Wellington, FL – February 16, 2019 – The sixth week of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) featured National competition with a riders and horses in a variety of divisions on February 15-16.
Katie Johnson (USA) and Paxton won the USEF Developing Prix St. Georges, presented by Vita Flex, with a score of 69.438%. The pair is now the first from the United States qualified for the Iron Spring Farm Future Stars Performance Series Final in Week 12 of AGDF. “I was very happy with my ride. He’s still really green at the Prix St. Georges level,” said Johnson about her partner, a 2011 Westphalian gelding by Dante Weltino owned by Kylee Lourie.
“I would say the highlight of our ride was our trot work. He really excelled there. His rideability has been progressing every day, and I’m happy with that. I’m hoping to ride in the final in Week 12, and am excited about the opportunity,” continued Johnson. “It’s good to have something to look forward to. I would like to do the USEF Developing Prix St. Georges at Lamplight and would love to get him in one CDI by the end of season.”
Johnson is extremely thankful to Kylee Lourie, Paxton’s owner, and to her trainer Adrienne Lyle and said, “None of it would be able to happen without both of them, so that’s very important to me.”
Melissa Vaughn (USA) and Belrano Gold, a 2011 Oldenburg gelding by Bellissimo M owned by Pferdes LLC, started off the morning on Saturday with a win in the Open section of the Fourth Level, Test 1. The pair earned a score of 70.513%. Linda Graves and De Ja Vu 2, her 2005 Oldenburg gelding by Dimaggio, won the Adult Amateur section with a score of 65.128%.
Roxanne Trunnell (USA) and Dolton, a 2012 Hanoverian gelding by Danone I, rode a strong Para I Test, and won the Para Equestrian Test of Choice class with a score of 72.143%.
Christilot Boylen (CAN) and Rocky Lane, a 2006 Westphalian gelding by Rock Forever owned by Rebecca Stromatt, concluded the day with a win in the Open FEI Grand Prix*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty. The pair earned a score of 66.739%. Carrie Schopf (ARM) and Saumur won the Adult Amateur section, presented by Harmony Sport Horses, with a score of 65.128%.
Lausanne (SUI), 13 February 2019 — While 2019 is set to be another busy year for international horse sport, potential bidders are already vying for the possibility of hosting FEI World Championships in 2022. The FEI has already received some exciting expressions of interest for 2022, with more submissions expected before the 28 February deadline.
“I am delighted to say that the level of interest and the quality of submissions to host FEI World Championships in 2022 has been very high so far, and we are confident that we will have an interesting pool of candidates to choose from when the allocations are made later this year,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.
The FEI initiated a bid process for individual FEI World Championships in all disciplines for 2022 at the FEI General Assembly in Manama (BRN) in November last year.
The FEI President stressed at the time that this does not necessarily mean the end of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ concept, and bids to host the full seven disciplines together for 2022 will be considered.
The FEI Board unanimously approved the opening of a bidding process for individual world championships in all disciplines for 2022, with preference being given to multi-discipline bids. The Board also agreed that ideally the FEI World Championships for Dressage and Para Dressage should be combined. The world championships for 2022 in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines will serve as qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Games.
“Equestrian sport has become increasingly globalised, but there are relatively few countries that have the capacity to host world championships in all disciplines simultaneously,” the FEI President said.
“The new bid process allows for the sustainable and cost-effective use of existing equestrian sports facilities and for the FEI to partner with National Federations that may have hesitated putting forward multi-discipline bids in the past. The door is now open for these Federations to consider submitting an expression of interest for an individual world championship in the discipline of their choice.”
In a key change to the bid process, the FEI will host an interactive workshop at the end of March in Lausanne for all National Federations/Organising Committees that submit an expression of interest in the 2022 World Championships.
“This interactive workshop is a key factor in ensuring that we adequately convey the structure, opportunities and minimum requirements of hosting the FEI World Championships 2022. By working more closely with the National Federations and Organising Committees from the very start of the process, we can ensure a unified vision and establish an achievable set of goals to work towards,” Ingmar De Vos said.
There are over 4,000 FEI events organised world-wide annually across the seven disciplines of Jumping, Dressage & Para-Dressage, Eventing, Endurance, Driving & Para-Driving, Vaulting, and Reining, with world championships in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines held every four years and every second year for non-Olympic disciplines.
28 February 2019 – Deadline for receipt of non-binding expressions of interest to host one or multiple FEI World Championship(s) 2022. All information can be accessed here.
26 March 2019 – Workshop to be held in Lausanne after which interested bidders will be invited to submit a formal bid, outlining their plans and visions for hosting FEI World Championships in 2022.
November 2019 – Allocation of FEI World Championships at the in-person Board meeting at the FEI General Assembly in Moscow (RUS). All bids will be fully evaluated over the Spring/Summer of 2019.
Wellington, FL – January 20, 2019 – Week 2 of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), presented by Adequan®, Mission Control, Nutrena, and Fair Sky Farm, concluded on Sunday, January 20, with a win for Rebecca Hart (USA) and El Corona Texel in the FEI Para Freestyle Grade III – CPEDI 3*.
Hart and El Corona Texel, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding by Wynton and owned by Rowan O’Riley, earned a score of 75.278% in the Grade III Freestyle. Grade III is for riders who have severe impairments in both lower limbs with minimal or no impairment of the trunk or moderate impairments of the upper and lower limbs and trunk. Some riders in Grade III may use a wheelchair.
Hart is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and moved to Wellington, FL. “I have loved this horse from the moment I saw his video on YouTube. I love his personality and his intelligence,” said Hart about El Corona Texel. “He’s quite a fiery horse, but he’s an incredibly kind horse. I love how we can have a true conversation when we’re riding, and it just makes it a very unique, special partnership.
“Marlene Whittaker put the freestyle together for me, and we worked really hard on that one,” continued Hart of her freestyle music and choreography. “It’s actually the one that we rode at [the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games], so it’s a special freestyle for us. We actually all played [the music] for him so he could have a little bit of input. He would just be like, ‘Oh yeah’ and he’d start to get a little more exuberant, and we were like, ‘Okay, Tex likes this one!’”
Hart has been coming to AGDF for seven years and said, “I love having such a great facility for the 12 weeks. They have shows on the weekend, and we can just come and do a test and then go home. Having that availability, and in addition having the big three-stars and the four-star and the freestyles under the lights, that variety of atmosphere so that you can do a smaller national show or you can do a big three-star all within your backyard, is fantastic.”
Kate Shoemaker (USA) and Solitaer 40 won the FEI Para Freestyle Grade IV – CPEDI 3* with a score of 75.458%. Grade IV is for riders who are impaired in one or two limbs or have some visual impairment.
Shoemaker travels back and forth between her home in Phoenix, AZ, where she is an equine veterinarian, and Wellington to train. “He’s my heart horse, so just every day having the opportunity to ride him and to have that partnership is special. He’s a horse that when I got him I was told that I was never going to be able to ride him and that he would never be successful in Para,” said Shoemaker about Solitaer 40. “So to come this far with him – we’re now starting our fifth season together – I feel like it’s all about the partnership. He gives me so much that it’s just unbelievable.
“His elasticity is definitely his strength, and it was something that the judges noted this weekend that they really appreciated in him. Now we’re really starting to bring together a little bit more power and more balance in the arena, which is what’s been the big change,” added Shoemaker about her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Sandro Hit. “As much improvement as he’s had, he still gives me those moments where there’s the next step up that we’re working on. It’s really an exciting journey that we are on right now.”
Shoemaker said of her choreography, “Last summer I got together with Tom Hunt, and asked him if he would be willing to do a freestyle for me. I was ecstatic when he said yes. He actually custom composed the music to fit to ‘Solly’ and the choreography that we put together.”
Alanna Flax-Clark (USA) won the FEI Para Freestyle Grade II – CPEDI 3* with a score of 68.222%. Flax-Clark rode her horse El Paso, a 15-year-old Dutch Riding Pony gelding by Elegant.
Roxanne Trunnell (USA) ended the day with a win in the FEI Para Freestyle Grade I – CPEDI 3* with a score of 77.889%. Trunnell rode Dolton, a seven-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Danone I and owned by Kate Shoemaker.
Wellington, FL – January 18, 2019 – The second week of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) features CPEDI 1*/2*/3* Para Dressage, presented by Adequan®, Mission Control, Nutrena, and Fair Sky Farm.
Roxanne Trunnell (USA) started the day with a win in the FEI Para Team Test Grade I – CPEDI 3*, with a score of 73.690%. Trunnell rode Dolton, a seven-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Danone I and owned by Kate Shoemaker. Grade I is for riders with the most severe impairments.
Trunnell is from Kennewick, WA and moved to Florida to train with Andrea Woodard. About her relationship with Dolton, Trunnell said, “It’s getting stronger. What I really love about him is how friendly he is. He is a young horse, but on the ground he acts really cute. I love how calm he is under saddle. I’m used to riding spooky horses and he never spooks with me.
“The stretch circle – we’ve really be working on getting in the stretch,” said Trunnell of her test goals. “I want to get him up in the bridle a bit more and I’m hoping to do Tokyo [Olympics] with him. That would be exciting.”
Fellow USA rider Rebecca Hart won the FEI Para Team Test Grade III – CPEDI 3* with a score of 72.794%. Hart rode El Corona Texel, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding by Wynton and owned by Rowan O’Riley.
In the FEI Para Team Test Grade II – CPEDI 3*, Alanna Flax Clark (USA) won with a score of 64.899%. Clark rode her horse El Paso, a 15-year-old Dutch Riding gelding by Elegant.
To end the day, Kate Shoemaker (USA) won the FEI Para Team Test Grade IV – CPEDI 3* with a score of 74.208% (corrected score). Shoemaker rode her horse Solitaer 40, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Sandro Hit.
Michel Assouline working with Para-Dressage athlete and Coach.
Lexington, KY – January 16, 2019 – US Equestrian is excited to launch the Para-Equestrian Dressage Coach Certificate Program, a first of its kind for the industry. This certificate program covers the principles of para-dressage coaching including guided improvement process, coaching philosophy, and sport-specific skill acquisition. It develops a coach’s ability to prepare athletes from grassroots education to international competitions, along a continuum of progressive certificate levels. With the goal of coach development, the program uses classroom lecture time as well as simulated lessons, where coaches are given information and feedback on their teaching, knowledge, and overall performance. The certificate program will take 3-6 months to complete, with a fast-track program offered, and involves onsite practicums, self-study, online exams, and final assessments.
Michel Assouline, USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Technical Advisor and Head of Coach Development, is responsible for spearheading this initiative, bringing a decade of curriculum development and Paralympic coaching experience to bear. Michel will be joined by other USEF-approved faculty to approve applications, deliver on-site practicums, and perform final assessments. The 2019 dates for the Para-Dressage Coach Certificate Program are listed below. The link to the full information booklet showing the application process and certification levels can be found here: https://www.usef.org/compete/disciplines/para-equestrian/para-equestrian-dressage-programs-forms/usef-para-dressage-coach-certificate-program.
US Equestrian would like to thank the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for providing the Federal Adaptive Sport Grant which has helped to make this coach certificate program possible. This initiative has been conducted in partnership with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship with a goal of increasing awareness and coach education opportunities within Paralympic Equestrian Sports and to aid in the development of a USEF Coach database to support the competition pipeline for para-eligible athletes.
2019 Dates: Para-Dressage Coach Certificate Program
Program Launch Announcement: January 11, 2019, USEF Annual Meeting, Wellington, FL
Fast Track Program: (candidates choose one if they are eligible)
* Option 1: March 3-4; Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center, Loxahatchee, FL
* Option 2: September 7-8; Tryon International Equestrian Center, Mill Spring, NC
Formal Program: (candidates attend both)
* Onsite Practicum 1, May 15-16; Tryon International Equestrian Center, Mill Spring, NC
* Final Practicum & Assessment, Sept 9-10; Tryon International Equestrian Center, Mill Spring, NC
For more information on dates and eligibility, please contact Laureen Johnson, Director of Para-Equestrian, at USEF, 859-225-7693, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: email@example.com or by phone: (610)356-6481.
Olympia, The London International Horse Show will welcome Team GBR’s medallists from the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) Tryon 2018 to the annual event to take part in a celebratory parade on the evening of Thursday 20 December 2018.
The parade marks the success of British athletes, who won eight medals this summer, giving spectators the opportunity to show their appreciation for these top riders, owners and Chefs d’Équipe, after their successful campaign at the WEG.
Reigning Olympic champion, Charlotte Dujardin CBE, will be a central figure in the parade after she and her nine-year-old mare won individual bronze in the Dressage Grand Prix Special competition, with a personal best score of 81.48%. Dujardin, who also clinched team bronze in the Dressage Grand Prix on the first day of the dressage competition, will be joined by fellow bronze medallists and teammates, Carl Hester MBE, Spencer Wilton, and Emile Faurie.
Olympia will also celebrate the achievements of Gemma Tattersall, Piggy French, Tom McEwen, and Ros Canter who, after a commendable year, took prime podium position in the Eventing at the WEG. Not only helping the team to post the lowest score in world championship history, Ros Canter held her own to take individual gold, making it a double sweep for the record-breaking Brits.
Adding to the line-up will be Natasha Baker MBE, who stormed the Dressage arena to take a silver medal in the Grade III Para-Dressage Individual Championship. Baker’s win came aboard Mount St. John Diva, adding to Mount St. John Equestrian’s medal haul, the breeder of Dujardin’s ride, Mount St. John Freestyle. Baker will be joined by Nottinghamshire’s Sophie Wells MBE, whose world championship got off to a golden start by taking top honours in the Grade V Individual test. She topped off a successful Games by winning her second gold medal, this time in the Grade V Individual Freestyle. Baker and Wells will be accompanied by Sir Lee Pearson and WEG debutant, Erin Orford, who, together, won silver in the Para Dressage team competition.
Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: “It is an honour to be welcoming the leading British equestrian teams to this year’s Olympia. The parade hails the fantastic achievements of Team GBR and the exceptional group of riders.”
The WEG athletes will be accompanied by the successful British Youth teams, as this next generation of riders join the Thursday evening parade to celebrate their own medal achievements of 2018. One athlete who will take part is Jack Whitaker, son of Show Jumping legend Michael; Jack won individual Show Jumping silver at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina this September.
Taking place from 17-23 December, Olympia will provide the platform for top international equestrian competition, with many of the World’s elite riders expected to compete at the Show. Highlights include three FEI World Cup™ competitions in Show Jumping, Dressage, and Carriage Driving, not to mention international displays from La Garde Républicaine, and ‘Land of Fire’ Azerbaijan, bringing their traditional Karabakh horses to the Grand Hall.
For more information on how to purchase tickets, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0844 995 0995.
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.