Belgium’s Bernard Fonck has made history as the first European rider to win individual gold in reining at the World Equestrian Games.

Perfect pattern #12

Bernard and What A Wave executed a perfect pattern #12, to score 227 and secure their place on the highest step on the podium.

The Belgian rider has won close to $1,800,000 in reining and his mount, an 11-year-old American Quarter Horse stallion, has left his mark in many international arenas.

“What A Wave is the sweetest horse I have ever had the pleasure of riding,” said Bernard. “I am very fortunate to have had more than one ‘once in a lifetime’ horse, and he is at the top of this list. Every time we show, he gives me all he has and every time it gets better and better.

“When I came here I knew that we could probably make it to the top five, but I would have never imagined that we would claim the gold.”

Making history

Team USA’s Dan Huss and his double-registered American Quarter Horse and American Paint Horse Ms Dreamy won silver on 226.5. They also made history as the talented eight-year-old is the first mare to earn an individual medal in reining at the World Equestrian Games

“Mares are a little more sensitive so you have to be very good as far as technique and horsemanship are concerned,” said Dan. “They are not so forgiving, but if you understand them, your better mares will step up and compete with the boys. [Ms Dreamy has] probably taught me more than I’ve taught her, and it’s been a great experience.”

Powerful performance

A run off determined who would take home the bronze medal as both USA’s Cade McCutcheon (Custom Made Gun), and Brazil’s Joao Felipe Lacerda (Gunner Dun It Again) scored a 225 during the finals.

They returned to the arena to battle it out, with both combinations once again thrilling the crowd.

Joao and Gunner Dun It Again, a seven-year-old American Quarter Horse stallion, laid down a powerful performance to score 227 – their highest of the games. However, it wasn’t quite enough.

‘Thrilled’

Fighting until the bitter end was 18-year-old Cade and Custom Made Gun – who won team gold earlier in the week.

Having topped the first individual qualifier with an outstanding 229 score, the pair was last to go in the seeded individual finals. When it was time to ride back into the arena for the final time, they performed to a 228 score and firmly captured the bronze medal.

“I was a little disappointed with myself after my first ride so I let him catch his breath and, when we went back in, I tried to perform a cleaner run,” said the young rider.

“He was incredibly good for me and I am thrilled to have represented my country and to have won the team gold and individual bronze medals. I could not have done this without my team, my coach and my family and I still cannot believe that I made it to the podium. It will take a while before it sinks in!”

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