Sunday, September 26, 2010

WEG Reining Results: Italy/US TopTeam Reining on Day 1

As the first day of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games got underway Italy's Stefano Massignan  topped the Reining Leaderboard. The US-based Massignan rode Yellow Jersey  into first place.

Stefano Massignan Slides Yellow Jersey into First Place   (Kit Houghton/FEI)

Massignan described the Alltech Arena as "a great coliseum with first-class ground conditions." And "this place is beautiful and we couldn't ask for anything more".  Training in Italy during the early days where the sport was "not so popular," Massignan then moved to the US, continuing to train for eight more years before arriving in Lexington for WEG 2010.  Said the 38 year old:"I'm so happy to represent Italy here in this beautiful country today." 

Tim McQuay and Hollywoodstinseltown spin into 2nd place . (Kit Houghton/FEI)
After day one of reining competition, and with half of the horse/rider pairs still to compete, Tim McQuay (USA) and Craig Schmersal (USA) lie in  second and third place respectively. With one more day of competition to go and two more Americans yet to ride, the US team looks poised for a successful defense of its World Championship title.

Craig SCHMERSAL USA riding Mister Montana Nic  (Kit Houghton/FEI)

Fourth into the ring, McQuay and Hollywoodstinselstown, with a score of 220.5, held the lead until Massignan, riding Yellow Jersey, was awarded a score of 224.0. Two rides later, Schmersal and the 12 year-old Mister Montana Nic pushed his American team-mate down to third .  "He was so good" Schmersal said of his horse.  "He's a veteran now and he came through for me today, just like he always does".

Originating in the United States as a means to test the agility and obedience of working cattle horses, Reining is a sport that has been embraced whole-heartedly by the rest of the world.  First included in the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Jerez, Spain in 2002,  today's competition is explained by US Reining Chief d'Equip Jeff Petska: "We describe each routine as a pattern, and each pattern includes a set of maneuvers - there were seven maneuvers today. They included a right-spin four times, left-spin four times, two long fast circles and small slow circles - these are judged on how easily horses slow down.  There was a flying lead-change at the centre-line and judges were looking for the horse to be quiet and under control after the second lead change.  On the final run the horse should build his canter - like setting up an airplane for take-off - then speed up before the sliding stop.  There was a roll-back in which the horse needed to be relaxed and a sliding stop followed by a back-up."

In Sunday's second go around, team USA will need to hold off Austria and Belgium who sit in second and third respectively.

Result- Reining Day 1
Individual - 1, Yellow Jersey (Stefano Massignan) ITA 224.0; 2, Mister Montana Nic (Craig Schmersal) USA 223.5; 3, Hollywoodstinselstown (Tim McQuay) USA, Hot Smokin Chex (Grischa Ludwig) GER 220.5; 5, Wimpys Little Buddy (Martin Muhlstatter) AUT, Whizdom Shines (Ann Poels) BEL 219.5. 
Teams - 1, USA  444.00; 2, Austria 432.50; 3, Brazil 425.00; 4, Belgium 424.50; 5, Netherlands 422.00; 6, Mexico 420.50.

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