Monday 20 January 2020

Irish struggle to put best foot forward in French test

Equestrian

Germany's multiple champion Isabell Werth, whose score of 81.529 clinched gold before Langehanenberg came into the ring (REUTERS/Alex Grimm)
Germany's multiple champion Isabell Werth, whose score of 81.529 clinched gold before Langehanenberg came into the ring (REUTERS/Alex Grimm)

Louise Parkes

Ireland finished 22nd of the 24 starting nations in the Dressage Team Championship at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Caen, France yesterday.

Lying overnight 15th after the performances of Roland Tong (Pompidou) and James Connor (Casino Royal), they dropped down when the last two team members ran into problems. Judy Reynolds’ Vancouver K was uneasy even before the pair entered the arena at the Dornano football stadium and the 12-year-old Dutch-bred horse became explosive during his test which concluded with a score of 61.086.

Anna Merveldt was last of the Irish to go and looked set for a strong mark, near 70 per cent, with Vancouver. But their performance deteriorated, with problems in the pirouette seriously putting paid to their chances as they completed on a disappointing 64.800. 

Kristina Sprehe, Fabienne Lutkemeier, Isabell Werth and Helen Langehanenberg claimed Germany’s 11th world title and earned a spot at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games along with the silver medallists from Britain and the Dutch who took bronze.

The talking horse of the Dressage championships has been the fabulous 10-year-old mare, Bella Rose, ridden by Germany’s multiple champion Isabell Werth whose score of 81.529 clinched the gold even before Langehanenberg came into the ring.  However, last night the German Equestrian Federation announced the horse has a bruised foot and won’t compete for the rest of the week.

That leaves the door even more open for British superstars Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro in their bid to add world championship Grand Prix Special and Freestyle gold to their already incredible haul of titles.

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