Photo caption: Troy Heikes (USA) and Lil Gun Dunit were the leaders in the second individual Reining qualifier at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (Dirk Caremans/FEI)
Six qualify for individual Reining Final
By Simona Diale
Some 23 Reining horse-and-rider combinations came back to the Parc des Expositions in Caen today for the second individual qualifying competition. The top 15 pairs after the first individual qualifier had already earned their ticket to the Final which will be held on Saturday, 30 August, at 20.00 CEST.
Second last to go, Troy Heikes, representing the USA as an individual, walked in aboard Lil Gun Dunit (Colonels Lil Gun x Hollywood Baby Dunit). Riding the eight-year-old stallion, owned by Denise Bixler and Steve Tarani, Heikes was set on making it to the Final and closed his run with a score of 220, the highest of the day.
"In the first qualifier we had a problem in his right circles," Heikes said. "Today, though he felt really good, we also had one point lead penalty on that side. After that I knew we had to earn it back and he gave me all he had. Though I am not on the US team, I am part of the squad and am really happy with the way my horse went. For me, getting my horse ready for an FEI event is all very new and it has been a great experience," he pointed out.
Thanks to Heikes' winning run today, the USA will have all their athletes competing for the individual FEI medals on Saturday.
Canadian Cody Sapergia riding Nu Chexomatic (Nu Chex To Cash x Tejons Texie Lena), owned by Jac Point Quarter Horses of Austria, set a high standard after scoring 219. He was fifth to ride and managed to put his opponents under pressure.
"Today my horse was much better than on the first day and, even though there are still a couple of things we need to fix, I am confident he will do well in the Final," a satisfied Sapergia explained.
Non-professional rider Josh Collins (GBR) posted the third highest score of the day (218). The 24-year-old rode Spook A Little (Smart Spook x Jessie Wright On) earning a spot in the Final.
"Being able to represent my country here has been my dream and my goal since the beginning of the year," he commented. "My horse was amazing today and I am very proud of being in the individual Final."
o making their way to the prestigious competition, where the FEI individual medals will be awarded, are Stefano Ferri (ITA) and Rooster Nic on 217 as well as Paolo Koury Neto (BRA) with Don't Whiz WRB and Romuald Poard (FRA) with Peppys Ruf who tied for fifth place on 216.5.
The complete results of today's competition are available here.