‘It just doesn’t make any sense’: combination eliminated in WEG para dressage

There was devastation at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon for one para dressage team rider, who was eliminated in today’s grade III team competition.

Italy’s Francesca Salvade was nearing the end of her test on the 11-year-old Muggel (pictured, above) when the bell was rung. She was spoken to by the judge at C, Marc Urban, and the pair were eliminated due to the Carabas gelding being deemed unlevel. Their score had been trending on around 63% at that point.

This just doesn’t make any sense,” the Italian chef d’equipe Luigi Ferdinand Acerbi told H&H. “It’s not fair that, if the judges thought the horse was not sound, they still gave points of between six and seven all the way through. Why didn’t they ring the bell sooner in the test?”

Luigi said that there was an “evident mistake from the rider”, who lost the balance coming through the corner into the second medium trot.

“The horse didn’t perform a perfect medium trot but it is an extreme movement, and the horse was perfect again after it. It was a clear technical mistake, and they should have given a low mark for that, but you can’t compare a technical error with the well-being of the horse,” added Luigi.

The Belgian judge at C, Marc Urban, told H&H: “The horse was irregular in the first medium trot and I gave a low mark for that, but it was very clear that the horse was unlevel in the second medium trot and I rang the bell just after that movement.

“The welfare of the horse is the most important thing and I had to eliminate them.”

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Muggel was one of two horses held overnight at the first para dressage horse inspection on Monday morning, but was passed when re-inspected on Tuesday morning. They went on to score 66.68% in the individual championship on Wednesday, finishing 11th and outside the qualifying places for tomorrow’s freestyle championship.

Francesca, 29, and Muggel have been competing internationally in para dressage since 2013, and have represented Italy at European Championships in Herning (2013), Deauville (2015) and Gothenburg (2017), as well as the 2014 WEG in Normandy and the 2016 Rio Paralympics. They competed as a grade II combination until 2017, when they were re-classified into grade III.

Keep up to date with all the news from Tryon on horseandhound.co.uk

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).