The UAE leg of the 2017 FEI World Dressage Challenge this weekend was highlighted by impressive scores from UAE based riders, at Meydan Group’s Emirates Equestrian Center.
One of the most elegant of Equestrian sports, the main aim of this annual event is to nurture local talent and offer local riders the opportunity to compete in an international dressage competition without having to travel outside the country.
Instead FEI international dressage judges travel across the globe to rank competitors based on their performance. Each country is placed in a zone with the same judge visiting every country in that zone.
The event was spread out over two days, Thursday April 20, when the Senior I Class and the Intermediate I Classes were held, while the Prix Saint Georges, the Senior II Class as well as the Youth Class were conducted early morning on Friday, April 21.
On Thursday in the Intermediate 1 category Reem Al Abbar Stable rider Cristina Calin-Thomson and Webster recorded a winning score of 65.33 percent. Emirates Equestrian Centre rider Tracy Wyngard –Gill and Hylkje Fan De Finnen won the Senior I Class. The pair claimed victory after a high-score of 71.17 percent from the judges.
Cristina Calin –Thomson continued her impressive run at the FEI World Dressage Challenge- 2017, UAE after being adjudged winner aboard Apollo in the prestigious Prix Saint –Georges with 64.47 percent.
In the Senior II Class Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club rider Susanna Foustok and Don Rodolfo claimed victory with a strong score of 68 percent.
In the Youth Elementary category Heidi Hallat riding for the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club was in top spot with an impressive 69.5 percent.
Points earned through the FEI World Dressage Challenge count towards a global ranking for individuals and teams.
Hamad Al Shamsi Show Manager at the Emirates Equestrian Center said “We are pleased to see UAE-based riders perform so well at this international competition. It is always satisfying to see our local horse- rider combinations being rewarded and recognized for all the hard work they put in.”
Lilian Sternvad, Dressage Coordinator at EEC who has been part of the UAE’s journey in the competition for over a decade added “The FEI World Dressage Challenge is a significant event for the UAE as it helps nurture and develop local talent. So far the UAE has a proud history in this tournament, faring well on the global platform. Since winning the title in 2012, our riders have performed consistently well, with several top-ten finishes in the individual and team competitions.”
Clive Halsall , a 4* FEI judge from England was the invited FEI judge, while Kirsty Mephan served as the second judge(representing UAE) on duty this year