Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian (USEF) announced today that the co-branded 2019 USEF/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Dressage Tests are now available and published online through USDF.
Effective December 1, 2018, through November 30, 2022, the 2019 USEF/USDF Dressage Tests are newly co-branded with the USDF as the two organizations work together to continue to proliferate and promote the sport of dressage in the United States. The 2019 USEF/USDF Dressage Tests continue to serve as a measure of the horse and rider’s schooling and training, while each level builds upon the preceding level’s principles.
USDF’s “On the Levels” will continue to provide examples of the new Introductory through Fourth Level dressage tests. “On the Levels” features engaging videos to help athletes understand the requirements for tests within each level, with commentary from top U.S. trainers and judges and segments geared toward improving difficult movements at each level. Keep an eye out for the launch of this product in the coming months.
Additional test products will include a new test app containing both the USEF and USDF tests and, once produced, a test booklet, which can be purchased through the USDF online store at store.usdf.org.
Click here to view the 2019 USEF/USDF Dressage Tests. For information on licensing the new tests, contact USDF at email@example.com. For questions or additional information, contact Hannah Niebielski, Director of Dressage National Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Returning for another year of top equestrian action, Olympia, The London International Horse Show will be hosting the world’s best riders in London, from the 17-23 December.
Bringing a ‘first ever’ to Olympia, Charlotte Dujardin CBE and her protégée, Mount St John Freestyle, dubbed ‘Mrs Valegro,’ will be performing their never seen before Freestyle test when they compete in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound on Tuesday 18 December.
The former world number one and winner of three Olympic gold medals will be taking centre stage in the Grand Hall. All eyes will be on the new duo as Dujardin returns to the FEI World Cup™ Dressage at Olympia for the first time since 2015 when she won the Grand Prix and Freestyle aboard Utopia. This followed a golden year when she set the world record for the highest score ever achieved in a Freestyle competition with Valegro. This year, Dujardin will be putting her 2020 Olympic gold medal hopeful – a nine-year-old Hanoverian mare, owned by Mount St John Stud – through her paces.
Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle were due to showcase their routine at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 in September; however, the Freestyle competition was cancelled due to torrential rain. Despite this, the partnership returned home with two bronze medals from the Games, a huge achievement, particularly as Mount St John Freestyle was one of the youngest horses in the competition. The stunning mare, who achieved an unbelievable debut score of 81% in her first Grand Prix, has not scored less than 74% at any level in the last three years, setting the scene for excellent competition at Olympia.
Charlotte Dujardin CBE said: “I am thrilled to be bringing Freestyle back to Olympia! Last year we presented our Masterclass at the Show; it was incredible demonstrating to the audience what she is capable of and giving them insight into one of the next generation Grand Prix horses, showing them why I am so excited by her. It will be fantastic returning to the Grand Hall and showcasing our new Freestyle routine for the first time. It’s going to be very exciting!”
Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, commented: “We are delighted to be welcoming Charlotte and Freestyle back to Olympia, and looking forward to seeing their Freestyle test. The pair was so well received last year, spectators will be in high anticipation at their return to the Show.”
Dressage at Olympia 2018 will be piloting a new, exciting format, which aims to make the FEI Dressage World Cup™ more appealing to a wider audience. The main change is a shorter Grand Prix technical test of five minutes which will allow time for rider interviews and audience interaction giving the crowd an opportunity to gain a greater insight to the skills of the dressage riders.
Tickets are still available to see Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle in action on Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 December. For more information on how to purchase tickets, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0844 995 0995.
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
“Aha.” I love those moments. Don’t you? When you suddenly GET IT? It’s such a rush when everything comes together and really works for the first time.
How do you create more “Aha Moments”? When Jane is riding me, they come when both sides of my brain kick in, along with the muscle memory of the new movement. And that comes with both intellectual understanding and physical practice. It happens when the left side of my brain, where logic and linear thought resides, meshes with the right side, where emotion and artistry lives, and then shows up in my physical body as the execution of perfect movement. My whole being responds to everything coming together with an exciting and satisfying “Aha.”
Learning to ride well doesn’t take good luck or exceptional talent. As the cowboys say, it just takes wet saddle blankets. In our case, it’s wet dressage pads. I learn something from Jane every time she rides me. And she learns from me too. Sometimes our progress is imperceptible, and sometimes it comes in huge Ahas. But we only have forward progress when we actually put what we’ve intellectually learned into physical practice. And that takes commitment and work.
Have you put what you’ve recently learned into your practice? Have you had some Ahas lately? Remember how it feels and look forward to creating that wonderful sensation again.
Now, get out to the barn. Your horse is waiting for you. Today just may be an “Aha” day!
Lausanne (SUI), 1 October 2018 — Olympic bronze medallist duo and American sweethearts, Laura Graves and Verdades (a.k.a. Diddy), have topped the FEI World Dressage rankings thanks to their double silver medal placings last month at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon. The famous combination has become the first American partnership to be ranked world number 1, as they took home silver in the Grand Prix Special and the Grand Prix competitions, boosting their ranking points to 2714 points, and placing them one point ahead of Germany’s Isabel Werth and Weihegold Old.
Isabel Werth (GER) and Weihegold OLD have held the number one position for almost two years, when they took over from fellow German Kristina Bröring-Sprehe in November 2016. This ground-breaking change to the top spot has now pushed them back to second place with a total of 2713 points. Isabel Werth can be found in three more positions in the ranking list, at the third with Emilio 107 (2680 points, previously ranked 2nd), at the fourth with Bella Rose 2 (2586 points, previously ranked 51st) and at the 11th with Don Johnson FRH (2291 points, previously ranked 8).
The FEI World Equestrian Games™ were an opportunity for several combinations to move up in the rankings, with Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) and Mount St John Freestyle moving from 10th to 6th place (2416 points), whilst Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) and Goerklintgaards Dublet jumped from the 20th to the 14th position (2267 points).
A number of other well-known combinations have soared into higher ranking positions this month, with Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl (GER) and TSF Dalera BB moving from the 53rd to 22nd position (2148 points) and Great Britain’s Carl Hester and his mount Hawtins Delicato made an enormous leap from the 130th to 23rd spot (2145 points). Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED) with Glock’s Dream Boy N.O.P. previously ranked 211th managed to get to 41st place (1891 points), and Sönke Rothenberger (GER) with Cosmo 59 jumping to 43rd place from 256th (1884 points).
As the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Western European League starts on 17 October in Herning (DEN), we will no doubt see some dramatic changes throughout the season, as these top international Dressage riders give good chase and maintain their world ranking positions.
The FEI Dressage World Ranking list can be found here.
Baborówko, 29th of September 2018 –- It was a windy day, but thankfully a sunny day too, in Baborówko, Poland for the dressage at Baborówko Horse Sale Show.
It will also be a very busy day at the cross country national classes; the international classes and the third edition of the Sport Horses Auction follow.
It was very good day for Mateusz Kiempa (POL) and Lassban Radovix who are in the lead after dressage in the CIC3* for the prize of Kuhn Maszyny Rolnicze. Very close behind him, by only 0,1 penalty point, is Anna Siemer (GER) with FRH Butt’s Avondale. Third place is occupied by Malin Hansen-Hotopp (GER) with Monsieur Schnabel.
In first place in the CIC2*, for the prize of Lotto, is Ben Leuwer (GER) with C’est La Vie 135. In second place is Josephine Schnaufer (GER) and Ronaldo. In third place is Sanna Siltakorpi (FIN) with Jagiello.
In the lead in CIC1*, for the prize of Duon, is Paweł Spisak (POL) and Paco. In second is Katrin Norling (SWE) and Hulliebullie and in third is Ben Leuwer (GER) and Avatar 28.
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.
“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.”
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.
Netherlands star Rixt van der Horst reflected on the “amazing” feeling of winning another Gold medal after she headlined day two of Adequan® Para-Dressage at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018.
Van der Horst, who took double Gold at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in France, sealed top spot in the Grade III Individual Championship on her bay mare Findsley.
Their score of 73.735% edged long-time leader Natasha Baker, of Great Britain, into second place as she excelled with new top horse Mount St John Diva Dannebrog, while American Rebecca Hart and El Corona Texel collected Bronze to become her country’s first world Para-Dressage medalist.
“I am really thrilled,” Van der Horst said. “It is so amazing to be world champion again. During my test, I didn’t realize it was that good.
“I was just riding my test and doing what I do and it was not until afterwards that I realized it was good. In the beginning I was nervous, but I relaxed during the test and it got better and better. It’s our first international competition together and I am so proud of her.”
Baker, a mainstay of Britain’s all-conquering Para-Dressage teams in recent years, was similarly delighted with the performance of her horse in what was a major championship debut for the partnership, as it had been for Van der Horst and Findsley.
“She was amazing, so, so, good and she went in there like she owned it,” Baker said. “I am just so proud of everything that we have achieved in such a short space of time.
“It is an honor to get called up for the team, especially after such a short space of time. I’ve only had her since January, and to have done everything we have and for the selectors to have the trust in us to come and do our best is fantastic.”
Italy’s Sara Morganti came out on top in the Grade I Individual Championship, winning an anticipated head-to-head battle with Singapore’s current world number one Laurentia Tan.
The pair was drawn as the last to two to ride in Tryon Stadium, and did not disappoint, with Morganti’s score of 74.750% on Royal Delight enough for victory as Tan and Fuerst Sherlock finished on 73.750%. Germany’s Elke Philipp claimed the bronze medal aboard Fuerst Sinclair with 73.143%.
“It was wonderful,” said Morganti, who won world Individual Gold and Silver medals in 2014.
“It’s incredible. I’ve had a very difficult year because of health problems and for a moment I thought I couldn’t go on.
“My horse was amazing and I have to thank my trainers who have been with me all along the way. I am happy because I wanted to get a medal for me, but also for them.”
Tan, meanwhile, added, “It’s really important to get a medal for my country. I felt relaxed and I just had to keep going.”
Philipp could scarcely believe the scale of her achievement as she completed the medal podium.
“I can’t have any words for this,” she said. “I hoped that I would win a medal, but now I have a medal! The arena is perfect for me and my horse and I think we did a good job.”
Long Standing Partnership Catapults Sheena Bendixen to Christie’s International Real Estate Vaulting Freestyle
Denmark’s Sheena Bendixen won the Individual Female’s Freestyle of the Christie’s International Real Estate’s Vaulting competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 on Wednesday, her score of 8.539 piping Germany’s Janika Derks and Sarah Kay.
The 25-year-old Bendixen, ranked in the world’s top ten, danced to victory and credited her long-standing partnership with black gelding Klintholms Ramstein and lunger Lasse Kristensen for the success. She won her first European Bronze medal with the same duo seven years ago in 2011.
“One stand was a bit shaky, but I just continued and smiled,” Bendixen said, earning top score for the Trakehner breed horse Ramstein, owned by her groom.
“We call him the psycho mouse. He loves the arena and always says ‘Here, look at me!’ I wanted to dance my emotions at this WEG, relaxation, power, elegance, harmony – everything should be in it,” Bendixen said.
“I had warned her that there is nothing more difficult than really dancing on a horse, not only with expressive hands, but also with your feet and she did it,” Kristensen said, a former world class Vaulter himself.
Janika Derks scored 9.473 for her technique, the best of the morning. For her Freestyle she used the music “La Terre en Ciel” that had already brought a Bronze medal on ice, dancing for Germany.
“I wanted it to look easy, soft and fluffy, quite a contrast to my usual vaulting. I am a very technical and strong vaulter and to show elegance and harmony is the hardest for me,” Derks said.
“It is always the same, the easier something looks the harder it is,” Derks’ lunger Jessica Lichtenberg said.
Several female competitors managed to dance a complete story. U.S. athlete Tessa Dirks danced to the music of the movie “Little Red Riding Hood.”
“I am kind of an upbeat person and I had to pretend to be afraid which is not quite like me. The panic of the wolf is more like the panic of the vaulter of not finishing on time.”
That fear was unnecessary because she finished on rank 7, with lunger Christoph Lensing, a double WEG Silver medalist himself.
Germany’s Thomas Brüsewitz Turns In His Second Vaulting Win at Tryon 2018
Germany’s Thomas Brüsewitz won the Individual Freestyle at Christie’s International Real Estate’s Vaulting discipline at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 on Wednesday, duplicating his success from Tuesday’s compulsory. Vaulting for a score of 8.987, he kept France’s Lambert Leclezio and Jannis Drewell for Germany at bay.
It was fireworks in the arena when world No.3, Brüsewitz did his Freestyle following the theme of the movie “The Truman Show.”
“The person in the show is a star because he is true to himself, a real person. Our vaulting is true as well. I thought this a fitting theme for the world championship here.”
Brüsewitz did not go the limit and kept it safe, omitting one handstand.
“When I had my signature movement out of the way, the flic flac backwards, I felt I should play it safe. I will keep it up my sleeve for the final Freestyle,” the student at a sports university in Cologne, Germany said.
FEI World Cup™ winner Jannis Drewell “danced with wolves” for his Freestyle, collecting 8.924 with four scores of 9 from the judges’ panel.
“I had this theme ten years ago for my very first national youth championship and I thought it was a good moment to come up with it again. It was much better than ten years ago.”
French Lambert Leclezio was not happy with his performance, finishing on 8.832.
“Two big movements did not go to plan, but maybe people on the outside did not notice.”
Austria’s Lindner/Wacha Set to Defend Their Pairs Title in Vaulting
The sparkle of 15,000 rhinestones lit the Indoor Arena in the Christie’s International Real Estate’s Vaulting competition at Tryon 2018, when the world’s best pair met for their first round of Freestyle.
Austria’s Jasmin Lindner and Lukas Wacha look set to defend their WEG title from 2014. They scored an average of 9.138, topping their Freestyle performance at WEG 2014.
Wearing a black-and-white costume, they interpreted the theme of the literature piece Chess Novel. It was the first time the freestyle was shown in public. It has been a work in progress since they started planning it two years ago.
“It was a wonderful feeling to go out and to know it will stun everybody. When you then get it all together at the right time the feeling is just hard to describe,” said Lukaas Wacha.
Their costumes had been handcrafted by both of their grandmothers, who are tailors in Vienna and Salzburg. It had been Jasmin Linder’s job then to attach the close to 15,000 rhinestones.
“Luckily Svarovski sits in Tyrolia where those two come from,” said team chief Manfred Reber.
The world’s highest ranked pair Italy’s Lorenzo Lupacchini and Silvia Stopazzini set the tone for a great competition. Vaulting as a pair for two years, they came out first into the competition and vaulted for a 9.057, earning six scores of 9s.
Breathing down their necks, only 0.001 point behind, are Germany’s Janika Derks and Johannes Kay. Her neon pink costume stood out against horse Dark Beluga when they showed their stunning lifts and elevations, defying gravity.
For more information on the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 and to view start lists and results, please visit www.Tryon2018.com.