First Day of 2012 Paralympic Equestrian Team Competition Reveals Leading Countries
Friday, August 31, 2012
The Team Test Results for Grade Ib:
1. Lee Pearson and Gentleman (GBR)----74.682%
2. Pepo Puch (Individual AUT)----73.636
3. Joann Formosa (AUS)----71.955
4. Katja Karjalainen and Rosie (individual FIN)----70.909%
5. Jonathan Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale (USA)----70.364%
6. Valerie Salles and Menzana D'Hulm (FRA)----69.500%
The Team Test Results for Grade II:
1. Natasha Baker and Cabral (individual of GBR)-----76.095%
2. Britta Napel and Aquilina 3 (GER)----72.571%
3. Lauren Barwick and Off To Paris (CAN)----72.095%
4. Rebecca Hart and Lord Ludger (USA)----69.095%
5. Barbara Minneci and Barilla (BEL)----68.571%
6. Petra Van de Sande and Valencia Z----68.095%
Within an hour of Dedrick's ride Grade II Para-Equestrian Rebecca Hart (USA) of Unionville, Penn. and Lord Ludger trotted down center line. Within that hour the weather turned fickle bringing wind and rain in all types of patterns. "Let it rain," exclaimed the U.S.A. Team Captain Rebecca Hart before her Team Test. Hart enjoys the focus and muting that the rain brings for Lord Ludger and her during her execution of the test. "We prefer sunshine but he's just as happy to go in the rain. It actually kind of puts us into our own little bubble and we focus on each other more than what's going on. It gives you one more thing to block out but I look at it as an aid and it actually helped us."
Wentz earned pulled up the lead for the United States Team during his Grade Ib Team Test. "We're in a really good position," noted Wentz, "it will come down to tomorrow but the team is sitting quite nice. We earned good scores today and we'll just have to go through the tests tonight and read over the judge's comments for ways to improve. Of course there's lots of room for improvement, there always should be, that's what Dressage is all about."
Friday will bring forward the last of the four riders for the United States Para-Equestrian Team when Donna Ponessa of New Windsor, NY and Western Rose, owned by Wes Dunham, compete in Grade Ia Team Test competition.
Barwick explained, "My horse has been really good with crowds and weather but the speakers were bothering her a little bit. I know how she can perform so I was proud of her when she decided to trust me and do her job. I had to be very conservative due to the new environment of the ring but I rode today for tomorrow. If I would have blown her up today and asked for too much she wouldn't have trusted me in our next test. So the good thing today was to put in a good performance, ride today for tomorrow, and tomorrow will be an even better day. I was super proud of my mare today because halts have been our biggest challenge and she nailed all three of them. I was also proud at the end, For her to let me walk out of the arena on a free walk with a long rein that moment said a lot about her and a lot about our partnership."
As the day approached 4:00 PM the skies began to darken and the rain set in. The stadium began to fill up as famous British Paralympian Lee Pearson entered the ring. Pearson would complete a quality test with moments of brilliance and yet a moment of hesitation. As Pearson and horse Gentleman approached the 5 meter circle away from center line on the left rein he proceeded to track right and bauble for a moment before correcting and moving on to the next requirement. Pearson expressed, "It was not our best test in the world. I warned everyone about Gentleman's sense of humor. He warmed up perfect and he came in the arena and said, 'Eww thousands of people watching.' then he Blocked all of his energy and I had to nurse him around the arena. If the engine is working I can keep contact but when the engine dropped out I had to release the contact on Gentleman and move him forward. It is all in his head really, physically he can go fantastic, but he gets a bit cheeky sometimes when he goes in the arena, when so many people are watching. It wasn't our worst test but it wasn't our best test."
Pearson continued, "I have been reading the test for days now and I got rider error. I knew we would do something stupid at the Paralympic games. When you are losing ingredients as an athlete, you are kind of over focused. Rider error I am not fool proof!"
Pearson was impressed with the amount of talented riders and horses that have come to the 2012 London Paralympics. He has also noted that he is looking forward to cheering on his competitors and teammates.
The 2012 London Paralympic Equestrian Competition continues at 9:00 a.m. Friday August 31st, with the Grade IV, III, and Ia Team Test. The final horse enters the ring at 6:15 p.m. Donna Ponessa will enter the ring at 4:33 p.m. behind Canadian Jody Schloss and Inspector Rebus.
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