The Year in Horses: 2006-2011 and Beyond


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    • The FEI World Equestrian Games were held in Aachen, Germany,
      a hotbed of equestrian activity. There were 59 countries participating in seven
      different sports. Germany
      didn’t need the home field advantage to continue its WEG dominance, earning 12
      medals, half of them gold. The U.S.
      came in second in the medal count with a total of nine.
    • 2006 FEI Games news item
      Click for larger image

      The 2010 WEG had been awarded to Lexington, Kentucky by 2006. Originally, part of the marketing effort was to shrink the games’ unwieldy moniker to simply “FEI Games, ” as we reported in 2006. However, the plan for a snappy title changed when Alltech stepped in as the title sponsor, adding a few syllables rather than subtracting them. It certainly worked out for the best in the long run, as Alltech’s financial backing allowed for better promotion and implementation of the event. Read more down below in the 2010 section.


    • The AQHA takes a much-needed step in prohibiting foals that
      test as homozygous (H/H) for the genetic disease HYPP. The Appaloosa Horse Club
      will follow suit in 2008. Heterozygous horses (N/H) can still pass the disease
      on to their offspring, but the AQHA is still considering restrictions against
      these horses.


    • Although this year’s Summer Olympics were held in Beijing, due to concerns about quarantine procedures, the
      equestrian events were held hours away in Hong Kong.
      Anky van Grunsven continued her streak, winning her third consecutive
      individual dressage gold. Germany
      won team dressage gold, just as it had at every Olympics since 1984 (West Germany
      boycotted the 1980 Olympics, or else they likely would have won gold there,
      too.) Germany
      also dominated eventing in 2008, earning team gold and amateur rider Hinrich
      Romeike—by day a dentist—took home the gold. In show jumping, Canada’s Eric
      Lamaze piloted the great Hickstead to individual gold while the U.S. team, led
      by bronze medalist Beezie Madden, earned team gold.

      Anky van Grunsven took her first individual dressage gold
      with Bonfire, while silver medalist Isabell Werth led the Germans to team
      dressage gold. Germany
      continued to be an unstoppable force, winning show jumping team gold. Dutch
      show jumper Jeroen Dubbeldam won the individual silver. The U.S. riders earned team bronze in
      both eventing and dressage.


    • The Dutch dressage duo of Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas made waves in the world of international dressage competition when they set the world record for the highest score ever awarded in international Grand Prix. The stunning black stallion was the subject of controversy. His fans saw him as the great savior of the sport while his detractors (namely the Netherlands’ rivals in Germany) saw his elevated movement as too flashy and artificial-looking. A year later, he was sold to a German owner and has done some competing with his new rider with relatively lukewarm results.


    • The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky
      were historic for many reasons. A new discipline was added: para-dressage
      became the eighth sport in the WEG line-up. 2010 also marked the first year the
      WEG were held outside of Europe. The financial
      difficulties that had plagued some past WEG host countries were eased in part
      by the games’ first title sponsor, Kentucky-based biotech company Alltech.
      These games were held at the Kentucky Horse Park,
      which allowed all of the sports to be held at the same venue. For the first
      time in WEG history, Germany
      did not come out on top in the medal count. Great Britain, the dominant player in international
      para-dressage, earned 19 total medals to Germany’s
      14; nine golds to Germany’s
      5. American fans expected great things on home turf, but the U.S.
      equestrians walked away with only three gold medas: two in reining and one
      surprise team gold in vaulting. The U.S. won eight medals in total.
    • 2008 Olympic dressage rider Courtney King-Dye was involved
      in a riding accident
      in March of 2010 that left her in a coma for nearly a
      month. Her accident led to the creation of Riders4Helmets and other campaigns
      to increase helmet use among equestrians in all disciplines.


    • Protective equestrian helmets, long considered a
      “personal choice” became mandatory this year for dressage and
      eventing riders this year at some levels in the U.S.,
      Canada and Great Britain.
      Also in the U.S.,
      the Morgan breed became the first breed circuit governed by the USEF to mandate
      helmets specifically for leadline riders (the USEF rule book also includes a helmet rule for
      Paso Fino riders aged 12 and under.) A similar rule for walk and trot riders on
      the Morgan circuit is expected to take effect next year.

    And Beyond…

    • Many people are thoroughly convinced the the world is going to end in 2012. If they’re right, it’s OK, because that apocalypse isn’t scheduled for December, a solid three months after the equestrian events of the 2012 London Olympics.

    << The Year in Horses: 2005

    Go back to the Horse Illustrated 35th Anniversary main page. 


    1. “Many people are thoroughly convinced the the world is going to end in 2012. If they’re right, it’s OK, because that apocalypse isn’t scheduled for December, a solid three months after the equestrian events of the 2012 London Olympics.”
      HA HA! 🙂 This made me chuckle. 🙂


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