Highlights From Dressage at the World Equestrian Games - The Bravest Ride

An elated Inessa Merkulova celebrates with Mister X! (Photo: Mary Phelps)
An elated Inessa Merkulova celebrates with Mister X! (Photo: Mary Phelps)

During the Team Competition and Qualifier for the Grand Prix Special at the 2014 Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games, Normandy World Equestrian Games, dressage fans sat through intermittent rainy weather that some riders had to endure through the luck of the draw. Although the stands has seats under cover about 10 rows back, the riders did not have the luxury of being protected from the elements in the outdoor arena. The final set of riders on the second day of the class represented eight countries. The anchor riders for their teams were in the final set and all waited for the star of the show, Great Britain's Valegro and Charlotte Dujardin. The pair did not disappoint, winning the class with an 85.271 percent. But it was the next rider to enter the arena for Russia, Inessa Merkulova and her beautiful Trakehener Gelding Mister X (by Egeus) who got an even bigger applause worthy of an image gallery on DressageDaily.{C}

It is hard enough to follow the Olympic Gold medalist, when the crowd roared as Charlotte exited the arena and her winning score was posted. But then the skies opened up with a vengeance and within minutes of Inessa and Mister X beginning their test, they were drenched. Spectators moved back into the covered rows in the stands, but were no distraction.

Inessa Merkulova and Mist X Trak/Bay/2002/G/ by Egeus and Derbi
Inessa Merkulova and Mist X Trak/Bay/2002/G/ by Egeus and Derbi

They rode a beautiful test with expressive extensions, and deep sitting piaffe and passage. As she made her final salute, she collapsed on her horse's neck, wrapping her arms around him and hugging him as they began their exit. She could not contain her joy and the love for her horse and it was apparent he loved and trusted her as well. The crowd roared even louder for the bravest ride of the Dressage World Equestrian Games. She earned the highest score for her team, a 71.157, that ranked her 27th, in a field of 98 rides, but she won a gold medal from the crowd.

And also the most beautiful tail of the show!




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