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World Championship in Babolna
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March 2nd, 2010

By Mauro Beta
Photos by Mauro Beta
Article courtesy of Tutto Arabi

One hundred pairs representing seventeen countries gathered at the start line of the long-awaited CH-W-J-YR**** World Championship in Babolna. The individual title goes to a rider from the Arab Emirates. The team golden medal goes to France. Italy sixth.

8901_mediumThe winner of the individual Gold, Hussain Ali al Marouqi on Sergai, a lovely gray Arabian horse, rode the 120 km. of the track, on a gray and rainy day, at the good average of 22.46 kmph, beating his fellow countryman SH Abdullsa bin Faisal on Castlebar Sobia, Silver medal, and the French Laetitia Goncalve, Bronze medal. The result of the latter-named rider, combined with that of Marin Lucie, Baudrit Sarah and Julien Lafaure assigned the team gold to France, silver to the Arab Emitates and bronze to Hungary. The Italian team, with three competitors - Serena Fossi on Cala Gonona, Luca Zappettino on Malissa and Alice Spinazze on Shampat owned by Antonio Rosi - finished in sixth place. Some of the results, which were almost taken for granted at the start, failed to materialize: for example the Italian YR Champion Vittoria Ciuchi from Genoa had to withdraw early in the race due to an accident to her Sckadja; Elena Mariotti, who gave an excellent performance at the latest CEIO in Gubbio, and the talented Elena Trappolari - a team well set up and led by our coaches, led by Mr. Sergio Tommasi. Shame. We met the gifted Alice Spinazzè, who is the daughter of a rider. She told us, with great nostalgia, about the quality of the excellent environment that surrounded our talented young riders during the Babolna race. Alice told us, with great enthusiasm.

8900_medium"It was certainly a great experience, considering that the best horses and riders in the world were there. When we arrived in Babolna, the weather was hot and humid, and continued to be like that until the day before the race. A downpour continued for a couple of hours starting from the spectacular opening parade. Perhaps the only flaw we can to the organizers is having left the riders under the heavy rain for half an hour, with the risk that someone might catch a cold. Due to the adverse weather, some horses had to be moved, the track had to be changed and the start time postponed. The race took place on two tracks that were different only in a couple of km. The track was fluid and with a good terrain, except for some sections that were made worse by the weather. I liked the track very much, because it went through cultivated fields, woods and poplar groves, without ever getting boring. Riding through a stud in Shagya was wonderful, and there was an assistance point there. Shortly before the start, one hundred horses trotted in circles on a green meadow, which was a great spectacle. The air was crisp and everybody felt that, but Shampat was focused and followed my orders. A few seconds before the start, I felt an incredible energy, which burst into action when we crossed the start line. Shampat lept forward like a spring, taking us ahead of everyone else for the first 100 meters, where we were overtaken. The first loop was rather fast, but after Shadja was eliminated at the first gate, we were told to slow down, an order that was repeated again before the third loop, in order to avoid risks and undermine the team result, even though the horses were eager to sprint. When we set off for the last 24 km loop, the horses were still in good shape and full of energy, so we continued our race towards the finish line following the team orders that forced us not to overdo it but to keep in the same positions. At the finish line, we confidently passed the final check and I must admit that Shampat was in excellent shape. The following day, we followed the wonderful closing ceremony. The Hungarians showed off their fantastic equestrian tradition, and we must thank the efficient organization for this. This was undoubtedly an unforgettable experience, which taught me useful things and gave me ideas to reflect on.