10.06.10

Britain Leads Medal Hunt Halfway Through Para Dressage World Championships

Posted in Para-Dressage at 4:14 pm by Press Release

Lexington, KY— Great Britain, the team expected to win the gold medal at the Para Dressage World Championships, has taken the lead halfway through the team competition. Germany stands second, with the Netherlands third and Denmark fourth.

The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games mark the first time that para dressage has been part of the World Games.

“[The British team hasn’t] lost a gold medal at a major championship since the sport started, so there is a lot pressure,” said Sophie Christiansen of the British team, whose score of 69.41 percent in grade Ia team test on Rivaldo Of Berkeley aided the British effort. “I went to [the 2004 Athens Paralympics] at 16, so I know how to deal with the pressure. We have so much support, and that gives us Brits the upper hand.”

Christiansen, 22, added, “I didn’t know how he’d react to a big atmosphere. I’m very pleased with our score since we had a couple of blips. I’m happy, and I know I can improve.”

Lee Pearson, aboard Gentleman, led the British effort by scoring 73.81 percent in the grade Ib team test. “I was aware we needed a good test, but my main focus was to remember this test. It’s a bit of an itsy-bitsy test, and I’d not done it much,” said Pearson, 36. “I had a safe test. It was a little bit underpowered, but it’s what we needed for a team test. He’d never heard so many cameras clicking going down the centerline, but he was good today.”

Anne Dunham, riding Teddy, scored 71.76 in the grade Ia team test to add the third British score.

The German and Dutch riders, who are close behind, haven’t given up yet. Julianne Theuring, the final German rider to ride today on her flashy PRE stallion Empaque IV, in the grade IV team test, said she didn’t know what score she needed to pull ahead of Britain before she rode her test.

“This is my first test [in a World Championship], and I think it was good. I am satisfied with the test,” said Thuering, 24. “He is a stallion, so it is difficult with the mares. That is why he screamed during the test.”

The Dutch hope to close the gap in tomorrow (Wednesday’s) second test.

“I hoped to have a better test today, but it was good for the first day,” said Frank Hosmar, 42, of the Netherlands. “We have tried to beat the British team. Maybe it is still possible.”

Teammate Gert Bolmer said that he’s enjoyed the World Games, no matter the medal. “It feels a bit like the Paralympics, but with different sports. We have shared the same hotel and buses with the Dutch dressage team, and they have been very supportive of us,’ said Bolmer, 27.