2007 Para Dressage World Championship Diary


Well the 2007 World Championships are now over. Despite horrendous weather and flooding the organisers at Hartpury did an excellent job and competing at the Worlds lived up to all my expectations. This was my first major championship and with over 140 riders from 34 countries competing it was also one of the largest ever.

My aim was to be in the Top 15 but ideally I was hoping for a Top 10 place. I achieved this in the Individual Championship when I was 9th= with one of my old rivals, Silje Guillund from Norway. Receiving my World Championship rosette was a very proud moment.

I was pleased to score consistently over the 3 days of competition, with marks of around 65-66% on each day.

It was also a great opportunity to socialise with riders from around the world, many of whom are becoming good friends.

Here's my account of the Championships:

Indi at World Championships
Wednesday 18th July

The Opening Ceremony

The World Championships kicked off to a great start with an impressive Opening Ceremony with acrobats and equestrian displays (and a few short speeches). All the teams entered the arena in their golf buggies to music which reflected their nationality.

Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony

This was followed by champagne and canapes and a chance to meet representatives from our team sponsors for the championship, Belstane Marketing. It was a great opportunity for everyone to relax and forget their nerves for a while.

Thursday 19th July

The Trot-up

The trot-up took place on the Thursday afternoon from 2pm. It's always quite nerve-wracking as all horses have to be passed fit and sound by the vet before they can compete in the Championships. Thankfully all of the Irish horses passed without a hitch so everyone started looking forward to the first day of competition.

Trot up

The Irish squad, horses and helpers

Following the trot-up the Irish team was declared as:

Breda Bernie riding Tula(Grade 1b)
Eilish Byrne riding Youri (Grade II)
Kathryn Wheelock riding Indi (Grade III)
James Dwyer riding Orlando (Grade IV)

Liza Landau riding Fantastic Elastic (Grade IV) was to compete as an individual.

Friday 20th July

The Team Test

The Team Test acts as a warm-up for the Indiviual Championship and the scores also count towards the team total.

I was the first of the Irish to compete on the Friday, and luckily the Grade III class was taking part in the new Hartpury Indoor Arena. The rain started at 4am and continued solidly throughout the day. Becky Moody was there to help me and Indi warm up and Indi was being quite co-operative. My test went well and I was pleased to score 65.846%.


Photo courtesy of Nick Eaketts, Hartpury College

For ages I was in about 8th place, but a few of the best riders rode at the end of the class and I was pushed down to 11th - just out of the rosettes. The Grade III class was won by Debbie Criddle from GB, and I was really pleased for her as she's a great rider and a nice person too. 2nd was newcomer Annike Lykke Dalskow from Denmark, followed by Simon Laurens from GB.

In Grade II, Eilish performed well despite having to ride outside in the rain to achieve 67.524% for 9th place which was excellent.


Eilish in the outdoor arena

James struggled with a particularly heavy downpour in the Grade IV and was disappointed with his score of 62.00, with Liza only achieving 52.50% on Fantastic Elastic which she has only been riding for a couple of weeks. Last to ride was Breda. This was her first major competition on new horse, Tula. She rode a nice forward going test but was harshly marked for Tula coming behind the vertical on a number of occasions so she scored 63.647% and was unplaced. However, she was pleased to have exceeded 60% to reach the Paralympic eligibility score.

All of us were determined to do better on the second day. I was pleased with my performance but was going to work my hardest to get into the prize giving - I knew that a Top 10 place was required.

At the end of the day the organisers announced that the CDI competition for able-bodied riders was cancelled, in order to allow all of the World Championship tests to be run indoors on the Saturday. The outdoor arenas were under water so it was the only option. Unfortunately this meant that my trainer, Becky was going home as she would not be competing over the weekend. It took over 16 hours for her to get home to South Yorkshire, and because of the floods many people were stranded in their cars overnight. Apparently, Hartpury was cut off for some hours and we were thankful for the excellent facilities at the college.

Team Test Results

Grade Ia
Grade Ib
Grade II
Grade III
Grade IV

Saturday 21st July

The Individual Championship

The winners of the Individual Championship Tests in each grade are crowned 'World Champions' so I knew I had to be on top form to get placed.

The schedule was re-arranged to fit all tests in the two indoor arenas, but I was lucky to still ride in the new indoor arena during the morning. I always find it easier to concentrate when competing early on in the day. Before I rode I had a session with team physio Fintan O'Donnell. It helped loosen me up ready to ride. Indi came out in a good mood and we spent just 30 minutes working in with team trainer Donie McNamara (as Becky had gone home). The test went well and I scored 66.16% but had to wait until the end of the Grade III competition before I knew I had been placed. I was delighted to be 9th= with Norwegian Silje Guillund, and above several of my close rivals including Silvia Veratti of Italy, Jose Letartre of France, Bert Vermeir from Belgium, Marita Hird from Australia and Rebecca Hart and Barb Grassmyer from the USA.

Annike Lykke Dalskow from Denmark was crowned Grade III World Champion, ahead of Germany's Hannelore Brenner on the beautiful mare 'Women of the World' and defending champion Debbie Criddle from GB.

In the Grade Ib, Breda improved on her performance from the previous day for a score of 65.143% and 10th place.


Breda leaves the arena

Individual Championship Results

Grade Ia
Grade Ib
Grade II
Grade III
Grade IV

Team Results

Great Britain retained their team title to take the gold medal, followed by Germany and then Norway. These 3 teams have secured their place at the Paralympics in 2008.

The Irish team came 12th out of 22 teams which is not bad but we could have done better if everyone was on form. This means we have not qualified a team for the next Paralympics, so myself and the other three Irish team members are all hoping to secure individual places at the Paralympics. The suprise team of the Championship was Brazil which came 4th.

Team placings

Sunday 22nd July

The Kur

The freestyle to music does not count for the team result so it is really just an additional fun event that is great for the spectators. Because it no longer counts for the team total, it's a chance for riders to be creative and take some risks and include more difficult moves to try to score highly.

Becuase I find lateral work very difficult due to my co-ordination problems I can't include any sideways movements in my freestyle. However, my kur does include flying changes and simple changes to help increase the technical difficulty. Unfortunately, on this occasion, the changes didn't all quite come off so I didn't score as highly as I could have done. However, I was very pleased to score 66.051% for 16th place.

Freestyle results

Grade Ia
Grade Ib
Grade II
Grade III
Grade IV


Home | About Me | Getting Started | My Horses | Sponsors | Competition
News | Gallery | Results | Products | Links | Contact