World Equestrian Games: 5 top moments

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Story highlights

The FEI Games took place in Normandy, France

Around 570,000 people visited the Games

Double delight for Dujardin

Dubbeldam does the business

CNN  — 

And so au revoir, Normandy.

The seventh FEI World Equestrian Games proved the biggest and best yet as records tumbled, crowds soared and the excitement never seemed to end.

The picturesque French coastline welcomed almost 570,000 spectators to the Games as a record 12 nations took part in a competition which was beamed to 200 territories across the globe.

But which were the highlights to savor? Here, CNN looks back over five of the most memorable moments from the past fortnight.

02:25 - Source: CNN
Behind the FEI World Equestrian Games

Dujardin delight

There is not a hotter rider in the world of dressage at the moment.

Charlotte Dujardin is a serial winner and she underlined that with two individual gold medals and a team silver in Normandy.

Dujardin is Britain’s most successful dressage rider in history and holds the Olympic, world and European titles.

She also owns all three world record scores in freestyle and set tests, so it was little surprise that she grabbed victory in Caen.

On her beloved Valegro, she won the individual grand prix and freestyle events as she showed why she’s the undisputed No. 1 once again.

Dubbeldam’s double

Jeroen Dubbeldam’s biggest career highlight might still be his jumping gold medal at the Olympic Games in Sydney 14 years ago but he turned on the style to steal the show in Normandy.

The Dutchman won titles after triumphing in both the team and individual events, becoming the first rider from the Netherlands to achieve such a feat.

In the final, each of the four riders take their own horse around the course before repeating the run on each of their rivals’ mounts.

After going clear on Zenith SFN, Dubbledam held his nerve to complete three more flawless rounds and edge out Frenchman Patrice Delaveau.

“With all three horses I had a fantastic feeling, totally different but all felt they wanted to jump the fences clear,” he told reporters.

“Three minutes isn’t long enough to change any horse, so what I did was try to find their strongest points and then bring those forward.

“Luckily I found the strong points of all three horses and they gave me wonderful clear rounds.”

Vaulting victory

Great Britain’s golden girl Joanne Eccles produced an electrifying performance to secure a second successive world vaulting title.

The 25-year-old dentist, who hails from Kinross in Scotland, won gold in Kentucky four years ago but was even more impressive this time around after performing with her family’s 20-year-old horse W.H. Bentley.

A series of acrobatics and handstands wowed the judges following a four-day competition.

“It’s an amazing feeling. We’ve been working hard this year but we wanted to come here and have a good time,” Eccles told the BBC.

“We had nothing to prove. We wanted to show off what we could do.”

In the men’s competition, European titleholder Jacques Ferrari upstaged defending champion Nicolas Andreani as France won its first medals of the fortnight.

“This is a sign that I have reached the limit and the pinnacle of my career so I don’t know what will follow after this,” Ferrari said.

The host nation then won a team medal in the discipline for the first time, behind champion Germany and Switzerland.

Fabulous Flarida

Shawn Flarida, reining’s only rider to break the $5 million milestone, enjoyed another golden Games after winning another two world titles in Normandy.

The U.S. star followed up team gold by sealing top spot in the individual competition.

Riding seven-year-old Spooks Gotta Whiz, Flarida denied Andrea Fappani in the final run – while their U.S. teammate Mandy McCutcheon became the first woman to win an individual medal with bronze.

Two golds at the 2002 Games in Jerez and another team gold in Kentucky four years ago, means Flarida will go down in history as one of the finest riders in Games history.

The 45-year-old celebrated by giving his medal to son Sam.

“He’s a real horse enthusiast and he told me we’d have to work hard for this tonight, so I thought it would be fitting if I handed it to him,” Flarida told reporters.

Exell excels

It may look like a scene out of a movie but there was no twist in the plot in the final of the driving competition. Boyd Exell clinched a third consecutive world title after recording an astonishing clear round much to the delight of the watching fans.

The UK-based Australian beat second-placed American Chester Weber and European champion Theo Timmerman of the Netherlands to secure gold.

“It was a huge relief,” Exell told reporters.

“We had a good show throughout the weekend, but not a perfect show. The cones went really well for me although the arena was moving a lot.

“I knew Chester would have a clear round because he has been driving clear rounds all season. He has the best cones team.

“It is great to be the world champion again and I would like to thank my entire team for their great support.”

What do you think?

So, those are our thoughts on the FEI World Equestrian Games but what do you think?

You can tweet us @worldsportcnn and visit our Facebook page to give us your views on a wonderful fortnight of action.

The Games return in four years’ time in Bromont and Montreal, Canada – see you there?

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