Caen, France. - The Adequan U.S. Reining Squad got competition underway at the Caen Exhibition Center with the first half of the 82 horse-and-athlete combinations completing FEI Pattern Six in the Team Championship and First Individual Qualifier. After strong performances on Monday from all three American athletes, the U.S. has high hopes to defend their Team Gold and Individual Gold and Silver medal performances from the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY.
Riding as an Individual, Troy Heikes (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Lil Gun Dunit were the first U.S. pair to take to the show pen receiving a score of 214. Heikes started his pattern strong and was rewarded with good scores for his spins as well as his circles to the left. Unfortunately bobbles in the circles to the right, resulted in the pair incurring costly penalty points.
"I felt him step to the outside and we unfortunately had a change," explained Heikes. "We were penalized, unfortunately it happened here at the WEG but other than the errors, he showed well."
Finishing his pattern, Heikes was back on form with his sliding stops and rollbacks. "I went all out to try and earn back some points and hopefully make it into the Second Qualifier." Heikes is currently sitting 15th individually.
Andrea Fappani (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Custom Cash Advance were the next U.S. pair to compete. Riding as part of the U.S. Team in Team Championship competition, their score of 224 was the best score of the day and has made them the individual leaders after day one. Bringing in high marks across the board, Fappani impressed the judges with great transitions between his large and fast circles into the small and slow circles.
"He felt great here all week so my plan was to come in and show hard. I know some people come in here and want to be safe, but I never go safe because when I do, I screw up," noted Fappani. "I went in and tried to do the best I could and overall it was great."
Jordan Larson, (Whitesboro, Texas) riding HF Mobster was the final reiner to compete for the U.S. Monday. He earned high marks in his sliding stop and roll back to the right and finished on a score of 221. Larson's consistently strong pattern helped place the Adequan U.S. Reining Team provisionally into first place, with the final two team riders competing tomorrow.
"I am really proud of my horse, it was just an awesome experience," said Larson after his ride. Currently sitting individually in third place he added; "it is an honor just to be here and represent the country."
Reflecting on today's rides Chef d'Equipe Jeff Petska said, "Im very pleased with Andrea, he came in and did exactly what we expected," adding, "our team knows that we are the ones to beat after last WEG so the guys today stepped up to the plate and we are in a great spot looking forward to tomorrow."
Tuesday the remaining members of the Adequan U.S. Reining Squad will compete with Team Medals being awarded at the completion of the day.
Mandy McCutcheon will ride in spot 57, Shawn Flarida will ride in spot 75, and Tom McCutcheon, riding as an individual will go in spot 79.
For more information on the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, visit www.normandy2014.com.
Follow the 2014 Adequan U.S. Reining Squad here.