Britain lies 16th after the first leg of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch-sponsored showjumping at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon today (Wednesday, 19 September).
Britain’s anchorman rider, William Whitaker on Ludwig Criel’s Utamaro D’Ecaussines, had a great round, with just four faults at the oxer into the double at fence 11 for a score of 82.62sec. He finished 28th in today’s competition.
“I was really pleased with him, he jumped a great round over a tricky course,” said William. “It’s difficult to get the balance between being quick and not taking too many risks. I should have helped him a bit at fence 11, but I couldn’t be happier with how he jumped and it gives me confidence going into tomorrow.”
At the end of today’s competition, riders’ scores are converted into penalties which they take forward into the next days of jumping. The best three scores will count for each team.
Britain’s third team rider, Amanda Derbyshire, finished on 85.3sec after Luibanta BH, who belongs to Gochman Sport Horse LLC, plunged into the water jump at fence eight. Amanda managed to get things back together, although the pair did also have the back bar off the oxer at fence nine.
“You can’t get yourself down about it — it’s a long week and we just have to do the best we can,” said Amanda, who lies 46th. “She’s never done that before and I don’t think she’ll do it again.”
Britain’s first two riders jumped this morning — William Funnell (Billy Buckingham) finished the day in 60th and Holly Smith (Hearts Destiny) in 59th.
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Ireland sits 10th in the team standings. This afternoon Paul O’Shea took the back bar off the first fence, a triple bar, with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu to finish on 87.33sec in 62nd.
“I was too slow to number one and left him too much to do — I have to take the blame for that, but he jumped very good,” said Paul.
His team-mate Cian O’Connor finished on 81.72sec in 23rd after Good Luck just knocked down the back rail of the oxer at fence 12.
The penultimate rider into the arena, Steve Guerdat of Switzerland, won today’s competition riding Bianca in a time of 76.33sec. Switzerland also holds top spot in the team competition, ahead of the Netherlands in second and Brazil in third.
“I think it’s an advantage in a speed class to go towards the end,” said Steve. “I walked the course and it was nine hours later until I get on my horse so it was a long day, but we knew that before we came and were ready.”
Temperatures were touching 30ºC today in Tryon, but Steve said it didn’t bother the horses.
“All the horses I’ve had like the heat — they feel better, they are looser than when it’s cold and they get a bit tight in the body,” said Steve.
Brazil’s Pedro Veniss (Quabri De L’Isle) took second with Rowan Wills third for Australia riding Blue Movie.
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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).