Para-Dressage at WEG:
What You Need
To Know

30 August 2018

The FEI World Equestrian Games™ Para-Dressage competition will see a host of new partnerships bring the battle to a new level...

While the riders are familiar, the list of horses scheduled to compete in the Para Dressage competition at this year’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ reveals a host of new names.

 

In fact, of the eight horses that won individual or freestyle golds at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, only one (The Netherlands’ Sanne Voets’ Demantur N.O.P.) will perform in Tryon, North Carolina.

 

Likewise, only one gold medal winning horse from 2014’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy France, Italy’s Sara Morganti’s Royal Delight, is scheduled to compete this September in Tryon.

 

 
Britain has been a Para-Dressage powerhouse for decades

Can Great Britain hold on to their dominance in Para-Dressage?

The relative newness of so many partnerships, in a sport that is all about the harmony between rider and horse, throws the form book of the competition away.

 

That’s especially true in the team competition. Great Britain, for decades the powerhouse of Para-Dressage, has never been beaten in a team contest at European, Paralympic, or world level.

 

And while no one would actively bet against them retaining their title this year, the path to British team glory is an untested one.

 

At last year’s FEI European Championships, Great Britain held off a strong challenge from a resurgent Danish team, with the Netherlands in third place.

 

Expect a similar tussle between those three countries this time round too, but add a strong German team, and the home advantaged USA into the mix as well, and who knows what could happen.

 

The relative newness of some previously well-established partnerships adds an extra frisson to the already supremely competitive individual competitions too.

 

Most of the Rio 2016 gold medal winning riders competing at Tryon do so on newer horses.

 

Great Britain’s highly decorated Lee Pearson, for example, competes in grade II on Styletta while his team mate, triple Rio gold medallist Natasha Baker, rides Mount Saint John Diva Dannebrog. Tryon is both horses’ first major international competition.

 

Other riders on new horses include Paralympic champions Pepo Puch (AUT), Michèle George (BEL) and Sophie Wells (GBR). And look out too for renewed attempts to gain world titles from the likes of Frank Hosmar (NED) in grade V and 2017 European grade II champion Stinna Tange Kaastrup (DEN).

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Eyes on the prize...

Latvia’s Rihards Snikus, for example, went from being a reliable top five or six finisher to bronze and silver at last year’s Europeans, while Brazil’s Sergio Oliva, who won two emotional home bronze medals  in 2016, will want to prove those results weren’t a fluke in grade I. His team mate, Rodolpho Riskala, could also well take his next major step forward in grade III.

 

Canada’s Bert Sheffield was an agonizing fourth place finisher at WEG 2014 and will be looking to improve on that in the grade III contest, while Australia’s Emma Booth could also pose a threat in that  grade.

 

Team USA will also hope to take advantage of home soil, and spectators can look out for strong performances from the likes of stalwart Rebecca Hart in grade III and Annie Peavy in grade IV.

 

Excited to see all your favourite Para-Dressage athletes on the world stage? Be sure to catch all the action on FEI TV, as well as our dedicated  FEI World Equestrian Games™ page!

 

Text by Robert Howell