Mill Spring, N.C.—Sept. 20
Some of the loudest cheers today at the FEI World Equestrian Games came from the Tryon Stadium side of the venue as the Adequan World Para-Dressage Team Championship kicked off today with Grades II, IV and V. The level portion of the berms surrounding the arena were packed as athletes of all nationalities gathered to support those competing today.
Angela “Annie” Peavy kicked things off for the U.S. team in the Grade IV with a 67.07 percent aboard Royal Dark Chocolate, a 10-year-old Oldenburg (Royal Doruto—Farina, Don Alarino) she’s been paired with for 1 ½ years.
“It wasn’t our best test; we had some errors with submission and the communication between ‘Coco’ and me,” said Peavy. “We had two opposite ideas, and then we just had to get right back on with our test, and we had some good moments to recover. It’s just another learning time for us, and she was very well behaved and not spooky.
“She’s definitely a mare, and she definitely has opinions,” Peavy continued.
Kate Shoemaker might be the rookie for Team USA, but she was in fine form today as she piloted Solitaer 40, an 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion (Sandro Hit—Dynastie, De Niro), to a 69.80 percent.
“This is the most important day, as we know,” said Shoemaker. “[This is] the team test day, where we’re riding for our country, and we’re here to do a job, and this is when we’re really bring it home. So I’m really happy today that I was able to increase my score, and I hope it can contribute to something positive here this weekend.
“Today was much improved over our previous ride,” she continued. “I was really happy with how he went in the arena and stayed with me today. It really showed in his balance, and I think that’s what made a difference in the scores today. He stayed a little more on his hind end, and that allowed me to ride him much more influentially, so the results have been a much better test today.”
There are still two more U.S. riders to come tomorrow. Becca Hart will ride El Corona Texel in Grade II, and Roxanne Trunnell will ride Dolton in the Grade I.
Sophie Wells, of Great Britain, was first in the ring this morning with C Fatal Attraction, and she put in a top score of 77.23 in the Grade V to put her country in a nice position heading into the second day of competition. She already has one gold medal to her name, but she’s hoping to help the British defend their team title.
“You learn to deal with the pressure, and I just focused on what I needed to do,” she said. “We worked so hard over the winter, and he has come out a different horse this year. All the other nations are getting so much stronger, and the horsepower is incredible in the sport. We want to retain our title, but we can only do the best that we can do.”
Upon hearing Stinna Tange Kaastrup’s scream of excitement following her test, you would think it was the best test of her life. And while her score of 74.84 percent aboard Horsebo Smartie wasn’t a personal best, it still put Denmark in a good position and was an improvement over her Grade II individual test, which earned her a gold medal earlier this week.
“I was really, really thrilled,” she said. “Everything that we talked about that I was supposed to do in there, we did, and I’m super proud about that. Today was more of a team effort rather than a ‘Smartie’ effort, which was nice.”
Sanne Voets already has one gold medal from the Grade IV individual competition, but she put in a strong test for the Netherlands with a score of 76.55 percent aboard Demantur N.O.P.
“He was amazing; he was so sharp and willing and obedient and with me, and I think this is what makes it so beautiful—when two becomes one, when a horse and you are in perfect harmony,” she said. “The pressure is on the British now, and we like that. We already had the individual tests, and if you would look at those scores for the individual only we would have the gold. We came here with one aim, and that was to win a team medal to qualify directly for Tokyo.”
For full results from the FEI World Equestrian Games, click here.
For everything you need to know, including broadcast schedules, click here.
For all WEG coverage, click here.
We’ll be onsite for the full two weeks of WEG to bring you all the news you need to know plus gorgeous photos and insight into the competition. Be sure to check out the Oct. 8 issue of the Chronicle for detailed analysis.