Belinda Trussell of Stouffville, ON, finished in the top five during the CDI3* Verden held August 6-10 in Verden, Germany. With a score of 71.49% in the Grand Prix Special riding Anton, Trussell placed fifth place among a strong starting field of 15 international competitors. Trussell travelled to Europe with the assistance of a $20,000 High Performance European Training and Competition Grant from the Canadian Dressage Athlete Assistance Program (C-DAAP).
Held concurrently with the World Championships for Young Dressage Horses, the competition in Verden served as Trussell’s final preparation for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG), where she will be a member of the Canadian Dressage Team riding Anton, a 14-year-old German-bred gelding owned by Robyn Eames. Trussell is a two-time World Equestrian Games veteran, having competed in 2002 in Jerez, Spain, and in 2010 in Lexington, USA. She was also a member of the Canadian Dressage Team at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
“It’s different here in Europe,” said Trussell of the bigger atmosphere of Verden compared to that of North American competitions. “You do have to get your feet wet and feel what it’s like to compete against the field over here. It’s a must.”
Trussell is grateful to C-DAAP for helping her make the trip to Europe to compete at Verden.
“Without C-DAAP, there are Canadian team members who wouldn’t be here gaining this experience,” said Trussell candidly. “With C-DAAP’s assistance, I can put more toward the things my horse needs to help with his performance. I don’t need to take short cuts.”
Trussell’s results in Verden exemplify why competing in Europe in preparation for WEG is so important. The day before her impressive fifth place finish in the Grand Prix Special, Trussell placed tenth in the Grand Prix with a score of 69.72%.
“I was a little bit disappointed in the Grand Prix, but I lost points from tension,” she explained. “The shows here in Europe are just at a whole new level, and it takes some getting used to. Our results in the Grand Prix Special better reflect where I want to be.
“With the support of C-DAAP as well as all the people in place on the Canadian team, I have a very good feeling going into Normandy,” continued Trussell, who operates Oakcrest, a dressage training facility, in Stouffville, ON. “I am thankful for the absolutely incredible generosity of Deborah Kinzinger. Without people like her, none of this would be possible. It makes you feel like you are really part of a team and motivates you to perform at your best.”
The four other Canadian athletes to receive C-DAAP High Performance European Training and Competition Grants are: Brittany Fraser of New Glasgow, NS, and All In, her nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding; Megan Lane of Loretto, ON, and Caravella, her 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare; Karen Pavicic of Surrey, BC, and Don Daiquiri, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Pavicic and Jayne Essig; and Chris Von Martels of Ridgetown, ON, and Zilverstar, his 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding.
Lane, Pavicic and Trussell are all members of the Canadian Dressage Team competing at the 2014 WEG, joined by David Marcus of Campbellville, ON, and Chrevi’s Capital, a 14-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding owned by Deborah Kinzinger. WEG team dressage competition will be held over two days, on August 25 and 26.