Emma Runge of the British vaulting team described the group as “ecstatic” after their freestyle today at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The team finished eighth in this round, retaining eighth place overall once the marks from Wednesday’s compulsory round were taken into account.
“It couldn’t have gone any better,” she said after their Latin/Salsa dance freestyle, which was performed in turquoise costumes and included music from Moulin Rouge and Zorro.
Plenty of people turned out for today’s team freestyle, and the crowd were enthusiastic about the incredible performances, in which up to three vaulters are on the horse at once.
“On the way in you hear people cheering, but once you’re up on the horse you just hear the music and think about what you are doing,” said Emma. “We’ve been to Aachen, which is great, but this is a whole different level. It’s daunting, but you know everyone is rooting for you.”
The team — consisting of Emma, Sarah Reid, Sara Shortland, Steph Hunter, Lydia Barham, Paige Brown and the youngest, 11-year-old Megan Bignell — have been working together for three years. Their horse is 17-year-old mare Go For Gold, lunged by Julie Newell.
“She’s been perfect — she’s enjoyed the atmosphere,” said Julie.
The American team, leaders after the compulsory test, suffered some disappointment today when they had to stop during their Romeo and Juliet themed-freestyle after a movement involving three vaulters came unstuck. Luckily, everyone appeared uninjured and they were able to complete their test. They finished third in the freestyle (8.102) and dropped to third overall.
The team from Germany came to the fore today, receiving 8.399 for their freestyle, which raised them from second after the compulsory round to the top spot. Austria scored 8.338 for the freestyle and lies second.
The 12 teams will all perform their freestyle again on Sunday, after which the team medals will be awarded.
Log back on tomorrow to find out who wins the individual vaulting medals and on Sunday for the final team report. Full report on the vaulting at WEG in H&H next week, out 14 October.