As Queen Laid to Rest – Italy Host World Equestrian Games for Eventing

Funerial Procession for |The Late Queen in London

Monday 19th September 2022 saw the state funeral procession, service and burial of Her Majesty, The Late Queen Elizabeth II. An historic event watched by millions across the world.

In a week where the world unified and stood still to remember the enormous part The Late Queen played on so many occasions during the last seventy years; in Italy, the final part of the World Equestrian Games was held for horse trial eventing and driving.

In Pratoni del Vivaro on the eastern side of the Italian capital Rome, eighty nine combinations came forward from twenty seven individual nations to compete for the horse trial eventing titles for both Team and Individual World Champions. As with all other FEI world games team events, there were four members for each team and the lowest score in each section of dressage, cross country and showjumping was discarded. Sixteen nations competed for the Team Championship and there were thirteen other nations represented, but who did not have enough riders to make a team.

Laura Collett (GBR) takes lead on first day

In the dressage, Christoph Wahler set the competition in motion with his dressage. The grand jury for the event, Christian Steiner of Austria, Christina  Klingspor from Sweden and Peter Gray from Canada sent him away with 32.8 penalties. The first day of dressage saw the British team in fine form, as two of their four riders were drawn to compete on the first day. Yasmin Ingram (GBR) riding Banzai du Loir as an individual for Great Britain, took the early lead with 22.0 penalties. However, she was not the best of the day when Laura Collett riding London 52 for the British team won the day with a spectacular score of 19.3 penalties. Monica Spencer riding Artist for New Zealand stopped the British from getting and one two three, by taking the third place on the leader board with 25.6 penalties. The fourth on the leader board was again from Great Britain, the former world champion of 2018, Rosalind Canter, this time riding Lordships Graffalo ending her dressage with 26.2 penalties.

On the second day of dressage, the British had two to go – one of which was the world ranked number one, Oliver Townend riding Ballaghmor Class. He rode near the end of the list of starters and left with a penalty score of 24.3. Alex Hue Tin riding for China rode Don Genero to finish in fourth place after the dressage on 23.7 and Tamara Smith riding Mai Baum for the United States finished with 24.0 penalties. However, Michael Jung from Germany riding fiscsherChipmunk FRH was in fine form – finishing the dressage at the top of the leader board with an almost unimaginable and record score of just 18.8 penalties. Laura Collett dropped to second and fellow Brit Yasmin Ingham went into third. The discard score for the British team, who ended the dressage in a very strong position was Rosalind Canter. The British team had a total of 69.2 penalties with Germany in second with 76.1. The United States were in third, just behind the Germans with 76.6 penalties.

Michael Jung breaks record at WEG for dressage score

Last year, in Switzerland, the British took all the individual medals as well as the team Gold, and so their start time was looking very promising. The cross country course was designed by Giuseppe Della Chiesa, known for his big bold fences. In a twisty 30 jumps, requiring 42 jumping effort course with a time allowed of 9 minutes 50 seconds over a distance of 5800 meters, the Italian used the undulations to great effect asking several difficult questions for both horse and rider. The first major fence of consequence was number 7, the Pratoni slide, a fence perched on the top of a hill with a very steep exit going down to the second and third parts, two skinnies, one after the other with one pace in between. The combination at fence 11 had corners to negotiate – not too bad to look at, but with the ground falling away from the fences, the balance of horse and rider was surely tested. Finally, after the undulations of the whole course, the end of the course was flat; however, fence 29 was four brushes, all set at difficult angles before going onto fence thirty, a brush set in a model of a horse.

Tamara Smith USA is clear cross country

Thirteen combinations were eliminated and a further three retired, including Alex Hue Tin and Nicolas Touzaint for France. Although testing, the course rode very well with only a few in the top 44 riders actually taking a run out or a flange pin penalty. The time too was not apparently too difficult to achieve. Michael Jung, in the lead after the dressage was clear for both jumping and time – ending the day on his dressage score of 18.8. Individual rider, Yasmin Ingham for GB had a careful round and earned 1.2 time penalties, but was clear from the rest on the leader board to retain her second place with 23.2 penalties. Laura Collett had a dreadful time and collected 58 penalties for her cross country which made her the discount score for Great Britain. Julia Krajewski riding for Germany on Amande de B’Neville and Sandra Auffarth, also riding for Germany on Viamant du Matz, also went clear, so the day ended with Germany now leading going into the showjumping phase with 76.1 penalties – their dressage score. In second was The United States after the cross country with Tamara Smith and Boyd Martin both finished on their dressage scores and the third team member, William Coleman riding Off The Record collecting just a couple of time faults. The leaders, after dressage, Great Britain slipped to third after Oliver Townend and Rosalind Canter both had clears, but Tom McEwen had another 5 penalties to add to his dressage score after getting time faults. The team ended with 80.9 penalties.

Yasmin Ingham (GBR) takes Individual Gold medal at WEG

In the showjumping, both Germany and The United States were within a fence of one another. They were both more than one fence ahead of Great Britain. In the final trot up, 72 horses came forward for inspection of which 68 passed to tackle the Unilano Vezzani designed course. The top eight competitors had just 2 fences separating all of them. Three from Great Britain, two from Germany and two from the United States and one other – Tim Price from New Zealand. The first of the eight, Ros Canter went clear. Tim Price riding Falco also went clear, and both went up the leader board to finish in third and fourth. Both Oliver Townend and Boyd Martin had disastrous rounds with four jumps down each. Fellow American Tamra Smith had two fences down. Julia Krajewski for Germany and Yasmin Ingham – riding as an individual for Great Britain both went clear. This just left Michael Jung to jump clear and win individual gold and team gold for Germany. However, he knocked two fences down, giving him another 8 penalties and leaving him in final fifth place on 26.8 penalties. The winner was Yasmin Ingham – who as an individual took Gold medal and became the latest British World Champion. The last three Golds for world eventing have now gone to Great Britain. The silver was won by Julia Krajewski for Germany and the bronze was won by Tim Price for new Zealand. Yasmin’s final tally was 23.2 penalties with Tim’s score finishing on 26.0.

In the teams, Great Britain was relieved of the championship title from 2021 and they finished in fourth position with a final tally of 100.9 penalties. The Bronze medal team was New Zealand who just crept ahead of Great Britain by 0.2 penalties, thanks to Tim Price’s excellent showjumping round – finishing on 100.7 penalties. The Silver Team Medal was won by The United States with 100.3 penalties, just showing how the showjumping can completely flip the leader board upside down! The Gold Team champions were Germany, who won with one fence to spare on 95.2 penalties.

The competition was a pulsating constantly changing event with records being broken and giving the spectators a real event to remember.

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