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British Dressage WEG Disappointment

At the end of two difficult days the British Dressage riders finished team 10th at the World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain. The team of Richard Davison, Emile Faurie, Laura Richardson and Peter Storr scored 4876 in the team Grand Prix, finishing 766 marks behind the Gold medal winning German team.

Despite thorough preparation the British team position at Jerez was the lowest since the Games began at Stockholm in 1990. At an event where it was hoped all the riders would achieve personal bests the British team was plagued by under performance.

Laura Richardson and Millenium .
Photo credit to Kit Houghton.

Earlier this year Peter Storr and Gambrinus complemented their score of 68% at Soley CDI, Gloucester, by travelling to Moscow and achieving a score of 68.3% in the Grand Prix and 73.95% in the Grand Prix Kür. In what must be every rider's nightmare, Gambrinus showed some unlevel steps in the Grand Prix at WEG, despite passing the veterinary inspection the day before, and scored only 63.04%.

The second GB rider fared little better as the intense pressure of the event took its toll on the relative newcomer Insterburg and, despite his wealth of experience, Emile Faurie could only coax 63.16% out of the 12 year old gelding.

Laura Richardson and Millenium had slightly better fortunes, but still scored below their seasons average of 66.25% for international competition, finishing with a score of 65.8% at Jerez, marked down by one judge.

The last GB rider to compete faced an almost impossible task, but Richard Davison and Ballaseyr Royale produced a solid test. They were also marked down by the same judge, who scored him 6% lower than his fellow judges, and resulted in a disappointing 66.08%.

Talking about the team performance and the task that lies ahead Performance Manager Ian Williams said: "We are all disappointed by the result as the whole team, riders and support staff have worked brilliantly and achieved their goals in preparation for this event. We now have to look at every detail and find out what went wrong. All the team and BD selectors will be involved in this review and the formulation of a plan to address the issues arising."

"British Dressage and World Class were extremely pleased with the progress that the squad had made throughout the year and the riders all deserved a better outcome here in Jerez."

One of the main objectives of the British WEG team was to qualify Great Britain to take part in the 2004 Olympic Games by finishing in a team position of 7th or above. At Aachen CDIO in June the team result of 5th indicated that this was within reach, but now the British participation in the dressage event at Athens is in question.

World Class Performance Director, Matt Straker, at present in Jerez to support all seven British Equestrian teams, spoke of the possibilities of qualification for the Olympics: "The FEI will accept qualification from the European Championships at Hickstead in 2003, but the British Olympic Association has a policy only to accept results gained in worldwide competition. We have the option to appeal to the BOA on the grounds that this result is out of character and I am hopeful that they will allow next year's European Championship results to count."

The team will return to Britain on Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th September. Following the Performance Manager's review the BEF will apply to appeal to the BOA regarding Olympic qualification.


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