The dressage of the FEI World Four-in-Hand Championships in Breda took place on Thursday and Friday in the lovely main arena at the Prinsenhoeve Estate, which was blessed with beautiful weather. In contrary to the previous years, the organisation had changed the layout of the show grounds completely, which resulted in a very nice set up with a true World Championship atmosphere.
Not Brave Enough
After four-times World Champion and Dutch team member IJsbrand Chardon had taken the lead in the provisional dressage standings the first day, all eyes were set on the reigning World Champion Boyd Exell this morning. Boyd had decided to use the experienced 16-year old gelding Rambo in the wheel instead of the better moving mare Daphne. Boyd showed perfect tempo changes, transitions and extensions with his beautiful team of horses and was awarded with the winning score of 33,15 points by the Ground Jury: “I was very pleased with my test, the horses went very well. I am disappointed that the Judges were not brave enough to give points,” commented Boyd. “I believe I have the best pair of leaders that there are at the moment. I have sold one of them to Hungarian driver Martin Hölle, who will use this horse in his horse pair. I thought to myself that if I can’t get more points anyway with these two fantastic leaders, I might as well sell one. I do have a lot of depth in my team, I will use the leader horses of Aachen in my team next season."
American Lady Drivers On Top
Chardon dropped to the second place, ahead of 2014 silver medallist Chester Weber from the USA, who scored 40.94. With three Dutch drivers in the top five, Koos de Ronde finished fourth and Theo Timmerman fifth, the Dutch team has taken the lead in the nations competition.
Second US team member Lisa Stroud impressed with her eighth place, which put the US team in second position, ahead of Australia. Individual competitor for the USA Misdee Wrigley-Miller finished deservedly on the 6th place with her harmonic team of KWPN geldings.
World Championship Worthy Marathon
The 56 competitors from 16 countries can expect a challenging marathon tomorrow with eight obstacles, designed by Level 4 Course Designer Jeroen Houterman from the Netherlands. The obstacles include technical and fast routes: “This is the first proper marathon since the World Championships in Riesenbeck 2012,” said Exell. The great weather circumstances will ensure that the footing will be the same for the first until the last competitor.
The difference between the Netherlands-based Exell and Chardon is less than 15 seconds, which means less than 2 seconds per obstacle. Both opponents as well as all other competitors will have to put everything at stake to ensure a comfortable lead after the marathon.