What an exciting eventing competition: before the show-jumping part, seven riders were among the range of one mistake and therefore there was movement among the top places. In the end the British were successful. You could say: Chris Bartle who caused Germany to collect all gold medals for some years just continues in Great Britain. He has been back in his home country for one year and last year won gold in Strzegom. Now double gold. In the end the British had luck on their side and Rosalind Canter became world champion with 13-year-old KWPN gelding Allstar B by Ephebe for Ever.
Irish Padraig McCharthy was the first rider who was only one fence away from Ingrid Klimke and he and Mr. Chunky delivered the first clear round and therefore concluded the competition with their dressage result of 27,2 points. Then came Tim Price. The New Zealander and 11-year-old KWPN mare Cekatinka by King Kolibri, who was placed third in Aachen this year, had a mistake at the water and finished in eighth place. French Astier Nicolas with only 9-year-old Selle Francais gelding Vinci de la Vigne was not part of the French team but also had a mistake and finished seventh. To Thibau Valette Lt Col and Qing du Brio Ene HH the same happened and they were placed sixth.
Then the three in the places one to three. The first to perform was Irish Sarah Ennis with Horseware Stellor Rebound. Her dreams of a medal were shattered when she had a mistake in the middle of the triple combination – fifth place. Rosalind Canter and Allstar B were not impressed by anything and delivered a clear round, which saved them the silver medal. Ingrid Klimke and SAP Hale Bob, current European champions now had their turn – but they also felt the pressure, as the rider later said. Bobby, so the Oldenburger gelding is called at home, jumped well – once they were lucky- but at the last fence it happened: the fence fell. Bronze instead of gold. “At first I was disappointed,” Klimke said later. “But bronze is also fantastic. Perhaps I should have ridden more leading up to the last fence. However had someone told me before that I would win bronze I would have been really happy. I was not agitated towards the last fence – I thought we had made it but then I heard the clatter…”
Rosalind Canter’s joy was immense: “It is a shock, an unbelievable feeling.” The British has been training with Germany’s former success maker Chris Bartle for two years now and since then her results improved immensely. “I changed my way of riding due to him. He gives you faith. I was not nervous, I just jumped fence after fence.”
Padraig McCarthy, who has won the first individual medal since 1978 for Ireland also did feel good before the show-jumping part. In his “former life” he was a show-jumper who trained with Rolf-Göran Bengtsson in Sweden and later with Max Hauri, Hans Horn and Eddi Macken. Then he decided to study economics and finance in Germany. In Ireland he obtained his PhD and then decided to go for a career as an eventing rider. Now he is vice world champion with the team and in the individual rating.
With 93,0 points the Irish won silver behind the British with 88,8 points, while the French ended with bronze (99,8 points). Surprisingly Japan finished in fourth place, the Germans caught up to rank five, thereby obtaining the qualification for the Olympic Games just as the Australians and the New Zealanders who are qualified despite their seventh place because the Japanese as the host nation are already qualified.
The first rider for Germany was Julia Krajewski with Chipmunk FRH by Contendro I, who finished the course with two mistakes. “I am proud to have finished the WEG,” so the rider said, even though she admitted that she had dreamed of more. “We could have done better,” she said. “But at a championship every little detail matters. Chipmunk’s already known problems resurfaced – that he sometimes goes against the hand in the cross country. It is a pity, I had expected more.”
Kai Rüder and Colani Sunrise did better and stayed clear. “I had a great feeling,” so the rider from Fehmarn said. “It was very loud in the arena – we are not yet used to the machines but my horse was a pleasure to ride. He noticed all tasks.” The break between cross country and show-jumping was strange, said Rüder. In the morning Colani Sunrise had been very eager and then thought: “Today is Monday, why can’t we just go for a walk? But then show-jumping was also o.k. for him.”
Andreas Dibowski and FRH Corrida by Contendro/Espri were in good shape and stayed clear. “She always jumps fantastic,” Dibo said. “With such a young horse you never know how it will deal with the atmosphere but she jumped as spectacularly as I expected.” As always, the 52-year-old was open about criticising his performance: “Kai and myself both were not content with our performances. Our expectations were higher. We could have been faster. Corrida is only nine years old and still unexperienced but she was not jumpy and so I could have been more relentless. A championship is not a competition for young horses. In the future I might have to work harder.”
He also criticised the decision to postpone the show-jumping competition: “We could have ridden yesterday. The rain was just a drizzle and we were a bit put out. But that is how the Americans are and I think in the end no one was at a disadvantage”
Now the eventers can start their journey home – the French started earlier than all the others – they could not even attend the press conference.