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Weekend events prove valuable for Para equestrian riders

Competitions on both sides of Atlantic as build up to World Equestrian Games continues 25 Apr 2018
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A female Para equestrian rider on her horse

Rebecca Hart led a US team to glory at the WEG Test event in Tryon

ⒸUS Equestrian Federation
By Rob Howell | For the IPC

A busy weekend in Para equestrian wrapped up, with US riders testing out their home World Championships facility, while Europe’s Quadrille competition saw new talent emerge.

The USA added another victory to their resume at the Federation Equestre Internationale World Equestrian Games (WEG) Para equestrian Test Event in Tryon from 20-22 April. The team - Rebecca Hart, Katie Jackson, Kate Shoemaker, and Roxanne Trunnell – scored a combined 429.096 per cent to take the win over Canada (400.246 per cent).

With three new horse and rider combinations, the US team tested out the facility and venue in preparation for the WEG.

“We have been monitoring these [new] combinations over the last couple of months,” said Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt. “They have been doing really well, and it turned out to be excellent. They performed as anticipated by the selectors and did a really good job.”

In Europe, riders from 16 countries gathered in Waregem, Belgium, for the annual Quadrille competition. Of particular note was the appearance of a team from Japan, whose Tomoko Nakamura showed promise by winning both the individual and freestyle grade V competitions, two years our from Tokyo 2020. Riding Djazz F, Nakamura finished ahead of Belgium’s world and Paralympic champion Michele George, who was riding two new horses at the competition.

A hat trick of wins (team, individual and freestyle) came from Denmark’s double bronze Paralympic medallist and European champion Stinna Tange Kaastrup on Horsbro Smarties in the grade II contest, while Great Britain’s Natasha Baker made a stunning return to competition after a year out by taking two grade III wins (team and individual) and a second place in the freestyle on her new horse, Mount St John Diva Dannebrog; the combination have only been together since January.

Other double winners (individual and freestyle) included Denmark’s Line Munck Madsen in grade I, France’s Jose Letartre in the grade IV individual and freestyle. Among some of the more familiar names returning to the podium and picking up a couple of second places were Singapore’s London 2012 and WEG 2014 medallist Laurentia Tan; and South Africa’s double Beijing 2008 gold medallist Philippa Johnson-Dwyer. Germany’s multi Paralympic, world and European medallist Angelika Trabert also picked up a win in the grade III freestyle.