‘He’s given me everything’: Sophie Wells sets another WEG record for freestyle gold

Britain’s Sophie Wells and C Fatal Attraction collected their second individual gold medal of the World Equestrian Games (WEG) today (Saturday, 22 September) in Tryon, USA. She topped the grade V freestyle in the Adequan-sponsored para dressage with a massive 80.755% — another WEG record.

Her technically difficult floorplan was set to a new soundtrack — an original composition by Tom Hunt which suited the expressive Fidertanz gelding down to ground.

“He was a little bit tense today and on edge but he’s come out this week and given me everything,” said Sophie, for whom this was the first time she has taken double individual gold on Charlotte Hogg’s 11-year-old, having been forced to settle for a pair of silvers at the Normandy WEG in 2014.

“When you miss out on an individual gold like at WEG 2014, after training everyday and putting everything into the sport, it’s hard, but to achieve this after a big gap like I’ve had is amazing,” she added.

Their only real blip was a trip during their half-pass zig-zag in canter, but Sophie quickly resumed the rhythm.

“He was on edge in there and I did feel like I was having to deal with him rather than show him off,” she said.

Freestyle gold in grade III ranks went to the Netherlands’ Rixt van der Horst and the eight-year-old Belissimo M mare Findsley, whom she has only partnered for a matter of months.

This win was Rixt’s third world title of the week, having also taken individual and team gold.

“She felt amazing in there — she was a little bit tired so I did have to help her through the test, but I really gave it my all, and we had no mistakes,” said Rixt.

Britain’s Erin Orford finished fifth with Dior, while Natasha Baker was sadly disqualified after a fall from Mount St John Diva Dannebrog.

The grade IV gold went to the Netherlands’s Sanne Voets, riding Demantur NOP, on a mark of 79.645 %. In the grade I, victory went to Italian rider Sara Morganti on Royal Delight. She scored 78.867 %. Danish rider Stinna Tange Kaastrup ruled in the grade II contest, taking gold with 78.947% on Horsebo Smarties.

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Horse & Hound’s bumper magazine reports from WEG will be in the issues dated 20 September (dressage and eventing) and 27 September (showjumping and para dressage).

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