Germany’s Michael Jung and La Biosthetique-Sam FBW took the lead today in the Eventing World Championships, presented by Reem Acra, at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Jung’s score of 33.00 put him in the top spot, while countryman Simone Deitermann, riding Free Easy (36.00), held on to the third spot after leading following day 1. Italy’s Stefano Brecciaroli, riding Apollo van de Wendi Kurt Hoeve, stands second with a 35.50.
Germany took the lead in the team race, with 114.30 penalty points. Great Britain is next (128.50) and Sweden is third (131.20), followed by Australia (131.80), Italy (135.90), New Zealand (138.30) and the United States (140.00).
Marilyn Payne, president of the ground jury, commented that today’s top rides were especially enjoyable to watch. “It’s so exciting to give 8s and 9s,” she said. “What else can I do? This is the most exciting thing as a judge: to be able to judge horses and riders like this.”
Jung was the third-last rider to start today and performed a beautiful dressage test, despite the fact that his horse is “an absolute bundle of energy.” “The last few years, he has just performed beautifully,” said Jung. He also added that the duo competes in dressage competitions at home in Germany, which might have helped his score today.
“When Michael came in it was just solid 8, 8, 8, and my scribe said, ‘I’m getting bored giving 8s,’ and I said, ‘OK, we’ll, how about a 9?’” said Payne. “It was just so consistent.”
Brecciaroli, a member of the Italian police, ode earlier in the today, but he wowed the crowds with a stellar performance, including a 10 given to him for his rein back. “It was flawless,” said Payne. “It was like he just did it on his own, and then he walked forward in this lovely walk. It was just marvelous.” Although he’s only had the horse for two years, Brecciaroli said his mount listens very well. “He did a wonderful job for me, and for a horse with no experience at this level, he did a very good job,” he said.
Karin Donckers of Belgium rounded out the top four with Gazelle de la Brasserie CH (38.80). What was most impressive about her ride today was the fact that she broke her arm just three weeks ago. She had surgery to insert two pins and will wear a special brace, but doctors have given her the green light to compete.
“I was leading 4-year-olds,” she said. “We brought them back from the fields, and they were quite attached. One had to go to one barn, and one had to go into the other barn, and the horse did not agree with me. He was not really listening to me. I tried to stop him, and he stepped on my left foot, running into me, so I lost my balance and fell backwards.”
France’s Karim Florent Laghouagh, riding Havenir d’Azac, was eliminated when the judges noticed blood in the horse’s saliva. “It was a hard thing to do, but we must go by the rules,” said Payne.
The top riders all commented that tomorrow’s cross-country course is a true championship course.
“I think it’s difficult right to the end of course,” said Jung. “They are very big jumps. It’s long—the longest cross-country course for me. It’s up and down, and you have to plan your whole trip.”
The first of 79 horses will go out on course tomorrow morning at 10:04 a.m.
About the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are the world championships of eight equestrian disciplines recognized by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI). The Games are held every four years and this will be the first occurrence in the United States. The Games will be broadcast on NBC Sports, which marks the largest commitment to network coverage of equestrian sport in U.S. television history. The 2010 Games are expected to have a statewide economic impact of $167 million, and current sponsors include Alltech, Rolex, John Deere, Ariat International, Inc., Meydan, Kentucky Ale, and Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. For more information on the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games please visit, www.alltechfeigames.com.