World Championships – Behind the Scenes

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The calm before the storm! This is the view at Stutteri Ask Stadium, site of the Herning2022 dressage competition. This photo was taken during “arena familiarization“ day which took place the day before the start of Grand Prix competition. Photo by Jennifer Bryant

The 2022 Ecco FEI Dressage World Championships Herning2022 have come to a close.  Riders and horses from the US put in phenomenal performances, and our para dressage team brought home the hardware, with a team bronze, individual bronze, and individual silver medal!  Check out some behind-the-scenes sights from Herning.

The calm before the storm! This is the view at Stutteri Ask Stadium, site of the Herning2022 dressage competition. This photo was taken during “arena familiarization“ day which took place the day before the start of Grand Prix competition. Photo by Jennifer Bryant
Team USA’s Steffen Peters has been there and done that! Check out the number of Olympic Games pins on his tailcoat—and the Olympic rings on his coat buttons. He spoke to reporters at the Ecco FEI Dressage World Championships Herning2022 after earning an impressive 74.767% in the Grand Prix aboard Suppenkasper. Photo by Jennifer Bryant
 
Except for his saddle & halter, this little fellow at the Herning2022 children’s area is built entirely of Legos! There’s a strong connection between Legos and Herning 2022: not only is nearby Billund, Denmark, home to the Lego factory & Legoland park, but there are ownership ties between the Lego company & such prestigious Danish sport-horse establishments as Blue Hors Stud. Photo by Jennifer Bryant.
 
 
What’s better than watching a gold-medal-winning performance? Meeting the horse & rider in person! During a behind-the-scenes tour of Denmark’s famed Blue Hors Stud, USDF Connection magazine editor, Jennifer Bryant, got the opportunity to meet newly minted Herning2022 Danish dressage team gold medalists Nanna Merrald Rasmussen and the stallion Blue Hors Zack. Nanna works and rides for Blue Hors, and the champion breeding and performance stallion calls the magnificent, bucolic facility—located only about an hour’s drive from the World Championships venue in Herning—home. Photo by Jennifer Bryant

Para-dressage competition at Herning2022 kicked off with a bang! First up for the USA was Kate Shoemaker on Quiana, who placed fourth in a field of 18 in the Orifarm Healthcare FEI World Para-Dressage Grade IV Individual Championship with a score of 73.900%.

The 8-year-old Rheinlander mare Quiana (Quaterstern x Rubinstein Noir) is a new mount for Kate, who said she had “almost given up” on finding a horse after an 8-week search in Europe. They’ve been a pair since last December.

It was love at first ride: “She felt so special underneath me, and listening, and so forgiving,” Kate said. She hadn’t originally planned to bring Quiana to Herning 2022—she still actively competes her champion partner Solitaer—but the mare, “said yes, and yes, and yes, every step of the way. I love her so much.”

“I was smiling the whole second half of the test,” Kate said. “I’m going to cry! I was just feeling joy and peace going around the arena. It was awesome.”

Photo by Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography

It’s bronze for the USA’s Rebecca Hart! Riding her 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games bronze-medal partner, El Corona Texel, the four-time Paralympian (right) took the first US para-dressage medal at Herning2022. Hart and “Tex” earned a score of 73.147% to take the bronze in the Grade III Individual Championship on August 11.

Tex is a 13-year-old KWPN gelding (Wynton x Goodtimes) owned by Rowan O’Riley.

“Tex can be really tense sometimes,” Hart said afterward, “so we have worked a lot to get the relaxation we have in the warm-up [to carry over] into the arena.” In the BB Horse Arena in Herning, she said, “I could really enjoy my whole ride rather than micromanage things. That was a fantastic feeling.”

The Danes, who dominated the dressage team medals in Herning, topped the podium again in the Grade III Individual championship, with Tobias Thorning Joergensen (center) on the 14-year-old Danish Warmblood mare Jolene Hill (Blue Hors Schufro Hit x Windsor) winning gold on a score of 78.676%. Team Great Britain veteran Natasha Baker (left) on the 11-year-old Hanoverian mare Keystone Dawn Chorus (Dimaggio x Escudo 19) won silver on 73.970%.

Good boy, Tex! Groom Esteban Quintero rewards El Corona Texel with a kiss after “Tex” gave it his all for Team USA with para-dressage athlete Rebecca Hart. Hart’s score helped to put Team USA in bronze-medal position at Herning2022. Photo by Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography for USDF.
Victory wheelies! US 2022 World Para-Dressage Team Championships team bronze medalists Beatrice de Lavalette, Rebecca Hart, Roxanne Trunnell, and Kate Shoemaker take their lap of honor at the prize-giving ceremony at Herning2022. Photo by Sarah Miller/MacMillan Photography for USDF.
With fireworks exploding in the background, Herning2022 USA Para-Dressage Team bronze medalists Roxanne Trunnell, Kate Shoemaker, Rebecca Hart, and Beatrice de Lavalette celebrate along with team chef d’équipe Michel Assouline. Congratulations to these amazing ladies! Photo by Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography for USDF.

Silver-medal finish! Grade IV para-dressage athlete Kate Shoemaker won the USA’s third and final medal of Herning2022 on the four-discipline championships’ final day.

With her new mount, the Rhinelander mare Quiana, Shoemaker earned a personal-best score of 80.275% in the Grade IV Freestyle to win silver in the Orifarm Health Care FEI World Para Dressage Championship in Denmark.

And to think Kate’s partnership with Quiana is just getting started! We congratulate Kate and all the members of Team USA Para Dressage for giving it their all and making us proud in Herning 2022!!

Photo by Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography for USDF.

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