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Two Cavalor Eventers Win Medals at World Championships!
By Darlene Ricker
Dirk Schrade of Germany and Karin Donckers of Belgium earned medals Sunday at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy. After completing Frederic Cottier's 12-obstacle show jumping course at d'Ornano Stadium in Caen, Schrade's team won the gold and Donckers placed sixth individually. Both riders are sponsored by Cavalor.
The German team struck gold with a score of 177.9, followed by Great Britain (198.8) and the Netherlands 246.8. Individually, the medals went to: Sandra Auffarth of Germany on Opgun Louvo (gold, 52.0), Michael Jung on Fischer Rocana FST (GER, silver, 52.3) and William Fox-Pitt on Chilli Morning (GBR, bronze, 54.3).
It was an amazing feat for Donckers' impressive young horse, Fletcha Van't Verahof, which was competing in its first 4* event. The horse was sired by reigning World Champion show jumper Vigo d'Arsouilles. The cross-country course, she said, "was a very big course for this horse. He has never competed at this level before."
While most of the field was exhausted by the end of Saturday's course, Karin's and Dirk's mounts were among the few that were still fresh going into Sunday's stadium jumping. Their horses were perfectly conditioned and in very good health after an incredibly demanding 35-fence cross-country test.
"My horse was very fit at the end of the (cross-country) course. I took it easy in the beginning and did not push it at all. Also on the hills and gallops, he felt very good, and in the last three minutes I could gallop very fast," said Donckers. "I had the feeling that I could have ridden faster, but when you see so many tired horses, you want to ride it smart - and that's definitely what I think I did. It's better to come out where you feel like you have some fuel left in your tank when they get tired, especially for a young horse with so much talent like he has at only 9 years old."
Schrade called Sunday's stadium round "a pretty challenging course in the new arena. The course was technical and the fences big enough, with some funny-shaped fences as well. I think it was a good test after two days of difficult competition. Again, we had a championship course, like Saturday was," he said. "My horse was very fresh today; he didn't have any trouble with that. Of course he is a little bit tired, mostly mentally and body-wise, but fresh enough to do such a good round."
Dirk assessed cross-country this way: "I really liked the fences and how they were built. What at the end I didn't like, I have to say, is that the ground was ridiculous, and that was the reason we had two stops yesterday. This was very unusual, especially for my horse. He's a very experienced horse, and normally I would bet a lot of money that he would be clear in cross-country. He has never had a cross-country fault with me. I think never in his life did he have a cross-country fault, only maybe once before."
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