It’s Gold for Team Italy!
By Simona Diale
Today, Italy claimed team gold ahead of Germany in silver and The Netherlands in bronze at the FEI European Reining Championships 2015 in Aachen, Germany.
In a field of 40 competitors, and with 8 horse-rider combinations to go, the podium was determined by a superb performance from Italy’s Giovanni Masi De Vargas and Dance Little Spook.
Aboard the 7-year-old Quarter Horse mare by Smart Spook and out of Sailors Dance, owned by Quarter Dream, the young Italian rider posted a 221.5. Equaling the top score of the day was Germany’s Grisha Ludwig and Shine My Gun. The 7-year-old stallion, an own son of Colonels Smoking Gun and out of Shiners Mistress, owned by Stephanie Madaus, thrilled the crowd executing the only +1 ½ spins of the day. Once the duo closed their performance, they secured Germany’s European team silver.
“I am simply thrilled,” said Italian team coach, Filippo Masi De Vargas. “This squad is made up of young riders, the future of our discipline, and they were just great, very professional and full of enthusiasm. The only ‘older’ rider is Pierluigi Fabbri, who was also on the team in the past edition. He had to endure the pressure of opening the competition today and did a great job giving the other athletes on the team the confidence they needed.”
In the 2013 edition of the Championships, Italy took team silver behind Germany and today, again on German soil, the battle was on from the first to the last competitor. With only 10 horse-rider combinations left to go, vying for the medals were Italy with 651 points, The Netherlands with 637 and France with 634.5. The situation was soon to change following Masi De Vargas’s performance, which did put Italy in the lead but still left the highest step of the podium undecided.
The gold and silver medals were determined after Ludwig’s run, but reining enthusiasts had to wait until the last competitor of the day to find out which nation would complete the podium. Rieky Young Van Osch of The Netherlands, who performed aboard her Brady Chex, the 10-year-old stallion by Buenonic Chex and out of Somethingtocrowabout, ending up posting a 214, enough to earn the bronze.
Just off the podium was team Great Britain with three competitors and a total of 635 points. Francesca Sternberg and Ten Reasons (Hand Ten Suprize x Hotroddin Catalyst) closed with a 215.5, enough to advance automatically to the individual competition on Sunday. “Ten Reasons just gave me another reason my husband Doug chose him!” said an enthused Francesca following her run.