I apologize for the delay … I was Internet-challenged yesterday. Here is Wendy’s final report from Lipica (the Garretts’ final report and photos will be in the next post).

Pony Team USA wins team Bronze!!

After a great day of cones, the all-woman Pony Team USA clinched the bronze medal. Germany won team gold with 350.40 penalty points, the Netherlands won team silver with 376.39 points, and the USA posted a score of 402.41, with Great Britain close behind with 433.75.

And, to top it off, Suzy Stafford won the individual bronze medal!

Denmark’s individual competitor, Kristina Klindt, won the individual gold medal with her Lipizzan pony, and the individual driver from Sweden, Susanne Ankermark, won the silver with her adorable Fjord / Trotting-bred cross.

For the pairs, the individual gold and silver medals went to German drivers Dieter Baackmann and Stephan Koch, and the bronze to Italian Johann Weitlaner. In the four-in-hand division, the individual gold and silver medals went to the two adorable gray Dutch teams of Bram Chardon and Jan de Boer, and the bronze medal went to the individual German driver, Daniel Schneiders. Really great driving by all!

In the press conference with the winners, Tom Rumff, president of the organizing committee, thanked all the competitors for a weekend of great sport, and he said he was happy that the sun had smiled on Lipica for the World Pony Driving Championships.

Bram Chardon, son of four-in-hand driver Isbrand Chardon was asked, “Now that you have won the World Championships with pony teams, what’s next?” He answered, “Everyone asked, will I move to horses, but I have no plans for that. When my father shows a team, I am his navigator, and when I show a team, he is my trainer and that works for our family. The Netherlands is also strong in pony sport, and I hope to compete with a pony team if the Netherlands is host of the 2013 World Pony Championships.”

The single-pony champion, Kristina Klindt, who also has a driving father, was asked about the difference between her driving and her father’s. She said that she and her father are very similar and that is why they sometimes argue at shows, so she prefers him to cheer for her rather than coach her. I sat next to her father in the stands during cones. Kristina had come in at the silver-medal spot and posted a double-clear round. The overnight leader, Dennis Schneiders came into cones with less than a ball between them and unfortunately hit three, dropping him to fourth, just out of the medals. Kristina’s father jumped for joy at his daughter’s gold medal win and ran out of the stadium to meet her at the vet check with the great news.

Thanks for all your support of Pony Team USA!!