Maria Alvarez Ponton of Spain Finishes First in Endurance at the World Equestrian Games

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Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton and Nobby
Maria Alvarez Ponton (ESP) and Nobby set off on the final loop on their way to a first place finish in WEG endurance. Photo: Leslie Potter

It was a repeat victory for reigning endurance world champion Maria Alvarez Ponton as she crossed the finish line first at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Alvarez Ponton rode Nobby, a 15-year-old bay purebred Arabian. Second went to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and third to Sheikh Hamdan Mohd Al Maktoum, both of the United Arab Emirates.

The first American finisher was Heather Reynolds with her gelding Ssamiam who finished nose to nose with Jean-Phillippe Frances. Reynolds managed to keep the smallest of leads over Frances to finish fourth. Early reports from the finish line state that Ssamiam did not pass the final vet check, leaving only U.S. individual rider Deborah Reich still standing for the Americans.

Unofficial team standings put endurance powerhouse UAE in first place with France and Germany in second and third, respectively. These results will also be finalized once the vet checks have been completed. Check HorseChannel.com for updated results.

Heather Reynolds at the World Equestrian Games
Heather Reynolds (USA) barely beat Jean-Phillippe Frances (FRA) to the line to finish fourth. Reynolds horse was taken out of the standings after the final vet check. Photo: Bob Langrish.

Three American riders were pulled from competition at vet checks during the race. Jan Worthington and Golden Lightning were stopped at the third vet check due to lameness. Lindsay Graham and Monk were also pulled after the third loop. Syrocco Harmony with owner/rider Meg Sleeper was pulled at a later vet check, leaving only Reynolds and Reich. Reich was competing as an individual, and with Reynold’s disqualification at the final vet check, the U.S. is posting no scores for medal contention.

Best condition judging will take place on the morning of September 27 and awards for endurance will be presented in the main stadium (now dubbed the Rolex Stadium) during dressage competition later that day.

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