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UAE riders shine in Dressage spotlight

EEC’s 2017 FEI World Dressage Challenge helps nurture local talent

Image Credit: Courtesy: Martin Dokoupil and EEC
Cristina Calin-Thompson on Apollo, winner of FEI Prix St-Georges Class, at the 2017 FEI World Dressage Challenge. Dressage is one of the most elegant of Equestrian sports.
Gulf News

Dubai: UAE-based riders seized the opportunity to shine and posted several impressive scores during the UAE leg of the 2017 FEI World Dressage Challenge at Meydan Group’s Emirates Equestrian Center (EEC).

Dressage is one of the most elegant of Equestrian sports and the main aim of this annual event is to nurture local talent and offer local riders the opportunity to compete in an international competition without having to travel outside the country.

As a result FEI international dressage judges travel across the globe to rank competitors based on their performance. Each country is placed in a zone with the same judge visiting every country in that zone.

Showcasing the two-day event were the Senior I and II Class, Intermediate I Classes, Prix Saint Georges as well as the Youth Class.

Reem Al Abbar Stable rider Cristina Calin-Thomson and Webster recorded a winning score of 65.33 per cent in the Intermediate 1 category while Emirates Equestrian Centre riders Tracy Wyngard — Gill and Hylkje Fan De Finnen won the Senior I Class. The pair claimed victory after a high-score of 71.17 per cent from the judges.

Calin — Thomson continued her impressive run after being adjudged winner aboard Apollo in the prestigious Prix Saint — Georges with a score of 64.47 per cent.

In the Senior II Class Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club rider Susanna Foustok and Don Rodolfo claimed victory with a high score of 68 per cent.

Heidi Hallat, riding for the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club, was in top spot In the Youth Elementary category with an impressive 69.5 per cent.

Points earned through the FEI World Dressage Challenge count towards a global ranking for individuals and teams.

Hamad Al Shamsi, Show Manager at the Emirates Equestrian Center, said: “We are pleased to see UAE-based riders perform so well at this international competition. It is always satisfying to see our local horse-rider combinations being rewarded and recognised for all the hard work they put in.”

Lilian Sternvad, Dressage Coordinator at EEC who has been part of the UAE’s journey in the competition for over a decade, added: “The FEI World Dressage Challenge is a significant event for the UAE as it helps nurture and develop local talent.

So far the UAE has a proud history in this event, faring well on the global platform. Since winning the title in 2012, UAE riders have performed consistently well, with several top-ten finishes in the individual and team competitions.”

Clive Halsall, a 4* FEI judge from England was the invited FEI judge, while Kirsty Mephan served as the second judge (representing UAE) on duty this year.