Category Archives: *Featured/Spotlights

Special features, spotlights, headlines

Kat Fuqua Takes Tennessee before Jumping onto the Set of Billy & Blaze

Warrenton, VA (October 11, 2018) – Lighting up the show ring has been a common occurrence for Kat Fuqua and her team of hunter horses and ponies, but the accomplished pony and junior hunter rider found her talents being used in a totally new way this September. Fuqua and Finesse RF, known around the barn as Ladybug, recently starred as the protagonist’s competition during two weekends of shooting for a live action remake of the 1930s equestrian classic, Billy and Blaze, produced by Michael Erkel. Fresh off a series additional championship finishes with Ladybug and her other mounts during the Brownland Farm Fall I & II, Fuqua hopped on an early morning flight to make it on the set of Billy and Blaze, mounting up to add a new and exciting dimension to her equestrian career.

Ladybug, the top ranked USEF Medium Hunter Pony, and Fuqua, who was recently awarded overall Grand Champion Pony Hunter at the 2018 USEF Pony Finals, switched gears from competition mode to get in character for their role. The pair plays Billy’s top competition during one of the movie’s jumping scenes, where Fuqua, playing herself, and Ladybug, playing Pickles the pony, are bested by Billy, played by Henry Lesko, and Blaze during the final round of competition.

Director Cyndi Erkel guided Fuqua and her co-stars through the ins and outs of the movie business, ensuring that they were able to play their parts without getting nervous. Associate Producer Pat Hommel selected Fuqua for the part, and as the only female rider among a cast of men, Fuqua’s excitement to be involved and to see herself and her pony on the big screen could not be overstated: “Being on the movie set was really fun and so exciting,” said Fuqua. “Ladybug was a natural and didn’t mind the cameras above her while jumping! I had so much fun and would love to do it again. I made a lot of new friends: Catherine, Hugh, Wyatt, Ivan, Chloe, Jack, and Henry! I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.”

Billy and Blaze is set to be released by independent producer Michael Erkel next year after post production and is based on the series of children’s books by C. W. Anderson. Written and set in the 1930s, the classic equestrian story is a timeless story that is still in print today and is being adapted for the screen for the first time. For more information, visit www.billyandblazemovie.com.

Before getting a dose of Hollywood, Fuqua racked up 6 Championships and two Reserve titles aboard Ladybug, Brighton, RS Levitation, a.k.a. Jett, and Prestige, a.k.a. Prince, during the Brownland Farm Fall I & II. Held in Franklin, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, the picturesque show grounds of Brownland Farm, owned by Sissie Brown Anderton, were a unique and beautiful backdrop for a fall horse show. Prince is a new large green pony mount for Fuqua, and the pair in their first show together took Champion week two and Reserve week one against a field of professionals in the USHJA 2’6″ Hunter division. She and Jett once again rode to victory during week one, Reserve during week two, and double wins in the Classic in the Under 15 Junior Hunters, while her USEF Pony Finals Grand Champion mount, Brighton, lit up the Large Pony division, taking both Champion and Hunter Classic Champion both weekends. Finally, her movie star mount Ladybug was awarded the Championship Medium Hunter Pony title both weekends and the Classic the second weekend, just before their career on the silver screen began.

As of October 8, the USEF ranks Kat Fuqua and her ponies as follows:

#1 Small Junior Hunter 15 and Under, RS Levitation
#1 Large Pony Hunter, Brighton
#1 Medium Pony Hunter, Finesse RF
#4 Large Pony Hunter, Chic In Time

As of October 8, Fuqua is ranked as follows in the USHJA Zone 4 Hunters:

#1 Junior Hunter Small Under 15, RS Levitation
#2 Junior Hunter Small Under 15, Calvaro
#1 Medium Pony Hunter, Finesse RF
#1 Large Pony Hunter Chic In Time

Fuqua narrowly takes second for the Leading Pony Hunter Owner, after finishing ranked #1 in 2017, while her ponies Finesse RF and Brighton are ranked Grand Pony Hunter Champion and Reserve Champion, respectively. Fuqua kicks off October with her two Junior Hunters, two large ponies, and the very special Ladybug in Harrisburg for the Pennsylvania National Horse Show followed by the Washington International Horse Show Championships. In total Fuqua qualified seven mounts, 5 ponies and two horses, with two being sold last spring, and is looking forward to seeing them there with their new riders.

For more information on Kat Fuqua, visit her website at www.KatFuqua.com.

Media contact:
PR and Marketing
Holly Johnson
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
www.equinium.com
holly@equinium.com
+1 954 205 7992

2018 British Champions Series and the Breeders’ Cup

The 2018 British Champions Series is a series of 35 of the UK’s top flat races. It began with the 2,000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket on May 5th, and culminates with British Champions Day at Ascot on October 20th, where thousands of punters at courses across the country will be primed to take a bet on this horse race.

British Champions Day is a thoroughbred horse race which has been held at Ascot Racecourse in October annually since 2011, acting as the end of season show piece of British flat racing. The culmination of the British Champions Series, it features the finals of the five divisions of the series, together with a valuable one-mile handicap race. The richest day in British racing; more than £4 million in prize money was earned across the six races in 2016.

Beginning in 2007, the Breeders’ Cup, this year to be held in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, developed the Breeders’ Cup Challenge, a series of races in each division that allotted automatic qualifying bids to winners of defined races. Each of the 13 divisions has between two and 12 of these “Win and You’re In” qualifying races. In the Breeders’ Cup Turf Division, runners are limited to 14 with up to 11 automatic berths.

Starting in 2011, the Breeders’ Cup also pays the entry fee and provides a travel allowance for the connections of the challenge race winners. For 2018, NBC Sports Group will both broadcast and live stream 11 shows, from June to October, covering many of the “Win and You’re In” challenge races.

Cheltenham Festival: No Horsing Around

If ever in doubt about the popularity of horse racing and the excitement it evokes in enthusiasts, bookmakers, and pundits, it is important to note that even with six months to go for the Cheltenham Festival, punters are already analysing horses and jockeys, looking for the next big bet.

March 12th will see the commencement of the four-day festival that is considered one of the top racing events in the entire world. Cheltenham Festival, in comparison with the Grand National, is more local with few international entries. It also has more hurdle races unlike the flat tracks of other competitions. These differences make Cheltenham a lot more challenging and thrilling for jockeys as well as bettors who have more than 25 races to place bets on, increasing their chances of winning.

Altior

Punters are eagerly awaiting March 13, 2019 to see Altior in action at the Cheltenham Festival. With odds of 6/4, he is already a favourite among bookmakers to win the all-important Queen Mother Champion Chase. Altior dominated the Champion Chase during the festival in 2018 coming in first and had won the Arkle Chase year before that. With speed and stamina both evident in every stride, punters need to keep a keen eye on this one as he is bound to perform spectacularly in 2019 as well.

Samcro

Samcro has been one of the most debated horses in the competition. Whether he will run in the Gold Cup or should he wait out another year, everyone associated with horse racing has been discussing his future and second-guessing decisions taken by the owners. Nevertheless, he remains a favourite when it comes to the Arkle Trophy with 5/1 odds and the RSA Chase with 8/1 odds, both of which are undoubtedly favourites when it comes to betting. Trained by the legendary Gordon Elliott, Samcro won the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdles in 2018 in a remarkable manner, making him the one to look out for.

Midnight Bite

The “big one” at the Cheltenham Festival is the Gold Cup. A dream win for every jockey, trainer, and horse, it is hotly contested, on the field and in the stands. For a punter too, this is the ultimate race to partake in at the festival and Cheltenham betting offers for 2019 are already looking positive with options that can add to the winnings. The nine-year-old Midnight Bite is presently the favourite with 5/1 odds having come in second at last year’s Gold Cup. He is followed closely by Presenting Percy, another horse that has proven its popularity, and Native River, both of whom are listed at 6/1 odds.

Commander of Fleet

Not ignoring some of the other races that are part of this institutional festival, Commander of Fleet is among bookmakers’ choice for winning the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at 16/1 odds and also the Champion Bumper with 25/1 odds. The “smaller” races are an excellent opportunity for bettors to further their winnings and with limited horses running, they require less analysis, which is a big bonus. But, do keep in mind that Cheltenham is an experience that not only consists of racing but also dance, music, food, and even shopping, so make sure you enjoy every aspect of this great festival.

Game Winner on Course for Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Success?

Source: HR_Nation via Twitter.

Game Winner is the horse to watch at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, heading into the showdown at the beginning of November with a 100% record in his three races. Bob Baffert has a potential star in the two-year-old, with the veteran trainer aiming to secure his first win at the event since 2013.

The American horse does have the strongest credentials entering the meet, although, with only three races under his belt, it’s difficult to predict the outcome at the Churchill Downs. Both Endorsed and Mind Control will be out to dethrone the leading contender for the crown. Therefore, while he may look one of the best horse racing bets with odds of 7/4 at William Hill, it may be worth waiting before committing to a punt on the race, given there is ample time for the prices to alter before the fences are opened.

Game Winner only took to the track for his first race during August in the Maiden Special Weight at Del Mar. He was not considered the favourite for his debut as Dueling was present in the field. However, Baffert’s charge quickly made a statement in his bow over six furlongs, dominating the meet to win by five-and-three-quarter lengths ahead of Dueling. The two-year-old’s display did not earn him the respect of the bookmakers for his next outing in a Grade One meet at Del Mar.

His stable-mate Roadster was the leading contender for the Del Mar Futurity, but Game Winner was able to brush aside him, along with the rest of the field, to claim his second career victory by one-and-a-half lengths. Baffert put his charge forward for the American Pharoah Stakes in his first race over a mile at Santa Anita. With Joel Rosario in the saddle, the bay colt was able to clinch his first major triumph, defeating his nearest rival, Gunmetal Grey, by four-and-a-half lengths. Game Winner has improved at every race, although bigger challenges lay ahead for the two-year-old.

Mind Control made his debut in July at a Maiden Special Weight at Delaware Park. He was off the pace in his first outing, finishing behind Call Paul at Delaware Park. However, the two-year-old was able to bounce back in his second meet – this time competing at Monmouth Park.

Gregory Sacco’s charge controlled the race and was able to secure the victory by a comfortable margin to get off the mark in his career over six furlongs. Mind Control faced his first major test at the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga. He was not considered the favourite for the event but produced a brilliant effort to defeat the perceived leading contender, Mucho, displaying the pace down the stretch to claim the win by three-quarters of a length.

Sacco’s charge along with Endorsed will be the challengers to Game Winner. Endorsed has only competed once in his career, which came in August at Saratoga in a Maiden Special Weight. He produced an accomplished display to defeat Ahead Of Plan by a neck, setting up a potential challenge for Game Winner along with Mind Control at the Churchill Downs at the beginning of November.

Exell Wins Individual Gold as Team USA’s Golden Victory Thrills Home Crowd

Australia’s Boyd Exell (FEI / Liz Gregg)

On a day when the home nation USA secured a stunning victory in the Polaris Ranger driving team competition to round off a triumphant FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon (WEG), Australian driver Boyd Exell proved he remains in a league of his own by securing a third successive individual WEG gold medal.

Despite the valiant efforts of crowd favourite Chester Weber, who showed icy composure to drive his team to gold and also grab individual silver, no one was able to rival Exell from the moment he entered the dressage arena on day one.

First in the dressage, third in the marathon stage despite driving with broken brakes, and second in the closing cones phase, Exell finished with an overall score of 154.14, almost 10 points clear of Weber. Edouard Simonet, the 29-year-old Belgian who was once a back-stepper for Exell, took the bronze medal with a final score of 174.15.

“I love training horses. It is a relief to win, I have a huge team of people who have been with me 20 years.” — Boyd Exell (Australia)

Weber, who also finished second to Exell at the 2014 WEG in Normandy, France, was overjoyed to take an unexpected team title in front of a raucous North Carolina crowd.

“I can tell you it was a surprise. I thought we came here with a chance of a medal but if you had asked me if I was going to have a bet on whether we were going to be world champions, I would have said I am not sure,” said Weber, whose USA team finished with a winning score of 353.39.

Teammate James Fairclough, who introduced Weber to the sport as a 13-year-old, already has an eye on the future after the USA beat the Netherlands, the 2010 and 2014 champions, into second and Belgium into third.

“I hope it’s going to inspire a lot of people to come forward and try the sport. It’s a great boost for us,” Fairclough said.

Basking in the glow of winning a WEG bronze medal to go with their 2017 European team bronze, the Belgium team also served notice of their intention to change driving’s established order.

“We are the future not only of Belgium driving but of international driving,” said Glenn Geerts, who like individual bronze medal winner Simonet is 29 years old, while Dries Degrieck, the third member of the team, is just 23.

In comparison, traditional powerhouses the Netherlands finished Tryon 2018 lamenting unexpectedly poor marathon performances from their often all-conquering father and son duo Ijsbrand and Bram Chardon.

The pair did come out firing on the final day, with 25-year-old Bram Chardon producing the only double clear round. But it was not enough to deliver a third successive team gold.

“We wanted to get our spot back; that spot was meant for us,” said a dejected Bram Chardon.

Click here for full results.

By Luke Norman

Media contact:

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

Blum Breezes into Jumping History Books When Clinching Individual Title at Tryon

Simone Blum celebrates winning the Bank of America Individual Jumping title. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

Germany’s Simone Blum (29) etched her name into the record books when becoming the first woman in the 28-year history of the FEI World Equestrian Games™, and only the second female athlete in the 65-year history of the World Jumping Championships, to take the individual title when coming out on top in the Bank of America Championship at Tryon, USA.

In a finale that kept spectators on the edges of their seats she produced two more fantastic clear rounds with the extraordinary mare, DSP Alice, to put the result beyond doubt. And it was a super day for the Swiss when Martin Fuchs (26) claimed silver with Clooney and Steve Guerdat (36) and Bianca bagged the bronze.

“This was a perfect day. Alice jumped great for the whole week; she had no fault in five rounds of competition; she was unbelievable! And she’s so careful… she has the biggest heart and I think this week she knew that she could win the hearts of all of the sport… she really wanted this win today!” — Simone Blum (GER)

In pole position as the action began, Blum made Alan Wade’s first-round course, that caught out so many of the other 25 starters, look like a walk in the park. Guerdat was one place off the medal podium in fourth spot and just over a fence off the leader. And he was on fire today with the mare Bianca, never putting a foot wrong but unable to overtake compatriot Martin Fuchs who collected two time faults in an otherwise blissful tour of the track.

When Austria’s Max Kuhner slipped out of silver medal spot with two fences on the floor from Chardonnay then Blum had a fence in hand and Fuchs and Guerdat were now stalking her. She couldn’t afford both a fence and a time fault, however, but she wasn’t quite clear about that going into the US Trust arena for the last time. “Actually, when I came into the course I was so focused that I wondered, ‘can I have one down or not?’ Maybe I should try to ride a clear round!” and that’s exactly what she did, never looking in any danger as the incredible Alice soared high and wide before galloping through the finish with just a single time-fault to add.

Going last and keeping her head is all in a day’s work for the rider who, during her early career, was often specifically chosen as anchor rider on teams because of her coolness. And although this was her very first major Championship, she was selected for Tryon because she has shown incredible form at top level in recent years, winning the German Ladies title in 2016 and then coming out to top the 2017 German Men’s Championship in which the best German ladies are also entitled to compete.

The sense of achievement of all three who were presented with their medals by IOC President Thomas Bach and FEI President Ingmar De Vos was tangible. For Fuchs it was particularly special moment because his 12-year-old gelding Clooney underwent colic surgery this spring, but has made a tremendous recovery.

And 2012 Olympic champion, Steve Guerdat, was elated – hardly surprising as Bianca produced two breathtaking tours of two enormous tracks.

“My biggest pride today is for my horse. We had a few championships where I think she jumped better than any other horse, but we kept just having one down and I always went home a bit disappointed because I really wanted to give her the medal that she really deserves. And I thought it was going to go the same again this year – she was jumping amazing since the beginning of the week; she touched two fences all week… so I tried to get it together today and I’m so proud of her and so happy that today the world can see how special she really is!” — Steve Guerdat (SUI)

When asked if it felt special to have two Swiss riders on the podium, he replied, “Yes, but to have like another brother is even more special! I think everybody knows that I’m the son of Philippe Guerdat and I have an amazing family and I have an amazing brother, but everyone also knows how special Family Fuchs is to me. We train together, we are neighbours, we talk every day. They are like my second family and they treat me like I’m their third son so that makes it as special as it gets!”

For Blum, who also collected team gold on Friday, there is now another very big day ahead. She said she owes her success to her fiancée, Hansi Goskowitz, because “he found Alice, and he is the most wonderful man for me in the world and it’s just because of him I am sitting here! I will marry him in the next four weeks – he will become Mr Blum!”

Full results here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Brakes Off but Pressure Was On for Untouchable Aussie Boyd Exell

Boyd Exell with his carriage of horses Celviro, Checkmate, Daphne, and Zindgraaf. (FEI / Christophe Taniere)

Not even broken brakes could prevent Boyd Exell (AUS) from tightening his grip towards a third successive individual gold medal as the Polaris Ranger driving marathon test delighted the packed crowds at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon (WEG).

The Netherlands’ notorious marathon specialist Koos De Ronde won the day with his score of 117.28 points, helping him jump 10 places in the overall individual standings to sit fourth with just the cones test to come. But nothing could stop the relentless Exell from once again grabbing the headlines.

The Australian noticed early on that his braking system was compromised and yet still the 2010 and 2014 WEG Individual champion managed to get round the Richard Nicol-designed course in a score of 121.93, the third best of the day. That was enough to extend his overall lead to 7.00 points over second-placed Chester Weber.

“It caused a problem in hazard one; we came in hot because there is a big long gallop into gate A and we drifted too wide and they (the horses) looked to the left rather than being able to square up the turn – that was a bit disappointing hazard one, gate A, first mistake,” Exell said, with a wry smile.

“Hazards three, four and five are all up and down dips, so the reins were around my head one moment and then on the floor and then round my neck. But we fought. We didn’t give up; we kept fighting all the way.” — Boyd Exell (Australia)

Home favourite Weber kept up the pressure on the all-conquering Australian with a controlled display, backed up by an intricately planned strategy designed to combat the searing heat and humidity.

“We have done a lot of studying of lactate levels and heart rates to try and get the horses ready for this,” Weber explained. “When the temperatures get hotter, the heart rates get higher and lactates grow. We trained them at home (Florida, USA) with gallop sets – you can actually train them to drop their heart rate.”

Hitting his pre-planned targets all the way round, Weber brought home his carriage in 125.51, the fifth best score of the day. The 29-year-old Belgian Edouard Simonet sits just behind him in the overall standings, after adding a confident marathon drive to his solid dressage score.

A protégée of Boyd Exell’s, Simonet is a real threat to the big two with his favoured cones test to come.

“I love the game, so let’s play tomorrow,” Simonet said.

Dutchman De Ronde’s magnificent drive saved what was otherwise a disastrous day for the men in orange. Father and son Ijsbrand and Bram Chardon both made significant, uncharacteristic errors dropping the Dutch, winner of the team competition in 2010 and 2014, down to third in the standings. Team USA leads on 338.55 points, more than 15 points clear of Team Belgium.

“It was terrible. It’s a big disappointment for us both but eventually it will make you stronger and for now we have to keep the team together,” said Bram Chardon. The 25-year-old was 18th quickest on the day with his father just two places better off.

Click here for full results.

By Luke Norman

Media contact:

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

Tears of Triumph as USA Wins Bank of America Team Jumping Title on Home Turf

McLain Ward and Clinta. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

Team USA won the Bank of America Team Jumping Championship at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA, but they were chased all the way to the line by a brilliant Swedish side that took silver, while Germany claimed the bronze. It was an epic battle on this final day of the team event, and nothing came easy.

“It was unbelievable! First off, the odds were miniscule that there would be a jump-off for first place… it wasn’t what we were looking for, but the sport doesn’t get any better than this!” — Robert Ridland (Team USA Chef d’Equipe)

Out in front as the action began, the Swiss lost their grip when Werner Muff’s 13-fault round with Daimler was followed by elimination for Janika Sprunger when Bacardi VDL crashed through the first fence and then refused to tackle the second on the 14-obstacle course. With six Olympic qualifying places also up for grabs all eyes were also on the minor placings, and in the end the Swiss booked their ticket to Tokyo 2020 when finishing fourth ahead of The Netherlands in fifth and the astonishing Australians who pipped the reigning European champions from Ireland for that coveted sixth spot.

It was a roller-coaster ride from start to finish, and the Swedes, lying fourth as the action began, piled on the pressure when adding nothing to their previous day’s scoreline of 20.59 when Henrik von Eckermann (Toveks Mary Lou), Malin Baryard-Johnsson (H&M Indiana), and Fredrik Jonsson (Cold Play) posted three brilliant clears. This was enough to overtake the Germans whose total rose to 22.09 despite foot-perfect runs from Simone Blue (DSP Alice) and Marcus Ehning (Pret a Tout), four faults from Laura Klaphake (Catch Me If You Can) having to be taken into account when Maurice Tebbel (Don Diarado) picked up five.

And although American hopes were high, the result was hanging in the balance right to the very end. Devin Ryan opened the host nation account with a single mistake at the second-last fence and when Adrienne Sternlicht and Cristalline picked up five then the Swedes were out in front. But Laura Kraut rode to the rescue as only she can, steering Zeremonie home with a clean sheet to a great roar from the crowd. If McLain Ward could follow that with another clear the job was done and the gold would be in American hands. But the Olympic double-gold medallist faulted at fence seven and suddenly everything changed once again. The USA and Sweden were tied on 20.59 penalties and it would take a jump-off to separate them.

“McLain made us all work a little harder – he could have made it a whole lot easier!” joked his team manager.

But in the end, it was Ward who won it for them too, with a scorching last-to-go run with the grey mare Clinta. Both teams produced three clear rounds against the clock but Ward’s gallop through the timers saw USA post an accumulated time of 100.67 while the Swedes were two seconds slower.

Youngest team member Adrienne Sternlicht (25) was overcome with emotion at the post-competition press conference, and she wasn’t the only one to shed a tear.

“My best friends and family are here and I’m just thinking – what just happened?! You really don’t want to be woken up from this dream!” — Adrienne Sternlicht (Team USA)

“I love my horse so much. McLain has been the most unbelievable mentor for me, such an important part of my life; for me it’s been a battle of overcoming my own mind and I’m so grateful that Robert trusted me and trusted McLain enough to put me on this team and to be with Laura and Devin and McLain, three riders I’ve honestly looked up to my entire life. I’m so grateful for this opportunity – it’s been a wonderful day!” she said.

Results here.

Media contact:

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

Superb Dressage Display Puts Peerless Exell in Control

Boyd Exell with his dream team of horses, Carlos, Celviro, Checkmate, and Zindgraaf. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

Australian Boyd Exell produced a driving dressage masterclass at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon (WEG) backed by a team of horses he rates as his “best ever” as he took a giant step towards claiming his third successive individual gold medal.

The man who has dominated driving for much of the past decade shook off the lingering effects of breaking his ankle in July, finished with a score of 31.68, putting him 3.42 points clear of the USA’s Chester Weber. For Exell it was his greatest dressage performance to date.

“In Kentucky in 2010 I did a 30 and the crazy thing is that was a beautiful test but we did not have the same power and movement of this team,” said Exell, who has seven FEI World Cup™ driving titles to his name.

“Even when the crowd cheered on the way in, which some horses don’t like, I could just feel my team power up. It was like turning a V8 engine into a V10.” — Boyd Exell (Australia)

Fierce rival Weber, who finished second to Exell at the 2014 WEG in Normandy, entered the arena with the crowd still cheering the two-time champion.

“That was sort of motivating for me, to be honest,” Weber said. “I sort of shook my head like a prize fighter and said to myself ‘c’mon’.”

It worked with a particularly fine rein-back among the highlights as Weber delighted the crowd yet further and finished with 35.10 points.

The Dutch veteran Ijsbrand Chardon, winner of the prestigious Aachen Championships this year, showed all his undoubted class and skill to grab third with a score of 41.06 in what is his weakest discipline. The five-time WEG team champion and 2002 individual gold medallist was the last of the 19 drivers to enter the arena, not that he minded.

“I was fairly relaxed, last driver is the best position. I saw Boyd’s and Chester’s points but then it was very important I made my performance,” Chardon said, before he admitted he might require some help to catch the leader.  “Boyd I need to make a big mistake – 10 points is too much. Six points to Chester is possible.”

A strong performance from Ijsbrand’s 25-year-old son Bram Chardon helped the Netherlands claim second place in the team competition. But the 2010 and 2014 WEG team champions are facing a real battle to hold onto their title.

Led by Weber and boosted by a beautifully controlled performance from dressage specialist Misdee Wrigley-Miller, who scored 42.00 and lies fourth in the individual standings, the USA will take a 10.33 point lead into Saturday’s marathon phase.

“Everyone has been telling me it is just another competition and not to worry about it,” laughed Wrigley-Miller. “But when I came into the arena it was like ‘ooomph’ – the weight of the world fell on my shoulders.”

Click here for full results.

By Luke Norman

Media contact:

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

Double Gold for Team GB and a Ticket to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Eventing fans at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 were treated to one of the thrilling afternoons of sport as four days of compelling competition came down to the very final show jumping fence.

Ultimately, it was Great Britain’s Rosalind Canter, riding Allstar B, who proved to be the star of a spectacular show with her double clear round proving critical in securing her individual gold and giving Great Britain the world title to go with their 2017 European crown.

Ireland, led by individual silver medallist Padraig McCarthy, broke records all over the place. The country’s team silver was their first team medal at a world championships since the inaugural event in 1966, while McCarthy’s individual success was the nation’s first since John Watson – father of current team member Sam Watson – finished second 40 years ago.

“There were quite a few tears which really isn’t very normal for me. It’s absolutely incredible,” said Canter, who entered the arena with Team GB just 0.20 points ahead of Ireland, after poles down for both Tom McEwen and Piggy French. “In the back of my mind I did know (the team situation) but I was just focused on my horse and my warm-up. You have to try and block that out.”

Canter, who won European team gold with Great Britain in 2017, was quick to praise legendary eventing coach Chris Bartle, emphasising how the 66 year old has made her “less intense” since he joined the team at the end of 2016.

Ireland, who started the day a significant 8.20 points behind the British, was in rampant form throughout, highlighted by the confident McCarthy on Mr Chunky.

“In a previous life I used to be a show jumper, so it gave me a lot of confidence,” McCarthy said, before confirming medals have long been on his mind. “I have dreamt about it for the last six months, at least. With a horse like this you have to dream big.”

With joy for some came heartache for others. Germany’s Ingrid Klimke seemed destined to add the ultimate sparkle to her glittering career with a first ever individual world championship gold right up until the moment she and mount SAP Hale Bob OLD flicked the last fence and handed the glory to Canter.

“If somebody had told me before I would come here and get individual bronze I would have been very happy,” said the WEG 2014 team gold medallist. “It was very close, last fence, last rail, for sure the first moment I was disappointed, but it was the only mistake that we did on the whole weekend.”

Reigning Olympic team champions France took team bronze, although their celebrations were tinged with regret as Lieutenant Colonel Thibaut Vallette and Astier Nicolas, lying fourth and fifth respectively after the cross country, both knocked a pole down to ruin hopes of climbing onto the individual podium.

Team Japan produced a stunning display to finish fourth overall, suggesting that the home nation could be one to watch come the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

With hosts Japan already guaranteed a place at the 2020 Games, Germany and Australia booked their tickets by finishing fifth and sixth respectively before New Zealand, buoyed by Burghley 2018 winner Tim Price’s eighth place overall, snatched the final qualification spot.

Click here for full results.

By Luke Norman

Media contact:

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