|Team USA Celebrates The Gold (Kit Houghton, FEI)|
Shawn Flarida (USA) and Tim McCutchen (USA) posted scores that put the USA over the top in Team Reining. Added to the previous day's scores of Tim McQuay and Craig Schmersal, Team USA ended it's medal hunt on a final combined score of 674.50 which was more than enough to seal the deal. All of the US team members were medal winners at previous FEI World Equestrian Games.
Of his ride, Shawn Flarida said, "My ride was good and the noise coming from the crowd was deafening" said the 41 year old. "I was hoping we could be good today and my horse was really sweet. I'm very lucky to be part of a dream team of horses and riders that have won over $9 million between us!" he said after slotting into the number one spot.
Craig Schmersal said today's victory was special. "We may never put together another team like this - we have a great group of riders, and in 20 or 30 years I know I'll be proud and happy to look back and remember I was part of this" he said.
|Belgium, USA, Italy Celebrate their medals (Kit Houghton, FEI)|
Jan Boogaerts, has only been on Gumpy Grumpy one time, a few weeks ago. "My own horse got a stifle infection and had to be operated on, I still don't know if he will ever see the show pen again but he's doing OK otherwise" Boogaerts explained. Knowing the lay of the land, he called Belgian Chef d'Equipe Susie Baeck to explain the situation "and she went very quiet" Jan explained. 30 minutes later Susie Baeck, sister to team-member Cira Baeck, called back to say "we want you on the team - you can have Cira's alternate horse." "So they're the ones who made sure I came here and I'm very grateful to them for that" he said.
“We were dreaming for third place, but getting silver is like a dream come true,” said Belgian chef d’equipe Susy Baeck, “Tomorrow morning when we wake up, we will realize, and we will have a headache for sure.”
Italy was well-represented by Nicola Brunelli, Dario Carmignani, Stefano Massignan and Marco Ricotta who posted a combined score of 655.50 to take home the Bronze Medal. For the Italians, however, international success is nothing new. They have claimed reining bronze medals in each of the previous World Equestrian Games. In 2008, they bested the U.S. team by winning the FEI World Reining Championships.
“We’re tired of being third for the third time. It’s time to move up!” said Italian chef d’equipe Mario Sbrana.
|Tom McCutcheon USA riding Gunners Special Nite 3rd placed rider in the team competition. (FEI Kit Houghton)|
|Shawn Flarida slides to a stop to take home the Gold (Kit Houghton, FEI)|
Tuesday's second individual qualifier will provide another opportunity to qualify for those who have not yet done so.
Final results were as follows:
1 - GOLD: USA 674.5 - Hollywoodstinseltown (Tim McQuay) 220.5, Mister Montana Nic (Craig Schmersal) 223.5, Gunners Special Nite 224.0, RC Fancy Step (Shawn Flarida) 227.0.
2 - SILVER: BELGIUM 659.0 - Gumpy Grumpy BB (Jan Boogaerts) 205.0, Whizdom Shines (Ann Poels) 219.5, Peek A Boom (Cira Baeck) 218.0, BA Reckless Chick (Bernard Fonck) 223.5.
3 - BRONZE: ITALY 655.5 - Smart and Shiney (Mrco Ricotta) 0, Yellow Jersey (Stefano Massignan) 224.0, Red Chic Peppy (Dario Carmignani) 216.5, Spat a Blue (Nicola Brunelli) 215.
For audio comments:
Jeff Petska (Chef d'Equipe of US Reining team - gold medallists) http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Jeff%20Petska%20-%20Chef%20US%20rein%2026-9.mp3
Jan Boogaerts (Belgium team - Reining Silver) http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Jan%20Boogarts%20-%20BEL%20Rein%20Silver%2026-9.mp3
(Photos courtesy Kit Houghton and the FEI)