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WEG team reining: USA continue to dominate

Jane Carley brings you all the news from the second and final day of the team reining competition in Normandy

The United States of America has continued its run of back to back victories in the reining at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) with an emphatic win over Belgium and Austria, silver and bronze medallists respectively.

Team debutante Mandy McCutcheon kicked off the USA’s red-letter day with a score of 224 on Yellow Jersey, equalling that gained by Andrea Fappani on Monday.

Mandy, the first female and the first non-pro (amateur) to make the American reining team, is the daughter of 2010 team gold medallist Tim McQuay. Yellow Jersey was recently purchased by her family to join their breeding programme.

Team USA was already in an unassailable position when Shawn Flarida, who has been a member of the victorious squad each time that reining has been held at the games, entered the arena on Spooks Gotta Whiz. He scored plus-one credits from at least one of the five judges for every manoeuvre and the maximum plus-1.5 for circles and spins. He goes into the individual final on Saturday as the highest overall scorer with a 229.5.

Belgium had also enjoyed a strong start, and despite minor mistakes which led to penalties for the spins and lead changes, Cira Baeck and Colonels Shining Gun scored 221 to keep their country on track. Bernard Fonck also clocked up a couple of penalties on the hugely experienced Sail on Top Whizard, but the overall quality of their run was good enough for a 219.5, securing the silver medal.

Austria improved one place on its Kentucky 2010 result to take bronze, after a disappointing first day. Rudi Kronsteiner produced a good run from Dr Lee Hook, again making up for penalties with powerful sliding stops to score 220, before USA-based compatriot Martin Muhlstatter stormed to a 224, also gaining credit for his stops.

Acknowledging the strength of the other teams on the podium, Shawn Flarida said: “The result here shows just how far our industry has come. We see higher and higher standards every time we come to Europe and this makes it harder to win gold. WEG is like no other competition and it gives us such a thrill.”

Frances SteinbergGreat Britain slipped to eighth place overall, despite strong runs by Doug Allen (Hangten Shiner) and Francesca Sternberg (Ten Reasons, pictured right), who both scored 214.5. Their scores were good enough to take them to Thursday’s second qualifier for a place in the final on Saturday. Jessica Sternberg and Josh Collins, who competed on Monday also both made the cut.

There was disappointment for British individual Shane Borland when Chex N Flashy was unnerved by the atmosphere and failed to deliver his usual form. Shane does not progress to the second qualifier.

Chef d’equipe Adam Heaton said: “We knew we could end up anywhere from fourth to 10th, depending on how the other teams performed. My goal was to have two riders through to the second qualifier so I’m delighted that four will take part on Thursday.”

Team reining results

Gold: USA (Shawn Flarida, Andrea Fappani, Mandy McCutcheon, Jordan Larson) 677.5

Silver: Belgium (A Poels Fonck, B Fonck, C Baeck, P Mestdagh) 663

Bronze: Austria (R Kronsteiner, M Muhlstatter, T Kunstner-Mantl, M Morawitz) 658.5

Eighth: Great Britain (D Allen, F Sternberg, J Sternberg, J Collins) 645

More reining news from WEG

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