Left to right: Giovanni Masi de Vargas, Francesco Martinotti, Pierluigi Fabbri and Edoardo Bernadelli. (Jon Stroud/FEI)
Aachen (GER), 14 August 2015 – Today, Italy claimed team gold ahead of Germany in silver and The Netherlands in bronze at the FEI European Reining Championships 2015 in Aachen, Germany.
In a field of 40 competitors, and with 8 horse-rider combinations to go, the podium was determined by a superb performance from Italy’s Giovanni Masi De Vargas and Dance Little Spook.
Aboard the 7-year-old Quarter Horse mare by Smart Spook and out of Sailors Dance, owned by Quarter Dream, the young Italian rider posted a 221.5. Equaling the top score of the day was Germany’s Grisha Ludwig and Shine My Gun. The 7-year-old stallion, an own son of Colonels Smoking Gun and out of Shiners Mistress, owned by Stephanie Madaus, thrilled the crowd executing the only +1 ½ spins of the day. Once the duo closed their performance, they secured Germany’s European team silver.
“I am simply thrilled,” said Italian team coach, Filippo Masi De Vargas. “This squad is made up of young riders, the future of our discipline, and they were just great, very professional and full of enthusiasm. The only ‘older’ rider is Pierluigi Fabbri, who was also on the team in the past edition. He had to endure the pressure of opening the competition today and did a great job giving the other athletes on the team the confidence they needed.”
In the 2013 edition of the Championships, Italy took team silver behind Germany and today, again on German soil, the battle was on from the first to the last competitor. With only 10 horse-rider combinations left to go, vying for the medals were Italy with 651 points, The Netherlands with 637 and France with 634.5. The situation was soon to change following Masi De Vargas’s performance, which did put Italy in the lead but still left the highest step of the podium undecided.
The gold and silver medals were determined after Ludwig’s run, but reining enthusiasts had to wait until the last competitor of the day to find out which nation would complete the podium. Rieky Young Van Osch of The Netherlands, who performed aboard her Brady Chex, the 10-year-old stallion by Buenonic Chex and out of Somethingtocrowabout, ending up posting a 214, enough to earn the bronze.
Just off the podium was team Great Britain with three competitors and a total of 635 points. Francesca Sternberg and Ten Reasons (Hand Ten Suprize x Hotroddin Catalyst) closed with a 215.5, enough to advance automatically to the individual competition on Sunday. “Ten Reasons just gave me another reason why my husband Doug chose him!” said an enthused Francesca following her run.
Frank Kemperman, Aachen 2015 Show Director, FEI Executive Board member and Chair of the FEI Dressage Committee, said: “It’s nine years since we did reining at the FEI World Equestrian Games, but this was fantastic sport.”
Joe Hayes, judge: “I’m from Texas so I probably don’t need a mic! If you didn’t see the reining today don’t miss it next time! It was really fun to judge and congratulations to all three teams. It was like a heavyweight boxing match, very exciting to judge. It’s really fun to show a good horse and it’s fun to judge good horses.”
Giovanni Masi De Vargas: “Being here in on German soil and being able to claim the gold is an incredible experience. The feeling we had when we got here was that this could be done but actually getting it done is a completely different story! The pressure was definitely on when I went in the arena, but I used that pressure to do the best I could. This is a tough arena to show in, especially considering the importance of this venue. I cannot express how I feel right now; the only thing I can say is that it’s simply great!” The 23-year-old De Vargas boasts multiple FEI team and individual gold medals in Junior and Young Rider competitions.
Dutch dressage champion, Anky van Grunsven, who holds the record for the most Olympic medals won by any equestrian athlete, and is the only rider to record three successive Olympic wins in the same event, was on Team Netherlands riding her own Whizashinningwalla BB. This is her first reining medal in an FEI event. “It’s amazing, so much fun and I’m so excited about it,” said Anky. “I know I can do dressage but to be on a bronze medal winning reining team – that’s something else. Earning a medal at the FEI European Championships is so good for this sport and the reason that I enjoy this discipline is firstly because I’m not good at it and I like the challenge, and secondly, I love the atmosphere both in and outside the arena.”
Chefs d’Equipe quotes:
Filippo Masi De Vargas (ITA): “It’s really great to win here in Germany, especially as we’ve got some young team members and it’s their first time on a team.”
Nico Hoermann (GER): “We knew that the Italians had a very good team and in the end the final was really good sport. We only had a team of three, but in the end it was no difference as it was the scratch result.”
Dave Young (NED): “I’m very proud of my riders; all four of them worked really hard and showed very smart today. They worked hard on a strong team presentation today.”
The individual competition
Ten nations competed in the 1st individual qualifier (Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden). All except Austria presented full teams with Tina Kuestner Mantl and her Nu Chexomatic along with Klaus Lechner and Cody Rooster Del Maso both scoring a 215.5. The two secured a spot in the individual finals.
The 15 top scores from the 1st individual qualifier will automatically advance to the individual competition on Sunday, 16 August, at 10.00 CEST.
The next 20 scores will be able to compete in the 2nd individual qualifier with the first five also advancing to the finals. On Saturday 15 August, the second individual qualifier will begin at 18.15 CEST.
For more information on the FEI European Championships 2015 in Aachen, visit www.aachen2015.de.
FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 results are here.
By Simona Diale
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