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Margie Engle Wins in Aachen, U.S. to Start Fourth in Super League Order

AACHEN, Germany - May 18, 2006 - Margie Engle of the United States, competing at the World Equestrian Festival for the first time in eight years, rode her 2000 Olympic mount Hidden Creek's Perin to victory Thursday in the Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia speed class that was the highlight of the first full day of competition.

Describing the 16-year-old bay gelding as a "big pet," Engle of Wellington, Fla., and Perin set a scorching pace of 75.29 seconds to cover the course of 13 obstacles over 635 yards, 0.56 seconds faster than second placed Jessica Kurten of Ireland on Quibell. Jeffery Welles of Ridgefield, Conn. on Armani finished in fourth place.

In the starting order for the Samsung Super League to be held on Friday, defending champions United States drew fourth place. The complete order is: 1. Switzerland, 2. The Netherlands, 3. Britain, 4. U.S., 5. Germany, 6. France, 7. Ireland, and 8. Sweden.

The U.S. team is made up of Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, N.Y, on Authentic, McLain Ward of Brewster, N.Y. on Sapphire, Lauren Hough of Wellington, Fla. on Casadora and Engle on Quervo Gold.

The United States won here a year ago, beating the powerhouse German team on their home ground on the way to claiming the eight-event Samsung Super League championship in 2005.

The German squad drew first blood in this year's series by winning the first event at LaBaule, France, two weeks ago. The United States placed second. Their lineup of German riders from whom the team will be chosen includes Marcus Ehning, ranked number one in the world, and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, the second ranked woman rider in the world.

In Thursday's speed class, though, Engle and Perin set the time to beat in their ride, the 34th to go in the class of 62 horse and rider combinations. Rain throughout the morning soaked the arena, but the sun came out halfway through the class. Engle's round was so fast that no other pair came closer than 1.5 seconds before Kurten and Quibell, who were the last to go.

Kurten, the top ranked woman rider in the world, was going at such a pace, Engle said she was sure the Irish rider would beat her. But, Engle maintained her lead by more than a half-second. "Perin has a huge stride and the course had lots of big open gallops which suits him," she said of the jumps that are built around a full size dressage arena, located in the middle of the grass arena in preparation for the World Equestrian Games, to be held at this same venue over two weeks beginning the end of August.

Engle noted the major changes to the grounds since she last competed here eight years ago, including the grandstand around the jumper ring designed for 40,000 spectators, which will almost be jampacked for Friday's Samsung Super League and Sunday's Grand Prix. Laughing at Engle's estimate during her ride that was going very quickly and probably faster than the American, Kurten said, "Margie was unbelievable.

In dressage competition, Germany took advantage of the absence of world champion Anky van Grunsven of the Netherlands to regain the gold medal that they lost to the Dutch in 2005. The top finishing rider was Nadine Capellman of Germany on Elvis VA with a score of 75.833 percent, with Kyra Kyrklund of Norway on Max in second place at 75.542 percent and Isabel Werth of Germany on Warum Nicht FRH in third place at 74.833 percent.

No Americans are entered in either the Nations Cup team competition or as individuals.

Photo Credit: Margie Engle riding Hidden Creek's Perin to victory in the Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia at Aachen, Germany. Photo By: 2006 Ken Braddick-HorseSport USA.


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