Britain’s Joanne Eccles (pictured) has taken the lead after the female individual compulsory test, the first round of the vaulting at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Joanne, the reigning European champion, scored 8.157 — the only competitor in her class to score over eight. She was lunged by her father John on the family horse, WH Bentley.
“It was one of the best compulsories I’ve done this year,” she said. “There’ll be little things when I look back, but with the pressure, I’m happy. Compulsories are something I’ve been working on for a long time as it was my weakest part and I managed to show some of what I’ve been working.”
Joanne also commented that the footing in the Alltech Indoor Arena has improved since they practised on it earlier in the week: “The footing’s really settled and there’s more jump to it. The other day it was hard to jump out of but lovely to land in, now it’s harder it’s better for jumping out of — it’s good for us and for the horse.”
Joanne’s sister Hannah Eccles was also pleased after scoring 7.251, also on WH Bentley. She is in 16th place.
She said; “My score could have been slightly higher, but it’s good for me for compulsories, which are my weakest part — it can only get better now.”
Hannah commented on which movements she felt went well and which she could have improved: “The mount was better than I’ve done for a while, and the mill, but I’m annoyed because the stand is normally really good for me, but today I had a little wobble and the scissors could also have been a little higher.”
Britain’s third individual, Lucy Phillips, hoped to score over seven and achieved it with 7.58 on Pitucelli, lunged by Rebecca Morgan, for 13th at this stage.
“I think that was the best I’ve done in a while. The scissors felt really energetic and I’m really pleased with Pitu, my horse — it all came together in there,” she said.
Commenting on the high expectations of the British vaulters, Lucy said: “I think the pressure is good, it helps you get focused.”
Personal best for British male
Britain’s Ross Foreman scored a personal best for the compulsory test in the male individual competition. His mark of 7.041 puts him 11th at this stage, but Ross is confident he will move up the field in the freestyle tomorrow afternoon.
“I’m happy with how it went today — there were no slip-ups,” he said of his performance on Master Key, lunged by Rebecca Morgan. “I went to Aachen and that was a great WEG, but this is the best ever. There’s a massive crowd compared to the British national competitions, and it’s good to have been to Aachen and know the horse is safe with the cheers. I haven’t been bungled by nerves, but a little bit of adrenalin makes you better.”
Germany holds the one-two in the male class, with Gero Meyer leading and Kai Vorberg — individual gold medallist in Aachen four years ago — second.
The individual vaulters perform their freestyles tomorrow.
Log back on through the week for more updates on the vaulting. Full report in H&H, out 14 October.