Reiners light up the public in the stands at the Parc Expo arena

Piet Mestdagh of Team Belgium, riding his RS Spat Man O War, opened the Reining Team Competition and 1st individual qualifying round at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy today.  The pair closed their run with a score of 216.5, score which remained unbeaten until, twelve horses later, Andrea Fappani (US) slid Custom Cash Advance to a 224.

Reiners light up the public in the stands at the Parc Expo arena
© PSV Photos

I’m very pleased with my horse today,” said the native Italian professional about the 8-year-old Quarter Horse stallion owned by Silver Spurs Equine.  “I only showed him twice before coming to the Games and today I tried to do my best, being careful in the spots I wasn’t confident about.  I tried to qualify for team US in 2010 and didn’t make it by one point so I am thrilled to be here in this edition.”

American team coach Jeff Petska was also pleased with Fappani’s run:  “It’s exactly what we expected from Andrea,” he said. Jeff was just as pleased about 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, who closed their NRHA pattern n.6 with a 221.  The total score after day one for Team USA is 445, the highest once the first part of the team competition was over this afternoon.  Fappani and his mount also lead the 1st individual qualifier.

The second highest score, after the 41 horse-rider combinations had performed, was Ann Poels-Fonck for Team Belgium. Aboard Nic Ricochet (Ricochet Rooster x Minnie Nic), Ann posted a 222.5.  “This was not my number one horse but I was lucky enough to have Manuel Bonzano of Italy offer to let me ride him here.  He has been successfully shown by Manuel in non pro competition in the past and was wonderful for me today.”

Ann credits her husband, NRHA Million Dollar Rider Bernard Fonck, for the help in coaching and training. Fonck will be showing past NRHA Open World Champion, Sail On Top Whizard (owned by Danny Cerato) in the second part of the competition tomorrow for team Belgium.

The total score for Team Belgium is a 439, which puts them in second place in the team standings today.

Thanks to Ludwig Grisha’s pattern with Ruf Tuf Juice (Little Ruf Peppy x Smart Like Juice) between the reins, paid back by the judges with a 218.5, Team Germany is placed third with a 436.5. Aboard the horse owned by Fabien Strebel, Grisha is also tied for third place in the individual standings with Australian Martin Larcombe who was seen riding 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 217.

Part 2 of the Reining Team Competition and 1st individual qualifier will take place tomorrow morning at 8.40 and the first medals of the 2014 Games will be awarded.

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