends West Texas A&M University where she is majoring in agriculture communications and minoring in English. The talented rider competes in both Western and hunter seat. Woellmer earned the 2018 IHSA Sportsmanship Award and the 2018 IHSA Versatility Rider Award at the IHSA Nationals. Along with top placings in the hunter seat divisions, Woellmer finished third in the AQHA High Point Western Rider fifth in NRHA Individual Open Reining.

“I am very honored to compete against some of the best collegiate riders in the nation,” Woellmer said.

For more information on this year’s Derby, visit www.nrhaderby.com.

For more information, go to IHSAinc.com or contact media@IHSAinc.com.

Ranching Evolution

A little history and a look at the current offerings in AQHA ranch-horse competition.

No bling. No fancy clothes. Those were the tenets of the first AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse classes that debuted 16 years ago.

Exhibitors were looking for something different from the usual AQHA show classes. So a task force comprised of ranchers, exhibitors, judges and representatives from other ranch horse organizations developed the five-class VRH shows, and at each VRH show, exhibitors competed in ranch riding, ranch trail, ranch cutting, working ranch horse and ranch conformation.

The classes harkened back to a day when an American Quarter Horse would show in halter in the morning and do all of the other classes – cutting, western pleasure, etc. – through the rest of the day. Since then, AQHA has added a hugely popular standalone ranch riding class, as well as AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenges that are open to all AQHA Ranching Heritage-bred horses.

Versatility Ranch Horse

AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse events debuted in 2002. The five-class VRH shows required exhibitors to compete in five classes: ranch riding, ranch trail, ranch cutting, working ranch horse and ranch conformation.

To read more about ranch classes, go to AQHA Daily.

By Becky Newell and Larri Jo Starkey

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104