September 24: The PonyWorld Weekly, All-WEG Edition
Quote of the Week
Steve Guerdat & Bianca (c) Jenny Abrahamsson/World of Show Jumping
“I am so happy that today, the world can see how special she really is. She has all the quality in the world, but what is most amazing with her is that she loves jumping…. I am so honored and blessed to share my life [with] an animal like this."
—WEG’s Individual bronze medalist and fan favorite Steve Guerdat of Switzerland reflecting on his week with the one and only Bianca.
All WEG, All the Time
What’s the Word?
Despite the oppressive heat, last-minute schedule changes and major cancellations, FEI live stream fails, and yes, an actual hurricane, the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina was, if imperfect, certainly an event to remember.
What to Know: Dressage
Isabell Werth was the heavy favorite for gold coming into WEG this month, a fact that proved well founded when the German rider took home her second Individual title on comeback queen, Bella Rose. The all-female podium was completed by the U.S.A’s Laura Graves on longtime partner, Verdades, and Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin with the 9-year-old mare, Mount St. John Freestyle (keep your eyes on this pair!). Inclement weather forced the cancelation of the Freestyle competition on Sunday, but did not affect the Olympic qualification process for teams. Among those who earned a bid in 2020: Germany, the U.S, Great Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Spain.
From left: Graves, Werth, and Dujardin (c) Sportfot/EquNews.com
What to Know: Eventing
The squad from Great Britain came, saw, and conquered at WEG, earning both Team and Individual gold medals helmed by World Champ, Rosalind Canter & Allstar B. Canter was joined by teammates Piggy French (Quarrycrest Echo), Tom McEwen (Toledo de Kerser), and Gemma Tattersall (Arctic Soul), sharing the podium with Team Ireland in the silver medal position and France in bronze. Among the individual winners: Ireland’s Padraig McCarthy & Mr. Chunky took silver, while Germany’s Ingrid Klimke & SAP Hale Bob OLD took bronze.
What to Know: Show Jumping
American fans around the country woke up feeling a little lighter on Saturday morning after clinching Team Gold in a thrilling jump-off competition on Friday. The squad, made up of Devin Ryan (Eddie Blue), Adrienne Sternlicht (Crystalline), Laura Kraut (Zeremonie) and MVP McLain Ward (Clinta) narrowly defeated the hard-riding Swedes, who finished in silver medal position, and Germany in bronze (you can watch McLain’s jump-off round below). If you still find yourself chanting “U.S.A! U.S.A!” three days later, you’re not alone. On the individual podium: Germany’s Simone Blum & DSP Alice logged picture-perfect rounds all week, holding off Swiss riders Martin Fuchs & Clooney and Steve Guerdat & Bianca, who earned silver and bronze, respectively.
Ward & Sternicht (c) Erin Gilmore for Shannon Brinkman/USEF
While it’s hard to top the excitement of the Team Show Jumping final, we can’t help but notice that this championship’s gold medal winners in all three Olympic disciplines—show jumping, eventing, and dressage—all went to female riders (see: Blum, Canter, and Werth). Werth may have been a shoo-in, but Blum is the first woman to win show jumping gold in decades, a feat she earned by a wide margin after five (yes, five), fault-free rounds of jumping. Ladies, brush your shoulders off.
Simone Blum & DSP Alice (c) Jenny Abrahamsson/World of Show Jumping
The Week’s Big Controversy…
Eric Lamaze does not give WEG 2018 his stamp of approval.
A fair amount of grumbling is par for the course at most major equestrian events, but Canada’s Eric Lamaze took it one step further, taking to social media to share his thoughts on “the worst [WEG] ever held” (you can read the rest of them here). Is this just sour grapes or well justified? Tell us what you think in our Facebook comments!
If You Can Only Watch One Round…
Watch McLain & Clinta Clinch it for Team U.S.A. in the Show Jumping Final
McLain Ward is a master of grace under pressure, but there were no guarantees on Friday during the Team Show Jumping Final and a once-in-a-lifetime jump-off against Sweden. Not only did McLain need to jump clean, he needed to cross the timers in less than 34.64 seconds—and so, in typical McLain style, he did one better. (Two seconds better, to be exact...)
**Watch This Space**
Two New Mares: Two Top Results
It usually takes a well-established partnership to tackle the demands of multiple rounds of intensive, 1.60m+ show jumping competition at the World Championship level. But Team gold medalist and fourth place individual finisher McLain Ward & Clinta and Lorenzo de Luca of Italy & Irenice Horta, who finished seventh individually, prove that may not be the case. Both have been paired with their mares for less than a year (Ward & Clinta since March; de Luca & Irenice since May), and if they can earn these kinds of results so soon out of the gate, who’s to say what else they can achieve?
They’re the Two Best Friends That Anyone Could Ever Have…
It may have been their day off, but German Team rider Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and her mount, Dalera, proved that downtime with your partner is just as important as ring time under the bright lights during their first World Championship in Tryon. This video is giving us all the feels...