September 5, 2014 -- The third day of vaulting competition was another exciting one at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, with the Individual Female and Male competitors performing their Second Round Technical Tests and the Pas de Deux pairs taking to the main arena in the Zénith for the first time. The judging panel of Sue Detol, Elzbieta Dolinska, Anita Flamand, Véronique Girard, Pavla Krauspe , Anna Kull, Helma Schwarzmann, and Karolina Wickholm had their work cut out for them with another day's worth of fantastic performances.
Mary McCormick (Woodside, Calif.) kicked things off for the U.S. Team with an excellent Technical Test on Thursday. Her routine had great choreography, allowing her to flow from one move to the next, and she displayed each requirement of the Technical Test proficiently. McCormick wanted a simple, understated theme for her Technical Test, so she went with water, a theme involving nature and the way that water flows and moves, using a song from a Cirque de Soleil to bring everything together. She was awarded a score of 7.869, ending up in third place.
"I'm so excited. The program was really smooth," McCormick said. Continuing her praise for Palatine, Susan Sydney Frankel's 16-year-old Westphalian gelding lunged by Carolyn Bland, she added, "The biggest thing that was awesome for me out there was that my horse felt like a billion bucks and I felt amazing to be able to vault on him in front of all these people."
The highlight of the performance for McCormick was that everything went smoothly, saying, "In the past I have had some hiccups with moving from one transition into the next exercises and I felt like everything was really easy today."
Elizabeth Ioannou (Saratoga, Calif.) put forth another solid effort in the Championship, having some difficult moves with a few moments of unsteadiness. Overall, she had a good performance that went well with her "dark, sassy" Snow White-themed routine and music on Jarl, Lasse Kristensen and Emma Seely's 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding lunged by Kristensen. Ioannou received a score of 7.457, putting her in eighth place.
"It was a little rough but I held it together, so I'm happy with that," Ioannou said. Commenting on how she handles the situation when things aren't going quite right, she explained, "I just try to reset and move on to the next move without worrying what's behind me."
Joanne Eccles of Great Britain won the Second Round Technical Test with a score of 8.513 and Anna Cavallaro of Italy was second in the Technical Test with a score of 8.240.
FEI World Male Individual Vaulting Championship
Kristian Roberts (Moss Beach, Calif.) had a correct Technical Test, adequately displaying the required movements throughout his performance. Vaulting on Diva 506, RVC Gilching e.V.'s 11-year-old Oldenburg mare lunged by Bland, Roberts scored 6.971 to put him in 12th place.
"I'm really, really happy with how everything's been going so far," said Roberts after his test technical test. "Now I think the stress of making round two is over and it's given me more chance to just relax. Today just felt like an incredibly great round. I'm excited for the final tomorrow."
Gabe Aniello (Austin, Texas) had a strong routine for his Technical Test while vaulting on Ferdinand 194, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by RVC Gilching e.V. and lunged by Bettina Gross. For his performance, he received a score of 6.691 to end up in 13th place.
Erik Oese of Germany won the Second Round Technical Test with a score of 8.400. Nicolas Andreani of France came in second in Technical Test on an 8.228, while Jacques Ferrari of France was third in the Technical Test on a score of 8.101.
FEI World Pas de Deux Vaulting Championship
Kimberly Palmer (Half Moon Bay, Calif.) and Cassidy Palmer (Half Moon Bay, Calif.) had a fantastic First Round Freestyle Test, earning them high marks from the judges. Performing to songs from the movie "Frozen," the sisters had some impressive movements while vaulting on Leon 364, a 16-year-old Wurttemberger gelding owned by Wolfgand Renz and Maren Illig and lunged by Renz. The Palmers scored an 8.149 to finish the First Round Freestyle Test in sixth place.
"It was one of our best run-throughs we have ever done. It's a brand new routine. We are really happy with it," Kimberly Palmer said.
"With the young vaulters here, since a lot of older vaulters have older music and themes, we just wanted to inspire the young ones," Cassidy Palmer said of their decision go with the music they chose.
Kristian Roberts (Moss Beach, Calif.) and Mary Garrett (Mountain View, Calif.) performed a beautiful routine that highlighted their grace as vaulters. The pair has been working on the routine for about a year, and the strength of their partnership was evident. Vaulting on Diva 506, lunged by Bland, Roberts and Garrett received a score of 7.729 to end up in seventh place.
"It went really well," Garrett said. "There was only one aspect of the Pas de Deux that wasn't so strong but I know that we can clean it up for next round which makes me even more excited."
"When I first started I had no idea what I was getting into," Roberts said of deciding to be part of a Pas de Deux, after having only vaulted as an Individual. "Take the energy you need to do Individuals and multiply it by about 10 and there you have a Pas de Deux."
Jasmin Lindner and Lukas Wacha from Austria won the First Round Freestyle Test with a 9.083, followed by Gera Marie Grün and Justin Van Gerven of Germany in second with an 8.631 and Great Britain's Joanne and Hannah Eccles rounding out the top three with a score of 8.570.
Championship competition comes to a close on Friday with medals being decided in all divisions. Pas de Deux competitors kick the day off at 10:00am local time, then the Individual Females finishing up their final round starting at 2:00pm. The Individual Male division begins its final phase at 4:00pm, followed by the Squad championship at 7:30pm.
To learn more about the FEI World Vaulting Championships at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, visit: http://www.normandy2014.com/2014-games/the-disciplines/6/vaulting.
Follow the U.S. Vaulting Team here.