|Uruguayan wonder-boy, 15-year-old Martin Stirling, rode the nine-year-old Vendaval to Team and Individual gold at the FEI World Endurance Championship for Juniors and Young Riders 2011 in Abu Dhabi on Saturday (photo: FEI).
Abu Dhabi hosted the FEI World Junior Endurance Championships over the weekend where Australia and New Zealand were both represented by teams.
The Young Riders Representing Australia in the World Youth Endurance Championships were Alexandra Toft and High Society te; Brooke Warner and Kunama Safira; Georgia Toft and Bremervale Arrogance; and Allix Jones and Castlebar Moonlight.
New Zealand was represented by a team of four competing on their own horses - Tessa Deuss, Emma Mason, Sian Reid and Georgia Smith.
All the horses were fitted with electronic head collars, so live results were available for each loop/phase (five loops in total) of the ride. The winning time was 5 hours, 18 minutes and 51 seconds by Martin Stirling of Uruguay.
Congratulations to Australian team member Allix Jones riding Castlebar Moonlight, who did an outstanding job and finished second in the fantastic time of 5 hours, 19 minutes and 3 seconds. Individual silver medallist, Allix Jones, was less than a minute behind with Castlebar Moonlight whose average speed was 22.567kph. And it was a moment to savour for the horse's owner, Margaret "Meg" Wade, one of the great heroines of equestrian sport who won the FEI's "Against All Odds" Award, but missed out on the presentation at the 2011 General Assembly in Rio de Janeiro last month when her flight to Brazil was cancelled. Meg's extraordinary recovery and return to the saddle after the multiple champion suffered a traumatic brain injury in a fall two years ago has been nothing short of inspirational.
Aussie Brooke Warner finished 16th with a time of 5 hours, 59 minutes and 52 seconds and Alexander Toft finished 37th. Unfortunately Georgia Toft's horse Bremervale Arrogance was vetted out in phase three. The Australian team did brilliantly and ended up in third place overall, out of 17 teams.
Best placed New Zealand Junior was Sian Reid and AA Sabatage in 28th place with a time of 6.42.21, closely followed by Tessa Deuss and Aspen Hills Santa Ana in 36th place with a time of 6.52.42. Georgia Smith and her horse Glenmore Astroid rounded off the New Zealand results in 42nd place with a time of 7.10.20. Emma Mason and Taralea Sheer Illusion were unfortunately vetted out pre-ride. The New Zealand team put in a great effort and placed sixth overall.
There were 77 individual entries in total, so both Australian and New Zealand young riders did a fantastic job.
- Click here for the full results
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