April 6, 2017 / 0 1815
Queen Isabell reigns supreme in Dressage Grand Prix
By Louise Parkes
She’s 47 and formidable, an exquisite horsewoman and a long-time legend as the most medalled athlete in her sport. Despite a few glitches in her performance with the fabulous mare Weihegold today, Germany’s Isabell Werth won the opening Grand Prix at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Omaha, Nebraska by a comfortable 2.5 mark margin when scoring 82.300..
“I’m completely happy, but I’ll have to calm my horse down before Saturday because she got so excited in the prizegiving!”
Werth includes five Olympic and three World team golds amongst the massive medal haul she has accumulated during her amazing career. She also has two FEI World Cup™ titles under her belt, the first collected 25 years ago in Gothenburg (SWE) and the next in Las Vegas (USA) in 2007, and she’s hungry for a third.
But it isn’t going to be a walk-in-the-park because the home side’s Laura Graves (29) was breathing right down her neck today when posting the runner-up score of 79.800 with Verdades, and is bidding to become only the third American ever to take this prestigious title.
“I think anything is possible!” Graves replied confidently when asked if she thought she could beat Werth in Saturday’s medal-deciding Freestyle to Music competition, and she has to be taken seriously after finishing fourth at the Rio Olympics with this horse who was so difficult as a youngster that she almost gave up on him.
Britain’s Carl Hester (49) finished third with Nip Tuck and will be another strong challenger on Saturday when just 14 of today’s 16 starters will line out. New Zealand’s Wendi Williamson and Dejavu MH were elminated when blood was found in the horse’s mouth post competition and Hanna Karasiova (BLR) and Arlekino failed to make the 60% cut-off mark.
- Weihegold (Isabell Werth) GER, 82.300
- Verdades (Laura Graves) USA, 79.800
- Nip Tuck (Carl Hester) GBR, 76.671
Facts and Figures:
16 riders from 13 nations (Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland and USA).
A total of 194 human and 215 equine athletes have competed in the four FEI World Cup™ Dressage Leagues, aiming to qualify for the Omaha Final.
The winning rider, Isabell Werth, is a multiple champion and two-time FEI World Cup™ Dressage title-holder.
There will be 16 participants in the FEI World Cup™ Final 2017. Title holder Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED) is not competing in Omaha as his horse Glock’s Flirt was lame on the day of departure (25 March). Jessica Von Bredow Werndl (GER) also withdrew from the Final after her horse Unee B developed colic at the airport in Amsterdam prior to departure.
Isabell Werth GER – 1st
“I was well prepared but you never know what to expect! It was my fault we made mistakes in the two-tempis but I always felt safe. It wasn’t easy at the start of my test though because the crowd went crazy when they announced Laura’s score!”
Laura Graves USA – 2nd
“I came here to win, and to finish second to Isabell today feels a lot like winning! It’s my second World Cup Final, we competed in Las Vegas (in 2015) and this has proved how much my horse has developed over the last two years, he felt very honest and I’m very excited about competing on Saturday!”
Carl Hester GBR – 3rd
“I always give my horse an easy ride in the Grand Prix so that he’s perfectly rideable for Saturday. I don’t expect to be too far behind on Saturday.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Whey Equine Thermography?
My friend Kelly Jewel posted this video to Youtube the other day, and it caught my eye. I have always been curious about what equine thermal imaging is, and this bit of video got me motivated enough to do a little research. Thermal imaging works by reflecting heat from the body of your horse, and it creates a pictorial representation of your horse’s surface temperature. By measuring your horse’s skin temperature, it illustrates alterations in the circulation of deeper tissues.
This image gives us a tool to “read” what is going on under the surface of your horse’s body. Heat may be a sign of inflammation or a “hot spot” while “cold spots” may be a sign of injuries that reflects swelling, decreased circulation in damaged tissue or the presence of scar tissue.
Equine Thermography is useful in:
- Saddle fitting
- Preventative care
- As a diagnostic tool
- Checks tendons and ligaments
- Checks hoof balance
- Monitors joints
- Monitors circulation
- Measuring progress
So, in a nutshell, thermal imaging gives you the inside track on your horse’s physical health by helping locate injuries, specifically when your horse is presenting with inconsistent or unclear symptoms.
To learn more visit Racers to Riders a Thoroughbred retraining center run by trainer Kelly Jewell. We source quality animals and thoughtfully educate them ready for a new career and a loving home.
For more details please visit www.racerstoriders.co.uk or email: email@example.com.
During the EE teacher training, Heather Moffett gives a quick lesson for Kelly and Isis. This is Isis’s first time indoors with a gallery full of people so was naturally, a little unsettled compared to her usual surroundings. This is week 7 into her training including time off with mastitis. This mare has so much potential!
Racers to Riders TV’s mini series on retraining ex racehorses, featuring legendary ‘Enlightened Equitation’ trainer, author and saddle maker, Heather Moffett. Kelly Jewell from Racers to Riders hosts, debates and discusses techniques and tips to help in the metamorphosis from speed to elegance.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][/vc_column][/vc_row]
RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES – DRESSAGE, FREESTYLE
Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 15 August 2016
Photo Caption: Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro secured their second successive individual Olympic Dressage title when winning the Freestyle today. (Dirk Caremans/FEI)
Free images for editorial use at http://goo.gl/nRrshc Password fei2016
Dujardin and her horse with a heart of gold do it again: Individual Dressage Final
by Louise Parkes
Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin (31) and the fabulous 14-year-old gelding, Valegro, were in a class of their own when posting an Olympic Dressage record score of 93.857 in the Grand Prix Freestyle to claim their second successive individual title today. The double-gold medallist at London 2012 is the first British woman to retain an individual Olympic title, and she now matches the British record of three gold medals for a female athlete set by cyclist Laura Trott yesterday.
On an afternoon of high emotion in Deodoro Olympic Park it was two members of Friday’s gold-medal-winning German team who took silver and bronze, the multi-medalled Isabell Werth (47) and Weihegold scoring 89.071 to finish ahead of world no. 1 Kristina Broring-Sprehe (29) and Desperados on a mark of 87.142.
Dujardin could hardly contain her emotions after securing the victory. “He couldn’t have done anymore” she said of the much-loved horse who is known at home as Blueberry, “I was thinking this could be the last time” she added before bursting into tears. The British partnership hold all the world records in their sport, and today’s result was just short of the Freestyle record of 94.30 per cent they set at Olympia Horse Show in London (GBR) in 2014.
The scores really began to soar as the final six combinations took their turn, and IOC President, Thomas Bach, arrived just in time to see Broring-Sprehe set the new standard before Dujardin and Valegro blew that away when rocketing into the lead by a margin of more than six points. America’s Laura Graves produced the performance of her career with Verdades to finish just off the podium on 85.196, her third personal-best result posted at these Games.
Werth already entered the record books when her team gold on Friday gave her the edge over the previously most-medalled German Olympic equestrian, Dr Reiner Klimke. Today’s silver brings her tally to a massive 10 Olympic medals during an extraordinary career but, last to go today, she was realistic in her expectations. “I knew Charlotte had 93 or 94 per cent, and Germany already won team gold, so with silver today I couldn’t ask for more. I really enjoy competing against the best, that’s what makes us all better, and Charlotte and Valegro really deserve this” she said.
Dujardin talked about her own expectations. “We set the world record at 94 so I knew it was possible, but to come and do it again here at the Olympics is quite special. Today was magic, in London there was no pressure to take gold but today I was nervous because I felt the expectation to deliver. But trotting around the arena before the start, Blueberry felt so good it just put a smile on my face and I just knew it was going to be ok. I felt he knew what I was thinking in there and he looked after me, he did his very best. I have a partnership, a connection with this horse that nothing is going to break, he has a heart of gold”, she said.
The pair have lit up the sport since coming together in 2011. “To think what he has achieved in the last four or five years, it seems almost impossible”, the British rider said, admitting that retirement is “on the cards” for Valegro now. “We’ll discuss it when we get home, and he definitely won’t be doing another Olympic Games or a big championship. I owe it to him to finish at the top”, she pointed out.
As for her own plans, marriage is at last on the horizon. Her partner, Dean Wyatt Golding, proposed to her during the London 2012 Games “and I said yes” she explained today, “bless him, he’s been waiting a long time, we’ve been together nine years but it’s definitely going to happen now!” Somehow it seems very likely that a horse with three Olympic gold medals around his neck could be a prominent member of the wedding party.
Patrick Kittel SWE: “I only heard a couple of days ago that I couldn’t use my Stevie Wonder music. We asked a long time ago about using it for the Olympic Games and we only heard back at the very last minute so this music is an old one and Deja isn’t used to it and I think she felt lost in it, and I did too! I’m happy overall, this is an amazing horse, she needs more experience competing over three days but she’s going to be great!”
Carl Hester GBR: “I felt the mark matched my test, sometimes you go in there and think you should have gotten more, but not today. We got five more marks than Friday and he was so much more relaxed. He was so quiet I could just let him walk for the last five minutes before we came in.”
Charlotte Dujardin GBR: “I’ve only ridden that floorplan once, at Hartpury and we’ve changed it a few times since. There were things I hadn’t even tried before today and that’s why he is so magical!”
Laura Graves USA: “I’m thrilled with this score, I didn’t feel like I had quite as much horse as I had in the last couple of days, it’s obviously very hot, we’ve been here now for a day over two weeks, so it’s been a long time to keep our horses going like this.
It was another personal best for me, by three percent or something like that, so that’s three personal bests at the Olympic Games!”
Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 8 August 2016
Aussies in front after spectacular Olympic Eventing cross-country challenge
By Louise Parkes
Australia, Eventing team gold medallists in Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000, heads both the team and individual standings in Olympic Eventing after a day of cross-country thrills, spills and surprises at the Rio 2016 Olympic Equestrian Venue in Deodoro today, topping the teams on 150.3 and with Christopher Burton in pole position in the individual rankings with Santano II. But their neighbours from New Zealand are stalking them closely going into tomorrow’s final showjumping phase, just 4.5 penalties adrift, with the French in hot pursuit in overnight bronze a further 6.2 off the pace.
Germany, London 2012 team gold medalists and leaders after dressage, dropped to fourth on 172.8, while Britain’s William Fox-Pitt plummeted from pole position on the individual leaderboard to 22nd after a runout at the final element of the Ski Jump at fence 20 on a course that all the riders agreed was an enormous test. The statistics tell the tale of a tough day at the office, with eight of the 13 teams reduced to just three team-members, and USA and Russia no longer in contention after retirements and eliminations.
Only Brazil, France and Great Britain will have full four-member sides as tomorrow’s action begins, provided all goes well in the early-morning horse inspection.
It was clear from the outset that the 33-fence track would prove hugely influential, and with three of the first eight riders biting the dirt it more than lived up to expectations.
Sam Griffiths got the Australians off to the perfect start however when cruising home with the lovely Irish mare, Paulank Brockagh, with only 6.8 time penalties to add to his dressage score, and when Burton and his super-talented nine-year-old, Santano ll, produced one of just three zero scores on the day then things were looking even better. That was reinforced by another great run from Stuart Tinney and Pluto Mio who put just 2.8 time penalties on the board, so even though Shane Rose was eliminated late on the track with CP Qualified they still went out in front at the end of the day.
With New Zealand pathfinder Tim Price out of the picture after a slip-up on the flat, the remaining Kiwis had no choice but to keep it together and they succeeded brilliantly, the legendary Sir Mark Todd (Leonidas ll), Clarke Johnstone (Balmoral Sensation) and Tim Price’s wife, Jonelle Price (Faerie Dianimo) each collecting just time faults to leave them on a scoreline of 154.80.
Meanwhile Astier Nicolas (Piaf de B’Neville) set up the French with a fault-free run so they could drop the 50.40 collected by Karim Laghouag (Entebbe) who ran into trouble at the first of the two angled brush fences at 12. Team-mate Thibaut Valette (Qing du Briot) also faulted at this one but came home with a relatively modest 24.4 penalties to add, while Mathieu Lemoine (Bart L), individually third after dressage, took a careful tour of the track, and the final team tally of 161.00 was good enough for overnight third.
The German dream of a third successive team title took a hammering despite a brilliant clear from defending team and individual Olympic champion Michael Jung (Sam) when Julia Krajewski (Samourai du Thot) was eliminated, so mistakes from Sandra Auffarth (Opgun Louvo) and Ingrid Klimke (Bob) had to be taken into account to drop the team from first to fourth.
But Jung (40.9 penalties) is stalking individual leader, Burton (37.6), very closely and with less than a single fence advantage the 34-year-old Australian will be under extreme pressure tomorrow. Frenchman Nicolas is just 1.1 penalty points further behind in third while Kiwi, Todd (46.0) just shades America’s Philip Dutton (Mighty Nice) on 46.8 and Boyd Martin (Blackfoot Mystery), 50.9 in fifth and sixth. Burton said his horse is “very inexperienced” so he took some longer options on the course, “but the horse is so fast. I couldn’t believe it….he is a rocket!”
Sensationally, Brazil’s Carlos Parro has rocketed up all the way from 33rd place after dressage to hold equal-seventh spot with New Zealand’s Clarke Johnston (Balmoral Sensation). Riding Summon up the Blood, and on a day when so many of the major stars of the sport failed to find the key to the course set by Frenchman Pierre Michelet, the 37-year-old Brazilian, 236th in the world rankings, will be taking on the very best in the battle for Olympic glory. And his team is lying fifth ahead of The Netherlands in sixth as the new day begins.
As the competition unfolded today, riders quickly learned from those who went before them, but tackling the many complex questions on the course still proved a difficult task. The reality was that only a speedy run on the direct routes would be fully rewarded, but that meant risking a glance-off or stop if the skinny combination obstacles in particular didn’t come up right. In all there were 15 eliminations and two retirements while 38 of the 65 starters collected fence penalties.
Of the top 18 riders going into tomorrow’s showjumping phase, the first three all completed today without adding anything to their dressage score and the remainder picked up only time penalties. In all, 27 horse-and-rider combinations had clear jumping rounds and this group included some very special horses like the 10-year-old gelding, The Duke of Cavan, who carried Japan’s Oiwa Yoshiaki through the extremely challenging double of brush corners at fence six on the direct route to slot into 17th spot, and the super-honest 13-year-old Ranco who wasn’t going to be rushed but who did himself and his Chilean rider, Carlos Lobos Munoz, justice as he carefully negotiated the entire track to finish 30th.
All four of the British contingent collected both fence and time penalties to slot into eighth place and Fox-Pitt was clearly disappointed at his own result. “I had a very good round, it was just annoying that I went off at that third element (of the Ski Jump). It was my fault entirely. I went too quickly I think….and there was no way I could turn him. He didn’t do anything wrong. Watching those first few horses, you could see the course was asking questions all the way, and a lot of them weren’t coming up with the answers,” he added.
French pathfinder Astier Nicolas was just third to go today with Piaf de B’Neville and returned clear within the time. “It was such a good feeling. I realised the pressure – I had to do well for my team-mates, and that’s a huge feeling. I didn’t expect to have such stress and joy for the team competition. It’s a very demanding course and there’s never a place to drop your reins and let him breathe” he said after moving up from 11th to third place.
Michael Jung’s clear promoted him to silver medal spot, but he said he didn’t have an easy time before he set off on his cross-country run. “The warm-up was difficult on Sam’s nerves. The loudspeakers, horses galloping by, the cheering spectators. He was already sweaty in the stables. He was overly motivated in the beginning but nevertheless wonderful. He gave me a good feeling and was still fresh at the finish line and staying inside the time was easier than I expected”, he explained.
Mark Todd said “I had instructions from the team to stay safe and clear. Fence six had me worried but it was mostly a perfect round. The horse (Leonidas ll) was brilliant all the way through. I was told to take one long route and briefly thought ‘do I disregard the order?’ But then I thought I should better behave myself!”
Individual leader, Christopher Burton, said this evening that finding himself in gold medal spot going into the final day “has far exceeded my expectations!” He’s not getting too carried away however. “My horse is good at dressage and I was told to take one long route and it worked out, so I’m just going to enjoy today and for tomorrow? Whatever….”
Course designer, Pierre Michelet, felt he had provided plenty of different options for the riders to get themselves around the track. “You could change your mind and take a different route if you needed it” he said, “but I was surprised there were a lot of run-outs and dramatic things happening!”
Sir Mark Todd summed it all up this evening. “I want to thank Pierre for building this course because if he hadn’t then we (New Zealand) wouldn’t be in silver medal position tonight! The course offered alternatives to everyone, it was perfectly jumpable but if you wanted to made a medal position then you had to go direct and fast.”
The next hurdle to cross is the final horse inspection at 08.00 tomorrow morning before the medal-deciding showjumping phase of Eventing which will begin at 10.00.
Mark Todd (NZL) talking about negotiating the “frog” fence at the end of the Fisherman’s Lake complex. “It was a relief to get over that one. The fences are coming quick and fast….two hedges and then the frog, that is hard at 570 metres a minute. There is no room for error.”
Sam Griffiths (AUS): “It was a tough course and I was lucky to be on such a good horse. I am over the moon. What a star. To go straight overall you must be a gold medal rider.”
Tim Price (NZL), talking about his fall on the flat on the way to fence 24 with Ringwood Sky Boy: “You walk the course so many times, you make so many plans and then you go out and fall over! But that is the nature of the game. I had planned the long route (at 23/24) from the beginning and on the first turn it happened. I am so gutted. My horse is absolutely fine.”
Boyd Martin (USA): “I’m so grateful I was on an old racehorse from Kentucky (Blackfoot Mystery)! He kept fighting the whole way home. It’s one of those courses where you can’t ease up for one second. You’ve got to jump, get through one fence then think about the next.
I’m relieved. My biggest fear was letting everyone down, especially the group that bought him, my team-mates, and my country. The biggest thing that motivates me is to not fail. I have to say, I thought I was fit but I’m not (laughs). I ride events week after week after week and I’ve never been gassed (short of breath) after cross country, which goes to show how hard I had to work to get him around!”
Astier Nicolas (FRA): “I feel very proud this evening being in third place amongst riders like these! If I ride until Mark’s age I still have 33 years to go! We have three relatively young talents on our team, and it’s great for us all to be here.”
Klimke secures narrow German lead in Olympic Eventing ahead of intriguing cross-country challenge
by Louise Parkes
A brilliant ride by Ingrid Klimke maintained Team Germany’s lead as Eventing dressage drew to a close today at Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro (BRA). But her score of 39.50 with Bob gives the defending Olympic champions only a fractional advantage of 0.2 penalties over the feisty French side going into tomorrow’s much-anticipated cross-country phase.
In a typical Olympic contest during which some competitors exceeded expectations while others couldn’t find the performances they were looking for today, it was the mark of 39.20 earned by Mathieu Lemoine and the elegant Bart L that put the French right into the frame. So, fourth-last to go, Klimke could feel the pressure, but the 48-year-old daughter of dressage legend Reiner Klimke, who scooped eight Olympic medals during his spectacular career, kept a cool head. It wasn’t all plain sailing however. “Bob was quite excited outside in the warm-up and he was bucking, but when he came into the arena he just went “OK, here I am, I’m ready – if you want let’s go for it!” she said afterwards.
There’s very little between the leading group of countries going into tomorrow’s cross-country phase, with the Australians lying third, just over four penalty points behind the French, and the British just one more point further adrift in fourth. The Irish moved up a place to fifth thanks to a great performance from Jonty Evans and Cooley’s Rorkes Drift, while New Zealand and USA share sixth.
First-day leader, Great Britain’s William Fox-Pitt, remains at the head of the individual standings with Australia’s Christopher Burton hot on his heels, and Lemoine has slotted into third and Klimke into fourth, while defending double-Olympic champion, Michael Jung, is next in line in fifth place. With less than five points separating the top 10 riders however, and few, if any, expected to avoid time penalties while negotiating the tough track set by French course designer, Pierre Michelet, the stage is set for a tremendous day of cross-country action tomorrow.
“I haven’t seen such a challenging course since Sydney (2000 Olympic Games). My Bobby is fast and he is a mature horse so he should cope well and I’m looking forward to it. But we know that when we go out there we have to do a very precise job tomorrow,” Klimke said this evening.
There were surprises of various kinds as the day-two session played out, with some dreams beginning to unravel while others were just starting to take shape. The latter was the case for Jonty Evans who produced a personal-best score at championship level when posting 41.80 with Cooley’s Rorkes Drift. This has left him lying ninth individually and has anchored his country’s chances going into their more-favoured cross-country phase. The judges clearly appreciated the quality of the canterwork of his 10-year-old gelding, one of 11 Irish-bred horses in the field of 65 starters. Evans said, “I’m thrilled to bits with him, he couldn’t have done any more today – he couldn’t have tried any harder.”
China’s Alex Hua Tian enjoyed some moments of brilliance in his test, but had to settle for 42.40 and 12th place at the end of the day with Don Geniro. “I made two big mistakes, the judges really wanted to give me good mark – but I nailed all the changes I think” he said. “The first entry was great, he has a massive extended trot but he took an unbalanced step and broke into canter. It’s very frustrating because it’s the extended that gives him his big scores!” he pointed out.
Belgium’s Karen Donckers slotted herself into seventh individually when posting 41.10 with Fletcha van’t Verahof, but it was two competitive results from Lemoine and Thibaut Valette (Qing du Briot) who put 41.00 on the board, that kept the French team right in the frame. Meanwhile Australia’s Shane Rose really did the business with CP Qualified whose 42.50 ensured the 56.80 posted by Stuart Tinney and Pluto Mio could be discounted.
Many of the horses were tense coming into the arena today, but Rose reassured his 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding with a big pat on the neck before going to work into the arena, and was rewarded with a very pleasant performance. Last-line British rider, Kitty King, found herself struggling from the start however with the Dutch-bred Ceylor LAN. And another for whom things didn’t go quite the right way was New Zealand’s Jonelle Price whose nine-year-old, Faerie Dianimo, broke into a canter during their early trot-work, eventually posting 49.50. “I was very disappointed” she said, “he was really hot in the warm-up but I was hoping for better in the arena. It was too bad it happened at the Olympic Games, but I’m hoping for a much better day tomorrow.”
Klimke’s vital anchor ride for Germany might also have been blighted by over-enthusiasm, but she managed to get all the fizz under control at just the right moment and pulled off that all-important score that has kept Germany out in front in the race for the team medals. “I was so pleased in the end, he did a fabulous test” she said of the 12-year-old Bob.
Every one of the riders agree however that dressage will not be the all-influencing factor in Eventing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Pierre Michelet has thought long and hard about how to challenge the most experienced riders in the sport along with those who have relatively less mileage on the clock.
“I want the best to win without asking too big questions of the less experienced riders. The reputation of the sport is important. I want to challenge the riders and I ask them to find clever solutions for the many options on offer. To get on the podium they will need to be brave, accurate and bold” he said. There has indeed been a lot of course-walking going on over the last few days as riders make their plans and then alter them and settle on new ones that will get them home on the quickest and safest route.
“This course is not about one signature fence, it’s about about clearing all of them! I ask the difficult questions from the start, that is my signature. The first water will be fence no. 4 already. The riders need to be ready from step one.”
Talking about creating the lovely track that wends it way up and downhill through the land that surround the Deodoro military complex he explained, “we started three years ago, first with an architectural firm to map out the track and the walkways and then the track builders started to work with improving the ground. Then we decided the spots for the fences. I came to Brazil in December for a month and the final details took two weeks. The layout was the same for the test event in 2015, but all the fences are new because of the different level of difficulty” he pointed out.
Cross-country day looks set to be a thriller, and it seems it’s going to be a wide-open race for the medals right down to the final day. There is almost nothing between the Germans and French at the head of affairs, and with the British so close to the Australians who are currently in bronze medal spot and Ireland, New Zealand and USA a real threat to any of those ahead of them who might lose their grip there’s no room for error over a course that, the night before they take it on, may well be giving many of the world’s top event riders a restless night’s sleep.
Pippa Funnell (GBR): “I was really, really pleased with his [Billy The Biz] performance, I was thrilled with him. There were a few little bits here and there, but if I’m honest I think I’m being greedy, if I think of where he came from three years ago I’m thrilled.”
Kitty King (GBR): “It was slightly disappointing because he’s capable of a lot better; he did some good work but he just made a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes. One of his highlights is usually his medium trot, but it’s a massive atmosphere for the horse and he’s only nine. Today wasn’t quite what we’d hoped for but hopefully we’ll pull some back tomorrow.”
Pierre Michelet course designer (FRA): When asked about the Ground Jury’s opinion of his cross-country track – “they said it is fantastic, but they are always polite!”
Nick Turner, Irish Chef d’Equipe, talking about the competitive position of his team after dressage: “We are doing great and now we just need to keep a lid on it. They (the Irish team) just need to keep doing what they’re doing. This result is why these four riders were selected.”
Results after Eventing Dressage, Day 2 here
Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 6 August 2016
Britain’s William Fox-Pitt leads after day one in Olympic Eventing in Rio
It’s not everyone’s idea of the perfect rehab for a serious head injury, but Britain’s William Fox-Pitt defied all the odds to take the early lead as Olympic Eventing got underway at the Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) today.
Riding the 16-year-old stallion, Chilli Morning, the man who spent two weeks in a coma after a fall while competing in France last October produced a great score of 37.00 in the opening dressage phase of this sport that is seen as an equestrian triathlon.
“All along Rio has been my target, totally. It was unrealistic, but it was mine”, the 47-year-old said. “I was in a coma for a couple of weeks and my sight was quite dodgy, I went from blind to seeing double so when I started jumping there were two jumps. It’s been a journey, but I’ve had so much support! Mentally I was very tired, I probably still am. I feel like I’m waking up, but slowly.”
He was chasing the target of 37.60 set by Australia’s Christopher Burton (34) and his young nine-year-old gelding, Santano II, whose performance was greeted by a roar of approval from the crowd. But when Fox-Pitt overtook his Aussie rival by a mere .6, the gentlemanly Brit was rewarded with another huge response from the spectators.
His result, added to the 47.20 achieved by team mate Gemma Tattersall (31) with Quicklook V, leaves Team GB in third before the remaining 31 horse-and-rider combinations take their turn in the dressage phase tomorrow. But it’s very tight at the top of the teams, with London 2012 gold medalists Germany in first on 82.5, just 1.5 ahead of Australia in second. Great Britain, on 84.2, is third of the 13 teams.
Just behind Burton in the individual rankings is defending Olympic champion Michael Jung (34) on Sam, the horse he rode to spearhead the Germany team win four years ago. On a mark of 40.90 Jung is just ahead of his compatriot and reigning world champion Sandra Auffarth, who lies fourth with Opgun Louvo on 41.60.
RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES – EVENTING HORSE INSPECTION
Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 5 August 2016
Swedes steal the show as horse inspection gets Olympic Eventing underway
By Louise Parkes
The Swedish contingent set the photographers alight as Olympic Eventing got underway with the first horse inspection at Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) today. A total of 84 horses, including reserves, were trotted up in front of the Ground Jury which is headed up by USA’s Marilyn Payne, and all were passed fit to compete.
It was the eye-catching bright yellow dresses worn by Frida Andersen and Swedish sisters Sara Algotsson Ostholt and Linda Algotsson that got the shutters snapping. However reserve rider Linda Algotsson’s inclusion in the side has come about at the expense of Anna Nilsson whose 17-year-old gelding, Luron, was withdrawn. The fourth member of the Swedish team is the equally dashing Ludwig Svennerstal.
Another reserve partnership called up today was New Zealand’s Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy after Jock Paget’s Clifton Lush was also declared a non-runner. Tim joins his wife, Jonelle Price (Faerie Dianimo), Mark Todd (Leonidas ll) and Clarke Johnstone (Balmoral Sensation) in the New Zealand side.
There was a buoyant mood around the arena, with riders singing the praises of the facilities at Deodoro which British team-member, Pippa Funnell, described as “fantastic”. The 47-year-old, who is a double Olympic team silver medallist and who claimed individual bronze at the Athens Olympics in 2004, said “we didn’t know what to expect when we came here, but so far it’s just unbelievable! It’s really super for the horses, the stables are so spacious and so cool, they are really happy because where they are living is so quiet, and there’s no noise or fuss. They’re loving it!”
Dressage is first up tomorrow and first into the ring at 10.00 local time will be America’s Jessica Phoenix with A Little Romance, who will be followed by Frenchman Astier Nicolas (Piaf de B’Neville) and then Ireland’s Padraig McCarthy (Simon Porloe). A total of 33 horse/rider combinations will take their turn tomorrow, and the remaining 32 will do their tests on Sunday.
However riders are already thinking ahead to Monday’s cross-country challenge. Course designer, Pierre Michelet (FRA), has given them plenty to think about, particularly through his clever use of the terrain at the Brazilian army sports venue at Deodoro where the 2007 Pan-American Games were staged. “It’s quite tricky and big enough” said Funnell who will partner the home-bred Billy the Biz. “He (Michelet) has used the hills a lot, and this is definitely an Olympic track. The competition definitely won’t be a dressage test!”
She described the mood of her team, which also includes William Fox-Pitt (Chilli Morning), Kitty King (Ceylor LAN) and Gemma Tattersall (Quicklook V), as “quietly excited. We have a team of good young horses, three of the four are stepping up a level but if they can make that step up they are all very capable.”
Ireland’s Mark Kyle, also competing at his third Olympics, had plenty of good things to say about the organisation at these equestrian Games too. “Our horses all travelled brilliantly, they arrived last Saturday (six days ago) and we took them for a walk the following day and they felt great!” He also pointed out the feel-good factor for the horses who appeared to be glowing with good health in today’s bright sunlight. “The facility here is really good, lots of arenas and open exercise areas so the horses are very relaxed.”
Talking of relaxation, Germany’s Michael Jung was his usual cool self today having sailed through the horse inspection with his faithful 16-year-old gelding, the spring-heeled Sam. “He’s in brilliant form” said the man who has won all before him and who returns to defend Olympic team and individual gold with the horse he rode to glory in London (GBR) four years ago. Sam wasn’t his first choice for Rio, but when the nine-year-old Takinou was unable to compete, the 34-year-old rider had his older friend on call-up.
“He’s really ready. He won Badminton this year and he was always my second horse and did all the same training”, said the man who will lead Team Germany in chasing down a third consecutive team title here in Rio.
Jung can be expected to produce a stunning test when he enters the dressage arena tomorrow at 14.58, but he also had Monday’s cross-country run on his mind this morning. “This is a really tough course, not just because the fences are technical but because the hills will really test the condition of the horses. They will need to be very fit.”
And asked if he felt less pressure competing at his second Olympic Games with a horse he knows so well and which has brought him such extraordinary success, he replied wisely, “yes I can be a bit more relaxed, but I know I still need to concentrate fully. It’s easy to have a run-out, even at the simple fences, or to make a mistake if you don’t keep your mind on your job!”
Startlist for Eventing Dressage here
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Equestrian in the Olympics
Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912. Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Jumping. Uniquely across the Olympic Movement, men and women compete against each other for all the medals.
The equestrian events in Rio will be staged in the Deodoro Olympic Park, the second largest Olympic cluster, alongside basketball, BMX, canoe slalom, fencing, hockey, modern pentathlon, mountain biking, rugby sevens and shooting.
The countries represented in Equestrian in Rio are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Palestine, Poland, Peru, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Republic of South Africa, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
They will compete in:
Jumping: 27 countries, 15 teams, 75 horse/rider combinations
Eventing: 24 countries, 13 teams, 65 horse/rider combinations
Dressage: 25 countries, 11 teams, 60 horse/rider combinations