Para-Dressage, Vaulting, Jumping & Driving at the World Equestrian Games
By Margaret Evans
Wrapping up the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018 (WEG) with this fourth report, it’s been almost two weeks of ups and downs and bumps in the road, starting with Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Tryon International Equestrian Center as the 13-day event began on September 11. And just this past weekend, Canadian para-dressage rider, Lauren Barwick, faced a bump in her own road to excellence. Her nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Engelbrecht, knocked himself and, as a result, the pair withdrew from the Grade III Freestyle test on Saturday, September 22. He is currently receiving veterinary care and is expected to fully recover for future competitions.
Lauren Barwick, 41, is a four-time Canadian Paralympian and three-time WEG competitor, winning silver and bronze medals on Off to Paris at WEG 2014. At this year’s WEG, she finished in eighth place on Engelbrecht in both the Grade III Individual and the Grade III Team. Scores for both tests were 68.912%.
Para-dressage team championship results:
- Gold – Netherlands with 223.597
- Silver – Great Britain with 222.957
- Bronze – Germany with 219.001
- Canada finished in 8th place with 205.698
Para-dressage Freestyle Grade 1:
- Gold – Sara Morganti (ITA) riding Royal Delight with 78.867%
- Silver – Rihards Snikus (LAT) riding King of the Dance with 76.113%.
- Bronze – Roxanne Trunnell (USA) riding Dolton with 75.587%.
Para-dressage Freestyle Grade II:
- Gold – Stinna Tange Kraastrup (DEN) riding Horsebo Smarties with 78.947%.
- Silver – Pepo Puch (AUT) riding Sailor’s Blue with 75.500%.
- Bronze – Nicole den Dulk (NED) riding Wallace N.O.P. with 74.573%.
Para-dressage Freestyle Grade III:
- Gold – Rixt van der Horst (NED) riding Findsley with 77.347%.
- Silver – Rebecca Hart (USA) riding El Corona Texel with 73.240%.
- Bronze – Dr. Angelika Trebert (GER) riding Diamond’s Shine with 71.840%.
Para-dressage Freestyle Grade IV:
- Gold – Sanne Voets (NED) riding Demantur N.O.P. with 79.645%.
- Silver – Rodolpho Riskalla (BRA) riding Don Henrico with 77.780%.
- Bronze – Kate Shoemaker (USA) riding Solitaer with 73.230%.
Para-dressage Freestyle Grade V:
- Gold – Sophie Wells (GBR) riding C Fatal Attraction with 80.755%.
- Silver – Frank Hosmar (NED) riding Alphaville N.O.P. with 79.155%.
- Bronze – Tomoko Nakamura (JAP) riding Djazz F with 73.540%.
Sophie Wells (GBR) on C Fatal Attraction. Photo: FEI/Liz Gregg
Stinna Tange Kaastrup (DEN) on Horsebo Smarties. Photo: FEI/Liz Gregg
Medals in Individual Vaulting were awarded on Saturday, September 22. Winning gold in the Individual Female Vaulting Championship was Germany’s Kristina Boe on Don de la Mar lunged by Winnie Schluter with 8.388. Taking silver was Germany’s Janika Derks on Carousso Hit lunged by Jessica Lichtenberg with a razor-close score of 8.374. The bronze medalist was Austria’s Lisa Wild on Fairytale lunged by Maria Lehrmann for a score of 8.363.
Winning gold in the Individual Male Vaulting Championship was France’s Lambert Leclezio on Poivre Vert lunged by Francois Athimon with a score of 8.744. The silver medal went to Germany’s Jannik Heiland on Dark Beluga lunged by Barbara Rosiny for a score of 8.606, and winning bronze was Germany’s Thomas Brusewitz on Danny Boy OLD lunged by Patric Looser for a score of 8.533.
Individual female gold medalist Kristina Boe (GER). Photo: FEI/Martin Dokoupil
Individual male gold medalist Lambert Leclezio (FRA). Photo: FEI/Liz Gregg
The competition was fierce in Individual Show Jumping which got underway Sunday, September 23, the last day of the WEG competition. In total, 124 riders crossed the start line in Round A to ride the 480-metre course at a speed of 400 m/min over 13 jumps that included doubles and triples at heights averaging 1.65 metres and at a time allowed of 72 seconds with a time limit of 144 seconds. Course designer was Alan Wade of Ireland.
Simone Blum (GER) riding DSP Alice took gold with penalty points of 3.47. Claiming the silver medal was Martin Fuchs (SUI) riding Clooney with penalty points of 6.68. Bronze was won by Steve Guerdat (SUI) aboard Bianca with penalty points of 8.00.
Canada’s Kara Chad on Carona finished 40th with penalty points of 18.48, while Erynn Ballard on Darkos Promise was in 56th place with 31.40 penalty points. Eric Lamaze on Chaco Kid withdrew, and Mario Deslauriers on Bardolina 2 finished 71st with penalty points of 19.47.
Show jumping individual gold medalist Simone Blum (GER). Photo: FEI/Martin Dokoupil
Show jumping individual bronze medalist Steve Guerdat (SUI). Photo: FEI/Marti Dokoupil
The Four-In-Hand Driving competition got underway on Friday, September 21. This high-octane sport involves a three-member team navigating the carriage pulled by four horses and encompasses the three phases of dressage, marathon and cones. The dressage phase was held on September 21, followed by marathon on September 22, and cones on September 23 when the medals were awarded. There were no Canadian driving competitors.
At the top of the leaderboard after the Team & Individual Championship Dressage Test was Boyd Exell of Australia with a score of 31.68, followed by the USA’s Chester Weber with 35.10 and Ijsbrand Chardon of the Netherlands with 41.06. Exell was looking for his third consecutive World Equestrian Games driving title, and maintained his edge during the marathon test despite broken brakes. In the gold medal individual championship he finished solidly at the top with 154.14 points, almost ten points ahead of silver medalist Chester Weber (USA) with 163.38 points. The individual bronze medalist was Edouard Simonet (BEL) with 174.15 points.
Hometown crowd-favourite was Chester Weber of Team USA, who led his team to the top of the podium. Final team driving standings were:
- Gold – USA team of James Fairclough, Misdee Wrigley-Miller and Chester Weber with 353.39 points.
- Silver – Netherlands team of Bram Chardon, Koos De Ronde and Ijsbrand Chardon with 356.79 points.
- Bronze – Belgium team of Dries Degrieck, Glenn Geerts and Edouard Simonet at 364.09 points.
Individual gold medalist Boyd Excel of Australia. Photo: FEI/Christophe Tanire
Chester Weber of the USA led his team to the gold medal in four-in-hand driving. Photo: FEI/Christophe Tanire
The Tryon 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games endured its fair share of challenges, starting with the change of venue in 2016 when Canada, who won the honour of hosting in 2014, pulled out due to financial issues, and Tryon was awarded the Games. The world class facility had less than two years to prepare for the 800 athletes and 500,000 spectators. As the horses and athletes arrived, the threat of Hurricane Florence prompted both North and South Carolina to declare a state of emergency. And as competition got underway, extreme weather and threats of flooding persisted, causing cancellations and rescheduling. These ups and downs naturally impacted the experiences of some of the visitors and athletes. Canadian show jumper Eric Lamaze posted comments on his Facebook page, which you can read HERE.
But in the end, it comes down to the horse and rider working in a unique and brilliant partnership. Often, those partnerships are threefold when the equine owner is invested not just financially but emotionally in seeing the equestrian pair succeed.
Patricia (Patsy) Fyfe and John Baylis are the owners of Engelbrecht (Vivaldi x Rimini 41), the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding ridden by para-dressage rider Lauren Barwick. Erin Jones with Equestrian Canada’s communications team sat down with them, capturing their wisdom and insights that summed up the emotions of many who have given so generously to bring riders and horses together on the gold medal trail.
“Being part of an athlete’s journey is one of the most touching and wonderful things in my life,” says Fyfe. “I started riding when I was two-and-a-half on the milkman’s horse. He would put me on the horse for a little bit and then I’d scoot back to bed so my parents wouldn’t know! I am a hopeless horse addict.
“Equestrian athletes, as compared to other athletes, are dealing with another sentient being. They are not dealing with a hockey stick or tennis racket. When looking at a horse, we are looking for [the] perfect partnership. We are looking for the breed or the horse that puts it together for us.
“Horses have personalities the same way we do. We not only want a thinker, but a positive thinker. We want a bit of confidence and intelligence with enough conformation to catch the judges’ eyes.”
Fyfe sees the beauty in equestrian sport through what it truly means to the athletes themselves. She empathizes with those who lose hope because of circumstances, but encourages them to remember that there are people who are willing to help.
“This is what our life’s work is all about now,” says Fyfe. “Being here, supporting our athletes, with butterflies in our tummies. We will go wherever it takes us and we will be there cheering.”
As the lights fade to black on the WEG at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina, thoughts are already on Tokyo, host of the 2020 Summer Olympics. Lessons will have been learned, disappointments shelved, clarity and focus renewed. As Patsy Fyfe wisely says, “Great things are going to happen.”
For more WEG coverage visit these links:
- Horses, Hurricanes, and World-Class Competition
- Horses and Riders Persevere as Extreme Weather Plays Havoc
- Jumping, Vaulting, and Para-Dressage
Main article photo: Individual gold medalist Boyd Excel of Australia. Photo: FEI/Christophe Tanire