Britain’s vaulters delighted with compulsory round scores at FEI Vaulting World Championships

Saturday, 06 August 2022

The Mustang FEI Vaulting World Championships got underway today with the compulsory tests. With entries in both the squad and individual female competitions, it was a busy day for our vaulters.

The amphitheatre-style Jyske Bank Boxen, which houses the vaulting competition, sits at the centre of the Herning site. The building is usually a concert venue and also plays host to sports such as ice hockey, basketball and gymnastics, but has been transformed into an atmospheric arena for the championship. While the crowds may have been small, they were certainly vocal in showing support for their athletes.

Squad competition

The British squad of Carys Morgan, Ursula Levett, Tayla Alexander, Milly Jessett, Evie Jessett and Felix Morton were first into the Jyske Bank Boxen for the British campaign, with lunger Suzi Cusick and horse Demezza. The squad train in Warwickshire as part of the English Vaulting Squad, who have previously represented Great Britain at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon in 2018 and the FEI European Championship in 2021. However, the group of six competing in Herning does contain two championship debutants in Tayla and Evie, and only Carys competed at Tryon.

The squad compulsory test requires each vaulter to complete a set series of eight static and dynamic movements, which include a flag, forwards and backwards scissors, a mill and a stand. The test is given an overall mark out of 10 by a panel of eight FEI judges.

The squad members each executed their exercises with precision and confidence, and finished the test with big smiles on their faces. After a nervous wait on the kiss and cry, their score was confirmed as 6.283, which saw them sit in ninth position after this first round.

"We all had an incredible time. The arena was amazing, the atmosphere was really good and everyone worked so hard. We've all worked so hard for the last four years or so and it's all really paid off – we've got an amazing score," explained Carys afterwards. “We’ve had what’s probably one of our best compulsory scores and we’re very happy.”

 The squad’s mount, 16-year-old championship veteran Demezza – known as Harry – was awarded scores of 6.845 and 6.930, which contributed to the overall mark.

“Harry is on form and he’s enjoying his physio this week – he’s loving life,” shared Suzi, who is also the head coach for the English Vaulting Squad.   

Individual female – Mhairi Hume

Great Britain has two competitors in the individual female category, and both were in action today. First into the Jyske Bank Boxen was 19-year-old Mhairi Hume from Scotland, accompanied by lunger Nienke de Wolff and horse Christmas PS Z.

Although Christmas is what’s known in vaulting as a ‘shared’ horse and is in Herning as part of the USA contingent, he, Nienke and Mhairi have been competing together since CHIO Aachen in September last year and this is their sixth international start together. Mhairi has been living and training with Nienke and Christmas in the Netherlands to prepare for the World Championship.

The individual female compulsory test follows a similar format to the squad compulsory test. It contains seven static and dynamic exercises, including forwards and backwards scissors, a stand and a basic seat. Mhairi put in a solid performance in what’s her first senior championship, looking as though she was thoroughly enjoying her time in the arena. The judges rewarded her with a score of 6.706, with horse scores of 7.360 and 7.365 for Christmas PS Z.

“I loved every second of it and it went as good as it could,” said Mhairi after her test. “I’m just really, really happy with the whole team – it was a great experience and I can’t wait for tomorrow.”

Mhairi finishes today in 33rd place.

individual female – Carys Morgan

The penultimate individual female competitor into the Jsyke Bank Boxen today was certainly no stranger to it – having already been part in the squad competition, Carys Morgan returned to compete this afternoon as an individual, again partnered with Demezza and lunger Suzi Cusick.

Although she’s competed at two senior championships as part of a squad, this is Carys’ first time competing as an individual at this level. She performed the set exercises with the same poise she showed in the squad competition, and was clearly delighted with her score of 6.684, and Harry’s scores of 7.275 and 7.350.

“I’m really happy with that, I think it might be my best compulsory score. It felt so nice out there,” said a smiling Carys. “There were a couple of little mistakes, but nothing major – I think it was the best I could have done.

“After this morning, there were little pointers and things where I looked back and thought ‘oh I can change that’, so I definitely learned something from that. I just genuinely want to enjoy myself. It’s my first championship as an individual and I just want to have fun and do as good as I can.”

Away from the vaulting world, 29-year-old Carys is an equine vet based in Warwickshire, although she originally hales from Wales. She sits in 34th position going into the technical test.

Coming up

The individual female competition continues tomorrow with the technical test, so Mhairi and Carys will be back in action in the afternoon. On Monday, all of our vaulters will return to the Jyske Bank Boxen to complete their freestyle tests in the final rounds of their respective competitions. We’ll share the exact timings when they become available