Rodolpho Riskalla’s quest to qualify for his first FEI World Equestrian Games (known as WEG) received a boost at the weekend after the Brazilian rider gave his strongest showing yet at an international Para equestrian dressage competition. Riding Don Henrico in the grade IV competition at the Maimarkt competition in Mannheim, Germany, Riskalla took the top spot in two out of the three tests he rode (the team test and individual), and third place in the freestyle. In that he was beaten by reigning World and Paralympic champion Sanne Voets of The Netherlands, with France’s Jose Letarte coming second.
Speaking after the event, Riskala said: “What a weekend! It was a super show with two big wins. We are now so looking forward to WEG.”
It was a good competition too for the home nation, with Germany wining the overall team competition, Regine Mispelkamp taking the individual and freestyle wins in the grade V, and a first and second place for Steffen Zeibig and Angelika Trabert in the grade III individual.
The Netherlands are always a strong team at these events too, and Mannheim was no exception. The team took the second spot in the team competition and, as well as Voets’ win in the freestyle, world champion and Paralympic bronze and silver medallist Rixt Van Der Horst was also the freestyle victor in grade III. She and her new horse, Findsley, were competing in their first tournament outdoors together. “I’m really happy with her,” she said. “It was our first outdoor competition and she was fabulous. Every day she is getting a little bit better so I am really proud of her.”
Austria’s European, World and Paralympic gold medallist Pepo Puch continued to build his relationship with new ride Sailor’s Blue picking up wins in the grade II individual and freestyle, and there were double wins too for Finland’s Katja Karjalainen in grade I.
And alongside Riskalla, there was further success for non-European riders too, with podium finishes for Australia’s Stuart Drysdale (grade V) and Singapore’s Gemma Rose Foo.