Aus­tralia brings home the gold

Central and North Rural Weekly - - MLA LEADER MOVES ON - Fran Cle­land news@ru­ral­

IT WAS a mat­ter of sav­ing the best un­til last at the World Eques­trian Games at Tryon, North Carolina.

While the Aus­tralian com­peti­tors in every sec­tion per­formed per­sonal bests and came close to win­ning a medal, it was four-in-hand car­riage driver Boyd Ex­ell who brought home the gold medal and was crowned world cham­pion for the fifth time.

Driv­ing with a re­cently bro­ken an­kle that had only been out of a cast for 10 days, he won the dres­sage phase, was third in the marathon and se­cond in the cones-driv­ing, to take the ti­tle.

On the dif­fi­cult marathon course he also found the brakes on his car­riage were com­pro­mised, which caused prob­lems.

“Haz­ards three, four and five are all up and down dips, so the reins were around my head one mo­ment and then on the floor and then round my neck, but we fought, we didn’t give up, we kept fight­ing all the way,” Ex­ell said.

“Luck­ily the horses kept dig­ging deep.

“They felt amaz­ing, with lots of power. As I came up to the last haz­ard, I called their names and they all upped their game, came alive, and said ‘let’s go!’”

In the vault­ing, the strong, mid­field per­for­mances of the young Aus­tralian team was a guide to fu­ture suc­cess.

Jamie Hock­ing, the 21-year-old farm­hand from wool­sheds in South Aus­tralia, fin­ished in 13th place in the men’s sec­tion with a score of 7.410.

“I am re­ally happy that we all went in and ev­ery­thing went ac­cord­ing to plan,” he said.

“I felt re­laxed and con­fi­dent.”

Jamie was the only rider to com­pete on his own horse, French Kiss.

The rest of the team rode bor­rowed horses.

The top-placed Aus­tralian woman was the ex­pe­ri­enced com­peti­tor Ruth Skrzypek who was 14th in­di­vid­u­ally.

Aus­tralia’s sole para-dres­sage com­peti­tor, Emma Booth, per­formed well in both her tests, fin­ish­ing fourth in the in­di­vid­ual test.

After she was placed fifth in the freestyle to mu­sic, rid­ing Mo­gel­vangs Zi­dane to Man From Snowy River-themed tunes, there was con­tro­versy, with four of the five judges scor­ing her well over

70 per cent, and the US judge scor­ing the test 6 per cent less.

Her fi­nal over­all score was 71.193, with An­ge­lika Trabert of Ger­many tak­ing the bronze medal with 71.840.

“I am so happy with my beau­ti­ful boy,” Booth said.

“He gave me a great ride, and medal or not, I’m over the moon with this in­cred­i­ble horse.

“I’m ex­tremely lucky to be on this jour­ney with him.”


DRIV­ING EX­CEL­LENCE: Boyd Ex­ell wins gold at the World Eques­trian Games.

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