Debbie Adams and her horse D.A. Duras have traveled to the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championship in France to showcase this gelding on an international stage. Their trip has been made possible by the Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Lion d’Angers Grant. D.A. Duras is the first recipient of this award, having earned it by being the highest scorer of the 2013 USEA Young Event Horse 5-year-old Championship who also qualified for Le Lion d'Angers. Adams is a guest blogger with the USEA to share her inside experience of this event.
After an incredibly long journey (12hours) from Holland we arrived at Le Lion D’Angers, France. Duras travelled in a very large horse box to accommodate him and all of our equipment. Eventers don’t travel light, especially when weather can be questionable this time of year. Unlike cars which can travel up to 120 kmph (75mph), trucks and trailers only go about 80 kmph (50mph). This plus mandatory rest stops every four hours make for very slow progress.
Photo Right; Kelly Prather Schools D.A. Duras alongside Eventing Legend Michael Jung. Debbie Adams Photo.
We were warned that the French would not be friendly and would be tricky to communicate with. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone has been very helpful in trying to understand us and produce what we might need. A great example was our experience trying to obtain a rental car for the week. The local supermarket rents cars and were quite happy to help us out . . . With a cash deposit! Not a credit card. Very different from the U.S.
As soon as we arrived on the grounds we felt the excitement in the air. Everyone is quite keyed up for this competition. The Championships are a very big deal here. During the briefing they mentioned that the last World Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist competed here in the Young Horse Championships. Another fun fact is that 50% of the horses from this competition have gone on in the sport and completed CCI4*.
Twenty-one nations are being represented requiring the briefing to be conducted in two languages. This event used a pretty interesting way to determine the order of the first horse inspection. Although still presented individually, horses jog in “groups” based on their country. Each country picked up a wine bottle with a number which determined their order for the jog. Duras passed his first horse inspection!
Top; D.A. Duras and His Very Patriotic Rider, Kelly Prather. Debbie Adams Photo. Bottom; Debbie Adams Grazing Duras on Competition Grounds. Debbie Adams Photo.
There are 110 horses entered between the two age groups. The 7-year-olds have 72 entries [in their CCI2*] and the 6-year-olds have 38 competing [in their CCI*]. Dressage starts at 9:00 a.m. CEST [3:00 a.m. EST] Thursday morning with the 6-year-olds and the 7-year-olds compete in the afternoon. D.A. Duras does dressage on Friday afternoon at 4:17 p.m. CEST [10:17 a.m. EST] in the last section. William Fox-Pitt and Michael Jung will also be competing in that section.
A Preview of some of the Cross-Country at Le Lion d'Angers. Debbie Adams Photo.
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