Things are ramping up at the FEI World Championships Herning 2022 venue just a few hours to the west of Copenhagen, Denmark. A cooler summer day of mixed weather with sun and a bit of rain kept everyone guessing on the first day of competition and even included a rainbow for good luck to all the teams!

The Canadian team is now mostly settled onto the site with the jumping horses arriving tomorrow, August 7. Dressage and Para Dressage athletes were in training and preparation mode today with the Vaulters in individual compulsory competition throughout the afternoon.

Saturday, August 6 was the first day of vaulting competition and began with the Mustang Corp. Individual Female and Male compulsory tests taking place in the Jyske Bank Boxen indoor arena. The warmup areas gave the athletes and lungers time to prepare and get ready for the competition in the ring.

Vaulting is judged on a scale of 1 to 10 and on three parameters including the assessment of the horse at 25%, the technical part of the program at 50%, and the assessment of the artistic expression in the program at 25%. Vaulting is judged by four judges – with two judges focusing on the technical pieces of the routine.

The compulsory program consists of a specified number of exercises carried out in a particular order. Music of the athlete’s choice plays over the loudspeakers. The lunger is responsible for controlling the horse throughout the routine and ensures the best presentation.

“It was a good start for the Canadians today,” said James Hood, Chef de Mission for Team Canada and Director of High Performance for Equestrian Canada. “All three of our athletes met and exceeded their goals for this first phase of the competition and have set themselves up for the next two days. We’re really proud of their showing.”

Shaina Hammond and William II Z; Averill Saunders holds the flag position on Rockemotion; Talmage Conrad performs a handstand on William II Z. (Cealy Tetley photos)


Shaina Hammond was the first Canadian athlete to perform on the 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding William II Z (Wilson x Celano) owned and lunged by German Maik Hausmann with support from groom Sophie Kuhn and trainer Pauline Reidl. Scoring 7.138 overall placed her in 26th position after all 35 athletes had competed.

“I am just so excited to be here. That was 10 years in the making,” said Hammond after completing the test in her first World Championship. “It was so cool to be out there and feel the energy. The venue is perfect! When I used to watch videos and imagine myself at the world championships, this is the experience that I envisioned. It is a really cool arena set up.”

One of her coaches, Cambry Kaylor was emotional ringside. “It is the first championships for Shaina that she has dreamed about for a long time,” said Kaylor. “With lots of obstacles to over come and setbacks, she’s made it. It’s been a long time coming.”

Hammond made it clear that her emotions were all positive from the day. “I am not nervous, just excited. I’m crying happy tears.”

18-year-old Averill Saunders competing in her third championships competed about half an hour after her team mate on 14-year-old Westfalian gelding Rockemotion (Rockwell x Di Versace) owned by Hans-Peter and Marlies Krukenburg and Kai and Nina Vorberg and groomed and lunged by Vorberg. The teen showed her maturity in the sport and that her nerves did not play a major role in the day. With an overall score of 8.003, she ended the day in ninth position.

“I think it was pretty good overall,” said Saunders. “There is always room for improvement but overall, I am just really happy with it. This is a unique experience for me, as this is a new arena for me. The last time I had already been in the arena and this time it was nice to be back in a new environment.”

The male individual compulsory rounds came later in the day when 20-year-old Talmage Conrad hit the ring on William II Z once again with owner and lunger Maik Hausmann. With a final score of 7.727 in a field of strong competition, he ended day one of three in 13th position out of 18.

“For my first championships, I have no choice but to be happy with that!” said Conrad when he came out of the ring. “It was a bit stressful in the arena, but now that I have one under my belt, I look forward to the next one.”

~ Equestrian Canada report


It was an historic day for Vaulting at the ECCO FEI World Championships 2022 in Herning. The French vaulters dominated day one and are overnight leaders in the Squad, Female and Male competitions.

As the curtain opened on the Boxen arena the French squad entered. To be drawn first almost always makes for a bigger challenge. Not so for this team who posted an unbeatable 8.068 aboard Londontime lunged by Corrine Bosshard. The German squad tried to match the French, however a few uncharacteristic errors left them trailing behind in second (7.940). A strong performance from Team Switzerland (7.659) earned them 3rd place overnight with the Austrians not far behind in 4th (7.419). The Danish fans were delighted as their squad rounded out the top five (7.329) with the bronze medal firmly in their sights.

The bar was raised in the Female individual competition. Manon Moutinho (FRA) took the lead along with Saitiri and Corrine Bosshard. Despite some minor technical faults she scored 8.445. The new German talent Alina Roß and Julia Sophie Wagner both showed a clean performance to complete the overnight podium (8.365 and 8.310 respectively). Danish powerhouse Sheena Bendixen sits agonizingly close in fourth, 8.203, with two rounds still to go. There was disappointment for Swiss Vaulter Nadja Buttiker who after an almost flawless set of compulsories collapsed in the final exercise and failed to land resulting in a seventh place finish.

Never has the standard been so high in the Male compulsory test. Germany’s Thomas Brüsewitz opened the final session of Vaulting with a massive 8.556 which unbelievably proved only good enough to earn him the 4th place. He was pushed down the rankings first by Frenchman Quentin Jabet (8.666) and again by the reigning World Champion and master of his sport Lambert Leclezio (FRA) who set a new World Record and left the judges struggling to find fault in his performance finally giving him a 9.240.

It was a tough act to follow for the young Dutch vaulter Sam dos Santos entering the arena right after Leclezio. Impressively collected he did not let the excitement of the competition phase him and pulled out a bronze medal position performance (8.624). It wasn’t the day for last year’s silver medalist Jannik Heiland (GER). His horse Dark Beluga started the test somewhat unsettled, but ever the professional he still managed to score 8.416 to remain within touching distance of the medals (7th place so far).

Lambert Leclezio aside, the scores are very close in all the competitions piling the pressure onto the competitors ahead of the next round. Tomorrow, the squad’s will rest as we return to see what the individuals have in store in their Technical Tests and the Pas de Deux get their competition underway.

~ FEI report/Joanne Eccles 

Live Results Here