Gold for the USA in dramatic reining final at World Equestrian Games

  • America didn’t have it all their own way in the individual final of the World Equestrian Games reining championships. Tom McCutcheon took gold riding Gunners Special Night, who pulled off spectacular sliding stops for “excellent” marks from the judges to finish on 228. And fellow American Craig Schmersal grabbed silver with 223.

    But Shaun Flarida, who was the best of the squad when they won team gold two days ago, received a five point penalty when his stirrup broke in a transition from a fast to slow canter and Shaun had to grab the pommel of the saddle so as not to be unseated.

    The incident went under video review, but the judges’ decision was upheld and they scored 207.5 for last place.

    Instead, it was Canada’s Duane Latimer riding Dun Playing Tag who scooped the bronze medal.

    Britain held their own, with two riders into the final for the top 20 and Doug Allen finishing 10th.

    Doug, first to go for Britain in the individual final, stormed into the lead with his 218 score riding Roseanne Sternberg’s Don Julio Whizz.

    “I’m so happy with the horse, he was absolutely fantastic, that was a dream ride,” said Doug.

    Highlights included their slides and turnbacks, but there was hardly a movement for which they did not deserve credit (extra marks) from the judges.

    Teammate Lee Rutter was next in with Setting Off Sparks and did not disappoint, earning a respectable 215 for 15th place.

    Lee said: “Every time this mare goes in there she works hard, she wants to be good. She’s tired today but still gave it her all.”

    For Britain, a small reining nation, a team medal was always going to be tough, but to get two riders into the final among the 20 best in the world is a huge achievement.

    For more comment and analysis and pictures don’t miss H&H 7 October issue.

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