The most spectacular part of the World Driving Championships for Ponies in Lipica finished today in a beutiful sunny weather. A lot of visitors came to see the competition and we saw some realy amazing performance and even some serious difficulties in the last obstacle section. The course design was rather difficult, but allowing also high speed in the obstacles.
In the category of single ponies Maxime Maricourt form France showed the best performance, followed by Stefan Gratz from Austria and Dennis Schneiders from Germany.
Ewoud Boom won in the category of pairs, the first runner up was James Broome from Great Britain, and the second runner up was the best ranking woman in pairs Karine Poentis from France.
In four-in-hands young Bram Chardon from the Netherlands seems to be in the good way to reach up to his father's success. He won today's marathon in front of the first runner up Jozsef Dobrovitz jr. from Hungary Germany and steffan Brauchle of Germany in the third place.
After two thirds of the competition the German Dennis Schenider is in the lead in singles with 114.73 points, followed by Kristina Klindt from Denmark with 116.59 and Susanne Ankerman from Sweden with 116.76 points in the current third position.
In pairs Dieter Baackmann from Germany with 114.16 points is in the lead, followed by his teammate Stephan Koch with 118.08 points and Ewoud Boom of the Netherlands with 118.79 in the third position.
Bram Chardon took the leading position in teams competition with 117.43 point, but Steffan Brauchle from Germany with 120.60 and Jan de Boer with121.20 are close behind.
No changes in the teams competition after Marathon. Germany is still in the lead with 345,01 points with the Netherlands on the second place with 360.39, although dressage best Netherlander Yvonne de Ruyter was disqualified and her dressage result taken out of the team result. The USA is on the third place with 382.08 points, heading still for one of the medals in nations teams competition.
Asked about the marathon course, court designer Christian Iseli said on the press conference: “I made obstacles that allow different ways to go to the obstacle, either fast or slow, with short or long distance.” Maxime Maricourt described the field also as a “very unique, allowing a lot of possibilities”. Ewoud Boom, who won todays pairs, also thought that the marathon course was very difficult, especially because “you can speed up and go very fast but then make big mistakes.” Brad Chardon, that has never before been in the first position on the world championships, was happy to see a lot of spectators on today's event.
Richard Nicoll, the chairman of the Driving Committee of the FEI expressed his thankfulness to the organizer and said, that the FEI was “delighted that Lipica took over the organization of the Championships and organized it so well.”
Tomorrow the cones competition, which starts at 9 a.m. will give us the final answer to the question of the new world champions in ponies singles, pairs and four-in hand and teams.
You can see more photos from the competitions in photo gallery at the official site of the competition www.lipica2011.si.