TRYON, N.C.--There are seven disciplines competed at the World Equestrian Games, but only six were completed in Tryon Sept. 13-23, and U.S. teams equaled or outdid themselves in five of the six, placing as high or higher than they ever had in previous Games.
Endurance had to be cancelled on the first day of the WEG due to high heat and humidity after horses began showing exteme signs of distress.
The U.S. Reining team equaled its former placings by winning the team gold medal for the fifth consecutive time, and individually Dan Huss on Ms Dreamy and 18-year-old Cade McCutcheon on Custom Made Gun won silver and bronze respectively.
The Dressage team won the silver medal behind Germany and Laura Graves on Verdades won the silver medal in the Grand Prix Special, the highest medal ever won individually in dressage at a world championship.
THE VAULTING team placed fourth, missing a medal by just a few points and earning the highest placing ever for a vaulting team.
U.S. competitors in Para-Dressage won four medals, the first time any of the U.S. Para-Dressage competitors have ever medalled.
Rebecca Hart on El Corona Texel won bronze in Grade III Individual and silver in Grade III Freestyle.
Kate Shoemaker on Solitaer 40 and Roxanne Trunnell on Dolton each won a bronze medal. Shoemaker in Grade IV and Trunnell in Grade 1.
The Show Jumping Team of Laura Kraut on Zeremonie, Devin Ryan on Eddie Blue, Adrienne Sternlicht on Cristalline and McLain Ward on Clinta won the gold medal, the first jumping gold medal in World Equestrian Games.
The Driving Team of Jimmy Fairclough, Misdee Wrigley Miller and Chester Weber won the gold medal, the first ever for a driving team at a world championships, and Weber equaled his best ever finish with an individual silver medal.
Both Dressage and Show Jumping teams also qualified to compete at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
It was only Eventing that didn't equal or better its finish as it finished eighth of 16 teams and failed to qualify for the Olympics.
Phillip Dutton on Z was the top U.S. rider, finishing 13th, with Lynn Symansky on Donnor 25th after three fences down in stadium jumping, Boyd Martin on Tsetserleg was 56th after a stop cross country and 12 faults in jumping, and Will Coleman on Tight Lines has two stops cross country and 12 jumping faults to finish 65th.
After dominating Eventing for 40 years, the U.S. teams have finished poorly or been eliminated for the past 10 years.
If it weren't for two repatriated Australians, Dutton and Martin, the results for the past 10 years would have been even worse.
One eventer suggested that one of the problems is that Events in the U.S. do not offer enough prize money to make it worthwhile for riders to develop or buy top rate horses.
Hopefully, the new Eventing chef d’equipe Erik Duvander can find the various causes of the failure of the U.S. to medal and can begin to correct them.