By U.S. Equestrian Communications Department
Herning, Denmark – The Adequan U.S. Para Dressage Team saw their first day of competition come to a close late this afternoon in BB Horse Arena, with three grades completing their FEI Individual Test throughout the course of the day. Grades IV, II, and I were featured to start the Orifarm Health FEI World Para Dressage Championships at the ECCO FEI World Championships Herning 2022. Competition will continue tomorrow with the FEI Individual Tests for Grades III and V.
Kate Shoemaker (Wellington, Fla.) and Quiana, a 2014 Rhinelander mare owned by Shoemaker, were the day’s starting ride for the team, with the pair contesting their first world championship together and earned a 73.900 percent. Shoemaker was a part of the bronze medal team from last year’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with her veteran mount Solitaer 40 but decided to bring up-and-coming mount Quiana for the experience as they look towards the future.
“We weren’t planning on her being here this year but every step of the way she’s just kept saying yes and yes and yes and it’s been an honor to be able to ride her and I love her so much,” said Shoemaker. “I think it’s an exciting horse for the future and not winning is the first step in going forward, so we hope we can get there and we’re going to keep working away until we do.”
As the second rider in for the FEI Grade II Individual Test, Beatrice de Lavalette (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and her mount Sixth Sense, a 2010 Oldenburg gelding owned by Nicolas & Elizabeth de Lavalette, also made their championship debut as a combination. The pair earned a 71.759 percent to begin their week, taking fourth place overall. After her experience at last year’s Paralympics, de Lavalette is hungry for the podium and believes Sixth Sense is a horse that can get her there.
“There were a couple of bobbles in our test that were a bit out of my control that we’re going to work on, and it was still a very good test. This is our first world championship together and my first world championship in general, so I’m still happy with today,” said de Lavalette.
In the final test of the day, Roxanne Trunnell (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.), last year’s individual gold medalist from the Paralympic Games in Grade I, presented a new mount before the judges, riding Lehua Custer’s 2016 Oldenburg stallion Fortunato H20. Trunnell was paired with the young stallion after her regular mount, Dolton, was injured earlier this spring and was unable to qualify for the championships. Trunnell and Fortunato H20 earned a 72.571 percent to take sixth overall in Grade I competition at the conclusion of the first day.
“This was his first time ever at a championship and he got a little scared by the judges’ boxes but was really brave. He’s owned Kate Shoemaker’s trainer and she helped us connect and try each other out and it’s a good partnership,” said Trunnell. “I wasn’t really nervous, but I figured we had done the test enough that he would behave. He’s an old soul and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.”
Individual competition continues tomorrow with Grade III and Grade V, which will see the final U.S. combination of Rebecca Hart (Wellington, Fla.) and El Corona Texel set to ride at 3:04 p.m. GMT+2/9:04 a.m. ET.