Belgium’s Philippe Le Jeune didn’t knock a single fence down on any of the four horses he rode in Kentucky tonight en route to becoming World Champion. The top four riders from last night’s individual qualifier each had to ride a slightly simplified but still challenging track on their own and each other’s horses.
Philippe had a fence in hand as he jumped the last round of the night riding Canadian Eric Lamaze’s Olympic champion Hickstead, who was the only horse not to take a single pole in the class either.
Philippe said: “I had a lot of fun riding the three other horses tonight. I wasn’t going to try and ride like Eric or Philippe, and just rode like I always do.”
The Kindom Of Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Al Sharbatly surprised many by making it into the final four for this competition; he surprised even more by ending up with the silver medal at this his first World Games.
Ironically, the only faults Abdullah incurred were those riding his own mare Selfana Di Campalto.
Olympic champion Eric Lamaze had four faults on Abdullah’s mare and four faults plus one time fault on Rodrigo Passoa’s ride HH Rebozo to finish with the bronze medal. He praised his own ride Hickstead, saying: “I think we already knew that Hickstead is the best horse in the world and tonight these guys got to see that for themselves.”
Rodrigo was the last to ride champion Philippe’s stallion Vigo D’Arsouilles and had two down which, added to the four faults on his own horse in the first round, put him out of medal contention.
For full report and pictures don’t miss Horse & Hound 14 October issue