FEI World Eventing Championships 2022, by Louise Parkes
On the thrilling final day of the 2022 FEI World Eventing Championships, Team Germany dominated while Britain’s Yasmin Ingham put on another impressive performance from her 11-year-old gelding Banzai du Loir to take the individual title ahead of Germany’s Julia Krajewski in silver, winning bronze for the New Zealander TimPrice.
A total of 68 horse-and-rider combinations started on Italian course designer Uliano Vezzani’s 13-gate arena and it would have a significant impact if just 12 returned clean. It seemed like Germany’s Michael Jung would win the individual gold for the second time in this phenomenal athlete’s career. But after leading through the first two stages, he finally had to settle for fifth place when he dropped the first element of the bogey double at obstacle 11 along with the final planks.
However, his final score of 26.8 would still count towards Germany’s overall victory of 95.2 as both reigning individual Olympic champions Julia Krajewski (Amande de B’Neville) and Christoph Wahler (Carjatan S) jumped clean and missed the uncharacteristic 12 penalties , collected worldwide by 2014 champion Sandra Auffarth (Viamant du Matz).
As the day started, Team USA’s Tamra Smith (Mai Baum), Boyd Martin (Tsetserleg TSF), William Coleman (Off the Record) and Lauren Nicholson (Vermiculus) were already on the silver medal spot dressage leader after a great cross-country run yesterday from Great Britain were in bronze.
But Britain’s luck did not last and although tragedy temporarily moved them higher this afternoon, they were overtaken by New Zealand at the end of the day to settle for fourth place. Kiwi husband and wife team Tim and Jonelle Price (Falco and McClaren) both had spectacular jumping performances and Monica Spencer (Artist) made the incredibly long journey from the southern hemisphere worthwhile when she took on Clarke Johnstone (Menlo Park) in third Step connected to the podium.
There were seven qualifying spots for the Paris 2024 Olympics up for grabs and Germany, the US, New Zealand and the UK have now booked those spots, along with Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland, who took the next three spots.
Third team title
This is Germany’s third team title in the 15 editions of the FEI Eventing World Championships. They won for the first time at home in Aachen in 2006 and again in 2014 in Caen in Normandy, France, with Auffarth and Jung also on that side.
For Jung, this was a day of mixed feelings.
Auffarth said she found the closing stages really exciting. “It was cool for everyone to watch because it was such an up and down for all the teams. I didn’t have the best round, I have a really good show jumper, but today he was a bit unfocused and impressed by the atmosphere, so we fought after that, but in the end we were very happy that we made it!” she pointed out thereupon.
Krajewski’s pattern book featuring her beautiful mare helped secure victory and it gave her immense satisfaction. “She jumped out of her socks! My goal was to finish with my dressage grade and I did it. I knew that she could jump without a mistake, but you really had to pull yourself together today because it was a tough course,” she said, knowing that she also had individual silver in her pocket.
The Americans hadn’t stood on the World Championship podium since their second victory in the history of the event in 2002, so today’s success was very significant.
As Boyd Martin said, “It was great for us to have five clear rounds in cross-country yesterday. I’ve been on a lot of those championship teams and it was always so close today so it’s a huge sigh of relief!”
Two fences down proved costly for Tamra Smith, who dropped to ninth place from individual bronze, but was still pleased with her result and USA’s finishing place. “We came here to do our best and we all knew we could potentially win a medal, but we’re pleasantly surprised. When you look at the results and we’re less than 0.4 from third place it just shows the quality of the field – I’m honored to be here,” she said.
The last time the Kiwis won a world team medal was bronze in Kentucky in 2010, so today’s medal placement was a big moment for them too. And for Tim Price it was a very big moment to also get the individual bronze.
“It’s a position we haven’t been used to for a long time,” he said. “Andrew Nicholson came over and said you’ve waited long enough for this – well done! It’s incredible, we had a great week, everything was very solid and what a finish!” And he was very proud of his horse Falco. “We believed in him from the start, he’s always been an absolute jumper, but to come into Sunday and make the most of that is just incredible. We’ve worked so hard for it, we’ve been focused on it for years, this kind of big event with the team behind us and the nation behind us, it means everything!”
Meanwhile, individual gold medalist Yasmin Ingham reflected on her incredible performance in her championship debut. “I’m so proud to win this for Britain, but I’m also proud to do this for the Isle of Man!” she said today. She was born and raised on the small island between England and Ireland, which covers an area of just 572 square kilometers and has a population of 85,000.
She had a highly successful youth career and was named Isle of Man Sportswoman of the Year in 2013 after winning team and individual gold at the European Pony Championships in Arezzo, Italy and achieving her first top ten finish in 2018 a CCI4*L U25 at Bramham. She was awarded the Godman Cup that year for the most points earned by a British rider in eventing aged 21 and under. She won Blenheim last year and finished second in Kentucky earlier this year with Banzai. Only 25, the driver, who lives in Cheshire, England with Sue Davies and Janette Chinn, already has the world at her feet.
“It was amazing to get the opportunity to compete here alongside a British team who are seasoned professionals, so I learned a lot. The support team was fantastic and a big thank you to them. Banzai is the best horse I’ve ever sat on and I don’t think I’ll ever sit on a horse like him again. He’s incredible in dressage, he has so much presence, he’s fast cross country, he’s agile, he’s brave and when he came into show jumping today he showed everyone that he jumped a clear round and there weren’t any two possibilities ! I don’t want to sit on any other horse,” she said.