The dressage competition has started in earnest today. This is the first day of the Grand Prix and a total of 38 riders rode today and a further 39 will ride tomorrow. Tomorrow will be the high pressure day as the final riders of the teams compete for the medals.
First of all let me state, for the record, that I do not critique the rides and the riders. Yes, I am a dressage rider so I do understand the sport. Yes, I ride at the small tour level ( Prix. St. George and Intermediare 1) so I understand the difficulty of the Grand Prix level tests. But…I do not feel I am capable of critiquing riders who have made it to the World Equestrian Games or in fact any riders who are capable of riding well at the Grand Prix level. There are many other good sources for complete scores such as Dressage-News.com or the Chronicle of the Horse and others who will give you a complete run down of all the rides. I am only going to focus on a few of the riders today starting with the Canadians. First up….my coach Belinda Trussell.
Belinda had a lovely ride and was very happy with Tattoo. As she is my coach I always enjoy seeing her ride. She makes it look effortless although I know it is not. Her score was 68.634.Belinda was very happy with how hard Tattoo had worked for her.
Next I watched the first rider from Team GB, Spencer Wilton.
I also watched Spencer’s coach who is none other than the Master….Carl Hester! He seemed pleased with Spencer’s ride as did the other supporters. The score? 74.581
The next rider I could not miss was Juan Matute Guimon. I have watched Juan Matute for several years in Florida as he moved up through the Junior and Young Riders levels and here he is now……riding for Spain at WEG! He is 21 years old! He scored 68.494
After lunch , and on the topic of lunch , the competition organizers have provided us with a wonderful selection of fresh and inviting food for which we were all grateful. For photographic proof here is my lunch! And yes I ate it all!
After lunch the second member of Team Canada came into the ring. Jill Irving on Degas. Her score was 67.88
The second member of Team GB, Emile Faurie , rode the very impressive Oono di Maggio for a 72.795
And right after Emile Faurie came Dorothee Schneider riding for Germany. Her horse Sammy Davis Jr. is a very talented and athletic horse. Huge flying changes! Her score was 75.062 Germany continued to be at the top of the leader board.
The last rider I was anxious to see was Adrienne Lyle with Salvino. I has seen them in Florida last winter and was impressed. They did not disappoint. Their score of 74.891 moved Team USA up in the standings.
What were my favorite moments? I loved the rides I saw when, after the final salute, the rider would express their delight and happiness in how their horse had worked hard for them. That is when I know that even if it is not the highest of scores for the rider it is the best of rides. My other favorite moments came with the enthusiasm of the crowd supporting their national team’s riders.
Anders Dahl of Denmark waves to his supporters and behind him there are more waving his country’s flag.
In the media center there were large screens showing live feeds of the reining in the indoor arena. I am not up on the intricacies of this discipline but these horses certainly win the prize for the most beautiful and luxuriant manes and tales. They also have entertaining names like Custom Made Gun and Gunners Snappy Chic. It was fun to see this competition which was going on throughout the day.
Also taking place was the Endurance. This was plagued with difficulties as for some reason there was a false start or misdirected start and the horses on course had to be stopped and brought back. Then in the afternoon there were to outbursts of heavy rain that left the ground wet and the going difficult. Top this off with intense heat and high humidity. It was 30 degrees Celsius and with the humidity it would have been into the 40’s Celsius. The decision was made for the health and safety of horses and riders to cancel the continuance of this event. I do not know if it will be rescheduled. I can only imagine the disappointment and frustration of all the people involved in the Endurance competition many of whom have come from overseas to this World Games.
Tomorrow is the last day of the Grand Prix Dressage. The medals are at stake. Will Germany remain on top? Or will Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin of Team GB pull off an upset? Sweden moved up strongly , will they hold onto that position? And what about the USA with Casey Perry Glass and Laura Graves still to ride?
I will be posting tomorrow evening about it all! Till then…..