British Reining have today announced the GBR squad to contest the 2014 Alltech World Equestrian Games (WEG) for Equestrian Team GBR, which takes place in Normandy, France (23 August – 7 September, with the reining competition taking place 25-30 August 2014 in Caen).
Selected team (in alphabetical order):
- Doug Allen (55) from Bodiam, East Sussex
- Josh Collins (24) from Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent
- Francesca Sternberg (51) from Bodiam, East Sussex
- Jessica Sternberg (24) from Bodiam, East Sussex
Selected individual athlete:
- Shane Borland (42) from Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire
NB. Horse combinations will be announced at a later date
The 2014 team boasts three members of the same family, with Jessica Sternberg set to line-up alongside her auntie and uncle, GBR team stalwarts Francesca Sternberg and Doug Allen, for the first time at a World Games.
The squad, a mix of youth and experience, also sees Josh Collins selected for his first WEG, alongside Shane Borland who makes his Championship debut for GBR, having previously competed for South Africa on two occasions at a World Games.
Chef d’Equipe Adam Heaton, commented; “I’m really pleased with the team we have heading to the World Games this year and I’m looking forward to working with such a talented group of athletes. We’re excited about heading to Normandy and to be part of the large GB contingent.”
Will Connell, Chef de Mission commented; “Many congratulations to the five athletes who have secured their place to compete at this year’s World Equestrian Games. The squad is underpinned by the huge depth of experience of Francesca and Doug but it’s great to see three athletes making their debut for GBR at a World Championships.”
On their selection;
Doug Allen: “It’s really exciting to be selected, this will be my fourth WEG and I’m just as excited about this one as I was for my first. I think we have a good team and good horses; we have a team of experienced riders with three of us having ridden at previous WEGs and I think we have a good chance of getting things done out there.
“It should be really fun and I’m really looking forward to going. In Lexington we used borrowed horses but with Normandy being so much closer to home we can take our own; we know our horses really well and will feel much more prepared and confident. My wife [Francesca Sternberg] has been on all three of the previous WEG teams with me and this year with Jessica [Doug’s niece], being able to do this as a family and having a good delegation of British support out in Normandy will make it pretty special.”
Shane Borland: “Shane Borland: “I’m really excited to be going as part of the reining squad and the larger British team. I’ve been to two World Games already and have got set goals in mind of what I want to achieve there this summer. Competing at a WEG is very important to me, not just because it showcases our sport on a world level but also due to the unique nature of the event with all the disciplines coming together – it’s our next best thing to the Olympics.
On his recent change in nationality; “It’s a tough thing and there are lots of reasons behind the change; although I’ve been here for nearly seventeen years now I’m a very patriotic South African so switching nationality was a difficult decision. That said I’ve lived in England for so long and achieved so much due to the support I’ve had over here that I’m proud to be going to Normandy to compete under the GB banner.”
Josh Collins: “Very excited; it’s my first WEG and it’s just such an honour – I can’t wait. We’ve [the Sternberg’s] been family friends for ages and known each other for years so it’ll be a little easier as we’re all on the same wavelength. I’m really excited to see the other events; I think it will be one of the highlights and to support the other Brits as well. We’ll have a strong contingent of fans heading out to support us, one of the beauties of it being so close to home.”
Francesca Sternberg: “It’s going to be extremely special competing alongside my niece; the young riders are our future and it will be a very special feeling in Normandy. I think it’s going to be a very cohesive team; Josh has ridden with us since he was eleven and Josh and Jessica have been on Young Rider teams together in the past. It just shows that young riders coming up through the ranks can make it onto senior teams and I’d be more than happy if Jessica superseded anything I do out at WEG. It’s fabulous that it’s so close to home, and although Kentucky was an amazing event, it makes it more comfy for us, much more like a normal European horse show that we compete at throughout the year.”
Jessica Sternberg: “I’m so excited; it will be so much fun. As well as being on a team with other great riders, they’re friends and family as well and to be on a team with Josh, who I’ve known for years, as well as my auntie and uncle will be extra special. You want everyone to do well and it’s nice that you get to share the experience. It’s an honour to be representing Great Britain at such an event and I’m really looking forward to seeing the other disciplines compete as well.”
The four named team riders who contest the team event (where the best three scores count towards the team result) also compete as individuals at the Championships.
Equestrian Team GBR is supported by the UK Sport Lottery funded World Class Programme; the British teams are very grateful to the support they receive from official Team GBR suppliers Dodson and Horrell, Land Rover, Mears Country Jackets, NAF, Nuumed, Point Two Equine, Tagg Equestrian and Toggi.