Confidence is half the challenge in sport and US dressage got a boost with three in the top seven finishers of the FEI World Cup Dressage Final, while eventer Hallie Coon is feeling it as she counts down to her debut at the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event
The Horse Show is presented by Chris Stafford
Podcast length: 34′ 41″
Well what a weekend of sport is was as the indoor season in Europe concluded with the usual fanfare of the FEI World Cup Finals. Once more the show returned home to Gothenburg in Sweden for both dressage and jumping and yet again it generated a thrilling finale. I doubt anyone will be surprised that the doyen of dressage Germany’s Isabell Werth was crowned champion for the third consecutive year, her fifth title or that the 14 year old mare Weihegold just keeps getting better when it matters the most. But what’s always so exciting to watch is the sheer brilliance and panache of Isabell’s riding – she manages to pull out all the stops when the chips are down because she knows that the margin between her and the chasing pack is finite – she cannot afford a mistake. Right on her heals as expected was Laura Graves and the 17 year old gelding Verdades who scored 87.179% for his freestyle just 1.69% behind Isabell. Helen Langehanenberg ensured the Germans would have two places on the podium when her 17 year old stallion Damsey FRH achieved 86.571%. Their Chef d’Equipe Monica Theodurescu would be well pleased with that result but probably no more so than Debbie McDonald when she saw the final results with Kasey Perry-Glass and Adrienne Lyle finishing in fifth and seventh place respectively. Three riders in the top seven at a World Cup Final bodes well for the Americans Olympic campaign although there is nothing to be complacent about with the quality of grand prix dressage between nations constantly improving. With the Pan Am Games this summer there will be everything to play for as riders plan their season with an eye on team selection. The US for one has a growing band of combinations that will make selection very competitive when the trials come round. I caught up with Debbie just as she arrived home to get her reaction to the World Cup performances.
Back in the US eventers heading to Kentucky at the end of the month had their final run at the Fork Horse Trials and Chatt Hills this weekend. And continuing our look at some of the first timers my guest this week is 24 year old Hallie Coon who rode her 12 year old Dutch mare Celien to fifth place in the CCI Four Star Short and she joins me now to tell us how this went in her final preparation for her Kentucky debut.
Beezie Madden headed the US squad of five riders in Gothenburg and she started as one of the favorites for another title with Breitling but it was not to be this time when she finished 6th as the highest placed female rider and American. It was to be Switzerland’s day with Steve Guerdat taking his third World Cup title. And surprisingly there were only five female riders among the 33 starters.
Riders will now be focusing on a Nations Cup slot as they look towards the 2019 Pan Am Games and 2019 European Championships with a view to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. It’s an exciting time in the Olympic cycle with the last opportunity for some nations to qualify for Tokyo.