Canada’s Belinda Trussell of Stouffville, ON, enjoyed birthday bliss on August 27 after achieving a score of over 72% in the Grand Prix Special at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy, FRA.
Riding Anton (Antaeus x Melit), a 14-year-old German-bred gelding owned by Robyn Eames, Trussell was the sole Canadian to move forward as part of the top 30 individuals from the Team Grand Prix, which ran over two days on August 25 and 26, and saw the Canadian Dressage Team finish ninth.
Coming into the Special ranked 26th, Trussell was the sixth rider into the d’Ornano Stadium. Her lively performance earned solid marks for many individual movements, including a 7.9 for a piaffe, and an 8 for a passage. She was awarded a final score of 72.409% for her overall performance, which took over the lead at that point in the competition.
“Belinda had a great ride today,” said Canada’s Dressage Chef d’Equipe, Victoria Winter. “She went in there knowing that she had nothing to lose, and she really rode her heart out.”
At the completion of all 30 riders, Trussell finished the 2014 Games in 22nd overall – placing her just outside of the top 15 riders from the Special invited to move forward into the Grand Prix Freestyle on August 29, where the Individual Medals will be decided for Dressage.
When asked what her favourite part of her performance was, Trussell responded, “When I entered, actually. When you enter, everyone is just screaming, and I thought to myself, ‘When do you get this? This is amazing!’ The crowd is so wonderful, and supportive, and excited – and it helps you rise to the occasion.”
“Yesterday he was quite hot in the warm-up, and hot around the outside of the ring. Today he was much more relaxed and he felt really, really good. He warmed up really well. I had pretty much a picture perfect warm-up where everything just goes tickety-boo,” said Trussell, who is competing in the third FEI World Equestrian Games of her career, and the second consecutive Games paired with Anton. “I find Anton gets into a rhythm and it suits him really well, so it was my wish to go on the second day (of the Team Grand Prix), so that really did benefit him.”
A veteran of the Canadian Dressage Team, Trussell has represented Canada at numerous major games. After competing in Normandy, her resume now includes a total of three FEI World Equestrian Games, as well as the 2004 Athens Olympics. However, she cites Normandy as her best experience so far.
“The atmosphere here is fantastic; I think one of the best. Some of the countries that I’ve been to aren’t so much Dressage enthusiasts, so they don’t recognize the sport, or aren’t as knowledgeable – whereas the French people seem to really know the sport,” she said. “They are just great. They support everybody (not just the French riders), and it’s a really nice feeling.”
The top-ranking rider in the Grand Prix Special was reigning Olympic Gold Medalist, Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain, who also dominated the individual rankings of the Team Grand Prix aboard Valegro.
In addition to the athletes, Canada was represented on the judging panel as well, with Elizabeth McMullen of Palgrave, ON, being selected as part of the FEI 5*-level Dressage judging panel for the Games. She is joined by Liselotte Fore (USA), Susan Hoevenaars (AUT), Isabelle Judet (FRA), Dietrich Plewa (GER), and Francis Verbeek (NED).
For full results, starting lists, and information on the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, visit www.normandy2014.com.
Comprehensive information on the Canadian Equestrian Team, can be found at www.equinecanada.ca/cet.
Live viewing of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, FRA is available from the comfort of home through FEI TV.
The FEI World Equestrian Games are held every four years, in the middle of the Olympic cycle. The inaugural Games were hosted in Stockholm (SWE) in 1990. Since then, the Games have been staged in The Hague (NED) in 1994, Rome (ITA) in 1998, Jerez (ESP) in 2002, Aachen (GER) in 2006, and Kentucky (USA) in 2010.