At the 2014 Asian Games (XVII Asiad), it was a dressage rider from the hosting country of the Republic of South Korea that brought honor to the medal podium as he captured two Gold medals in Incheon. The first Gold medal for 23-year-old Young-shik Hwang came on Saturday, September 20, as he led the South Korean team to a Team Gold with a score of 74.342%) aboard Fursteuberg, a 2003 dark bay Westphalian gelding (Furst Piccolo x a Dunhill mare), owned by Song Jaehyung. The rest of the South Korean Gold-medal team consisted of Kyunsub Kim (68.816% drop score) aboard Dark Secret, Yooyeon Chung (69.658%) aboard Royal Red 2, and Dong Seon Kim (71.237%) aboard Finally. Most people think the Olympics are the largest event in the world. However, the Asian Games are actually the biggest sporting event in the world. This year, almost 13,000 athletes competed in 36 sports over 16 days. They represented 45 Olympic Councils of Asia member states. Ten countries competed in dressage.
The equestrian events started on Saturday, September 20, with riders riding in the Individual and Team Prix St. Georges competitions. For the Team medals, the teams took the average of three scores, with a drop score if there was a fourth team member, in the Prix St. Georges Team tests. Japan carried the Silver with an average score of 69.842% from Shingo Hayashi, Tomoko Nakamura, Kazuki Sado, and Mayumi Okunishi. And Chinese Taipei came in third for the Bronze with an average score of 67.386% from Hsiu Hua Yeh, Li Ku Kuo, Yu Chieh Chang, and Ko Wen Wang.
For the Individual medals, the scores from the Intermediate I and Intermediate I Freestyle tests on Sunday and Tuesday, respectively, were combined for a total score. And it was Young-shik Hwang on top again as the Republic of South Korea took home the Gold medal, In addition, thanks to Dong Seon Kim’s performance, the Silver medal also went to the home team. The Bronze medal went to Larasati Iris Rischka Gading of Indonesia, who was on the fourth-placed team in the Team competition.
On Tuesday, September 23, Hwang and his horse were in top form as they rode to the Individual Gold with a combined score of 153.268 points (76.575% Intermediate I Freestyle, 76.711% in the Intermediate I test). He has formed a great partnership with Fursteuberg. “With regard to his personality or character, he is calm and relaxed," Hwang said. "Furthermore, he can be very charming and timid at the same time. At shows, he is very focused on his rider.”
Hwang’s teammate, Dong Seon Kim was only 2.587 points behind on the combined score of 150.699 points (77.225% Intermediate Freestyle, 73.474% Intermediate I) as he took Silver. His score in the Freestyle actually bested Hwang’s score of 76.575%. Kim rode Finally, a 2001 chestnut Hanoverian (De Niro x Capri Sonne, by Caprimond), owned by Hubert Schmidt. Finally was on the 2013 USEF Leading Sire List as a sire of dressage horses.
The Bronze medal went to Larasati Iris Rischka Gading of Indonesia aboard her 1998 Hanoverian Wallenstein 145 (Wolkentanz x Wicke, by Wildfang), with a combined score of 145.707 (74.075% Intermediate I Freestyle, 71.632% Intermediate I).
Hwang is no stranger to Gold medals since he became the second South Korean rider to win two Gold medals at two consecutive Asian Games. Hwang has only competed internationally for the past four years. In 2010, his first international competition was at the last Asian Games, the Guangzhou Asiad, where he won Individual and Team Gold medals on Laura. of Indonesia aboard her 1998 Hanoverian Wallenstein 145 (Wolkentanz x Wicke, by Wildfang), with a combined score of 145.707 (74.075% Intermediate I Freestyle, 71.632% Intermediate I).
Hwang called the dressage tests at this year’s Games more difficult compared to four years ago. In addition, he gave credit to the riders of other countries, citing an improvement in riding skills all around. “Not only the foreign riders, but also the Korean team members trained so hard, and everybody performed so well,” he said.
As a coach and rider, Hwang rides for the Semadae Riding Club in Osan, Korea, and has been a member of the Korean team since 2008. Hwang has trained in Germany with Martin Schaudt. “When I am in Korea, I talk to him and ask for his advice on the phone, or I exchange e-mails with him. For big shows, he usually comes to Korea to train me in person,” describes Hwang.
He has also trained with Matthias Baumann and Asian Games Team Silver medalist Jae-Hong Park. At age six, when Hwang received a foal from his parents, who own a riding stable, he was hooked on horses. He began riding at the end of elementary (primary) school.
“Compared to the Asian Games held in Guangzhou four years ago, I was less tensed up this time,” said Hwang. “This time I had more time to prepare myself. Besides, also my horse adapted well to his new environment. Therefore, I really enjoyed competing in this year's Asian Games.”