Britain’s vaulting team were happy with their performance in the compulsory test this morning at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. They scored 5.909 to lie eighth out of 12 teams at this early stage.
“I’m thrilled to bits — they are a young team and have done very well,” said lunger Julie Newell. “It’s been a huge undertaking to raise the funds to get here. It’s very special to be here and after all the work, now it has to be fun.”
Emma Runge, 23, the oldest of the all-female British team of seven vaulters, said: “I think we were more hyped up than nervous. The arena is beautiful and the atmosphere amazing. There were no big dramas today — we were really neat, together and focused, so we couldn’t have hoped for more.”
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, who arrived in Kentucky a week ago after her first flight.
“She’s managed really well, it hasn’t done her any harm,” said Julie.
Today each team member performed set movements individually on Go For Gold during a six-minute compulsory test. On Friday, six vaulters from each team take part in a four-minute freestyle test, with up to three vaulters on the horse at once.
The home nation, one of the favourites, hold the lead after scoring 7.207 — the only team to score over 7 — and they were clearly delighted with how their performance (pictured) went.
There was drama for the team from Argentina this morning when one of their vaulters fell during a dismount and had to be helped out of the arena injured. The team continued after a medical time-out.
And there were tears for the team from Sweden, whose horse Achim didn’t want to play the game today. He looked spooky and kept moving in on the 15m circle towards lunger Ronja Persson, making it tricky for the vaulters to perform their movements.
Log back on through the week for more updates on the vaulting. Full report in H&H, out 14 October.
TEAM RESULTS AFTER ROUND ONE
1. USA 7.207
2. Germany 6.996
3. Austria 6.99
4. Switzerland 6.88
5. France 6.594
6. Slovakia 6.532
7. Brazil 6.114
8. Great Britain 5.909
9. Australia 5.838
10. South Africa 5.324
11. Sweden 4.651
12. Argentina 4.635