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.
About the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are the world championships of eight equestrian disciplines recognized by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI). The Games are held every four years and this will be the first occurrence in the United States. Tickets to the 2010 Games are still available and can be purchased at www.alltechfeigames.com/tickets, at www.ticketmaster.com, through the Ticketmaster hotline at 1-800-745-3000, or at your local Ticketmaster outlet.
The Games are being 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.