To cap off a gold medal in the team competition at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy, their fourth, Adequan’s USA reiners swept the podium to seal their dominance on the sport.
The last draw of the night was the best, with Shawn Flarida piloting Michell Kimball’s Spooks Gotta Whiz to a 233.5 and Flarida’s fifth WEG gold medal of his career. “He is such a good-minded horse,” said Flarida of his mount.
“I knew Andrea was going to be great tonight. He’s a great friend of mine and I have great respect for him as a horseman, but I knew he was going to put me in a position that I was going to have to go beat him,” he continued.
Just before the final drag, Andrea Fappani mounted pressure on Flarida when he laid down a 229 on Silver Spurs Equine’s Custom Cash Advance, besting teammate Mandy McCutcheon’s 227 on Yellow Jersey.
“I can’t think of a horse that can circle better than he did tonight,” said Fappani. An unfortunate bobble in the first rollback cost him a little in the scores, but that didn’t squelch the celebration by Fappani and owners Michael and Michelle Miola of Scottsdale, Ariz.
”Michelle and I were on our feet the second Andrea started his run. We knew Andrea had to go all out to challenge Spooks Gotta Whiz, and go all out he did,” said Michael. “We were cheering and the crowd was wild. During the spins, my heart was racing—I can only imagine how Andrea was feeling.
“His big, fast circles and the transitions to the small, slow, and his lead changes were fantastic both ways. When we got to the stops, I knew Cash was a great stopper,” Michael continued. “His first stop was perfect—all I am thinking is come on, Andrea, bring it! The second stop was beautiful, but my heart sank when he took a couple trot strides out of the rollback—that cost us a half point per judge, plus a lower score on the maneuver. He made up for things with the third stop, and we were happy with the judges’ mark of 229.”
Despite their hopes for a individual gold medal, the Miolas realized they were guaranteed at least a silver medal. The pair ran down to hug Fappani and “Cash” and congratulate the pair—not bad for only their third competitive ride together. While Michelle was hugging her 2006 sorrel stallion, he nozzled his head under her arms and she rewarded him with more kisses and pats.
McCutcheon’s ride on her parents’ Yellow Jersey was rewarded with the same kisses, pats, and hugs.
“It’s hard to put all I feel in words,” Mandy told the media. “I couldn’t be happier, my horse stepped up for me tonight and when they do that, they are great horses. To be behind two such great athletes as Shawn and Andrea is just an amazing feeling. It is an honor for me and I couldn’t be luckier to have had the opportunities I’ve had in my career.”
“The medal ceremony was very emotional for us all,” said Michael.
All six members of Team Adequan United States had qualified for the individual finals, with Jordan Larson finishing tied for sixth on HF Mobster with a score of 223.5. Troy Heikes scored a 220.5 on Lil Gun Dunit, and Tom McCutcheon unfortunately received a no score after the post check.
Final Standings (Top Ten):
Gold – Shawn Flarida and Spooks Gotta Whiz (USA) – 233.5
Silver – Andrea Fappani and Custom Cash Advance (USA) – 229
Bronze – Mandy McCutcheon and Yellow Jersey (USA) – 227
4th – Grischa Ludwig and Rug Tuf Juice (Germany) – 226
5th – Rudi Kronsteiner and Dr Lee Hook (Austria) – 225.5
6th (tie) – Jordan Larson and HF Mobster (USA) – 223.5
6th (tie) – Cody Sapergia and Nu Chexomatic (Canada) – 223.5
6th (tie) – Martin Muhlstatter and Wimpys Little Buddy (Austria) – 223.5
9th – Cia Baeck and Colonels Shining Gun (Belgium) – 223
10th – Bernard Fonck and Sail On Top Qhizard (Belgium) – 221