Regardless of how the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage team members finished in the first round of the team competition yesterday and today, they all earn my sincere respect for performing rain or shine – more rain than shine as it happened. Yesterday the weather went from gray to damp to downright drenching by the time the last horses in the Grade Ib were finished. Today was considerably brighter, except from a couple of violent but short lived downpours.
So, with the weather report out of the way, here are the details of where things sit going into the second team and individual rounds which get under way tomorrow.
One of the strongest U.S. performances in the team test came from Grade II athlete Rebecca Hart riding Schroeter’s Romani. Rebecca rode with great impulsion under sunny skies this afternoon. The medium trots were a particular highlight. Schroeter’s Romani took a couple of good looks at the objects around the edge of the ring, but the test was overall very harmonious and energetic. Rebecca earned an average score of 67.971 percent, and French judge Anne Prain had her third with over 70 percent, which bodes well for Rebecca’s individual prospects later this week.
Bright and early at 9:24 this morning, US team member Susan Treabess rode Kamiakin to tenth place with 65.833 percent. Also competing later today for the U.S. team was Grade Ia rider Roxanne Trunnell, who rode Nice Touch to the highest team score so far for the USA with 68.087 percent. The Grade Ia competition isn’t quite over yet, but Roxanne is currently sitting eighth. With yesterday’s 13th place performance by the U.S. team’s youngest member, 16 year old Sydney Collier on Willi Wesley (65.960 percent in Grade Ib), the team is definitely in the mix for a top ten finish.
Team and individual medals will be awarded on Thursday after two days of Championship tests. I’m sure the U.S. riders are all dreaming of adding a couple of points to their scores in their second tests. The usual suspects currently sit at the top of the leader board: Great Britain, Germany and the Netherlands in the top three spots, with Austria, Denmark and Singapore nipping at their heels.
It must also be mentioned that individual Angela Peavy made an impressive world championship debut yesterday, riding Ozzy Cooper to tenth place on 65.421 percent.
One of the logistical problems at this WEG is the fact that the venues are not all in one location. The Prairie Racecourse, where Para-Dressage is taking place, is too far away to walk, but shuttles run only once an hour between there and the main d’Ornano Stadium. Add to that the fact that Para-Dressage and dressage are running concurrently, it’s physically impossible to see both competitions live. The internet at the d’Ornano stadium is patchy at best, so I’m grateful to have a French phone to which I can tether for internet. I made use of FEI TV’s live streaming today in order to watch the Para-Dressage live, which worked out brilliantly. It seems ironic to be right here and watching the competition on the same streaming service that you at home can use, but there isn’t much option and live on my computer screen is better than not at all.
I plan to spend a good part of tomorrow over at the Prairie Racecourse, and I promise to get some photos to share!