Memorable Moment #6: Marcus Ehning 2003 FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas
The final day competition was extremely fierce and getting more intense by the moment
Las Vegas, Nevada • Thomas & Mack Center -
There was much to think about on the final day of the 2003 FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas, as competition was extremely fierce and getting more intense by the moment. The top three were less than a single rail apart with Marcus Ehning of Germany and Rodrigo Pessoa, the three-time champion from Brazil, tied for second place, just two faults – less than a rail – behind the leader, Marlin Baryard of Sweden.
Ehning was the first of the top three to go as they were riding in the reverse order of standing. Ehning, a 2000 Sydney Olympic team Gold Medalist, went clear on Anka putting the pressure on the two remaining riders. When each of the other two had a rail down, Ehning moved into the lead for the second round.
Now sitting in the enviable position of being the last to go, Ehning watched as Pessoa and the legendary Baloubet du Rouet went clean and Baryard dropped behind him with a rail on H& M Butterfly Flip. As Ehning entered the ring, he knew he had no room for error. One rail would tie him with Pessoa and force a jump-off. Two rails would give Pessoa the title. Ehning and Anka rose to the occasion leaving all the rails up and claiming the title, earning him the first of his three World Cup Final wins (with others following in 2006 and 2010). Pessoa and Baloubet placed second, their incredible sixth consecutive year in the top three!
“I really couldn’t believe it,” said Ehning whose win helped him celebrate his 29th birthday one day afterwards. “I never thought I would win. If you think about it too much, it can hurt you, so I tried not to overthink it. It really couldn’t have turned out any better!”