Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2024

Pascale Dietsch Of France Claims Best Condition

The French endurance team (Virginie Atger, Philippe Benoit, Pascale Dietsch, Florian Legrand) received their World Championship medals today, Aug. 22, and had an extra reason to celebrate when Dietsch’s Hifrane du Barthas, a gray Arabian mare, earned the Best Condition title. Dietsch finished eighth individually.
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The French endurance team (Virginie Atger, Philippe Benoit, Pascale Dietsch, Florian Legrand) received their World Championship medals today, Aug. 22, and had an extra reason to celebrate when Dietsch’s Hifrane du Barthas, a gray Arabian mare, earned the Best Condition title. Dietsch finished eighth individually.

French Chef D’Equipe Jean-Louis Leclerc said they knew the course would be tough. “We made the good decision to go slow in the beginning and be careful and move up later,” he said. “We won because we stayed together.”

The Swiss team, including sisters Nora and Ana Lena Wagner, along with Karin Maiga and Urs Wenger, claimed their second silver medal in endurance. “We have three young girls and an elderly gentleman [on the team], and we decided beforehand that the three girls would ride together and I would go a bit faster,” said Wenger, who finished 10th. “We all arrived in very good shape, and the horses are all intact.”

Paulo Branco, Portugal’s chef d’equipe, was especially proud of his team’s bronze-medal effort, since he said there are no more than 12 horses in the country who have completed a 100-mile race. In addition, the medal is Portugal’s first at a WEG in any discipline. The team included Ana Teresa Barbas, Filipe Cacheirinha, Ana Margarida Costa and Joao Raposo.

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 “The experience was incredible,” Branco said. “It was good weather for horses, just not to go to the beach. I’m very proud of my team; they have worked very hard.”

Raposo injured his hand while replacing his horse’s lost shoe with an easy boot but continued on to finish sixth individually. He showed up for the press conference with his hand swaddled in a bandage.

Ian Williams, the FEI’s head of endurance, said the high number of riders who didn’t finish (94) only demonstrated the strict scrutiny of the vets. “The vets are proactive rather than reactive,” he said. “Horses were eliminated to prevent a situation from arising. Even if it’s just a bruise or a horse just stepped on a rock, the vets take absolutely no chances. The welfare of the horse is paramount.”

As for individual gold medalist Miguel Vila Ubach, he and his horse were both feeling fine. “I’m not tired,” he said with a smile. “When you win a ride, you’re never tired. My horse recovered very well last night—he could ride again. And I’m very happy, still dreaming.”

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