(ISN) – Normandy, FRA, August 26, 2014 – The Canadian Dressage Team rode to a ninth place finish on a total combined score of 211.714% at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy, FRA during the second and final day of the Grand Prix Team competition on August 26.
In addition to the team result, anchor rider, Belinda Trussell of Stouffville, ON, emerged from the d’Ornano Stadium as the top-placed Canadian individually after scoring 71.614% with Anton (Antaeus x Melit), Robyn Eames’ 14-year-old German-bred gelding. She finished in 26th place individually, securing her spot among the top 30 invited to move on to the Grand Prix Special on August 27. From there, the top 15 will go forward into the Grand Prix Freestyle on August 29 to determine the Individual Medals.
Normandy marked Trussell’s third FEI World Equestrian Games, and her second with Anton, who she also competed with at the 2010 Games in Kentucky, USA.
“I am really, really pleased with that performance. It’s my best score at a major games so far, and that’s what I was aiming for,” said Trussell, who is a veteran of major games, having also represented Canada at the 2004 Athens Olympics. “I’m thrilled with his result today, he was great in the ring.”
Despite an exciting entrance into the d’Ornano Stadium, Anton relaxed into his test and received solid scores for individual movements, especially the piaffe, which earned marks up to 7.8.
“My horse is unfortunately afraid of applause, so that set him off a little bit in the beginning around the outside. But this crowd is so great and so respectful – they saw him get explosive and they quieted down right away, and he settled into his work. I couldn’t be more pleased with him. He’s a fantastic horse,” said Trussell, going on to explain that she was happy just to be here, considering that since the last Games, Anton suffered an injury and was given a slim chance of returning to this level of competition.
“He had a big injury and was out for two and a half years. But, he’s back, and I’m so grateful. It’s a gift to be here,” explained Trussel. “He was extremely depressed when he was off, but he has a huge heart and a huge will, and that’s why he’s here.”
Megan Lane of Loretto, ON also had plenty to celebrate after competing earlier in the day, marking her very first major games. Riding her 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, Caravella (Contango x Riverman), Lane had a solid performance, receiving scores up to 7.6 for individual movements, with the highest being awarded for extensions and pirouettes. At the completion of her test, she earned a total score of 69.743% – putting her into 18th place at that point of the competition. She finished her inaugural Games in 37th position overall.
“She was a little bit more looky than she has been recently. She’s never been in a venue this big, so I was expecting a little bit of electricity from her. But, all in all, she kept it together really well,” explained Lane, who purchased Caravella, a former Hunter mount, five years ago, and has brought her along all the way up to the Grand Prix level.
Lane was especially excited about how far her partnership with Caravella has come. She’s had the rare experience of taking the same mount to both junior and senior FEI championships, having previously competed with Caravella at the FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) as a Junior in 2011, and as a Young Rider in 2012.
“It’s amazing. Progressing through to the Grand Prix feels a little bit normal to me now because I always expect progress. But it’s definitely surreal to have my Junior horse here at the Games,” said Lane, who claimed an impressive total of six medals at NAJYRC.
In addition to today’s performances, the Canadian Dressage Team were helped to their ninth place position by David Marcus and Karen Pavicic, who rode the Grand Prix Team test on day one.
Marcus, of Campbellville, ON, achieved a score of 70.357% aboard Deborah Kinzinger-Miculinic’s 14-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, Chrevi’s Capital (Chrevi’s Lavallo x Weinberg), to finish just outside of the Grand Prix Special cut-off in 34th place.
Pavicic and Don Daiquiri (Cardinale x Rubenstein I), a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding she owns in partnership with Jayne Essig weren’t far behind. Pavicic, who calls Surrey, BC home, rode to a personal best score of 69.486% to finish her first-ever Games in 41st place.
Chef d’Equipe for the Canadian Dressage Team, Victoria Winter, was excited about Team Canada’s performance, stating, “We were really thrilled with the results of all our riders. They all did a great job. It was a really, really strong field, so we are all very happy to have finished as high up in the field of 24 as we did.”
Winter was also extremely proud of Trussell’s individual result, stating, “Belinda had a super ride. It is so exciting to see her moving on in the top 30. It is a really elite group, and Canada should be really proud to have a rider in that mix.”
Returning home with the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 Dressage Team Gold Medal is Germany after earning a combined score of 241.700%. Great Britain settled for a close Silver with 231.343%, and Bronze went to The Netherlands, who finished on 227.400%. Great Britain also had the top-ranked individual of the Grand Prix, after the world-renowned Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro scored 85.271%.
Judging the Dressage competition at the Games in Normandy is a panel of FEI 4*-level judges. Canada’s own Elizabeth McMullen of Palgrave, ON is included in the panel, along with Liselotte Fore (USA), Susan Hoevenaars (AUT), Isabelle Judet (FRA), Dietrich Plewa (GER), and Francis Verbeek (NED).