In a nail-biting finish at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in Mill Spring, North Carolina, Rosalind Canter (GBR) and Allstar B claimed the individual gold medal in the eventing world championship and solidified Team Great Britain’s spot at the top of the podium with a double-clear round over Alan Wade’s show jumping course. Ingrid Klimke (GER) and Horseware Hale Bob OLD entered the arena in individual gold medal position for Germany but tipped the back rail of the final fence, relinquishing the gold medal to the 32-year-old WEG first-timer from Great Britain.
Canter and Allstar B, (Ephebe For Ever x Narenca B), her own and Caroline Moore’s 13-year-old KWPN gelding, anchored the British Team all weekend, putting in strong performances in all three phases to climb from third after dressage to second after cross-country and come home with the gold medal on their dressage score of 24.6.
“I don’t think it’s hit home yet,” Canter admitted in this afternoon’s press conference. “It was quite a shock when it first happened. It’s just absolutely incredible – not just for me, but the whole sport and team behind me and Team Great Britain.”
“I think I was pretty focused going into the arena,” she commented. “I was fortunate enough to sit on a horse like Allstar B where as long as I can get it right, he’ll just keep going higher and higher for me."
“I’ve been lucky enough the last two years – I went to Europeans last year which gave me a feeler on what this is about. I’ve had a bit of exposure at the top level – maybe for me it helps a little bit – I can just think about the process and I suppose maybe not having done it before that takes pressure off me a little bit and allows me to do my job. But I’d say most of it is about the team around us. Team Great Britain is phenomenal – they make the dream come true really.”
“It’s a very surreal day for me. [There are] so many emotions, but I am very proud and proud of my country and just excited for the whole team around me and everyone that’s put so much into this.”
Padraig McCarthy (IRE) and Mr. Chunky (Jumbo x Avin Fun Bar), Christopher and Sarita Perkins, Huw Lloyd, and Lucy Wiegersma’s 13-year-old British Sport Horse gelding, rose up the leaderboard from ninth place after dressage to seventh place after cross-country, finishing in the silver medal position following adouble-clean show jumping round. Finishing the weekend on their dressage score, the pair also helped to secure the team silver medal for Ireland.
“It wasn’t really hard,” McCarthy said of the pressure to go into the arena and jump clean for Ireland. “I wasn’t in medal position when I went in, and I have experience jumping at bigger competitions and he’s a great jumper. In a previous life I was a show jumper. The horse was jumping brilliant, so I didn’t go in with any pressure since I wasn’t in medal position.”
“I’ve dreamt about a medal for the last six months,” he admitted. “With a horse like this, you have to dream big. If you think you can’t do it, you don’t do it. It’s been on my mind since the beginning with him.”
Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob OLD (Helikon xx x Goldige), her own 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding, dropped back to bronze medal position after adding four points to their dressage score to finish on 27.3.
“If someone would have told me I’d come here before and win individual bronze, I would have been very happy,” Klimke explained. “At the last rail, I was disappointed, but it was our only mistake. I’m happy. I counted the strides and came in a normal seven rhythm like I planned – I wasn’t over excited or mad, but I thought I made it, but all of a sudden I heard the rail fall."
The British Team, made up of Canter and Allstar B (1st), Piggy French and Quarrycrest Echo (10th), Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser (12th), and Gemma Tattersall and Arctic Soul (30th), added an additional two rails to their team score to finish the weekend on 88.8, remaining in gold medal position with a rail in hand ahead of Ireland.
“It’s quite amazing,” said Richard Waygood, the Performance Director for British Eventing. “These guys and girls stuck to the basics, kept them there, and kept the system going. Absolutely fantastic.”
Team Ireland, made up of McCarthy and Mr. Chunky (2nd), Sarah Ennis and Horseware Stellor Rebound (5th), Sam Watson and Horseware Ardagh Highlight (14th), and Cathal Daniels and Rioghan Rua (26th), finished on a final combined score of 93.0 to take home the silver medal.
“This is absolutely huge,” said Sally Corscadden, the Irish Eventing Team High Performance Director. “We’re making history today when you really think about it. We haven’t had a world medal since 1978 in individual or in team since 1995, so to be here as a team is absolutely fantastic. Our goal the whole time was to be competitive and we stuck to that goal.”
Team France, made up of Thibaut Valllette and Qing du Briot ENE HN (6th), Maxime Livio and Opium de Verrieres (11th), Sidney Dufresn and Tresor Mail (18th), and Donatien Schauly and Pivoine des Touches (21st), finished on a three-phase final team score of 99.8 for the bronze medal.
Phillip Dutton and Z (Asca x Bellabouche), the 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Thomas Tierney, Simon Roosevelt, Suzanne Lacy, Caroline Moran, and Ann Jones, finished as the top-placed U.S. pair, adding nothing to their two-day score to finish the weekend in 13th place on 34.0. The remaining U.S. combinations, Lynn Symansky and Donner (Gorky Park x Smart Jane), the Donner Syndicate’s 15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding; Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg (Windfall *PG* x Thabana), Christine Turner’s 11-year-old Trakehner gelding; and William Coleman and Tight Lines (Turgeon x Merindole), The Conair Syndicate’s 11-year-old Pur Sang gelding, added three rails each to their overnight scores to finish in 25th (40.3), 56th (70.7), and 66th (99.2) respectively.
Of the 70 starters, 19 jumped clean and 16 of those made the time. Of the 16 riders who did not incur penalties during today’s show jumping competition, just 4 finished on their dressage score, joining the 19 other combinations that have finished on their dressage score in World Equestrian Games history.
Rails came down all over the course, with no one particular fence standing out as a bogey fence. Fence 12B, the second-to-last fence on course, caused the most trouble with 16 riders having rails at this fence. Fourteen riders pulled the rail at fence 12A and another 14 pulled the rail at fence 8. Thirteen riders had rails at fence 11 down and 12 riders pulled fence 5B. The complete fence report can be viewed here.
The United States finished in eighth place in the team competition, just outside the top-seven finish (since Japan already has an invitation) necessary to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The next and final chance for the team to qualify will take place at the 2019 Pan American Games, July 26-August 11, in Lima, Peru.
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