|Joanne Eccles 1st in round 1 of the Female individual compulsory test on the horse WH Bentley. (Kit Houghton/FEI)|
The host nation took the early lead in the Vaulting Championships at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky, USA today where Germany's Gero Meyer headed up the Male Individual and Great Britain's Joanne Eccles topped the Female Individual competition.
Today's tests were all based around the seven compulsory movements and the US team horse, Palatine, with lunger Carolyn Bland at the end of the line, helped the Americans to rack up a winning score of 7,207. Germany lies second after the first day, with Austria in third ahead of Switzerland, France, Slovakia and Brazil.
The British team had to settle for eighth place, with Australia in ninth, while South Africa rounded up the top 10 nations. A total of 20 countries are represented by teams in the FEI World Vaulting Championship.
Defending World Champion, Kai Vorberg from Germany, posted a second-place spot in the Male Individual contest when fellow-countryman Gero Meyer came out on top. Meyer scored 8,401 against Vorberg's 8,297 while Switzerland's Patric Looser slotted into third.
|Gero Meyer (GER) on Fürstenlady, leader after round 1 of the male individual compulsory test. (Kit Houghton/FEI)|
He pointed out that this World Championship is a particularly special one for him. "2010 will be my last (World Championship) and is an event I've worked for for not only one year. I really wanted to be here and I got here, so I'm very happy", he added.
Vorberg was also happy with his performance. "I made everything sure and brought it home this round. There were some really good moves which I could do better. You never know what happens, and you never know what you will get, so I'm satisfied. Scissors were quite good, the stand and flank not as good as I can do, but it could be worse!".
Joanne Eccles, who claimed the Individual title at the 2009 European Championships, is one of the favourites to take Female Individual gold. As usual she shared her horse, W H Bentley, with her sister Hannah, and to round up the family affair their father, John, is their lunger. Hannah had to settle for 16th place, but Joanne's score of 8,157 wasn't beaten all afternoon and she goes into tomorrow's competition ahead of Germany's Simone Wiegele in second and America's Megan Benjamin in third.
An elated Joanne said; “It went really well – that was my best mount yet! I got good jump from the surface and there’s nothing in the routine which I’m instantly disappointed with. I’ve been practicing the compulsory moves as it’s my weakest area and built up to this so I’m really pleased. I know there’s pressure on me to do well but I know what I can do, I just have to go out there and do it!” she pointed out.