World Championships 2019 - from Jenny Melville, US Team Member
The World Championships 2019 were definitely a time to remember.
We arrived at the venue in Berlin on August 1st. After the first vet check at the entrance we were allowed to move our horses into their stables, take care of our most precious friends, place our tack into our tack box and build some paddocks outside.
Friday was the only day for free training so we were able to ride as long on both, the training and the competition tracks, as we wanted and get the horses used to the grandstands with all those rows and seats as well as to the VIP tent, judging tents and so on.
On Saturday, Sunday and Monday we had scheduled trainings which means that we had a certain training time, in our case together with Team Canada. It was wonderful to have such nice colleagues as that made it easy to provide each team with the exact time which was needed for a successful training. During the scheduled trainings the music was playing and the screens were on which gave us the chance to get our horses used to the speakers as well as to the movements seen on the big screen.
The big event on Saturday was the Nation’s Night in the evening. Each nation had typical food and drinks from their home country to offer to the team members of the other nations. We had 300 donuts and they obviously not only looked amazing but also tasted that way as we were the first booth to be empty!
On Sunday we had the Fit to Compete Check. Here the horses were checked completely in several sections. Both of our horses, Isabella’s Axel and my Feykir, were absolutely sound.
After the check, the Opening Ceremonies took place the teams were introduced and speeches were held by all the important people who made this amazing event possible. The relay riders entered the track after passing the Brandenburger Tor in the morning and the relay was handed from the Dutch rider to the German rider to officially start the World Championships in Berlin. The famous Icelandic singer Helgi Björns performed live and sang the song which he had written especially for this event.
After the last scheduled training on Monday, Tuesday was the first really exciting day for our team as both of us were going to ride V1.
Due to some bad luck Isabella withdrew from her V1 test.
Feykir and I finished a stable performance with a mark of 6,43 and ended in the top half. This was a good foundation for the T2 to come on Thursday.
Wednesday gave us the chance to prepare for our T2. The scheduled trainings were over but it was possible to train on the competition track in the early morning or late at night. The training track as well as two dressage tracks were open for free training all day long.
Thursday was coming fast and we were ready to go for it.
Isabella ended her test with a mark of 5,83.
Feykir and I finished our program with 7,03 and therefore received a spot in the B-Final!
Friday morning was certainly the most exciting part for Feykir and me. Being allowed to enter the track for a final at the World Championships is truly something special. All the cheering and applauding of the audience is something you will never forget. We had a lot of applause during our V1 and our T2 already but the crowd was so much more “on” during the final and it was easy to feel that this was a special honor. We had a lot of fun during the final and stayed focused until the end. Now we can proudly say: we are in the top ten of the best T2 riders and horses in the World! ????
Representing the United States in the finals made me especially happy, proud and honored.
Saturday and Sunday were mainly used for family time, meeting friends, visiting sponsors and watching some of the finals. Sunday afternoon the closing ceremonies took place, a way to say goodbye but also to thank everyone involved, especially all those relentless volunteers who are essential for an event like this. Thanks to these great people I was able to sleep a little bit better as they made sure no strangers were able to enter the team area and only the riders, grooms and team leaders were allowed into the stables. At 10 PM the stables were closed so that the horses got enough rest.
The stables were really great, not only brand-new but also really comfortable and well planned as the ways to the water hose, washing areas, dung hills and so on were as short as possible. The whole area for the horses was very quiet and relaxed at all times and the atmosphere between the different nations was friendly, polite and positive.
Due to the long ways from the entrance to the team area as well as from the team area to the oval track and so on my phone said we walked between 19 and 25 miles every day. I guess that kept us fit! Our team camp was a place to relax if necessary as well as for our team meetings. All the team members were always on time and our team leader Stephan Wolfstädter was extremely ambitious, always making sure not to miss any information from the FEIF office and providing us immediately with the latest news at all times.
I want to thank my team for an easy going time in Berlin, my groom for the best support Feykir and I could wish for and Stephan for the perfect help as a team leader, as a mentor and as a trainer.
I thank the USIHC for this chance and I will continue always doing my best to make our team and country proud.