Simone Blum took the individual gold medal in the Bank of America Merrill Lynch-sponsored showjumping at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon, USA, today (Sunday, 23 September).
The German rider added just one time-fault to her score today, in the second round, riding the chestnut mare DSP Alice.
Simone is the first female individual world showjumping champion since Canada’s Gail Greenough in 1986 and the first woman to take the title at a WEG, as the 1986 championship — held at Aachen — was the last of the standalone World Championships.
“I’m so grateful to be here — I cannot describe my feelings. It’s unbelievable,” she said. “For me it doesn’t matter if it’s a woman or man, we are the same. But today was a perfect day.”
Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs claimed the silver, moving up from third coming into today’s competition. He and Clooney also cleared all the fences today, adding two time-penalties in the final showdown.
Fellow Swiss rider Steve Guerdat rose from ninth to take home the individual bronze on Bianca. The pair put in two faultless rounds today.
Martin said: “I didn’t think too much about time allowed — I knew it wouldn’t matter too much because Steve was quite a few points behind. I knew with a time-fault I could still be in front of Steve, so that’s what I did.
“Watching Simone, I obviously hoped she’d knock a rail and I could be world champion, but she was far away off even touching a pole and that’s why she is the world champion today.”
Austria’s Max Kühner retained second place with a clear in the first round today, but Chardonnay had fences nine and 10 down in the last barrage to drop to sixth.
Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire missed out on the second round, which is for the top 12 only, when she finished 17th. She and Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s Luibanta BH had the second part of the double at fence eight and the oxer at fence 12 down.
“The first rail was a bit unlucky, the second I’ll definitely take as my fault — I needed to get up there more on the six strides,” she said. “But overall I’m super proud of her.”
Ireland’s Cian O’Connor also did not progress to the second round as he and Good Luck had the oxers at fence six and 11 down to finish 13th.
“Good Luck has been in good form all week, but maybe he’s a bit out of gas today,” he said.
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Horse & Hound’s bumper magazine reports from WEG are in the issues dated 20 September (dressage and eventing) — on sale now — and 27 September (showjumping and para dressage).