Victory for Alex Ripper and Wild at the Bar in Sunday’s individual final ensured it was all gold for Germany at the FEI European Reining Championships 2013 on home turf in Augsburg.
In Thursday’s Team Championship, this year’s host nation came out on top for the fourth time in the history of the event, and, with a superb run on Sunday, Ripper added the individual title with style.
Individual silver went to Belgium’s Cira Baeck and Colonel’s Shining Gun who finished just 0.5 points off Ripper’s winning score, while German dominance was further underlined by Grischa Ludwig’s bronze medal performance with Custom del Cielo.
A total of nine countries took part at these Senior Championships which offered one go-round to decide the medals.
President of the Ground Jury was Francois Zurcher (SUI) and the remainder of the judging panel were Rick Bordignon (ITA), Eugenio Latorre (ITA), George Maschalani (GER) and Karen McCuistion (USA). The highest and lowest scores were dropped to determine the final score, and in the team competition the lowest score is dropped. The top 20 from the team competition qualified for the individual decider.
The competitors were tested with Pattern 5 in the team championship and Pattern 10 in the battle for the individual title. The event took place as part of Americana, a popular annual showcase for Western riding. Reining first became an FEI discipline in 2000, and was incorporated into the FEI World Equestrian Games at Jerez in Spain two years later where the USA claimed team gold. Germany clinched the team title when the inaugural FEI European Reining Championships were staged at Reggio Emilia in Italy in 2003.
Germany won gold with a total score of 659 points, with Italy taking out silver and Austria the bronze.
The Italian team which had earned gold twice before, was obviously a bit disappointed, but Trainer Filipo Masi said: “That’s what competition is like – sometimes you are luckier than other times. Our riders did their best, and I’m very proud of them!!“
As was the Austrian Chef d’Equipe Gerold Dautzenberg, whose team of only three riders had missed silver by only half a point. “We did not have a fourth result which might have been scratched,” he said. “But our riders gave everything for the team.”
The Belgian team followed on fourth place scoring a 652. France finished fifth, Great Britain sixth and the seventh place achieved by Finland was quite a triumph as this was their debut in team competition. The Netherlands finished eighth with Switzerland in ninth and last spot.
In the individual final it was Alexander Ripper aboard his stallion Wild At the Bar who stole the show with a spectacular second-last-to-go performance . The two showed a brilliant run scoring a 225 which was individual gold for Germany. Ripper, a multiple Bronze Trophy Champions, NRHA Breeders, Futurity Reserve Champion, NRHA Breeders Derby Champion and 2012 Germany previously claimed team and Individual gold at the Championships in 2003. Cira Baeck (BEL) and Colonels Shining Gun earned silver only half a point behind (224,5) and bronze went to Grischa Ludwig (GER) who scored a 223 aboard Custom Del Cielo.
“This is the best moment of my life,“ said Ripper happily. “I knew that my horse could do it. He is strong in every manoeuvre and a real show horse.”
GOLD – Germany 659: Smokin Mifilena (Volder Schmitt) 215, Hot Smokin Chex (Sylvia Rzepka) 194, Wild at the Bar (Alex Ripper) 221.5, Custom Del Cielo (Grischa Ludwig) 221.5 ;
SILVER Italy 655.5 – Cody Gio Phoebes (Mirko Piazzo) 211.5, Spat Split and White (Massimiliano Ruggeri) 218.5, Malerba Fiednora’s Rooster Nic (Pierluigi Fabbri) 218.5, Chic Magnetic (Giuseppe Prevosti) 218.5;
BRONZE – Austria 655: Whizoom (Rudi Kronsteiner) 223, Heza Sure Whiz (Tina Kunstner-Mantl) 216.5, Chic N Roost (Martin Muhlstatter) 215.5.
GOLD – Wild at the Bar (Alex Ripper) GER 225;
SILVER – Colonel’s Shining Gun (Cira Baeck) BEL 224.5;
BRONZE – Custom del Cielo (Grischa Ludwig) 223.