The vaulting competitions got underway today with the compulsory tests for team and individuals at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Our all-female team of seven had a tough draw behind Championship favourites Germany but even though they are a relatively young team, they put up a strong performance to lie eighth. USA hold the top spot with Germany second and Austria third.
Their horse was Go for Gold owned and Lunged by Julie Newell and this is what she had to say afterwards; “I’m thrilled today’s performance. They’re a young team and this is the first time the horse has ever flown so there were lots of potential problems but everything’s gone brilliantly. The team have worked so hard to raise funds to get here and it’s such a huge undertaking but we’re here now and our main aim is to have fun!”
Emma Runge, the oldest member of the team, dubbed the “Girl Power” team as all the members, including Go for God, are girls, was asked about nerves in the competition, she replied; “We were hyped up more than nervous. This is such a great place! We’ve been together for three years and range in age from 11 to 23 and are excited to be here.”
The mens’ individual completion began this afternoon and 23-year-old Ross Foreman is our sole representative. Drawn to go last, Ross took full advantage to post a score of 7.041, a personal best in the compulsory round, which leaves him 11th with his horse Master Key, lunged by Rebecca Morgan.
“I’m happy with my performance,” said Ross. “It all went perfectly well and my scissors and stands were good. This is above and beyond what I expected – what a stage to be on. I went in today thinking keep my head up and enjoy myself and I did just that. You can’t do better than post a personal best. Today I was relaxed and happy with no nerves.”
It was then the turn of the ladies and sisters Hannah and Joanne Eccles were drawn early but that isn’t always a disadvantage. As they share the same horse, W H Bentley, and their father John is their Lunger, they were on together and were greeted by huge cheers from the British crowd. Hannah was first and produced a great performance for a score of 7.251 which was good enough for 16th place overall in her first championship as an individual. She commented; “It was okay today but a bit wobbly in places and I’m happy with the score. This is my weakest competition but there was a good atmosphere and my mount was better than in previous Championships.”
There’s a great deal of expectation from elder sister Joanne having won the Female Individual European Championships last year and she didn’t disappoint with a fantastic score of 8.157 which wasn’t beaten all afternoon to give her the overnight leaders place. An elated Joanne said; “It went really well – that was my best mount yet! I got good jump from the surface and there’s nothing in the routine which I’m instantly disappointed with. I’ve been practicing the compulsory moves as it’s my weakest area and built -up to this so I’m really pleased. I know there’s pressure on me to do well but I know what I can do, I just have to go out there and do it.”
Our final individual was debutante Lucy Phillips with Pitucelli, lunged by Rebecca Morgan and they again impressed the crowds and judges to score 7.580, enough to lie 13th overnight. This was a bonus score for Lucy as she was aiming for something about 7.000.
We continue tomorrow with the Individual freestyle tests for male and female individuals.
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