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Engle Hits a Double, Placing First and Second on Her Two Horses Overall after Trial #4 and Trial #5 of the World Equestrian Games Selection Trials in Wellington, FL
United States Equestrian Federation
At the completion of the World Equestrian Games Selection Trials, the gutsy Margie Engle owns the top two spots based on the placings after five trials, despite only placing fourth and fifth in Trial #4 and fourth in Trial #5. Engle placed first overall after all five trials on Quervo Gold with only 11 faults and second overall on Hidden Creek’s Wapino with only 17 faults. Two of the ten total possible spots were wild cards that already belong to Beezie Madden on Authentic and McLain Ward on Sapphire. Up to two more wild cards will be chosen this weekend.
“I was happy with the way both horses jumped.” said Engle. “The first horse I actually felt that it was my fault Thursday when he had one and the rail he had today….I thought he’d be tired today. He acted tired when I was walking around, but as soon as he started jumping he brightened right up. I think Wapino honestly felt fantastic the first four days, and I think the ground was getting to him a little bit. He just felt a little bit stingy today on the second round. When I jumped the first fence, when he landed, I felt it. He felt great in the cooling area, and then he kind of hung back at the second jump a little more than he normally does, and I was having to kick him across the oxers a little more than normal. He was trying to jump them high, but he was a little but cautious about the landing. Whereas the other horse I didn’t feel anything at all on him. You know it’s just a lot of jumping in one week, and it’s hard on all of them.”
Day four of the trials started with a further diminished field as two horse and rider combinations withdrew leaving just 19 entries. Friday was a rest day for the athletes which they needed in order to face the two large and technical courses they would face today, both designed by Leopoldo Palacios. Trial #4’s course consisted of 15 jumping efforts with a time allowed of 75 seconds which the judges quickly expanded to 78 seconds after the first three trips. Only five riders went clear, with three carrying one time fault. With a time of 75.17, first place went to Nona Garson on Languster, a 10-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion owned by Ryan Automotive and Nona Garson. Second place went to Schuyler Riley and Ilian, a 16-year-old KWPN Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by South Beach Stables. Third place in both Trial #4 and Trial #5 went to Christine McCrea on Promised Land, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Candy Tribble & Windsor Show Stables, Inc.
“I kept accumulating little faults, little mistakes here and there,” said McCrea. “The first couple days I was a little disappointed and a little down on the whole thing. I just decided to keep going and to ride the horse. Honest to God, the jumps finally today felt big enough that he had to try and pay attention the whole time. He’s kind of a funny horse that way…today he was totally into it, he loved it, he felt like he was having fun. It was great. I am just absolutely ecstatic. To be sitting here with these five people is just great.”
Candice King and her mount Tarco finished fourth overall in Trial #4, one of three to go clean with one time fault. “I knew that it would just depend on how everybody did ahead of me,” said King. “I knew that going into today my horse had the scope and the ability to do it. He’s a little bit young in his experience so my goal all fall and Florida was to make the B team, and I am just pleased that I did that…I think this is an endurance test and you get all the experience of Leopoldo’s courses, he asks a lot of great questions, technicality and skills, and for my horse he came out of it a much better horse I believe.”
Three more horse and rider combinations scratched before Trial #5 leaving 16 horses and 13 riders to face the course of 13 jumping efforts. The time allowed was 69 seconds which the judges again decided to increase, this time to 71 seconds. The only clear rounds both included a time fault and went to Laura Kraut on Miss Independent and Kim Prince on Couletto K James, who tied for first, with a time of 72.69. Miss Independent is a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by the Miss Independent Group. Couletto K James is a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Overlook Farm.
Laura Kraut and her reliable partner Miss Independent were strong on Thursday and came out today ready to win. “I was really proud of her through this whole week,” said Kraut. “A couple of the rounds she had were definitely rider error, and today she really tried hard the last round. I was thinking I was better off having a time fault than a rail so I was little bit cautious at the beginning. I am just really proud of her.”
Tuesday and Wednesday were strong days for Lauren Hough and her mount Casadora despite Casadora having a viral infection just days before the competition. Despite the infection, Casadora and Hough finished fourth overall. “Not a good day today,” said Hough. “I would have to say the same as Margie, my horse felt quite foot-sore today, and I think she jumped that way because the feeling that I had in the practice area compared to what I had in the ring was quite different. She’s a flat-footed horse, and for as well as she performed the first three days, I didn’t really feel like I was riding the same horse today. I still felt like she gave a good effort. The triple combination in the second round, I don’t think she could have jumped it any better. That’s the way these things go, hopefully I am still in there somewhere.”
Coming out of the Selection Trials, the final order of horse and rider combinations is as follows:
1. Margie Engle with 11 total faults on Quervo Gold, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Wyndhurst Stables, Inc.
2. Margie Engle with 17 total faults on Hidden Creek’s Wapino, an 11-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Hidden Creek Farm
3. Laura Kraut with 19 total faults on Miss Independent, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by the Miss Independent Group
4. Lauren Hough with 23 total faults on Casadora, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Laura Mateo
5. Candice King with 24 total faults on Tarco, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Joan Kalman
6. Christine McCrea with 25 total faults on Promised Land, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Candy Tribble & Windsor Show Stables, Inc.
The horse and rider combinations were vying for one of the 10 spots on the short list for a chance to represent the United States at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany, this August. They will also be placed on either the A or B Tour Team, each with five horse and rider combinations which will compete at the series of Samsung Super League competitions in Europe this summer.
Laura Kraut summed it up best when asked how it feels to be done with these Trials. She answered enthusiastically, “you have no idea how nice it feels!”