The FEI World Para Equestrian Driving Championships were held at Heerlijkheid Mariënwaerdt Estate in Beesd (NED) from 3-6 August, where the Dutch home team claimed gold, followed by Germany taking silver and Great Britain claiming the bronze medal.
Over the three days, 21 competitors from Germany, Great Britain, USA, Italy, Latvia, Belgium and the Netherlands all made the trip to the beautiful estate to compete.
For the Grade 1 section, defending World Champion Jacques Poppen (NED) produced a very nice dressage test with his 11-year-old Arabo Friesian horse P.P., with whom he also won the title in 2014. But in the marathon section it was Germany’s Heiner Lehrter who drove his small pony fast through the six obstacles, flagged by level 4 Course Designer Barry Hunter (GBR).
“I decided that I had nothing to lose so my motto was all or nothing,” said Heiner Lehrter.
Deborah Daniel won her first individual medal (bronze) and contributed to the British bronze team medal.
Defending World Champion Alexandra Röder (GER) started well in the Grade 2 section and won the dressage and the marathon ahead of Francisca den Elzen (NED). However, the difference between the 29-year old Alexander Röder and Francisca Den Elzen was less than one ball before the cones. Francisca Den Elzen drove her pony speedily, with one knockdown and when Alexandra Röder entered the arena it seemed her nerves got the better of her and she had several knockdowns, meaning she ended up taking silver.
The bronze medal went to Dutch individual driver Aad van Marwijk.
“The cones course was very difficult, but I did it! After my disappointing dressage score I did what I had to do. It has been a fantastic experience to compete here in Beesd, it was my first World Championship experience and I really enjoyed it,” said Francisca den Elzen.
Individual results Grade 1:
- Heiner Lehrter (GER) 130,41
- Jacques Poppen (NED) 135,63
- Deborah Daniel (GBR) 149,59
Individual results Grade 2:
- Francisca den Elzen (NED) 134,71
- Alexandra Röder (GER) 152,97
- Aad van Marwijk (NED) 164,06
- The Netherlands 270,34
- Germany 276,04
- Great Britain 304,24