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. D.A. Duras added no penalties to stay on his dressage score 50.4 to sit in 18th place with Kelly Prather in the tack.
Cross-country! So exciting! Nerve wracking! Exhilarating! Some wonderful young horses showed what they are capable of today. And our U.S. representative [D.A. Duras and Kelly Prather] was one of them in my humble opinion.
Ten minutes is tough enough, but the approaches to many of the fences were on slopes. Either a downhill takeoff or a steep climb up to the question. More than many of the obstacles, watching horses cope with balance and forwardness was definitely the big question of the day.
Kelly Prather and D.A. Duras tackle cross-country at Le Lion d'Anger. Debbie Adams Photo.
In the 7-year-old [CCI2*] division there were 69 combinations which started cross-country, 16 didn’t finish and 14 had jump penalties of some kind. D. A. Duras was one of the horses to be clean and inside the time! We could not be prouder. I believe the Young Event Horse Series (YEH) helped us develop him and set this valuable goal. What a stepping stone for a young horse! I could talk for hours on the benefits from this trip. We are all hoping that the future Olympic and World Champions were here today.
Over 60,000 spectators on XC and many scream and cheer for all the horses going around. They push up against the ropes and can be standing five or six rows deep at the jumps. Nearly everyone makes their way to every fence on course, so they are truly “following” the sport. Of course there are also those having picnics around the way. One of the followers this weekend is our friend Pedro Gutierrez who flew over from Mexico to support D.A. Duras this weekend. What a way he and his wife spend their wedding anniversary. He is a long-time friend and has also been a YEH judge in the U.S.
One of the most interesting things about the experience today was the trash pick-up. You know you are in a different country when you see a donkey being used to help gather the trash, with baskets hanging on both sides of him. Seen Below. Debbie Adams Photo.
We are enjoying as many new exposures as our horse. Having to wash our rental car when we returned it was a bit of a shock to me. Or maybe the crepes being whole wheat most of the time. Everyday has been special for Duras and us. Let's hope show jumping day is special too!
And on a very serious note, we are all wishing William Fox-Pitt the best. He had a very tough fall and was down for quite awhile as we all held our breath. William was transported and we all wish him a complete and smooth recovery.
Competitors will jump in reverse order of go. D.A. Duras is expected to ride at 9:52 a.m. EST.