Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup made her global breakthrough in the Para Dressage competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon, North Carolina (USA) today with her mount Horsebo Smarties, taking gold in the Grade II Individual competition.
Kaastrup was a double bronze medallist at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, and has medalled at four European championships, is celebrating her first world title. She rode Horsebo Smarties to score 72.735% ahead of Austria’s multi world, European and Paralympic champion Pepo Puch, who scored 72.676% on Sailor’s Blue. The Netherlands’ Nicole den Dulk came third, on Wallace N.O.P. with 70.735%.
Eventing fans at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 were treated to one of the thrilling afternoons of sport as four days of compelling competition came down to the very final show jumping fence.
Ultimately, it was Great Britain’s Rosalind Canter, riding Allstar B, who proved to be the star of a spectacular show with her double clear round proving critical in securing her individual gold and giving Great Britain the world title, to go with their 2017 European crown.
Ireland, led by individual silver medallist Padraig McCarthy, broke records all over the place. The country’s team silver was their first team medal at a world championships since the inaugural event in 1966, while McCarthy’s individual success was the nation’s first since John Watson – father of current team member Sam Watson – finished second 40 years ago.
“There were quite a few tears which really isn’t very normal for me. It’s absolutely incredible!”
Rosalind Canter (Team GB)
“There were quite a few tears which really isn’t very normal for me. It’s absolutely incredible,” said Canter, who entered the arena with Team GB just 0.20 points ahead of Ireland, after poles down for both Tom McEwen and Piggy French. “In the back of my mind I did know (the team situation) but I was just focused on my horse and my warm-up. You have to try and block that out.”
Canter, who won European team gold with Great Britain in 2017, was quick to praise legendary eventing coach Chris Bartle, emphasising how the 66 year old has made her “less intense” since he joined the team at the end of 2016.
Ireland, who had started the day a significant 8.20 points behind the British, were in rampant form throughout, highlighted by the confident McCarthy on Mr Chunky.
“In a previous life I used to be a show jumper, so it gave me a lot of confidence,”McCarthy said, before confirming medals have long been on his mind. “I have dreamt about it for the last six months, at least. With a horse like this you have to dream big.”
With joy for some came heartache for others. Germany’s Ingrid Klimke seemed destined to add the ultimate sparkle to her glittering career with a first ever individual world championship gold right up until the moment she and mount SAP Hale Bob OLD flicked the last fence and handed the glory to Canter.
“If somebody had told me before I would come here and get individual bronze I would have been very happy,” said the WEG 2014 team gold medallist. “It was very close, last fence, last rail, for sure the first moment I was disappointed but it was the only mistake that we did on the whole weekend.”
Reigning Olympic team champions France took team bronze, although their celebrations were tinged with regret as Lieutenant Colonel Thibaut Vallette and Astier Nicolas, lying fourth and fifth respectively after the cross country, both knocked a pole down to ruin hopes of climbing onto the individual podium.
Team Japan produced a stunning display to finish fourth overall, suggesting that the home nation could be one to watch come the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
With hosts Japan already guaranteed a place at the 2020 Games, Germany and Australia booked their tickets by finishing fifth and sixth respectively before New Zealand, buoyed by Burghley 2018 winner Tim Price’s eighth place overall, snatched the final qualification spot.
Germany’s Isabell Werth (49) showed exactly why she is the most decorated rider in the history of equestrian sport when claiming the Helgstrand Dressage Grand Prix Special title at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA today. Bringing the 14-year-old mare, Bella Rose, back to good health and fitness after an injury sustained four years ago has been a long, slow process. But her faith and dedication was repaid in full this afternoon when she topped the Special podium for the third time in the 28-year history of the Games.
And she was under maximum pressure when last into the US Trust arena, with America’s Laura Graves (31) and Verdades sitting in gold medal spot ahead of Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin (33) and Mount St John Freestyle as she set off down the centre line. She had an added incentive to nudge them further down the podium however, because her great personal friend and patron, Madeleine Winter-Schulze, broke her leg in a fall shortly after watching Werth help win team gold yesterday evening.
““I feel so sorry for Madeleine, she is in hospital so I said I’ll try my best to bring the gold medal to her this evening with a glass of champagne!”
Isabell Werth (GER)
said the lady whose golden collection is second to none.
Graves set the target with an extraordinary performance from her 16-year-old gelding when fourth-last to go of the 30 starters. With clockwork rhythm and show-stopping style they posted a mark of 81.717 that would prove hard to beat. Werth’s team-mate Sonke Rothenberger (23), who came so close to toppling his legendary compatriot when taking individual silver at last summer’s FEI European Championships in Gothenburg (SWE), looked likely to put up a mighty challenge when next into the arena, but a couple of mistakes saw him having to settle for a score of 81.277.
And then Dujardin overtook him when posting 81.489 to slot temporarily into silver medal spot. The British rider was the undisputed queen of the sport during her record-breaking partnership with the great Valegro which came to an end when the horse was retired two years ago. So she’s been in the wilderness for a while, but today she stepped right back onto centre stage when scoring 81.489 with a mare that is only nine years old. It’s clear this is a horse whose potential is only beginning to be realised, so there’s a shiver of excitement running through the sport after today’s result.
Dujardin knew she had to up her game to prove that potential, and she did it with a breathtaking performance that suggests there’s so much more to look forward to. “I felt I’d nothing to lose today and I knew I had a tough job. I was like the jam between the German sandwich, with Isabell at one end and Sonke at the other!” she said.
However it was all about Isabell at the end of the day, the living legend punching out massive scores to put the result beyond doubt for a final scoreline of 86.246.
“I knew we had to give the best to get the gold today, but I felt so safe on her, and she had so much energy and was so patient. It’s always great to go in when you know there’s a chance because the horse is so good. Then it’s just up to you to show it in the right way” Werth said.
Now it’s on to Sunday’s Grand Prix Freestyle when Werth may find it even more difficult to secure her third gold medal of the tournament. Because Graves and Dujardin are in no mood to crumble. And it looks very much like Dujardin wants to wrest back the crown she wore for so long during Valegro’s reign as Dressage king of the ring.
That may not be in two days’ time, but talking about her mare the British rider said “when she’s stronger and more confident I’m going to give Isabell a run for her money – we’ll be back fighting!”. Werth just smiled.
The FEI has today announced its Live@Tryon digital show, a 25-minute daily programme bringing the excitement, drama and atmosphere of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 to audiences around the world, turning the Games into a fully connected global experience.
The live show, produced in English by FEI’s production and distribution partner IMG – the world’s largest independent producer and distributor of sports programming – will run with selected global media partners, and will also be livestreamed on the FEI’s own digital platforms FEI TV, FEI YouTube and Facebook.
Live@Tryon presenters Ayden Uhlir (USA), former US junior Dressage champion, and Nick Rothwell (CAN), former Sky Sports host and ice hockey player, will bring fans even closer to the action in North Carolina (USA) with behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with equestrian stars, expert analysis, and top stories covering everything from the sport as well as lifestyle, entertainment and fashion content.
“Innovation and interactivity will be at the core of the show, with quizzes, Q&As, games and contests for fans on-site and on-line.
“The Live@Tryon digital show is a first for the FEI – it will be vibrant, youthful and fun, as well as being an all-important learning and entertaining opportunity for all those tuning in to what will be one of the largest events taking place on US soil this year,” explained Ralph Straus, FEI Commercial Director.
The FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 will see human and equine athletes compete from 11-23 September for 29 medals in the Olympic disciplines of Eventing, Jumping and Dressage, the Paralympic sport of Para-Dressage, alongside Driving, Endurance, Reining and Vaulting.
A total of 30 highly talented equestrian athletes from six continents have earned their tickets to represent their nations at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) – the world’s largest multi-sport youth event – in Buenos Aires (ARG) next month. And 11 nations will be making their YOG debut.
The athletes, aged between 15 and 18 years, have made the grade after a series of tough global qualifiers, including the FEI World Jumping Challenge series, European and Regional Championships and wider international youth events.
“Representing your country at a young age, at such a prestigious event, is an undeniable honour,” said FEI President Ingmar De Vos. “The YOG is a springboard to the Olympic Games and to the FEI World Equestrian Games. The international equestrian community wishes all our YOG athletes the best for this very important equestrian career stepping stone!”
The full list of qualified Youth Olympic Games athletes and their nations, can be viewed here.
Every equestrian athlete at the YOG will have the challenge of competing on borrowed horses, which is a major test of earned trust and combined courage.
The athletes will be introduced to their horses, which have been carefully selected by a group of experts in the months running into the Games, for the very first time on 4 October, just four days before the equestrian events start on 8 October.
All athletes will then compete in the Team competition – with a twist – on 8-9 October followed by the Individual competitions on 12-13 October.
“The YOG teams are composed of athletes from the same continent, so this is not just a test of the ability of our athletes to bond with their horses, but also their capacity to bond with each other as they bid for a team medal,” the FEI President explained.
The YOG Equestrian events will be held at the historic Club Hipico Argentino, founded in 1909, and nestled in the Buenos Aires’ Green Park district, famous for its forest and lakes.
The YOG Equestrian events will see 30 athletes from 30 nations compete: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Egypt, Great Britain, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Qatar, South Africa, Syria, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Eleven National Olympic Committees will be making their YOG debut: Bolivia, Haiti, Hungary, Honduras, Iraq, Jordan, Mauritius, Mexico, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Zambia.
British rider wins Freestyle to scoop second gold medal in two weeks; Germany takes team and Grand Prix titles
Exciting British newcomer, Charlotte Fry (22), posted her second sensational victory of the past two weeks when winning today’s Freestyle at the FEI European Dressage U25 Championships 2018 in Exloo, The Netherlands. Just 12 days ago the Dutch-based Yorkshire rider, who trained with British legend Carl Hester during her teenage years, claimed the 7-Year-Old title with Glamourdale at the Longines FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships in Ermelo (NED). This afternoon she added another gold medal to her collection when posting a great score of 82.145 with the lovely 10-year-old gelding, Dark Legend, to be crowned U25 Freestyle champion.
The result ensured she went home with a full set of colours, having posted the biggest individual score in Wednesday’s Team Championship to boost Great Britain to bronze medal position, and slotting into silver medal spot behind yesterday’s Grand Prix winner Jil-Marielle Becks (20) from Germany.
“I’m in shock – this is all really unexpected!”
Charlotte Fry (GBR)
Becks was joined by Bianca Nowag (Fair Play), Juliette Piotrowski (Sir Diamond) and Lisa-Maria Klossinger (FBW Daktari) to top the team standings with a score of 219.706 which left them well ahead of their Dutch rivals in silver medal spot. Carlijn Huberts (Watoeshi), Maxime van der Vlist (Bailey), Denis Nekeman (Boston STH) and Jeanine Nieuwenhuis (TC Athene) racked up a final tally of 212.765 for The Netherlands. But the British foursome of Fry, Ryan Todd (Charlex Eskebjerg), Rebecca Jane Edwards (Headmore Delegate) and Claire Gallimore (Annette Ballerina) were hot on their heels in bronze when posting 212.118.
Becks, who with her 10-year-old chestnut gelding Damon’s Satelite was an individual bronze medallist at the Young Rider Championships in Valencia (ESP) in 2016, won yesterday’s Grand Prix with a score of 75.385, while Fry took silver when posting 75.308. Bronze went to Denmark’s Victoria Vallentin (20) who rode Ludwig der Sonnenkoenig to a mark of 74.000.
Fry turned the tables today however when pinning Becks into silver in the Freestyle, and it was the German rider’s team-mate, Klossinger (25), who scooped bronze this time around with FBW Daktari.
“I trained with Carl when I was 14 to 17 years old, and then moved to Holland when I just turned 18. Carl actually suggested I should come over to work with Anne Van Olst who is my trainer now, so he put this opportunity my way and I’m very grateful for that!”
Charlotte Fry (GBR)
She said that Dark Legend is a very nervous horse. “This is the first show he felt confident in the ring, so he peaked at a good time!” she pointed out. “Today was a really good test, he couldn’t have been better, he really rose to the music and danced to it!” she added.
And her plans for the future? “To compete at the Olympic Games some day – but for now I just want to get my feet back on the ground and start training again!” she said.
Everyone was singing the praises of the venue at Hippisch Centrum Exloo where the Organising Committee stepped up to the plate at very short notice following the withdrawal of Roosendaal. And the quality of the performances from the Dressage world’s rising stars left even the judges in awe. “What we saw here this week was almost at the same level as senior riders, and it’s really very exciting!” said Ground Jury President, Francis Verbeek-van-Rooy.
Over 100 “Generation Z” athletes – born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s – have been named on the nominated entry list for next month’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, the pinnacle of equestrian sport, in North Carolina (USA).
Amongst these athletes are three 10-year-old vaulters who, alongside their fellow “Gen Zs” from 27 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America and the Middle East, are bidding to represent their nation at the FEI World Equestrian Games™.
A total of 71 countries are included in the nominated entries, a massive increase on the 58 that contested the medals at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Kentucky 2010 when the multi-discipline event was first held outside Europe.
The full nominated entries (listed by discipline) for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, from which the final entries will be selected next month, is here: https://inside.fei.org/fei/fei-weg/2018.
The next and final stages in the Games entry process are the deadlines for definite entries: 3 September for the first week’s competition in Dressage, Eventing, Endurance and Reining, and 10 September for the second week’s events in Driving, Para-Dressage, Jumping and Vaulting.
With an anticipated 800 athletes and over 820 horses from six of the world’s seven continents scheduled to attend, the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 will be one of the biggest sporting events on US soil this year, and will be held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, set against the stunning backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Year of youth
Young equestrian athletes are really taking centre stage in 2018. Just one month after the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, 30 nations will send equestrians aged between 15-18 years to the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games held from 6 to 18 October 2018.
Equestrian fans, athletes and teams from across the globe are coming together to celebrate the sport as one and as part of the FEI campaign for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 – #BeOne.
To learn more about the #BeOne campaign click here.