FEI World Equestrian Games 2018: round-up

24th Sep 2018

4 Gold | 2 Silver | 2 Bronze | Dressage, Eventing & Para-Dressage Tokyo 2020 qualification

Great Britain have finished third in the medal table at the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon, North Carolina, USA, capping off a fantastic couple of weeks of equestrian sport which has seen Personal Bests, new World Records and Olympic and Paralympic qualifications secured.

“Our athletes have delivered some outstanding performances over the last two weeks” commented GBR Chef de Mission, David Holmes. “The medals and Personal Best performances delivered across the disciplines have been brilliant to see and I hope they have inspired people watching back home.”

Dressage provided the first medals of the championships, after stellar performances from the British quartet of Charlotte Dujardin CBE (Mount St John Freestyle), Emile Faurie (Dono de Maggio), Cal Hester MBE (Hawtins Delicato),and Spencer Wilton (Super Nova II) saw them clinch team bronze. Building on their team success, Carl, Spencer and Charlotte all competed in the Grand Prix Special, where Charlotte scooped an Individual Bronze, finishing just 0.2% behind the hosts silver medallist Laura Graves.

Despite the rescheduling of the eventing, it was a thrilling finale to the week’s competition, with all five British riders delivering outstanding performances. For Gemma Tattersall (Arctic Soul), Piggy French (Quarrycrest Echo), Tom McEwen (Toldeo de Kerser) and Rosalind Canter it was a WEG to remember as they climbed from silver after the dressage phase to take the gold, ahead of 2014 champions Germany. For Ros, it was not only team gold, after the final fence fell for Germany’s Ingrid Klimke, it was also individual gold as well.

With their team medals confirmed, so too was Olympic qualification for Great Britain in Tokyo 2020.

The showjumping saw a tense finale as ten teams battled it out for the coveted team title. In the end the spoils went to the hosts, with the British team of Amanda Derbyshire (Luibanta BH), William Funnell (Billy Buckingham), Holly Smith (Hearts Destiny) and William Whitaker (Utamaro d’Ecaussines), finishing in eighth place after a hard fought final round. Amanda Derbyshire and Luibanta produced some further stunning jumping in the individual final, to finish in seventeenth place on their WEG debut.

In para-dressage, the team of Natasha Baker ME (Mount St John Diva Dannebrog), Erin Orford (Dior), Sir Lee Pearson (Styletta) and Sophie Wells MBE (C Fatal Attraction), delivered some superb tests to secure Team Silver for Great Britain, and seal GBR’s place in Tokyo. In the individual tests, it was Golden delight for Sophie, who with Jorge (C Fatal Attraction), danced their way to not one but two world championship titles, whilst Natasha produced a beautifully ridden individual test on the second day to gain an Individual Silver with Diva, a ride Natasha has only had since February this year.

“One of the primary objectives across the Olympic/Paralympic disciplines for this world championships was to gain qualification for Tokyo 2020,” said David, “and it is fantastic that the team spots for GBR have been secured in dressage, eventing and para-dressage. Our showjumpers put in some fabulous rounds this week, showing their potential, and I know will come back even stronger next year at the European Championships.  I was particularly impressed to see great team work between the athletes of all the squads and their support teams.”

In endurance, our riders Caroline Cowley (HS Bellini) and Nicola Thorne (Grand Ku), passed the final vet inspection on a difficult day, which saw the race cancelled due to a ‘potentially dangerously high combination of heat and humidity and the conditions out on the trail following heavy rain’. Sadly for fellow team members Dominique Freeman (Rising Heat) and Rachael Atkinson (Tannasg Psyches Realm), their championship was halted early due to withdrawals.

Elsewhere there were some good performances from our individual reiners, Alison Bucknell (Jac Barbee Dream) and Francesca Sternberg (Spook N Sparkle), who posted a Personal Best in the second round of competition, and also our vaulters, with the squad reaching the final and our individual vaulters – Lucy Phillips and Rebecca Norval, both delivering some stunning routines to a packed-house in the indoor arena.

“My congratulations go to all the athletes, their owners and the support team who have campaigned so hard this year; their successes at these Games would not have been possible with the huge ‘team behind the team’ and my thanks go to everyone involved. It has been a memorable championships.”

Equestrian Team GBR is supported by the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme; the British teams are very grateful to the support they receive from the British Equestrian Federation Fund and official partners Dodson and Horrell, Equi-Trek, FALPRO England, Musto, NAF and Point Two.

Full results from Tryon can be found online at: https://tryon2018.com/officialresults