Caen, France- The 2014 FEI World Team and Individual for Four-in-Hands Driving Championship, held as part of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, got underway with 23 drivers performing their dressage tests. The U.S. sent two drivers before the Ground Jury of Klaus Christ (GER), Andrew Counsell (GBR), Anne-Marie Turbe (FRA), Joaquin Medina (ESP), and Pia Skar (DEN). Both Misdee Wrigley Miller and Alison Stroud are making their Four-in-Hand World Championship debut this week and did not disappoint in the first phase. They were the only women to compete today.
Alison Stroud (West Grove, Pa.) had a solid performance for her dressage test on Thursday, highlighted by quality extended trot and halts. Her team of Dutch Warmblood geldings owned by Willow Star LLC and Koos de Ronde stayed attentive to Stroud's aids, helping to earn a score of 56.10 to put Stroud in ninth place after the first day of competition. This feat was all the more impressive considering she has only worked with the team since January of this year.
"I was very excited. I thought my horses absolutely went into the ring, they were focused, and they gave their full attention. Today I felt like they were with me right down to the last halt," Stroud said. "I had a couple little breaks in the walk with their enthusiasm, but I will take that because everything else they gave me was perfect. I'm really happy."
Wrigley Miller (Lakewood Ranch, Fla.) was the first American competitor to head into the driving stadium at the La Prairie Racecourse, driving her own team of KWPN geldings to a score of 58.05. Wrigley Miller only began driving a team of horses in December 2013, but has continued to build form in each competition, and her World Championship debut on Thursday was no different as she performed the best test of her Four-in-Hand career.
"I was really pleased; the horses really came together. This was the best test all year," said Wrigley Miller, who is enjoying competing at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. "I'm very, very excited; I'm a bit overwhelmed by it. As soon as I trotted in I thought this is it. I'm here, let's enjoy it."
After the first day of dressage Wrigley Miller stands in 13th place.