Excitement and great reining were the key words at the FEI European Reining Championships Individual competition on Aug. 16. Ten nations (Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden) competed in the first individual qualifier. All except Austria presented full teams, with Tina Kuestner Mantl and her Nu Chexomatic (Nu Chex To Cash x Tejons Texie Lena x Tejons Peppy Doc) along with Klaus Lechner and Cody Rooster Delmaso (Ricochet Rooster x Made Of Lacy x Topsail Cody) both scoring a 215.5 to secure a spot in the individual finals.
Twenty of Europe’s finest horses and riders performed in the Deutsche Bank Stadium with Giovanni Masi de Vargas, of Italy, clinching individual gold with Quarter Dream’s Dance Little Spook between the reins.
Last to enter the arena, the 22-year-old flawlessly guided the talented mare through pattern No. nine. His deep stops, fast spins, smooth lead changes and perfectly painted circles pleased both the crowd and the judges, who paid him back with an outstanding score of 222 and the top step of the podium.
“Earning two gold medals here is unbelievable and so emotional,” said Masi de Vargas, who also posted the highest score in the team competition, when Italy took home the gold. “I cannot thank my team enough, our coach and the president of the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation, Cav. Vittorio Orlandi, for being here to cheer for us.”
The pressure was on for Masi de Vargas once it was his turn to enter the arena. German veteran Grischa Ludwig and Shine My Gun had thrilled the crowd with their run and their perfect spins. Once they had performed their last stop, a 221 appeared on the scoreboard, meaning the duo just missed out and had to settle for individual silver on home soil. “I came here aiming for the gold,” Ludwig said. “I did not have much luck in my last stop but it was a great fight until the very end and I am proud of our results.”
Germany also kept the bronze medal at home as Elias Ernst and USS N Dun It (Reminic N Dunit x USS Enterprise x Be Aech Enterprise) closed their run with a 219. The talented 10-year-old stallion is owned by Christine Wilinski. “I can’t describe my feelings! To show here is awesome and the crowd was super,” said the young German rider.
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