Fabulous
Fonck
Shocks
Americans

15 September 2018

Belgium's Bernard Fonck shocked the home crowd by becoming the first European to win the Reining Individual gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games™...

Reining events finished Saturday at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, North Carolina, as Belgium’s Bernard Fonck shocked the home crowd by winning the gold medal in the Individual competition aboard his quarter horse What a Wave.

 

Second place was awarded to Daniel Huss of the USA, and the bronze medal went home with Cade McCutcheon of the United States, who edged João Felipe Andrade C S Lacerda of Brazil in a ride-off after they tied.

 

Fonck became the first European to win the Individual Reining title at WEG, and only the second non-American, with Canada’s Duane Latimer having triumphed in 2006.

It was a thrilling wrap up to three days of Reining competition in the Johnson Controls Arena, built especially for WEG Reining.

The stadium was packed in spite of impending rainy weather, and the crowd was on fire cheering for their favourite horse and rider duos.

 

Saturday’s Reiners were required to ride Pattern 12, a difficult combination of sliding stops, rollbacks, circles, tempo changes, and spinning turns. The 22 competitors who made it through from the previous two days of Reining knew there was nowhere in the pattern to hide a mistake from the three judges, but there were definitely places to show off a bit and gain points.

 

Martin Mühlstätter of Austria put up a big score of 224.5 early in the competition, and it became the one to beat, as one by one, the athletes pulled out all the stops, literally and figuratively.

 

Italy’s Manual Cortesi was up to the task, and he was awarded an identical score further down the roster. Would it hold for a podium position?

 

 

Sadly for the two European competitors, no, as both Mühlstätter and Cortesi wound up settling for a very respectable tie for fifth place.

 

João Felipe Andrade rode after Cortesi, and scored a 225.0, enough to temporarily put him on top.

 

Nine more reiners went through the pattern, and still 225 was the high score. It looked like Belgium’s Ann Poels would take the lead next, but her original score of 226.0 was ultimately changed to a 220.5, after the judges gave her a penalty for breaking gait, a mistake they didn’t all register at first.

 

Poels’ husband Bernard Fonck was up next. He put up a brilliant pattern with very aggressive circles and huge sliding stops at the finish for 227.0 points.

 

This time the top score would hold. American Daniel Huss, riding his first WEG at 58, also turned in a tremendous ride for 226.5 points and the silver medal. His mare showed exemplary transitions from fast to slow and a textbook rollback.

Fonck put up
a brilliant
pattern

The final rider of the day, Cade McCutcheon was also riding his first WEG at 18 years of age.

The son of the 2014 WEG Reining champion Tom McCutcheon made a big entrance and had a solid finish that scored 225.0 points to tie with Lacerda. In order to determine who would take the bronze medal, the two had to ride back into the arena. Cade McCutcheon and his mount scored a 228, a point higher than the Brazilian rider, and claimed the bronze.

 

Thiago Boechat of Brazil and Mirjam Stillo of Italy finished seventh and eighth, respectively.

 

Reining may be done for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™, but there’s lots more excitement to come. Stay tuned to FEI TV for Vaulting, Jumping and Driving as well as the fabulous daily Live@Tryon show!

 

Text by Patricia Salem

Images by Liz Gregg

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