10.10.10

Exell Makes Australian History In Driving World Championships At Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Posted in 2010 Games, Combined Driving, Disciplines, Results, World Equestrian Games at 9:31 pm by Press Release

Lexington, KY—Boyd Exell accomplished something today that no other Australian has ever done at a previous Driving World Championships—he won the individual gold medal, at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

With one ball down in the obstacles phase, held in front of a packed Driving Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park, Exell (134.04) edged Ijsbrand Chardon of the Netherlands (135.24) and Tucker Johnson of the United States (150.06).

Johnson is the second four-in-hand driving medalist in the history of the U.S. team, and he led teammates Chester Weber (who was the first U.S. individual medalist, winning individual silver in 2008) and James Fairclough to the team silver medal (330.92). This is the second team silver medal this trio has won at the World Equestrian Games. (The first was in 2002.)

Chardon, a four-time individual world champion, led the Netherlands to the team gold medal (279.77), the third time they’ve won the team gold medal in the World Equestrian Games. Germany moved up to the bronze medal (322.20) when Tomas Eriksson of Sweden was eliminated for going off course and took his third-placed team with him.

Exell closed out these World Games as the only Australian gold medalist. “I know it sounds like a cliché to say this, but it hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said Exell, who drove these championships with a broken left hand, suffered in a riding accident the week before they began.

In 2008, Exell won the individual bronze medal at the Driving World Championships, behind Chardon and Weber. “To get five horses and all the people and your equipment just right for one weekend is a huge task, and we’ve been trying to do it for 10 years. You get to the point where you can do it regularly, like we have, and then you have to be lucky to win.”

Exell, 38, added, “I left Australia at 21 and said I wasn’t coming home until I won the World Championship.”

Johnson, 46, said again that this would be his final world championship, that he is retiring from international competition.

“I won’t change my decision. We’ve all three been doing this for a long time, and it’s time for me to move on,” Johnson said. “This felt good. Not everyone gets a chance to end something on such a high note. It was a grand end to a lot of experiences.”

All three team members said that the World Equestrian Games being in Lexington had spurred on the team’s performance.

“Our program and our team—along with the program at the U.S. Equestrian Federation—all came together for this medal here,” said Fairclough.

“It’s been a whole group effort, and you feel like the whole nation is behind you here,” said Johnson.

Weber believes that the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games will have a lasting effect on driving in the United States. “There’s a future of driving in the U.S. because of these games,” he said. “Having the WEG here really got us going, and now, with Tucker leaving, Jimmy and I are looking forward to being the foundation of our team in the future.”

USA Claims Gold In Vaulting World Championships At Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Posted in 2010 Games, Disciplines, Results, Vaulting, World Equestrian Games at 9:28 pm by Press Release

Lexington, KY—If you asked the Team USA vaulters how they were feeling this afternoon, they’d answer with a chorus of screams. They feel that good, because they pulled out a come-from-behind win to earn the team gold medal at the Vaulting World Championships, held as part of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

“We really connected today—we looked each other in the eye,” said team member and coach Devon Maitozo. “Our horse was just beautiful, and we had the love of the audience with us, which helped. We just were in our bodies today.”

Today was a contrast from the previous team freestyle competition on Friday, when two team members fell from their horse, because, said Maitozo, the team horse, Palatine, was spooky in the arena. The U.S. team had led after the compulsory exercises, but then dropped to third place after the fall, behind Germany and Austria.

To prepare for Sunday’s round, Maitozo said, “We made a different plan for the horse and for ourselves. We took a step back from the intensity of the energy before. We really calmed ourselves down, collected ourselves, and the horse had a longer warm-up but a much more calm warm-up.”

The plan worked, and the judges rewarded the U.S. team with the highest freestyle score of the day (8.779), which brought their composite score up to 8.029

The team’s lyrical performance was set to music from Sergei Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet,” a ballet that was “spiced up” by Maitozo, said team member Rosalind Ross. She added, “That’s how we strive to set ourselves apart from the rest of the competition, by making vaulting more like a dance performance and a theater performance, not merely gymnastics on horses.”

“We want it to be a dance,” said Maitozo. “We want it to be a drama of emotion, of movement, elegance – with the horse, not against the horse. We’re dancing with the horse, not on the horse.”

Other U.S. team members were Blake Dahlgren, Annalise Van Vranken, Mary Garrett, Mari Inouye and Emily Hogye. The team longeur and horse trainer is Carolyn Bland.

The experienced team previously won the 2010 United States Equestrian Federation/American Vaulting Association national title. Members of this team were also on the 2006 World Equestrian Games silver-medal team and the 2008 bronze-medal team in the World Vaulting Championships. Maitozo was the individual gold medalist at the 1998 World Equestrian Games.

“I would say this is probably one of the most experienced teams of all time,” Maitozo said. “Cumulatively, the years that this team has been vaulting is well over 120 years. We have a long relationship.”

Germany, which had been leading going into Sunday’s freestyle, suffered a fall in the performance but still had a strong enough composite score (8.010) to earn the silver medal.

Team member Michaela Hohlmeier said, “It’s just sad, [but] it’s sports, so it can happen.”

Germany vaulted aboard Adlon, a 15-year-old Brandenburger, and the longeur was Alexander Hartl.

Austria turned in a vigorous freestyle performance, set to the music of Cirque du Soleil, to earn the team bronze medal ( 7.990).

Team member Daniela Penz said “it was teamwork” that resulted in the team’s best freestyle performance this year. “Everyone wants a medal – and gets a medal!” she said

The Austrians were vaulting on Elliot 8 and, and the longeur was Klaus Haidacher.

Great Britain and Germany Share the Gold Medals in Para Dressage Freestyle At 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Posted in 2010 Games, Disciplines, Para-Dressage, Results, World Equestrian Games at 9:20 pm by Press Release

Lexington, KY — Riders from Great Britain and Germany dominated the freestyle in all five grades of the Para Dressage World Championships at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.  Today’s competition decided the grade IV champion, and it was Great Britain’s Sophie Wells on Pinocchio (78.50%).

Gold-medal winners over the last few days include Germany’s Hannelore Brenner on Women Of The World (79.20%) in grade III, Germany’s Dr. Angelika Trabert on Ariva-Avanti (75.90%) in grade II, Great Britain’s Lee Pearson on Gentleman (82.50%) in grade Ib, and Great Britain’s Emma Sheardown on Purdy’s Dream (78.55%) in grade Ia.

“He was a little bit more energetic than normal, so I decided not to go in with a whip, and that was very abnormal, so I was taking a risk from the beginning, really,” said Wells.  “When I picked up the walk he came against me and he stopped and then I thought ‘Oh my gosh I need to find somewhere else in my plan where I can put in another simple change’.  So all the time when I was going through my next movements I was trying to think where I could put it in.”
Pearson created his top-scoring freestyle just for this competition.

“For me the trot work is a lot easier than the walk work, so I try to incorporate some lateral work and some extensions,” he said.  “I try to have my contingency plan if my horse is not going quite how I’d like him to go in the arena.  Then I send a video of that to my music man, and I tell him what country I am going to and he makes me some music that’s pertinent for that country.  So for these Games it was really quick, slap-your-thigh, cowboy-type music.”
Sheardown said her warm-up prepared her and her horse well for their performance.

“I am pleased with my horse,” she said.  “He had a good walk, and I managed to keep him relaxed.  The rest felt really nice.”

Great Britain completed a trifecta in Grade Ia, sweeping all the medals.  Sophie Christiansen on Rivaldo Of Berkeley (77.85%) earned the silver medal, and Anne Dunham on Teddy (74.80%) took the bronze.

“It’s able-bodied trainers who train us as if we’re able-bodied people,” said Dunham.  “They put the responsibility on us to ride the horse and get the best out of it.  Trainers are as important as anything else.  We’re lucky in Britain to have some marvelous trainers.”

In grade Ib the silver medalist was Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup on Labbenhus Snoevs (77.00%), while the bronze went to Finland’s Katja Karjalainen on Rosie (72.85%).

Kaastrup rode one of the few non-warmbloods in the Para Dressage Championships. Labbenhus Snoevs is a New Forest Pony.

“Since I started, it probably took around a year to make him the way he is today,” she said.  “It’s not easy.  I have a problem with the half-passes.  It’s not easy to figure that out without any legs, but I did, and he’s just the best.”

The grade II silver medalist was The Netherlands’ Gert Bolmer and Triumph (75.85%), and bronze went to Great Britain’s Jo Pitt and Estralita (74.95%).
“My test was really great,” said Bolmer.  “The competition was really good in grade II.  I feel like we had different medal winners in the freestyle than in the individual, so the competition was really good and really hard.  It was a long competition but a great competition.”

The grade III competition concluded on Friday and saw Denmark’s Annika Lykke Dalskov on Preussen Wind (75.40) earn silver and Australia’s Sharon Jarvis and Applewood Odorado (74.70%) take the bronze.

Today’s grade IV freestyle concluded the Para Dressage World Championships and saw Belgium’s Michele George on FBW Rainman (78.05%) earn the silver medal, while bronze went to Frank Hosmar and Tiesto (77.25%).

This afternoon’s press conference welcomed the 15 medalists—the first para dressage WEG medalists.  When asked to choose one word to describe their discipline, these athletes in para dressage’s inaugural WEG championships chose words like “inspirational,” “partnership,” “amazing,” “opportunity,” “outstanding,” “harmony,” and “recognition.”

Pearson commented on how the United States and other countries have come a long way in this discipline and offered some insight in to how to keep that momentum going.

“I’ll give you an example,” he said.  “I went down to the reining demonstration and asked if I could have a go at it, and they looked at me in my wheelchair and said, ‘No, but we’d love to get some para-equestrians to do some reining.  How do we go about doing that?’ And I said, ‘You have to let them on the horse first.  That’s a good start.’

“That’s my not-so-sensible answer, and my sensible answer is in England we have an amazing riding for the disabled organization, which is obviously therapy.  Not all of the riders come from that, but quite a huge percentage come from riding for the disabled first.  We also have a great support structure called World Class Performance, which is lottery funding to allow elite disabled and able-bodied athletes in England to apply to go on to a squad and receive funding.  Then we have a great competition structure, because you’ve got to be able to compete and come here and feel confident.  It’s just about giving people the opportunity.”

Eccles And Looser Score Individual Medals in World Vaulting Championships At Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Posted in 2010 Games, Disciplines, Results, Vaulting, World Equestrian Games at 3:43 am by Press Release

Lexington, KY—Joanne Eccles gave Great Britain its first-ever World Equestrian Games medal in vaulting, as she won gold in the female individual division of the Vaulting World Championships, held as part of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Patric Looser of Switzerland bested his friend and teacher, Kai Vorberg of Germany, to win the gold medal in the male individual division.

“I think I’m a little bit stunned,” said Eccles, the 2009 European champion. “I was really pleased with my performance today, but the other girls are so strong, and they all went so well. I think it’s going to take a while for it to sink in.”

Eccles’ composite score over four days of competition was 8.413.

Eccles, 21, has her father, John, as her longeur, and her sister, Hannah, as a coach. Their mother, Jane, also supports the family effort. Eccles vaulted on W.H. Bentley, a 16-year-old French warmblood-Dale pony cross, whom the Eccles family has owned for the past 11 years.

“He was absolutely perfect,” Eccles said of her horse. “I don’t have to think about him when he’s out there. He’s got such a partnership with my dad that they’re a team in themselves, and I just do my thing on top.”

Both the silver and bronze medals will be going home to Germany in the female division.

Antje Hill, vaulting on Airbus, took silver with a composite score of 8.322, while Simone Wiegele, with Arkansas, earned bronze with an 8.281. When the German contingent realized it would hold two spots on the medal podium, a cacophony of cheers and tears erupted. Hill said she and Wiegele had been rooting for one another all along.

“We were very supportive of each other, and that made us stronger as a team,” she said.

The United States’ Mary McCormick turned in the women’s highest score of the day, with an 8.680 in this freestyle competition. Her composite score (8.270) left her in fourth place.

“I came to this competition saying that all I wanted to do was my best, and I feel like I did that, and I’m not disappointed,” McCormick said. She said she now plans to go home and unwind by trail riding with her vaulting partner, Sir Anthony Van Dyck.

In the male division, it came down to the last vaulter, Looser, who in his last freestyle performance had the chance to take the lead away from Vorberg, his friend and teacher and a two-time vaulting world champion (2004 and 2006) and two-time European champion (2005 and 2007).

For both men, it was a difficult situation, and in the end, Looser said he decided to concentrate on making a clean performance and let the judges decide who was better.

Immediately after the men’s performances, Vorberg said, “He definitely deserves it. For him, it is a great achievement. He has done so much for the Swiss vaulting sport.”

Looser’s composite score after four days of competition was an 8.498, while Vorberg’s was 8.463, working aboard Sir Bernhard RS von der Wintermühle.

After a bit of reflection, Vorberg said that perhaps his freestyle music choice, “Wind of Change” by the Scorpions, had proven prophetic.

“The wind of change is coming,” Vorberg said. “I’m an old man now [at 28]. You can’t go on that long. It won’t stay like this forever, so I’m happy that I had this last peak here.”

Looser, 26, vaulted aboard a horse from Vorberg’s stable, Record RS von der Wintermühle, an 18-year-old Hessian stallion. An 18-time Swiss champion, Looser called his final freestyle performance at the World Equestrian Games “one of my best competitions, ever.”

The bronze medal went to Nicholas Andreani of France, who turned in the day’s high score of 8.905 in the freestyle. His composite score was 8.452.

Andreani’s performances have carried a military theme, and in his final freestyle, he portrayed a soldier coming home after the war. And, for him, WEG was about performing.

“In our sport, in our discipline, it’s too bad that it’s about being graded, because for me, it’s what I have in my heart and in my soul,” Andreani said. He vaulted on Idefix de Braize.

Another medal round will be held on Sunday, after the teams’ final freestyle.

Today’s total attendance was 44,954. The total attendance for the first15 days of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games is 468,340.

Exell Stays On Top With Fast Marathon In Driving World Championships At Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Posted in 2010 Games, Combined Driving, Disciplines, Results, World Equestrian Games at 3:40 am by Press Release

Boyd Exell

Boyd Exell

Lexington, KY— Australia’s Boyd Exell drove the day’s third-fastest marathon to maintain the lead he took in the first phase of Driving World Championships at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.  Second-placed Ijsbrand Chardon has put the Dutch team in front (273.77), while third-placed Tucker Johnson is leading the U.S. team’s charge for second place (300.92). Sweden is third (311.24).

“Normally on most marathons you’ll have one little something somewhere, but today seemed almost perfect. Even going safe we were still fast, “ said Exell, 38. “I wanted to go fast enough to put pressure on Chardon, but not make mistakes. The horses were machines out there, they just really did it on their own.”

Exell, along with teammate Gavin Robson, has put Australia in the team medal hunt too. They’re in fourth, with 311.99 penalties, just behind Sweden. Australia has never won a team medal at the Driving World Championships.

Chardon, a former multiple-time world champion and one of the sport’s fastest marathon drivers, was only 5.89 points behind Exell after dressage. Today he drove the fastest total time in the eight obstacles of the 25 drivers, scoring 4.17 penalties fewer than Exell. The gap between them is now only 2.72 points.

“Today my goal was to go fast, and tonight I will sleep very well and prepare to have no faults and put the pressure on Boyd tomorrow,” said Chardon, 49.

Johnson’s total puts him 14.82 points behind Chardon, but the next three drivers are only slightly more than 4 points behind him. He said he’d like very much to win an individual medal in his final World Championship before he retires from international competition. He won the team silver medal in 1992 and the team gold medal in pairs driving in 1991.

“I’m gong to go clean tomorrow. That’s my goal,” he insisted.

Johnson, 46, concluded his marathon by saluting the cheering spectators with a raised fist after exiting the last obstacle. “It was a bittersweet moment for me, and I wanted to thank the crowd. I felt a little sadness that it was over and happiness for my performance. Given all the circumstances, I think my last marathon may be my best,” he said.

He added that teammates Chester Weber and Jimmy Fairclough had suffered bad luck before he started, both of them getting penalties for putting grooms down in an obstacle. Those penalties, combined with the speed of Chardon and teammate Theo Timmerman today, broke the tie between the Netherlands and the United States for first place after dressage.

Driving concludes tomorrow (Sunday) with the obstacles phase in the driving arena, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

l drove the day’s third-fastest marathon to maintain the lead he took in the first phase of Driving World Championships at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.  Second-placed Ijsbrand Chardon has put the Dutch team in front (273.77), while third-placed Tucker Johnson is leading the U.S. team’s charge for second place (300.92). Sweden is third (311.24).

“Normally on most marathons you’ll have one little something somewhere, but today seemed almost perfect. Even going safe we were still fast, “ said Exell, 38. “I wanted to go fast enough to put pressure on Chardon, but not make mistakes. The horses were machines out there, they just really did it on their own.”

Exell, along with teammate Gavin Robson, has put Australia in the team medal hunt too. They’re in fourth, with 311.99 penalties, just behind Sweden. Australia has never won a team medal at the Driving World Championships.

Chardon, a former multiple-time world champion and one of the sport’s fastest marathon drivers, was only 5.89 points behind Exell after dressage. Today he drove the fastest total time in the eight obstacles of the 25 drivers, scoring 4.17 penalties fewer than Exell. The gap between them is now only 2.72 points.

“Today my goal was to go fast, and tonight I will sleep very well and prepare to have no faults and put the pressure on Boyd tomorrow,” said Chardon, 49.

Johnson’s total puts him 14.82 points behind Chardon, but the next three drivers are only slightly more than 4 points behind him. He said he’d like very much to win an individual medal in his final World Championship before he retires from international competition. He won the team silver medal in 1992 and the team gold medal in pairs driving in 1991.

“I’m gong to go clean tomorrow. That’s my goal,” he insisted.

Johnson, 46, concluded his marathon by saluting the cheering spectators with a raised fist after exiting the last obstacle. “It was a bittersweet moment for me, and I wanted to thank the crowd. I felt a little sadness that it was over and happiness for my performance. Given all the circumstances, I think my last marathon may be my best,” he said.

He added that teammates Chester Weber and Jimmy Fairclough had suffered bad luck before he started, both of them getting penalties for putting grooms down in an obstacle. Those penalties, combined with the speed of Chardon and teammate Theo Timmerman today, broke the tie between the Netherlands and the United States for first place after dressage.

Driving concludes tomorrow (Sunday) with the obstacles phase in the driving arena, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

10.09.10

Germany Tops Team Standings In Vaulting World Championships at Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Posted in 2010 Games, Disciplines, Results, Vaulting, World Equestrian Games at 3:47 am by Press Release

Lexington, KY—As vaulters prepare for medal rounds this weekend, Germany took the lead in the team competition on at the Vaulting World Championships, part of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

“The performance went very well,” said Alexander Hartl, longeur and trainer for Germany. “We can do a little bit more to [be] perfect, but this was very good. We will have to do it a little better [in the final round], and we will do it very perfect. That is our plan for the finals.”

The German team vaulted aboard Adlon, a 15-year-old Brandenburger. The Germans’ composite score is a 7.698, and they’re followed closely by Austria (7.644) and the USA (7.655). The final team competition will be a freestyle program on Sunday.

The United States, which had been leading going into today’s performance, had some bad luck when two team members fell from their horse.

“Physically we’re fine, mentally we’ll recover, and Sunday we have still a great opportunity to take back our lead,” said team member and coach Devon Maitozo.

Teams from Switzerland (7.467) and France (7.299) round out the top five.

In individual competition, vaulters performed a technical test today, which requires them to go through five exercises from different categories of motor skills. The athletes put those exercises and others of their choosing to music in a one-minute program. On Saturday, they will perform their final freestyle, and the cumulative marks will determine the medalists.

Coming out of yesterday’s individual freestyle competition, 18-time Swiss champion Patric Looser of Switzerland maintained his lead with a composite score of 8.369. He admitted to being surprised at the outcome.

“I am very happy with my technical test, because it’s not my special thing. I know that I can win a compulsory, I can win a freestyle and be in front, but a technical, it’s my thing where I have to work on it,” he said. He attributed the success in part to his horse, Record RS von der Wintermühle, an 18-year-old Hessian stallion.

“I know I have one of the best horses here, and that gives me security. It’s nice to vault on him,” Looser said.

Germany’s Kai Vorberg put in the men’s highest technical score of the day, and that moved him into second place with a composite score of 8.353. The music that accompanied his performance was his own rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” The remaining vaulters in the top five are Nicolas Andreani of France (8.301), Stefan Csandl of Austria (8.123) and Gero Meyer of Germany (8.091).

In the female individual division, the high-scoring technical test of the day moved Joanne Eccles of Great Britain, the 2009 European Champion, into the lead with a composite score of 8.327. But she said nothing is certain with one performance yet to go.

“I think the competition has been full of ups and downs. The first day, I did really well. The second day, I wasn’t happy with my performance so much. Today, I am happy again,” Eccles said. “There’s some fantastic competition here; it could go any way. There are about seven girls who are at the top, and anyone could take the lead. So if I don’t go out there and enjoy it, there’s no point in coming to the competition, so my aim is more to have a really good final round and be pleased with myself, rather than see what place I come.”

Eccles’ father, John Eccles, is her longeur and trainer, and the family owns their vaulting horse, W.H. Bentley, a 16-year-old French warmblood-Dale pony cross.

Standing currently in second place is Antje Hill of Germany with a composite score of 8.207. Simone Wiegele of Germany (8.192), Mary McCormick of the United States (8.133) and Megan Benjamin of the United States (8.065) round out the top five.

Judges are Suzanne Detol (USA), Jochen Schilffarth (GER), Erich Breiter (AUT), Martine Fournaise (FRA), Monika Eriksson (SWE), and Roland Boehlen (SUI).

10.08.10

The Leaders Are All Tied Up In Driving World Championships at 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Posted in 2010 Games, Combined Driving, Disciplines, Results, World Equestrian Games at 7:49 pm by Press Release

Lexington, KY — Ties almost never happen in four-in-hand driving, but they’re the rule of the day at the Driving World Championships at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The United States and the Netherlands are tied for first in the race for the team medals, at 76.16 penalties, with their top two drivers tied for second and fourth.

The only clear leader is Boyd Exell of Australia, who drove his team to a five-point lead in dressage, scoring 30.08 penalties, the best dressage score ever recorded in a World Championship. Chester Weber of the USA and Ijsbrand Chardon of the Netherlands are tied for second (35.97), and Tucker Johnson of the USA and Theo Timmerman of the Netherlands are tied for fourth (40.19).

“I think I’ve seen maybe two ties in 20 years, so to have the teams and the four of us tied is amazing,” said Johnson.

The third members of their teams—Jimmy Fairclough for the USA and Koos de Ronde for the Netherlands—are in ninth and 10th places, separated by only .25 penalties.

Exell drove his team of mixed warmbloods to the record score, even though he injured his hand last week. “I was jumping cross-country for fun, and I fell and broke a bone in my left hand. I was struggling a bit with it yesterday, but the Aussie team got me a good kit and it was all right today. I lost my grip twice, but the leaders covered it up for me,” he said.

Despite his hand, Exell enjoyed his test. “I had to stop myself from smiling in there,” he said. “They were doing it all on their own, the circles, the corners—everything. My grooms helped by telling me to warm up for 20 minutes less.”

Johnson’s team included a horse Exell loaned him, the left leader, named Black Shadow. “I call him Boyd when I’m mad at him,” said Johnson with a smile. Johnson, 46, said today that these World Championships would be his final competition.

Exell, 38, said he had no second thoughts about loaning the horse to Johnson. “Tucker has been a great advocate of the sport for 30 years, and he’s never asked for anything in return,” said Exell. “I saw him struggling a bit with horsepower at Aachen [Germany], and I made the offer. I said I’d split the prize money with him if he won.”

The two drivers agreed on their expectations for tomorrow’s marathon, in which the 25 drivers will journey around almost the entire Kentucky Horse Park. Richard Nicoll of the United State has designed the eight obstacles they’ll negotiate.

“It’s a more open course than we have been used to, but that still brings problems, because we can go faster and make more mistakes,” said Exell.

Said Johnson, “I think you’re going to seeing some really fast driving because it’s so open. It will be a test for me because I’ll be driving fast enough to make a lot of mistakes.”

Wiegele And Looser Set The Standard In Vaulting World Championships at Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Posted in 2010 Games, Disciplines, Results, Vaulting, World Equestrian Games at 7:20 am by Press Release

Lexington, KY—Round 1 of the individual portion of the World Vaulting Championships concluded today, with the top 15 male and the top 15 female vaulters advancing to the second round of competition at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, with technical and freestyle programs yet to go.

Going into Round 2, Germany’s Simone Wiegele, a member of the gold-medal team in the 2006 World Games, leads the female division, and Switzerland’s Patrick Looser, an 18-time Swiss champion, leads the men’s division.

Vaulting combines gymnastic and dance elements, performed to music on a cantering horse. A longeur, who controls the horse, completes the three-way partnership, and harmony between all participants is imperative. In Thursday’s individual freestyle tests, which were limited to one minute, the vaulters chose their own music, which ranged from rock (“Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence) to classical Vivaldi.

Wiegele, 24, who entered the day in second place after Wednesday’s compulsory program, admitted to feeling some nerves as she began performing to an operatic score.

“At the beginning, it felt a little bit strange because of all the people and the great atmosphere and the big hall. It was a little bit scary,” she said. Her horse, 12-year-old Arkansas, gave her a good rhythmic canter, so she said her freestyle program “on him is really good.” Her cumulative score is 8.344.

Second in the cumulative female individual standings is Joanne Eccles of Great Britain (8.274). The remaining top-five vaulters are Antje Hill of Germany (8.121), Christa Kristofics-Binder of Austria (8.050) and Mary McCormick of the United States (8.050).

In the male division, some interesting themes took hold. Looser, 26, performed as an astronaut, complete with a NASA spacesuit, silver hair and silver gloves and shoes. His music was from the movie “Transformers.”

“It’s especially for here, for Kentucky,” he said. “I wanted something special to take all the people here to space and give a little bit of an American feeling back to the arena.”

Regarding his strong freestyle program, Looser said, “I [was] one of the first competitors in the field, and it’s very important that you make a clean performance, to make a bit of pressure on the others behind you. That was my goal today.”

He was vaulting aboard Record RS von der Wintermühle, an 18-year-old Hessian stallion, and his cumulative score from two days of competition is 8.524.

The other top-five male individual cumulative scores belong to Nicolas Andreani of France (8.405), Kai Vorberg of Germany (8.366), Gero Meyer of Germany (8.288) and Stefan Csandl of Austria (8.264).

The vaulting championships continue Friday with the technical program in Round 2 of individual competition and the team freestyle competition, which will complete the teams’ first round.

Judges are Suzanne Detol (USA), Jochen Schilffarth (GER), Erich Breiter (AUT), Martine Fournaise (FRA), Monika Eriksson (SWE), and Roland Boehlen (SUI).

Great Britain Is Golden In Para Dressage World Championships At Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Posted in 2010 Games, Disciplines, Para-Dressage, Results, World Equestrian Games at 7:16 am by Press Release

Lexington, KY—Great Britain continued its historical domination of the Para Dressage World Championships by taking the team gold, and sweeping all three individual medals in the Grade Ia division, as well as the individual gold and silver in grade Ib. These medals follow yesterday’s gold-medal performance by Sophie Wells, bringing to seven the total British medal count in para dressage at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Leading the British charge was Sophie Christiansen, 22, who took individual gold in the grade Ia test with a score of 76.100 percent and provided a crucial score for her team. Christiansen was overcome when her score was announced.

“My trainer decided I should ride for longer today. I normally ride for 15 minutes, and today I rode for 30 minutes,” she said. “I’m so happy with him because he just took care of me. That score is the highest I’ve ever gotten in the individual test. The feeling afterward is so wonderful. I was so nervous this morning!”

Joining Christiansen on the all-Britain individual medal podium were Anne Dunham with silver (73.200%) and Emma Sheardown (71.900%) with bronze.

“I was pleased,” said Dunham, 61, after her ride. ”It went very well. This one was better than the other day. He was freer and more forward. I try not to let the pressure affect me. I simply try to do the best I can, just do my best and let people catch up afterwards.”

Sheardown, 25, was equally pleased with her performance. “I was really happy with it. I am even happy with the score,” she said. “This is my first championship, and it feels absolutely amazing, and I so like all the disciplines being here.”

Also mining British gold was grade Ib rider Lee Pearson, 36, who performed a nearly flawless ride on the handsome bay Gentleman to score 76.435 percent. British rider Ricky Balshaw, 23, joined him on the podium to accept the silver medal (72.870).

Pearson, a 12-year team veteran, found himself surprisingly anxious. “I was really nervous today. I had to tell myself to take a breath before I entered—for the first time. It was because of my expectations of myself and because I warmed up 10 minutes short. He felt ready, but my mind wasn’t.”

He added, “Every gold medal is special, but this one is different because it’s our first time at the WEG. So we will go down in history, even though we weren’t as comfortable as we like to be with the other teams breathing down our backs.”

Balshaw survived a spooky moment with the flashy chestnut Academy Award to ride a strong, clean test. “I don’t know quite what was with the spook.  He was coughing,” he said immediately after his ride. “I was quite pleased with the test.  The pirouettes were good. I may have backed off a little bit in the extensions because of what happened.”

Dunham, Pearson, Christiansen and grade II rider Jo Pitt, 31, contributed scores to the winning British team performance (395.456). Team silver went to Germany (390.277), and team bronze went to Denmark (418.389), which edged the Netherlands (417.480) late in the day.

Danish rider Stinna Tange Kaastrup’s score of 70.174 percent clinched team bronze for Denmark and also garnered her individual bronze in grade Ib.

“I felt awesome out there,” said Kaastrup, 16. “My horse was a little turned on. He was very proud of himself to be out there, and I was very proud of him.”

10.07.10

IJsbrand Chardon and Chester Weber Share Lead After First Day Of Driving World Championships At The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Posted in 2010 Games, Combined Driving, Disciplines, Results, World Equestrian Games at 10:07 pm by Press Release

Lexington, Ky.,–The battle has begun for the Individual and Team medals in the Four-In-Hand Driving World Championships, held as part of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, and tied for the top spot are two of the sport’s biggest names.

IJsbrand Chardon of The Netherlands, was the second driver in the arena for the opening Dressage phase, and he turned in a spectacular performance to score a 35.97.

In the next to last position was Chester Weber, driving for the United States, and he turned in the identical score to stand tied with Chardon for first place.

Neither Chardon nor Weber is a stranger to this top level of competition.  Chardon, a legend in the sport of Driving, has been Dutch National Champion twenty-one times and has won medals in four World Equestrian Games, including Team and Individual Gold.  Weber has won eight consecutive U.S. National Championships and has a Team Silver Medal from the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.

“The horses went well,” commented Chardon after his test. “The field was very good and I had a good feeling about the test. I had a little mistake at the walk, but that is the game.

“I have good horses.  As part of their training we ride them three times a week, this gives them their light feel and responsiveness which is so important.  We are very happy with our test and are looking forward to the marathon competition.  The course is very technical and long, with long gallops.  I am looking forward to a good fight on Saturday.”

“IJsbrand drove a nice, harmonious, risk-free test and certainly got rewarded for it,” commented Weber.   “I, together with the chef d’equipe, made a hard strategic decision to stay domestic this summer and not to compete at the major European venues, so I was anxious about the dressage.  I think that the extended trot from my team was great — clearly where it’s at.  Their movement was fantastic. They really woke up in the arena. I was a little bit unfortunate with the back, which cost me points, but the horses seem to be fit and in top form. I’m pleased with them.

“The arena is good.  It looks like they watered it quite a bit recently so it actually pulls a lot heavier than the dried up ground out here.  The marathon course looks like it’s going to be good sport regardless. There’s nothing for free here.  The challenge with the hills is that you are pushing them going up and supporting them coming down.  It will pay off for the teams that have horses with power left at the end. We’ve worked a lot on the marathon recently.  The team coaches here have been helping me a lot.  We’re going to go out and do our best and see what it all looks like on Sunday afternoon.”

Standing in third place is Theo Timmerman, also of The Netherlands.  His score of 40.19 belies the youth of his team, as the oldest horse is merely nine, and his two wheel horses have only been working together this year.

“I am happy about my horses today,” said Timmerman.  “We will wait and see what happens tomorrow with the other drivers.

The provisional Team scores after this first day of competition places The Netherlands solidly in first place with a score of 76.16, followed by the United States with 87.94 and Germany with 103.04.

The Driving World Championships continue Friday, October 8, with the second half of the Dressage phase, followed on Saturday by the exciting Marathon before concluding on Sunday with the Obstacles competition, after which both Team and Individual Medals will be awarded.

U.S. Team Leads The Way In Vaulting World Championships At 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Posted in 2010 Games, Disciplines, Results, Vaulting, World Equestrian Games at 3:40 am by Thomas

Lexington, KY — The Vaulting World Championships swung into action today at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, with the compulsory portion of both team and individual competition being contested at the Alltech Arena.

At day’s end, the U.S. team held the highest score (7.207), followed by Germany (6.996) and Austria (6.990). Switzerland (6.880) and France (6.594) rounded out the top five. Team freestyle continues on Friday, with the final freestyle round on Sunday.

Vaulting combines gymnastic and dance elements, performed to music on a cantering horse. A longeur, who controls the horse, completes the three-way partnership, and harmony between all participants is imperative. Vaulting has been an FEI-recognized discipline since 1983.

Although there is a lot of competition left before medals are awarded, the Americans are happy with their inaugural performance on home soil.

“We went out there, and we just took charge,” said Devon Maitozo, team member and coach of the Free Artists Creative Equestrians vaulting club, which constitutes Team USA this year. “I feel like we did one of our best sets that we’ve done. Just in watching my team, I saw people reaching their potentials in a lot of places and very few mistakes.”

The U.S. team partnered with Palatine, a 12-year-old Westphalian, who was imported from Germany in 2007 for the express purpose of competing at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. He is trained in dressage by team longeur Carolyn Bland.

In the male individual compulsory test, Germany’s Gero Meyer took the lead with a score of 8.401. German teammate Kai Vorberg followed with an 8.297. The remaining top five are Patric Looser of Switzerland (8.253), Stefan Csandl of Austria (8.077) and Petr Eim of the Czech Republic (7.923).

In individual competition, there remains a freestyle portion of Round 1 before the top 15 vaulters in both male and female divisions move into Round 2, which has a technical and a freestyle program.

Meyer said he was “absolutely satisfied” with his performance. “2010 will be my last [World Equestrian Games]. I really wanted to get here, and I got here, and I’m happy.”

Meyer, who placed second in individual vaulting competition at world championships in 2000, 2002 and 2006, vaulted on Grand Gaudino, a 16-year-old Hanoverian whom Meyer said was “doing his job very well.”

In the female individual compulsory test, Joanne Eccles of Great Britain topped the leader board with a score of 8.157. Following her are Simone Wiegele of Germany (8.037), Megan Benjamin of the United States (7.856), Rikke Laumann of Denmark (7.854) and Stefanie Kowald of Austria (7.836).

Eccles said she has had difficulty recently with the initial vault onto the horse’s back (called the mount). But the 2009 European Champion pulled it out when she needed to.

“It was my best mount I’ve done pretty much all year in competition,” she said. “That’s what actually helped my compulsories, and I think I had a pretty good set. I was really pleased with most of them. There’s not much I’d pick out from them that I was really disappointed in.”

Eccles sister, Hannah, is also competing in individual female vaulting and is currently in 16th place. Their father, John Eccles, is their longeur and trainer, and the Eccles family owns their vaulting horse, W.H. Bentley, a 16-year-old French warmblood-Dale pony cross.

The World Games’ youngest competitor, 9-year-old Robin Krause, competed on the French team, which is currently in fifth place in team standings. And China’s first WEG competitor – in any discipline – is Ling Yang, who turned in a score of 6.533 in the female individual compulsory test.

“I can’t even put words to how awesome that is,” Yang said. “I felt like that was just the icing on the cake for this whole trip.”

Countries competing in team vaulting are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, France, Great Britain, Germany, South Africa, Switzerland, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States. Countries with individual vaulters are: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway, South Africa, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, Slovakia and the United States.

Judges are Suzanne Detol (USA), Jochen Schilffarth (GER), Erich Breiter (AUT), Martine Fournaise (FRA), Monika Eriksson (SWE), and Roland Boehlen (SUI).

10.06.10

Wells and Brenner Gather Gold in Para Dressage World Championships

Posted in 2010 Games, Disciplines, Para-Dressage, Results, World Equestrian Games at 7:45 pm by Press Release

Lexington, KY—British riders have traditionally dominated the medals at the Para Dressage World Championships, and Sophie Wells lived up to that history by taking individual gold in the grade IV individual test, aboard the flashy chestnut Dutch Warmblood, Pinocchio. Her score of 71.677 percent gave her the definitive lead over the Netherlands’ Frank Hosmar, and Denmark’s Henrik Weber Sibbesen at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

“I was quite pleased with my test,” said Wells, 20. “ My horse was a little difficult to warm up, but I thought that the trot work was actually quite good. He came against me a little bit when I picked up the canter after the walk, but then he came back to me again, which was good.  When we were in here on Monday, he was quite distracted by the open corners, but today he was much better.”

Hosmar, 42, was equally thrilled with his score of 70.129 percent aboard his bay Dutch Warmblood Tiesto.

“Today my horse felt really good.  Yesterday he was a little bit tense because he was reacting to the sound of the sand hitting the plastic fence, and it was distracting him because the arena is so quiet.  So today we asked if they could turn up the music so that we couldn’t hear that noise,” said Hosmar.  “Also today the test was a more difficult test, which is better for him because otherwise he gets bored easily and starts looking around.  Today he was so relaxed, and I could feel him waiting for me, and so it was a really good feeling.”

Sibbesen and his handsome black Hanoverian Rexton Royal secured the bronze with their score of 69.419 percent.

In the grade III individual test, the final standings mirrored those of the grade III team test, with Germany’s Hannelore Brenner and her chestnut Hanoverian mare Women Of The World taking gold (72.400%), over Denmark’s Annika Lyke Dalskov on Preussen Wind (71.067%) and Australia’s Sharon Jarvis on Applewood Odorado (68.867%).

Brenner, 48, the reigning Paralympic champion in this test, was pleased with her performance. She believes her long-standing relationship with Women Of The World is the key to their success. “We are like a old couple,” she said. “She knows what I think and I hope I know what she thinks.  She was so free and very happy.”

Brenner has also enjoyed her World Equestrian Games experience. “It is amazing for me to compete here,” she said.  “Since 1999 the Para Sport has really taken a step forward. It’s great, really great. It’s the first time for us to be with the other German riders. We are like one big German family now. Before we arrived, [the German dressage riders] were already here, and we met each other. But we are not one yet. This is the first time we are together with them, and I hope there will be more.”

Dalskov’s Trakehner stallion Preussen Wind is by Gribaldi, the same sire as dressage superstar Moorland’s Totilas, and he shares Totilas’ charisma and floating gaits. Jarvis was the high score for her Australian team yesterday, and she continues to lead the way for the Aussies aboard her bay Dutch Warmblood.

Individual competition resumes tomorrow with individual tests for grades Ia, Ib, and II.

10.05.10

Volunteering: Day 8. Mario Deslauriers…

Posted in 2010 Games, Disciplines, My Volunteering, Results, Show Jumping, Volunteerism, World Equestrian Games at 8:07 pm by Thomas

Today marked my 8th day volunteering and the 11th day overall of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.  It amazing to arrive at the Kentucky Horse Park early in the morning, even before traffic control, though there is already a lot of people working in the Park.  Right now the Park doesn’t sleep, there is always something that has to be done and with any major event now a days, security is present around the clock.

I have now worked primarily in 3 areas, the Main gate, the Athletes gate and the area around Main Stadium.  Today I was back at Main Stadium and with a Morning and Afternoon Show Jumping sessions and Para-Dressage going on just down the way in the Covered Arena the morning was hectic but enjoyable.  As I have seen throughout my time volunteering the volunteers and staff are both flexible and resourceful which is always a great asset because in any event this size you are going to have those things that come up on a daily basis that have to be dealt with on the fly.

Now before everyone thinks its all work and no play, I did get to see Mario Deslauriers on Urico during my break have an excellent ride today, yesterday he won the individual Gold Medal in Speed Jumping.  He did have 2 rails down but compared to some of the crashes I saw, his ride was nearly flawless,  and the U.S. team is currently sitting 3rd on the leader board after today.  The team competition final is tomorrow with there now being an afternoon session added to get to the top 10 will compete tomorrow night.  Information on the added session can be found here, but the good news is, if you hold a ticket for the evening event it will get you into the afternoon session as well.

I have also been drawn into the Pin craze, if that’s what you call it.  Apparently most of the athletes come with a sizable bank of pins to start and generally I haven’t even had to ask, I help someone out and they give me a pin so  I have managed to gather a small collection, I say small compared to some of my volunteer friends who are sporting quite the collections now.  The pin that is in rare supply, is the South African pin, and I know of no one who has it though I did have South African team members say that they did have some just not on them one day that I did ask.  Obviously for those who don’t know me, my wife is South African and we had our wedding in South Africa almost 9 years ago, so it is certainly the Country pin I would love to land.

This week through Closing Ceremonies I am working all 1st shifts,yesterday and today that meant being at the Horse Park at 6 AM, starting tomorrow I have to be out there at 5 AM.  So this post is the last thing I am doing before I head off to bed so I am keeping it short.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas Demond
KyWEGO

10.04.10

Germany’s Jung And Great Britain Claim Gold at Eventing World Championship, Sponsored by Reem Acra

Posted in 2010 Games, Disciplines, Eventing, Results, World Equestrian Games at 3:47 am by Press Release

Lexington, KY — It was back to Rolex Outdoor Stadium today for the conclusion of the Eventing World Championships, presented by Reem Acra, where Germany’s Michael Jung (33.0) remained dominant and claimed the individual gold medal as Great Britain (139.4) took the team gold medal.

Canada jumped to the team silver medal (151.5), just ahead of New Zealand (154.8) in the bronze-meal position. The United States finished fourth (160.3).
William-Fox-Pitt led the British charge on Cool Mountain by claiming the individual silver medal (42.0), while Andrew Nicholson led the New Zealand charge on Nereo by claiming the individual bronze medal (43.5). Karin Donckers of Belgium finished fourth (44.4).

Great Britain last won the World Championship team gold at the 1994 World Games, while Canada had not won a World Championship medal at all since winning the team gold medal at the 1978 World Championships here at the Kentucky Horse Park.

“It’s very hard to pinpoint one thing to mark our success,” said Fox-Pitt.  “I think we’re very lucky back home to have fantastic support. And we have a good team here—we’ve been on lots of teams together now.  We get on and have a lot of fun.  We’re also riding fantastic horses, and we had luck on our side. Tina [Cook] didn’t have the luck on her side [on cross-country], so the pressure was very much on but the other three of us had a great competition, and we’re very lucky today.”

The Canadian riders said that they owe much of their success to coach David O’Connor, who won the team gold medal on the U.S. team at the 2002 World Games.

“He is so responsible for, not just coaching us, but putting together the program that has created these results,” said team member Kyle Carter.  “Four years ago the WEG was a real disappointment for us, and since then it’s gotten stronger and stronger—and it has everything to do with him.  Everybody he’s brought in is just excellent and top-notch.  He’s brought another level to it.”

The Canadians also praised O’Connor for helping with their mental game.

“He encourages us with positive reinforcement mentally, so it’s not just about the riding,” said team member Selena O’Hanlon.  “It’s about what you do at home, how you think about it, and how you visualize it.  I think that’s really big part of it, because in every other sport I can think of—like football, tennis, all of them—you have to read books to make sure you are mentally fit as well.”

Nicholson said he’d hoped New Zealand could earn a medal for the first time since winning the team gold at the 1998 World Games.

“I was hoping to have a chance to get an individual medal,” said Nicholson.  “I obviously have a lot of confidence and faith in Nereo.  He’s very consistent in all three phases, and as a team we’ve come along through this year and gotten a bit more together and a bit stronger.  I was thinking if we could get in the top four or five as team—so to get a medal as a team is a great bonus.”

Teammate Mark Todd, 54, competed in the 1978 World Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park before winning the individual gold medal in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics. He retired from eventing after the 2000 Olympics but decided to make a comeback two years ago. His top horse Gandalf died unexpectedly last winter, and he wasn’t sure Grass Valley would be ready for these World Games until a few months ago. But now he has a new wind in his sails.

“It’s just like starting over really,” said Todd.  “I’m really enjoying being back in the sport.  I’ve got a nice team of young horses coming along.  I’ve got a great bunch of team members here.  This team has been fantastic to be involved with, and I think we can only get better from here on in.  The sport changed a lot, obviously, even since I gave up. It’s taken a wee while to sort of adjust to this, but I think I’m starting to get the hang of it.”

Jung remained atop the leader board throughout this championship on La Biosthetique-Sam FBW, finishing on their dressage score of just 33.00.  Jung credits his success to the time he spends with the horse.

“I have trained him to do everything, and I’ve been with him almost daily,” said Jung.  “That’s why he trusts me.  We’re very good working together because of our longstanding working and training together. Over the last few years we’ve grown together so much, and I really hope that we can do this in London [the 2012 Olympics].”

Richard Jeffery’s show jumping course consisted of 16 elements to be jumped in a time allowed of 90 seconds.  Some 22 of the 55 horse-and-rider combinations that started today’s final phase completed the course with double-clear rounds.

The U.S.’s only individual combination, Becky Holder and Courageous Comet, stood third overall after yesterday’s cross-country phase, but Holder withdrew in the holding box at the third horse inspection this morning.  Courageous Comet lost a front shoe on the early part of yesterday’s course and is thought to have over-compensated in the opposite leg.  He is expected to make a full recovery.

10.02.10

Cross-Country Keeps Germany’s Jung Atop Eventing World Championships, Presented by Reem Acra

Posted in 2010 Games, Disciplines, Eventing, Results, World Equestrian Games at 10:26 pm by Press Release

Lexington, KY — As the day’s third-last starter, Germany’s Michael Jung and La Biosthetique-Sam FBW made the cross-country

course look easy at the Eventing World Championships, presented by Reem Acra.  The pair added nothing to their dressage penalty score of 33.00, to keep the lead they took yesterday in the dressage phase at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Creeping up behind Jung after equally impressive rounds are Great Britain’s William Fox-Pitt on Cool Mountain, finishing on their dressage score of 42.00, and USA’s Becky Holder on Courageous Comet, finishing on 42.50.

Of the 79 horses that started today’s course, 60 finished (75.9%).  Some 13 riders, including Jung and Fox-Pitt, finished faster than the ideal time of 11:14 and added nothing to their dressage penalties.

Jung, 28, said his warm-up didn’t go as he’d planned, because of a hold on course.  “I was on my horse almost double the time I normally would have been,” said Jung.  “The big problem was I just didn’t

Michael Jung and La Biosthetique-Sam FBW

Michael Jung and La Biosthetique-Sam FBW at the Rolex Water Complex

know when I would start.  There was also a really fresh wind that came up, and I didn’t want my horse to get very cool.  I wanted to keep him really warm.”

Despite the less-than-ideal preparation, Jung was thrilled with the course and La Biosthetique Sam FBW, 10, whom he has ridden since the gelding was 5 years old.

“Thus was my first championship at the four-star level,” he said.  “I think it was a difficult course but a fair one for the horses.  One of the big difficulties was there were demanding jumps all over the course, so at every jump you really had to concentrate, and every jump asked a very big effort from your horse, from the first jump until the end.”

Fox-Pitt, 41, agreed that course designer Michael Etherington-Smith had created a proper championship track.  “I think in reality no one would have guessed it would cause the trouble it did,” he said.  “It looked very imposing, but in many aspects it was a quite straightforward, big, attacking track.  For it to cause enough trouble for me to have moved up from 12th to second—I am amazed.  I think the last three horses of the day made it look like a canter around the park.”

Holder, 41, said she was up on all her minute markers until she got near the end, but then she became a little conservative trying to make sure she got home “nice and tidy,” adding 3.2 time penalties to her score.  She added that she breathed more easily after putting certain parts of the course behind her.  “It was certainly a relief to have the coffin and wishing well combination in my rear-view mirror,” she said.  “It felt like he went through them easily, and that gave me a great amount of confidence for the rest of the course.”

Jung said that his plan for tonight was to have a drink, enjoy the being in the lead, and go to bed early.  He praised his experience at the World Games thus far.

“For me it was always a dream to participate in the world championships, so now being in the lead is more than a dream,” he said.  “I would put the saddle on him and ride it again now. I loved it very much.”

Fox-Pitt he said that he too planned to l live in the moment and not worry about tomorrow.  “I think enjoying the moment is very important,” he said.  “You never know what’s going to happen.  In a way I don’t want tomorrow to come.  I am quite enjoying the moment now.”

Fox-Pitt and his British teammates hold a narrow lead in the team standings, with a total score of 139.4. The United States team holds second place (143.7), and Canada holds third (147.5).

Holder is riding as an individual, not as a member of the U.S. team. She’s rooting hard for the team, though. “I think all of us are kind of glad that the British team is feeling our breath down their necks a little bit,” she said with a smile.  “We’ve been working really hard on our show jumping with Katie Prudent, and we’re hoping to put a good show on tomorrow.”

Fox-Pitt said they are definitely feeling the pressure.  “The pressure is going to be on even more,” he said.  “To be going into show jumping with such little space between the top two teams is going to be terrifying.  We’re going to need to jump very, very well.”

The remaining 60 horses will be presented to the ground jury in Sunday morning’s final horse inspection, and show jumping will begin at 12:45 p.m.

Iman du Golfe, ridden by Juan Carlos Garcia (ITA), was injured in a fall at fence 20. He was treated at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital for a deep laceration over the left elbow region.  X-rays showed no major fracture, although there is a small bone chip near the elbow.

The laceration has been sutured, and the horse is resting comfortably.  The Rood & Riddle attending veterinarians are optimistic that the horse will make a full recovery.

Freestyle Win Gives Gal Three Gold Medals at Dressage World Championships, Presented by Alltech

Posted in 2010 Games, Disciplines, Dressage, Results, World Equestrian Games at 8:42 am by Press Release

Lexington, Ky., Oct. 1, 2010 – In an historic sweep, Dutch rider Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas captured three gold medals at the Dressage World Championships, presented by Alltech, part of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Friday night, in front of a sold-out crowd at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Main Stadium, he won the Grand Prix Freestyle with a score of 91.8 percent.

Earlier in the week, Gal and “Totilas” earned the gold medal in the Grand Prix Special and were members of the gold-medal-winning team from the Netherlands.

The Grand Prix Freestyle’s top placings mirrored those of the Grand Prix Special, with Laura Bechtolsheimer of Great Britain capturing the silver medal with Mistral Hojris (85.35%), and Steffen Peters of the United States taking bronze on Ravel (84.90%). Peters, with two medals now, is the only U.S. rider ever to earn an individual medal at a World Equestrian Games. The three top riders also finished the team Grand Prix on Sept. 28-29 in the same order.

Before the medals ceremony, announcer Brian O’Connor brought Gal into the arena to thank him for taking dressage in an “unbelievably new direction. … You are in charge of what’s happening worldwide in dressage,” O’Connor said.

Linda Zang, president of the ground jury, discussed her impressions of the top three horses: “They’re actually, to me, three totally different types of horses. Totilas is a horse that shows so much power, but at the same time is very easy and seems very light. I think Edward does an amazing job to be able to sit and keep a horse with so much power and energy into a frame and work happily with him. Laura’s horse, for me, has a lot more power and is a very big horse. And Steffen has a different kind of horse. It’s a horse that is very elastic and soft and has a different kind of harmony. All three of them have harmony.”

Gal, who came into the World Games highly touted, said he was relieved that he and his horse lived up to the expectations.

“When I came here, I knew I could do it, but it also has to happen. And then it’s quite difficult, and there was, of course, a lot of pressure on me because everyone expected it,” he said.

Peters noted that he dedicated the freestyle ride to his fellow U.S. rider Courtney King-Dye, who suffered a head injury after a riding accident in March. Peters wore a protective helmet in his celebratory victory lap aboard Ravel.

Also, during the post-medals ceremony press conference, Gal said, “It is not a rumor” that Totilas has been bred to Brentina, an Olympic and WEG medalist and a World Cup titlist.

Nations represented in the Grand Prix Freestyle were the Netherlands, Great Britain, the United States, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Austria, Poland and Switzerland. Judges were Zang (United States), Mary Seefried (Australia), Ghislain Fouarge (the Netherlands), Evi Eisenhardt (Germany), and Maribel Alonso (Mexico).

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