Germany Leads Olympic Dressage After Grand Prix, Great Britain 2nd, USA 3rd
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 11, 2016–Germany led Olympic dressage Thursday after three team riders scored more than 80 per cent for the first time in history while defending gold medal pair Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro topped the individual results to lead Great Britain to second place and the United States team with their best ever Olympic Grand Prix scores was standing third.
Germany on 81.295, the average of the three scores that counted, was leading with 2. Great Britain on 79.252, 3. United States 76.971, 4. Netherlands 76.043, 5. Sweden 75.319 and 6. Denmark 74.276 move on to the Grand Prix Special Friday to decide the team medals.
Spain’s Severo Lopez on Lorenzo, Inessa Merkulova of Russia on Mister X, Karen Tebar of France on Don Luis, Beatriz Ferrer-Salat of Spain on Delgado, Judy Reynolds of Ireland on Vancouver K, Belinda Trussel of Canada on Anton and Pierre Volla of France on Badinda Altena also advanced to the Special with scores high enough to qualify as individuals.
The girl power trio of Kristina Bröring-Sprehe and Desperados FRH on 82.257 per cent, Dorothee Schneider on Showtime FRH on 80.986 per cent and Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD on 80.643 per cent gave Germany a commanding lead in the team competition, as expected.
“We are on a good half-time standing and we hope to bring it home tomorrow,” said Isabell, a five-time Olympian.
Laura Graves on Verdades posted a personal best score of 78.071 per cent to lead the United States team to third place and to be in contention for an Olympic bronze medal for the first time since the Athens Olympics in 2004.
Laura of Geneva, Florida and the 14-year-old KWPN gelding that she has developed from a foal was clearly determined to produce a world class performance.
“He was very quiet at first but then the wind popped up and made the plastic bags on the speakers rustle,” Laura said after the ride that was reminiscent of her performance at the World Games two years ago when she finished fifth in the Freestyle not long after the pair started their Grand Prix career.
“Then he really turned it up.”
“That was probably one of Legolas’ best tests,” said Steffen of San Diego, California and riding in his fourth Olympics for the United States . “It was the test that I had dreamed of.
“It has been my dream to deliver a result like this. At the Olympics it is 90 percent about riding for the team and only 10 percent for an individual medal.”
“There was not one single point that we gave away. This was it.”
The close to flawless performance by Charlotte and Valegro that earned the pair 85.071 per cent made the pair hot favorites to repeat as individual Olympic gold medal winners.
The score for Charlotte and the 14-year-old KWPN gelding was enough to pull Britain in silver medal contention after Nip Tuck appeared spooked by the big arena and it took Carl Hester a lot of the ride to give the horse back his confidence and perform to his best.
Carl said of his ride: “I don’t have time to get nervous and no time when I’m riding that horse to be nervous, you have to anticipate where and what you’re going to do next. By the time he got to the canter he was really good and I could get some marks back from the zig-zags and the pirouettes, and I have to have him very relaxed with trot and walk. I finished my test happy, thinking if I start tomorrow like I finished then I can really go for it because he’s been so rideable all week.”
Charlotte said after her ride, ““Today was about going in and enjoying it, that was the biggest thing. I watched a lot of people yesterday going in there looking nervous and I thought, it’s my absolute passion, I’ve got the horse of my life, I’ve got a top trainer and huge support team around me, I’ve got amazing arenas and I’ve got to go out there and enjoy it. I came out with a huge smile on my face, to be honest I had a huge smile on my face before I went in, I can’t help but smile when I ride Valegro.
“Now we’ve all been in the arena once, I think tomorrow will be better. Fiona (Bigwood) did a fantastic job yesterday, Spencer (Wilton) did a really good job at his first Olympic Games and Carl did a great job too–he’s not only had to ride himself but he’s been training Spencer, Fiona and me. He’s been the rock for everyone. I honestly don’t know how he’s done it, but he’s done it for the team and I know for a fact that we wouldn’t be where we are today without him.”
Team (after Grand Prix)
Individual (after Grand Prix)
MINDERHOUD Hans Peter
JURADO LOPEZ Severo Jesus
WILHELMSSON SILFVEN Tinne
VAN SILFHOUT Diederik
KRINKE SUSMELJ Marcela
|SUPER NOVA II||72.686|
BROCK Allison M.
KIRK THINGGAARD Agnete
|JIMMIE CHOO SEQ||71.771|
MARTIN DOCKX Jose Daniel
|SANDRO BOY 9||70.186|
CASTILLA RUIZ Claudio
|BOOGIE WOOGIE 6||69.643|
MARCARI OLIVA Joao Victor
|XAMA DOS PINHAIS||68.071|
PRADO PASS Giovana
|ZINGARO DE LYW||67.700|
TAVARES DE ALMEIDA Luiza
TAVARES DE ALMEIDA Pedro
|XAPARRO DO VOUGA||65.714|
LOSOS DE MUNIZ Yvonne
|FOCO LOCO W||61.300|