Category Archives: Championships

USA Claims Gold in Vaulting World Championships at Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

October 10, 2010 – Lexington, KY – If you asked the Team USA vaulters how they were feeling this afternoon, they’d answer with a chorus of screams. They feel that good, because they pulled out a come-from-behind win to earn the team gold medal at the Vaulting World Championships, held as part of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

“We really connected today — we looked each other in the eye,” said team member and coach Devon Maitozo. “Our horse was just beautiful, and we had the love of the audience with us, which helped. We just were in our bodies today.”

Today was a contrast from the previous team freestyle competition on Friday, when two team members fell from their horse, because, said Maitozo, the team horse, Palatine, was spooky in the arena. The U.S. team had led after the compulsory exercises, but then dropped to third place after the fall, behind Germany and Austria.

To prepare for Sunday’s round, Maitozo said, “We made a different plan for the horse and for ourselves. We took a step back from the intensity of the energy before. We really calmed ourselves down, collected ourselves, and the horse had a longer warm-up but a much more calm warm-up.”

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Exell Makes Australian History in Driving World Championships at Alltech FEI WEG

October 10, 2010 – Lexington, KY – Boyd Exell accomplished something today that no other Australian has ever done at a previous Driving World Championships — he won the individual gold medal, at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

With one ball down in the obstacles phase, held in front of a packed Driving Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park, Exell (134.04) edged IJsbrand Chardon of the Netherlands (135.24) and Tucker Johnson of the United States (150.06).

Johnson is the second four-in-hand driving medalist in the history of the U.S. team, and he led teammates Chester Weber (who was the first U.S. individual medalist, winning individual silver in 2008) and James Fairclough to the team silver medal (330.92). This is the second team silver medal this trio has won at the World Equestrian Games. (The first was in 2002.)

Chardon, a four-time individual world champion, led the Netherlands to the team gold medal (279.77), the third time they’ve won the team gold medal in the World Equestrian Games. Germany moved up to the bronze medal (322.20) when Tomas Eriksson of Sweden was eliminated for going off course and took his third-placed team with him.

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Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010 Day 16 Para Dressage Championships

On the Para Dressage podium on the final day of the WEG - the medallists from the Freestyle Grade 4 Championship - (left to right) Michele George BEL (silver), (centre) Sophie Wells GBR (gold) and (right) Frank Hosmar NED (bronze).

WELLS’ VICTORY TAKES BRITAIN TO TOP OF THE MEDAL TABLE by Louise Parkes

Lexington, 10 October – Para Dressage rider Sophie Wells claimed Grade 4 Freestyle gold to put Great Britain at the top of the medal table as the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games came to a close at the Horse Park in Kentucky, USA today having attracted a massive attendance of over 500,000 spectators to the 16-day extravaganza. The British Para squad have been in fantastic form, scooping six individuals gold medals along with the team title.  And Wells steered her 13 year old gelding Pinocchio to victory today despite a glitch in her test.

Belgium’s Michele George took silver with FBW Rainman ahead of The Netherlands’ Frank Hosmar and Tiesto in bronze.

STOPPED
Wells’ test began well.  “I was quite happy with my trot but then when I picked up the walk he came against me and my first movement was a compulsory, which was a simple change, and he stopped!” she explained.  Now she had to make a quick decision.  “I knew I had to find somewhere else in my plan where I could put in another simple change, so all the time I was going through my next movements I was trying to think where I could put it in, and I didn’t want to mess up my floor plan because it’s good and they give you marks for that as well – times three,” she explained.

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Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010 Day 16 Four-In-Hand Driving Championship

Boyd Exell (AUS) finally claimed the World Four-in-Hand Driving title he has been craving when winning at the WEG today. Photo: FEI/Rinaldo de Craen

GOLD AT LAST FOR EXELL by Cindy Timmer

Boyd Exell from Australia has been on the hunt for a gold medal in four-in-hand driving for many years and at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky it finally came together for him. After a World Record dressage test and third place in the marathon, Exell drove a safe cones course and won his first individual gold medal. Dutch driver IJsbrand Chardon took the silver; with the bronze going to USA’s Tucker Johnson. The Dutch team won the gold, ahead of the USA and Germany.

Drama-filled day
Today was another drama-filled day in the full Driving Stadium as there were problems with the timing system half-way through the competition. Team drivers Ludwig Weinmayr from Germany and USA’s Chester Weber had to leave the arena while the repairs were done. Weber was the first driver to go after the enforced break and the 35-year-old multiple US Champion showed his professionalism by driving the first double clear round of the day despite the long wait. His compatriot James Fairclough followed him and did the same to secure team silver for the USA.

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Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010 Day 16 Vaulting Championships

The host nation claimed the Team title in the Vaulting Championships at the WEG today. Pictured on the podium are (centre) USA - gold, (left) Germany - silver, and (right) Austria - bronze. Photo: FEI/Kit Houghton.

USA SCOOPS VAULTING TEAM TITLE by Louise Parkes

Lexington, 10 October – The host nation held their nerve and really rose to the occasion today to win the Team title in the Vaulting Championships at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, USA.  On Friday their Freestyle routine fell apart when their horse, Palatine, became anxious in the arena and they had to settle for third place as a result.  But today it all came together beautifully, and to the theme of Romeo and Juliet, with Rosalind Ross and Devon Maitozo playing the lead roles, they rocketed back up the leaderboard to steal gold.

Silver went to Germany while Austria took bronze, and the Swiss team slotted into fourth ahead of France in fifth and Brazil in sixth. A total of 12 nations competed.

CROWD-PULLER
Vaulting has been a major crowd-puller at the Kentucky Horse Park, and the sport looks set to go from strength to strength in the US having received extensive coverage throughout the week in the media.  Maitozo said the benefit of highlighting it through inclusion in the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games has been immeasurable – “This has been an amazing opportunity to put our sport on the map in the US,” he pointed out.

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Le Jeune Rides to Gold in Show Jumping World Championships, Presented by Rolex, at Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

October 9, 2010 – Lexington, KY – After five days of competition, six different courses, and a total of 115 jumps, Belgium’s Philippe Le Jeune took home the gold medal in the Show Jumping World Championships, presented by Rolex, at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.  Aboard all four horses, including with his Vigo D’Arsouilles, Le Jeune was the only rider to finish with 0 faults over tonight’s four rounds.

Abdullah Al Sharbatly of Saudi Arabia took the silver medal with 8 faults this evening, and Canada’s Eric Lamaze took home bronze with 9 faults.  Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa, the 1998 world champion, was a close fourth with 12 faults.

“I had no difficult moments,” said Le Jeune, 50.  “I was very concentrated.  When I sat on every horse, I had decided to go their way and not that they had to go to my way.  I wasn’t going to try to ride like Eric or Rodrigo.  I have my own way of riding, but the other three were blood horses, more blood horses than Vigo.  I had decided to feel how they were going to go, and it paid off.”

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Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010 Day 15 Vaulting Championships

Joanne Eccles, pictured with her father John who is her longeur, took Individual Female gold in the Vaulting Championships at the WEG today. Photo: FEI/Kit Houghton.

ECCLES AND LOOSER TAKE INDIVIDUAL VAULTING TITLES by Louise Parkes

Lexington, 9 October – Great Britain’s Joanne Eccles and Switzerland’s Patric Looser claimed the Female and Male Individual titles in the Vaulting Championship at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, USA today. Eccles earned the second-highest score in today’s Freestyle with her ‘Candle in the Wind’ routine and this clinched the overall Female gold, having led after yesterday’s Technical test.

Frenchman Nicolas Andreani won today’s Male Freestyle, but Looser’s spaceman routine kept him in top spot in the Male contest, while 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games champion Kai Vorberg from Germany had to settle for silver this time around ahead of Andreani in bronze.  Looser was overwhelmed by his victory. “I can’t tell you how I feel,” he said during the emotionally-charged post competition press conference.  “Kai is my training partner and he has made me into what I am – I just tried to relax and to be clear in my Freestyle today, I can hardly believe this, it feels strange,” he added.

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Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010 Day 15 Jumping Championship

Belgium's Philippe Le Jeune was crowned Jumping World Champion following a flawless performance in the Rolex Final Four competition at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, USA tonight.

FLAWLESS LE JEUNE CLAIMS THE JUMPING WORLD CROWN by Louise Parkes

Lexington, 9 October – Belgium’s Philippe Le Jeune won the thrilling Rolex Final Four to claim the Jumping World title at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, USA tonight.  The 50 year old rider was not the favourite going into the competition.  He would have to see off the efforts of the reigning individual Olympic gold medallist Eric Lamaze from Canada, former World and Olympic champion Rodrigo Pessoa from Brazil and the exciting new talent of Abdullah Al Sharbatly from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who, despite his relative inexperience, scooped silver tonight ahead of Lamaze who took bronze.

But in the end the quiet horsemanship skills of a man whose life is totally devoted to his horses won the day.  It has been said that the best thing you can do on a strange horse is as little as possible, and his ability to allow four of the greatest jumpers in the world to do what they do best, with minimal interference, clinched the supreme accolade.  “I had no difficult moments with any of them,” he said afterwards reflecting on the rides on his rival’s mounts – “I decided to go their way and not to try and make them go my way, and it paid off.”

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Eccles and Looser Score Individual Medals in World Vaulting Championships at WEG

October 9, 2010 – Lexington, KY – Joanne Eccles gave Great Britain its first-ever World Equestrian Games medal in vaulting, as she won gold in the female individual division of the Vaulting World Championships, held as part of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Patric Looser of Switzerland bested his friend and teacher, Kai Vorberg of Germany, to win the gold medal in the male individual division.

“I think I’m a little bit stunned,” said Eccles, the 2009 European champion. “I was really pleased with my performance today, but the other girls are so strong, and they all went so well. I think it’s going to take a while for it to sink in.”

Eccles’ composite score over four days of competition was 8.413.

Eccles, 21, has her father, John, as her longeur, and her sister, Hannah, as a coach. Their mother, Jane, also supports the family effort. Eccles vaulted on W.H. Bentley, a 16-year-old French warmblood-Dale pony cross, whom the Eccles family has owned for the past 11 years.

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Exell Stays on Top with Fast Marathon in Driving World Championships at WEG

Photo by Marc Manning

October 9. 2010 – Lexington, KY – Australia’s Boyd Exell drove the day’s third-fastest marathon to maintain the lead he took in the first phase of Driving World Championships at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.  Second-placed IJsbrand Chardon has put the Dutch team in front (273.77), while third-placed Tucker Johnson is leading the U.S. team’s charge for second place (300.92). Sweden is third (311.24).

“Normally on most marathons you’ll have one little something somewhere, but today seemed almost perfect. Even going safe we were still fast, “said Exell, 38. “I wanted to go fast enough to put pressure on Chardon, but not make mistakes. The horses were machines out there; they just really did it on their own.”

Exell, along with teammate Gavin Robson, has put Australia in the team medal hunt too. They’re in fourth, with 311.99 penalties, just behind Sweden. Australia has never won a team medal at the Driving World Championships.

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