The Endurance team decision at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 was a story of endurance, indeed.
Over very heavy footing Spain won gold with three riders left in contention after a total riding time of 28:56:02.
France rode to silver in 29:08:44. Three riders defended the medal from Lexington 2014, following 12:42 minutes behind Spain and overtaking Switzerland on 29:42.54.
Veteran Jaume Punti Dachs (45), endurance trainer for the Newmarket based stable of Sheik Mohammed’s Darley stud led the Spanish team riders Jordi Arboix Santacreu and Javier Cervera Sanchez-Arnedo.
Punti Dachs’s wife Maria Alvarez Ponton could not defend her individual title from Lexington 2010 as she retired on the course.
Experienced Jean-Philippe Frances, riding the youngest horse on the French team showed the way to Denis Le Guillou and Robin Cornely. He rode the course in 8:12:37.
The Swiss team’s bronze is the second team success after silver in Aachen 2006.
Claude Nordmann, Chef de Mission for the Swiss Team, gave all the credit to Barbara Lissarrague, finishing fourth individually.
“She has done her utmost for the team; they all rode together after we had lost the first two riders of five rather early on the course.”
Lissarrague led team mates Sonja Fritschi and Andrea Amacher towards the finish line in Sartilly.
Due to very difficult footing following heavy rains the attrition rate of the Normandy 2014 competition was high, leaving only three teams with three riders in contention.
The individual medals went to Sheik Hamdan bin Mohamed Al Maktoum, who rode his mare Yamamah over 160 kilometres in a total riding time of 8:08:28.
He achieved an average speed of 19.678, way over the minimum average that had been lowered to 14 km/h.
Twenty-one year old Marijke Visser and Laiza de Jalima fetched the first ever Dutch Endurance medal in a riding time of 19.258.
Bronze went to Qatari Abdulrahman Saad A.S.Al Sulaiteen, riding Koheilan Kincso 37:16 minutes behind the winner.
If possible, an extra gold medal could have gone to the public, following the riders all the way along the 160 kilometres around the Bay of the Normanic icon Mont St.Michel. Many riders commented on the positive reactions and support they had received on their enduring test.
For the full results: http://tinyurl.com/m5u4smr
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