More about Day 1 of Dressage, WEG, Normandy 2014

5 years ago ilse Comments Off on More about Day 1 of Dressage, WEG, Normandy 2014

 

Lyndal Oatley's boots following her ride on Sandro Boy ©Ilse Schwarz, dressage-news.com
Lyndal Oatley’s boots following her ride on Sandro Boy ©Ilse Schwarz, dressage-news.com

August 25, Caen, France, by Ilse Schwarz.

The biggest story of the day may have been the rain. Most riders were fairly pragmatic about it and the effects it had on their rides…many had experienced worse in qualifying competitions, it even hailed at one of the qualifiers for the Australian team. However, David Marcus of Canada must have had a feeling of deja vu as he approached the stadium on Chevri’s Capital. He experienced disaster at the Olympics in London when Chevri’s Capital panicked when spectators put up their umbrellas. To be fair, the rain reserved its heaviest fall for his ride, so any umbrellas were already up and the truly fortunate thing about this venue is that virtually all the seats are under cover.

As David approached the tunnel entrance to the stadium he discarded the totally soaked gloves he had worn in the warm up, pulled on some new ones (something we saw with many of the riders) and entered with confidence. He kept the trot work deliberate, a little conservative in the pouring rain and by this stage the heavens have well and truly opened up. What had previously been patches of puddles was fast developing into one giant puddle of soup. David had a complete disaster in the 2nd trot extension when Chevri’s Capital broke but then quickly reorganised to produce good passage. By the end of the ride Chevri’s Capital appears to be getting quite busy in the contact and the necessary desperate retaking of impossibly wet reins was not helping with the connection. However, the work remaine solid and he has to be happy with 70.357 and 12th place after the first 49 competitors.

Adrienne Lyle and Wizard splash with confidence ©Ilse Schwarz dressage-news.com
Adrienne Lyle and Wizard splash with confidence ©Ilse Schwarz dressage-news.com

Adrienne Lyle and Wizard, from the USA have been producing steadily increasing scores during their European tour, and she has to be feeling some pressure after being named to the team at the last possible moment. However, it is no surprise that Adrienne looks cool and calm as they prepare around the arena and I have to wonder if the water is making Wizard step even higher with his hindlegs than usual. He certainly produces bold trot extensions, seemingly treating the footing as if it were totally normal. Unfortunately, Wizard drops way behind the vertical in the extended walk and the average score of 5.4 for the movement is very expensive. The canter work starts beautifully, big changes, truly “going for it” in the canter extension…with a score of 7.9, but then Wizard decided that he only needed to do the one-tempis until X, it took Adrienne a few moments to get Wizard back on track but any chance of finishing in the top 5 at the end of day 1 was over. She still finished a respectable 7th place with 72% and we are all looking forwards to see their Grand Prix Special.

Plentiful and vocal Australian fans ©Ilse Schwarz
Plentiful and vocal Australian fans ©Ilse Schwarz dressage-news.com

The Aussie fans are here in force and warmly and loudly welcome Lyndal Oatley and Sandro Boy to the stadium. This combination produces trot half passes that are as big and crossing as we have come to expect from this horse, but maybe she reaches the long side a little too easily and a little too soon…a remarkable feat in itself as those lines are difficult when going exactly from marker to marker,  and for this reason is perhaps not rewarded as highly as I expected by the judges (it must be noted that I was on the side so I could not comment on straightness). In the canter, big relaxed 2 tempis eat up the diagonal and Lyndal gave it her best attempt at keeping the enormous canter extension all the way to k, even in the increasingly sloppy footing. The judges appreciate her commitment and reward her with a 7.6 average for the movement.

Lyndal Oatley and Sandro Boy © Ilse Schwarz dressage-news.com
Lyndal Oatley and Sandro Boy © Ilse Schwarz dressage-news.com

The rain eased during Lyndals ride and even she had time to notice that the lights reflecting on the plentiful puddles made the arena appear to shimmer around her. Sandro Boy knows the Grand Prix test well at this stage of his career and he was certain that the final centreline, in a major championship, deserved every last bit of effort to impress the judges. Lyndal did a masterful job to control his legs in the passage in a feeling she described as “riding on ice”. She said he turns into “Gumbie” and his legs just go everywhere when he reaches that level of power and enthusiasm…it is a feeling I am well aware of from riding my own Sandro Hit mare. She does an absolutely masterful job to keep all his limbs trained on the centreline and finished to thunderous applause and well synchronised shouting of the now familiar “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi,Oi,Oi”. The score of 70.6% and 11th place will leave her biting her nails through the rides of tomorrow to see if she makes it to the Grand Prix Special.

Carl Hester and Nip and Tuck for Great Britain kept the spectators in their seats, even though he was going at 5pm and this horse is not Utopia. Lets face it, the crowd just loves Carl, and he is VERY distinctive in his rather bright blue helmet with the union jack emblazoned all over it. (see future dressage-news story for a photo of him). Nip and Tuck is a relatively green horse at this level…at least as green as you can be to still qualify for the British team, and there is no doubt that the combination is lucky to score some “Carl” points for the passage (7.5-7.7) which “double footed” quite often behind. The piaffe is clearly green but going to be a highlight. Nip and Tuck bends all his joints in a wonderful way…but I am not sure the feet always land exactly where Carl hopes! The canter work is clearly where this horse shines with average scores of 8.0 for the 2 tempis and 8.3 for the ones indicating their quality. Well prepared pirouettes and we are all wondering if Carl has done enough to sneak into 2nd place. It is close but not quite, 74.186 and 3rd place.

As an aside, my last update mentioned I was going shopping…I am now sporting a particularly fashion forwards look with my euro 17.90 wellies and umbrella.

Ilse gets outfitted for the rain ©Ken Braddick dressage-news.com
Ilse gets outfitted for the rain ©Ken Braddick dressage-news.com

Complete results and many more photos will be soon published in more stories from Dressage News