Photo caption: Andrea Fappani (USA) and Custom Cash Advance are in the lead after the first individual Reining qualifier (Dirk Caremans/FEI)
Team USA take the lead on first competition day
The Reining team competition and first individual qualifying round of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy took place today in the Parc des Expositions in Caen. Piet Metsdagh (BEL) riding RS Spat Man O War was first in the arena. The pair closed their run with a score of 216.5, which remained unbeaten until, 12 horses later, Andrea Fappani (USA) closed his pattern with a 224.
Riding Custom Cash Advance, an eight-year-old stallion quarter horse by Custom Crome and out of Cash In Roan owned by Silver Spurs Equine, Fappani thrilled the crowd and his score held until the end of the first part of the individual competition.
"This horse has been shown very successfully in the past by other professionals but I've only competed with him twice before coming to the Games and today I tried to do my best," the native Italian, who now represents the USA, said. "I was careful in the spots I wasn't confident about. I had tried to qualify for team US in 2010 and didn't make it by one point. I was pretty disappointed at the time so I am thrilled to be here today," he pointed out.
The second horse-rider combination for team USA, Jordan Larson and HF Mobster (Colonels Smoking Gun x Dun Its Black Gold), owned by Heritage Farms, closed their pattern number six with a 221. "I'm pretty happy with our run today," Larson, who has been showing this horse since 2011, commented.
Team USA is currently leading on a score of 445. Fappani and his mount lead the first individual qualifier rankings and Larson lies in third place.
The Belgium-USA battle is on
After 41 horse-and-rider combinations had performed, Ann Poels-Fonck representing Belgium aboard Nic Ricochet (Ricochet Rooster x Minnie Nic), scored the second highest mark of the day, 222.5.
"I'm really happy with my score and my horse's performance today," she said. "This was not the horse I was supposed to ride here originally. Last week I was lucky enough to have its owner, Manuel Bonzano of Italy, offer to let me ride it. It has been successfully shown by Manuel in non pro competitions in the past and was wonderful for me today. I must admit the crowd was also fantastic!"
The total score for Team Belgium, including Poels and Mestadgh's performances, is 439. This puts them in second place behind the USA.
Team Germany are third with 436.5 points thanks to Ludwig Grisha's performance aboard Ruf Tuf Juice (Little Ruf Peppy x Smart Like Juice). Riding the horse owned by Fabien Strebel, Grisha earned a score of 218.5 and is also tied for third place in the individual standings with Australian Martin Larcombe who rode Wimpys Cute Tune (Wimpys Little Step x Gwyneth), owned by XCS Ranch LLC.
Team Australia closed with a total of 435 thanks to the performance of Shaun Saunders who slid Sparkin Tinsel (Tinsel Nic x Setting Off Sparks), owned by Corinna Schumacher, to a score of 217.