A British rider and a horse whose heart is “the size of the arena” pulled out all the stops to record a personal best in yesterday’s (13 September) reining competition at the World Equestrian Games, but it was just not enough to progress.

Francesca Sternberg, from Kent, and Rosanne Sternberg’s Spook N Sparkle had qualified for the second individual qualifying round of the Johnson Controls reining competition at Tryon International Equestrian Center by finishing in 26th place in the first round.

Tenth into the arena, the combination gave a performance good enough for a personal best final score of 220. They finished in joint seventh place, but only the top five qualified for Saturday’s final, along with the top 15 from the previous day.

But Francesca was delighted with eight-year-old palomino gelding “Charlie”.

“It was Charlie’s personal best and I am so proud,” she said. “I haven’t ridden this horse for two years as he’s my sisters’ horse and my niece competes him so I am extremely grateful to them for lending him.

“He’s probably one of the smallest horses here so to have to go twice in two days, his little legs really had to try. His heart is the size of this arena and I want to take him home to England and keep him for ever!”

Fellow British reiner Alison Bucknell and her own Jac Barbee Dream had also competed in the first round, finishing in 54th place.

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The reining finalists now have a rest day before the individual final on Saturday, when the medals will be decided.

In the team competition, the US won gold, Belgium took silver and Germany the bronze medals.

Horse & Hound has two journalists and a photographer in Tryon for WEG. Keep up to date with all the news on horseandhound.co.uk and in the magazine issues dated 20 and 27 September.