May 24, 2010 -- The race is on! For the first time this year, the five vaulting teams declared for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games met in competition. While this is the second of the five scheduled trials, it is the first where all the teams were present to compete. Individual numbers were up as well for a day of exciting competition.
With an overall final score of 7.589, coach and lead out vaulter, Devon Maitozo of the winning F.A.C.E. Team, was energized that the members of his team did so well. He said that they have a great deal of international experience that really helps.
"Annalise Van Vranken has come out to practice twice a month since November. She's a very strong, competitive (and) seasoned vaulter," he said. "Sarah D'Auriol is the compulsory expert, and Emily Hogye has been with the team along with Rosalind Ross, Mari Inouye and Mary Garrett. With medal wins in 2006 and 2008, it is that experience that puts things in perspective and helps them be cool in competition."
He praised his team horse, Palentine, a 12-year-old Westphalian Warmblood imported in 2007, as a horse who eased right into the vaulting discipline. "He's trustworthy, that's the best thing about him." This daring team presents amazing moves, smooth transitions and carefully synchronized all aboard Palantine with his high-scoring gaits. It paid off for them in last weekend's event where their freestyle portion of the Team competition earned a final score of 8.347 from competition judges Sue Detol (FEI-O), Adrienne Stang (FEI-O) and Craig Coburn (FEI-I).
Individual gold men's highest-placing vaulter, Todd Griffith, performed on Mt. Eden's Lanson 16. The 17.2-hand Hanoverian gelding is the most experienced of the Mt. Eden horses. Owned by Emma Seely, he was born and raised in Germany before being imported to this country. He has served as a club horse for about five years. Griffith, taking a break from his work at a veterinary practice in the North-West, proved up to the job, combining his skills in a comeback from fourth after round one Compulsories. He moved up to second in the freestyle for Round One. A mere warm-up as he topped the leader board in the round two technical and freestyle events to take the top spot.
Mary McCormick started out in the number one slot on Sir Anthony Van Dyke and stayed there aboard the horse owned by Sydney Frankel. She won both rounds. McCormick has an outstanding overall record in her career. She is a gold-level vaulter, and she is well on her way to establish her spot on the WEG roster. In April, with volcanic ash delaying her trip to Ermelo CVI***, she arrived the day before the competition and went on to place second on Urfreund Rosengard, lunged by Lasse Christensen for an impressive start on her road to WEG.