McLain Ward and Contagious shine twice in Aachen!
The American rider McLain Ward and his 13-year-old chestnut gelding Contagious (Contagio Z x For Keeps) gave another fantastic performance yesterday on the magnificent grass arena of Aachen! After the successful duo already won the first Grand Prix qualifier on Wednesday with the Turkish Airlines – Prize of Europe, they also added the second qualifier to their list of honors yesterday afternoon with the RWE prize from North Rhine-Westphalia!
It was fantastic to watch how McLain Ward and Contagious sped through the course in the jump-off of the RWE Prize of North-Rhine Westphalia as the last pair to go. Even in the tight turns they managed to find the perfect take-off at the obstacles and crossed the finish line in an incredible 41.70 seconds to take the victory. Ward’s recipe for success? “I know the exact numbers of my strides and I know my horse inside out.”
In spite of the fact that Contagious won both the Turkish Airlines – Prize of Europa and the RWE Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia, Ward will be saddling a different horse for the Grand Prix on Sunday.
“You are always trying to keep raising the level of you and your horse, and make the performances more consistent. I never thought of him as an Olympic horse, and then we went to the Olympics last year and performed at that level beautifully. He came out of the Olympics a better horse, which sometimes isn’t the case, particulary with a horse you are not sure has the power and then the jump to do that. But he came out a more confident, bolder and stronger horse and since then he has really been on a pretty good roll. I think he is on really good form, we are aiming towards to the World Championships and that’s one the reasons we have planned this week like this for him and we’ll stick to our plan and hopefully be able to be on the team.”