Crack open the history books, the Mustang FEI Vaulting World Championships 2022 in Herning (DEN) has written a few new pages.

Starting with World Female Individual Vaulting Championship, where Manon Moutinho became the first female vaulter to bring home a medal for France at this event in 19-years. A gold one at that. Moutinho was awarded 9.296 for her final free test, ultimately finishing on a combined score of 8.963.

“I’m really happy for my country, it’s good to show that French girls can do it too,” said Moutinho.

With her equine partner, 15-year-old mare Saitiri, and lunger Corinne Bosshard (SUI), the 25-year-old has tacked another title onto her illustrious list. Among them is a win at the World Championship Le Mans in 2016 and another in the FEI World Cup Final Leipzig this year. Both with Saitiri.

“Hey look, no hands!”
Female Individual Vaulting Manon Moutinho (FRA) on Saitiri FEI / Richard Juilliart

The French flag flew twice during the prize giving ceremonies on Monday, as the Individual Male Final Free Test gold medalist also hailed from France.

Unsurprisingly it was Lambert Leclezio, who is currently the number one vaulter in the world. On Monday he won his fourth World title aboard 13-year-old gelding Estado IFCE, but he dubbed this his best World Championship win yet, scoring a record breaking 9.399. In April, he caught the silver individual medal at the FEI World Cup Final Leipzig where he also partnered with Saitiri.

Vaulting (verb) ; “coming up with the most complicated ways possible to ride a horse.”
Male Individual Vaulting Lambert Leclezio (FRA) on Estado IFCE/ FEI / Richard Juilliart

The Germans squad takes gold

While the individual finals were swept by the French, on the back of 13-year-old gelding Calidor 10, the German team were able to sneak just ahead in the scoring during the Squad Final Free Test. Their score of 8.614 was enough to boot the French team onto the second step of the podium this time.

The German Squad take first in the vaulting and side eye competition
Squad Vaulting Championship Team Germany (GER) – Norka des VV Köln-Dünwald / FEI / Richard Juilliart

With 15-year-old mare Londontime, the French team tallied a respectable 8.549. Switzerland rounded out the podium with 17-year-old gelding Rayo de la Luz in 8.279 points.

Where does one vaulter end and the other begin? #HumanTower
Squad Vaulting Championship Team France (FRA) Londontime. ©FEI / Richard Juilliart
Trying to balance everything in your life like:
Squad Vaulting Championship Team Switzerland (SUI). ©FEI / Richard Juilliart

Thrills, spills and technical difficulties

It wasn’t smooth sailing for every vaulter in Herning this weekend. During the Female Individual Vaulting Free Test Averill Saunders (CAN) fell out of medal contention after she slipped off the horse.

French athlete Quentin Jabet was the silver medalist in the Individual Male Final Free Test with 8.837 points, but he lost vital points after his horse Ronaldo 200 briefly broke into the trot before the end of their program.

For 16-year-old Dutch vaulter Sam dos Santos, the wave of dread came before he even hopped atop 15-year-old gelding United. A technical error led to an agonizing wait for his music to play, threatening the timing of his program. Yet young Santos was able to remain cool under the pressure, and was still able to secure fifth place with 8.720 points.

The Vaulting action isn’t over yet

Still to go on Wednesday in the is the World Official Nations Team Vaulting Championship and the World Vaulting Pas-De-Deux Championship Final Round Free Test.

Full results here.

Feature Image: Squad Vaulting Championship Team Germany (GER) – Norka des VV Köln-Dünwald. ©FEI/ Richard Juilliart