August 27, 2014–The eventing portion of the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrians Games kicked off Wednesday with all horses of the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team passing the first horse inspection. A field of 95 combinations from 27 nations presented at the first horse inspection, with 94 horses passing and one, Alexander, the mount of Ludwig Svennerstal (SWE), withdrawing from the holding box. The Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team, led by Chef d’Equipe David O’Connor, is prepared for strong performances in the FEI World Team and Individual Eventing Championship set at the picturesque Le Pin National Stud in Le Pin-au-Haras, France.
In the FEI World Team Eventing Championship, the U.S. will be represented by Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM, Phillip Dutton and Trading Aces, Boyd Martin and Shamwari 4, and Lynn Symansky and Donner. Along with the team riders, Sinead Halpin and Manoir de Carneville and Kim Severson and Fernhill Fearless will compete in the FEI World Individual Eventing Championship.
“We had a very good week of training camp in Chantilly; that worked out very well,” Chef d’Equipe O’Connor explained. “The horses are very fit and they feel very well. The morale is high; now it’s just throwing the dice and here we go.”
Davidson (Ocala, Fla.) returns to World Championship competition with Carl and Cassandra Segal’s Ballynoe Castle RM, after the pair was part of the U.S. team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Davidson and the 2000 Irish Thoroughbred gelding seem to be in fine form after placing third in the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover and earning the Rolex/USEF National CCI4* Reserve Champion title.
“It’s exciting; we’re ready,” Davidson said about beginning the competition tomorrow. “I wouldn’t have wanted another week and I wouldn’t have wanted to go last week. I think ‘Reggie’ is as good as he has ever been and I think I am as good as I have ever been and it’s time to go.”
Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) will tackle his fourth FEI World Equestrian Games, his second representing the U.S., with Trading Aces LLC’s Trading Aces. He and the talented 2004 Irish Sport Horse gelding were eighth in the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover earlier this year and have continued to develop their partnership.
Returning for his second World Championship appearance, Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) brings the experienced Shamwari 4, the Shamwari 4 Syndicate LLC’s 2002 Hanoverian gelding, and aims to provide a strong showing for the U.S. team. Though the pair has been together for only a couple of months, they have proven they can perform with the best in the world after finishing third at the Luhmuhlen CCI4* in early June.
Symansky (Middleburg, Va.) makes her debut on the World Championship stage in Normandy with her own Donner. She and the 2003 Thoroughbred gelding have performed consistently at the top level of the sport, winning the Bromont CIC3* earlier this summer.
“I’m excited and nervous,” Symansky explained of her feeling heading into the championship competition. “It’s such an honor to be here. It’s so beautiful. I had a walk around the cross country and it certainly seems like it won’t be a dressage show but I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
Also making her World Equestrian Games debut, Halpin (Oldwick, N.J.) brings Manoir de Carneville, a 2000 Selle Francais gelding owned by Manoir de Carneville Syndicate. The pair has competed at some of the top competitions in the world and looks to demonstrate their stellar form in Normandy. Halpin and Manoir de Carneville finished fourth in the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover back in April.
Severson (Charlottesville, Va.) will make her third World Championship appearance, this time riding her own Fernhill Fearless. After a hiatus from competition at the highest level of the sport, she is back and in solid form. Severson has had great finishes with her 2000 Irish Sport Horse gelding in the short time they have been together, including an 11th-place finish at the 2014 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover.
Competition gets under way Thursday with the first day of dressage. Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM lead off the U.S. contingent, heading down centerline at 9:30 am local time as the first pair of the day, followed by Halpin and Manoir de Carneville at 12:10pm and Dutton and Trading Aces at 2:00pm. On Friday, Severson and Fernhill Fearless will kick off the second day of dressage for the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team at 9:38am local time. Symansky and Donner will perform their test at 10:26am and Martin and Shamwari 4 will wrap the first phase up for the U.S. at 3:12pm.
To learn more about the FEI World Team and Individual Eventing Championship at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, visit: http://www.normandy2014.com/2014-games/the-disciplines/3/eventing.
Follow the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team here.