Articles: Press Release
Spain Wins Individual Gold as U.S. Battles Illness and Elements at the
World Endurance Championship, Terengganu, Malaysia, November 6-9, 2008
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc.
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Web site: www.usef.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2008
By Pamela Burton
Distributed by Stacey Meier
Terengganu, Malaysia - Besting a Championship field of riders, Spain's
Maria Alvarez Ponton galloped home to Gold on Nobby, with a ride time of
8:48:06. Argentinean rider, Agustin Vita, riding Baraka Ibn Al Tamah won
Silver, and Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem of the United Arab Emirates, gained
the Bronze on Tazoul El Parry at the 2008 World Endurance Championship
held at Terengganu, Malaysia, on the edge of the South China Sea. Nobby
and Ponton were also awarded the Best Condition. The first ten riders
finished within one hour of the winning time. The Gulf Countries of the
United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain swept Team Gold, Silver and
Kathy Brunjes riding Theatric was the first and only member of the
United States team to finish in 24th position while Valerie Kanavy
riding Flash Flame came in shortly after her in 25th place. The six
member U.S. squad finished one team and one individual rider after an
exceptional run of bad luck. Team member, John Crandell riding Saba
Shams, was eliminated at Gate Two for lameness. Cheryl Dell, riding one
of the highest rated horses, Reason To Believe, was stricken with a
debilitating illness and had to withdraw at the same gate. Early in the
ride, a heavy rain storm caused flooding on the trail, but it was the
bolt of lightning that finished off the team. When lightning struck a
tree as Jan Worthington on the aptly named, Golden Lightning, and Meg
Sleeper on Syrocco Reveille, traveled through the water on the trail,
the horses received the shock. The horses were flipped end over end,
dumping riders and gear. Fortunately, no one was badly hurt at the time,
but the scrapes and bruises on the horses took their toll over the
remaining 70 miles, and both horses were eventually eliminated for
lameness. Forty-eight horses finished the ride of the 127 starters.
United States Equestrian Federation Director of Endurance Vonita Bowers
said, "We had a plan and stuck to it, but we had some bad luck. The
horses were very ready. We had no metabolic issues and we had good
recoveries. We knew the speeds that we wanted to go and we stuck fairly
close to those speeds. Except for the unforeseen things such as illness
and lightning, we rode our ride the way we planned. The selection
process gave us the best horses and the best riders, and the training
session system of selection worked well."
Chef d'Equipe, Becky Hart commented, "In spite of the outcome, a lot of
good things happened here. Everyone worked like a team; when a rider was
pulled, they pitched in to help. We are now moving onward and making
plans for Kentucky."
Held once every two years, the 2008 FEI World Endurance Championship was
staged from the Terengganu International Endurance Park (TIEP) in Lembah
Bidong, situated on the South China sea on the coastline north of Kuala
Terengganu, Malaysia. 129 riders from 32 countries were invited to
compete. The sponsorship and location were promoted by avid endurance
rider, the King of Malaysia, Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Al-Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan
Mahumud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah. The world's top riders were joined by
members of the Royal families of Bahrain and Dubai.
Due to the tropical climate, the 160 km event began at 5:30 p.m. and ran
throughout the night.
The U.S. Training Squad is already preparing for the 2010 Endurance
Championship ride to be held as part of the World Equestrian Games in
Lexington, Kentucky. This is the 3rd time the United States has hosted
the World Endurance Championship. It was held at Front Royal, Virginia,
in 1988 and in Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1996.
For additional information, please contact Vonita Bowers at the USEF at
email@example.com or (859) 225-6001.
The vision of the United States Equestrian Federation(r) is to provide
for equestrian sport in the United States of America by promoting the
of excellence from the grassroots to the Olympic Games, based on a
foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare
of its human and equine athletes.