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Dressage more popular than ever

Dressage is getting more popular than ever. One hundred rider-and-horse combinations from 31 countries are competing at the seventh World Equestrian Games in Caen’s D’Ornano Stadium, beginning on Monday. The previous record was Aachen 2006 with 89 riders and horses  from 33 countries.

Dressage more popular than ever
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Twenty-five countries had nominated teams but that number had to be reduced by one after the veterinary inspection on Sunday found one horse from Kazachstan unfit to compete. Bringing only the minimum of three riders for the team competition that leaves Sergey Buikevich and Janette Bouman to compete as individual riders. 

And who says dressage is predictable? The much anticipated reappearance of the “magical black stallion” Totilas who had ruled Lexington 2010 with three titles for the Netherlands will not happen. After a miracle comeback two years after his last competition with his new rider from Germany Totilas was withdrawn only some days ago because of injury. That leaves the door to the medal podium wide open for double Olympic gold winner Valegro with Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain. The pair holds record scores in all three medal competitions to be decided over the coming days: in Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Freestyle. After their remarkable three year journey from success to success Caen will be the sides’ first World Championship.

The team decisision is wide open as well after the title holders from the Netherlands had to exchange two horses on short notice. Only Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival are left from the Lexington squad. Edward Gal, triple world champion with Totilas, and  Hans Peter Minderhoud are riding younger horses.

Great Britain, team silver medallists in Lexington, has Valegro supported by Carl Hester and Nip and Tuck, the Dutch gelding that he bought in a triple-package as a yearling because he actually had an eye on one of the other two horses. Michael Eilberg and grey mare Half Moon Delphi  shone a month ago in Aachen and Gareth Hughes and DV Stenkjers Nadonna are the least experienced of the foursome.

Germany, being unseated from the WEG-throne for the first time in Lexington, are coming with an all ladies quartett that won the European championship title in Herning 2013. They have high hopes to better  the Lexington-bronze.  Fabienne Lütkemeyer and D’Agostino are replacing Totilas and Matthias Alexander Rath. The pair had been a member of the European championship winning team in Herning as well and will be the first out in the arena on Monday at 8.00.

The USA, Sweden, Denmark and France have to be considered for the bronze medal as well, all depending on the horses’ form. A medal at the team event will bring not only the world championship title but also the first step towards qualification for Rio 2016.

CLICK HERE to see the start list for tomorrow

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