Wendi & DJ at Omaha

Heartbreak for Wendi and DJ.

From Feilding to Omaha! Here’s Wendi Williamson riding Dejavu MH at Manfeild Park, Feilding, earlier this year. Today she rode in the huge indoor arena in Omaha in the World Cup Dressage Final. (Image: Libby Law)

Wendi Williamson and Dejavu MH have completed the first test in the FEI World Cup final in Omaha, Nebraska. While it wasn’t the test that we all know Wendi and DJ can produce, Wendi tried her hardest. However, the worst was yet to come as the pair have been eliminated from the competition due to blood being found in DJ’s mouth after the event.

In a statement issued, it was announced “New Zealand’s Wendi Williamson and Dejavu MH were eliminated after today’s Grand Prix at the FEI World Cup Dressage Final 2017 in Omaha USA when blood was found in the horse’s mouth by the FEI steward at the mandatory post-competition equipment check. An FEI veterinarian also checked the horse and confirmed the presence of blood. Elimination is automatic under Article 430 of the FEI dressage rules. As a result, Wendi Williamson and Dejavu MH will take no further part in the event, as they needed to post a score of over 60% to qualify for Saturday’s freestyle to music.”

“Elimination under this rule does not imply that there was any intent to injure the horse, but it is so important that the rules are enforced in order to ensure that the horse welfare is protected,” Katrina Wuest (GER), the judge at C, said. “It’s a real shame as the horse and rider had come such a long way to compete here, but the rule is in place to protect our horses and there can be no grey areas when it comes to horse welfare.”

The first-ever New Zealander to compete at the prestigious World Cup Final, Wendi had also travelled the biggest distance to get to the event. Her score was posted at 63.814% but unfortunately this was soon replaced.

“We are very disappointed,” said Wendi, after the decision had been made. “We underestimated how hot he was going to get and he was beside himself. He bit his lip – not sure when – and while the judges didn’t notice it, the stewards did. It was very minor but rules are rules.”

What a disappointing conclusion for Wendi and DJ at this event.

The Grand Prix was won by Isabell Werth aboard Weihegold OLD on a score of 82.271%. USA’s Laura Graves was second on Verdades (79.80%), with Carl Hester on Nip Tuck third (76.671) and Edward Gal and Glock’s Voice (74.486%) fourth. Ireland’s Judy Reynolds on Vancouver K was fifth (74.443%).

Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD won the Grand Prix in the FEI World Cup Dressage Final

Commentators John Kyle and Karen Pavicic were very complimentary about Wendi’s efforts. “There is a lot of horse there and she did a great job. It is an experience she will never forget and is something to add to her resume. It is a real accomplishment for her to be here.”

Karen thought DJ had “strengths in the passage and piaffe” and noted how strong he was.  “She had her hands full and she did a great job. He [DJ] was impressed by the crowd and the arena.”

John talked about Wendi’s pony club origins and her journey to the event.

Other comments as the test unfolded included, “there is some tension in the collected walk then a clear transition to passage. There is a lot to like about the passage and potential in the piaffe. It is ground-covering and articulates his joints very well.”

The tension snuck back in some of the canter work, with the commentators noting that DJ would have “never seen anything like this arena”. They also acknowledged the journey Wendi had to undertake, and that it would be a disadvantage for them. “Wendi is doing her best to make the most of her opportunity.”

You can check out the scores on this link.