The morning started early for me with an information session for photographers; how to access areas for photography around the eventing dressage arena, where the podium will be placed for the Grand Prix Team Medals later today etc etc. The first ride I focused on was Megan Lane and Zodiac. Zodiac is her reserve horse. He had a couple of nervous moments and did not quite understand the request to transition from piaffe to passage. But Megan rode calmly and Zodiac is a horse for the future. They scored 60.9
At 11:10 Carl Hester came into the ring, The entire stadium started to cheer and clap…..loudly! Delicato did not seem to mind. Carl had not even gone into the ring and he was being cheered on with huge applause. Then silence when the bell rang for him to start his test.Delicato went through the test and the scores went up putting Carl into the lead.
At the end of the test the whole place went up in cheers and whoops and hollers! As Carl and Delicato walked past the stands everyone, and I mean EVERYONE stood up cheering. A Standing Ovation! Delicato was moved by this to show us some spectacular passage! This was not just a contingent of British fans this was everyone showing their appreciation and respect for what Carl has achieved in his career and what he has done for the sport of dressage. The scoreboard showed they had achieved 77.283 and moved into first place.
Soon after Sönke Rothenberger and Cosmo came into the ring. I have been looking forward to seeing this pair ever since Jaimey Irwin ( Canadian Grand Prix rider) told me that of all the horses in the world this is the one he would love to ride. Well, I can see why. This is an exceptionally handsome and talented horse.
What a great combination they are. Sönke was so happy at the end of the ride. He took of his top hat and waved to the stands. Cheers from not only the German supporters but everyone else as well to show appreciation for this ride which put them in first place on the leader board with 81.44! Germany holds on to the top spot!
Kasey Perry-Glass was the ride I focused on next. I have seen her and Dublet before in Florida and I think they are a lovely team. As Kasey went through her test I looked over to the coaching crew at the side and I think coaches Robert Dover and Debbie MacDonald rode every movement of the test with Kasey.
At the end of the test Kasey was clearly delighted. Their score…76.739
By 2:30 pm some of the teams had all four of their riders finished and so the standings moved about. Belgium in 1st, Portugal in 2nd, Germany 3rd, Great Britain 4th and USA 5th. Canada in 12th. But…… the Big Guns had some heavy duty riders and horses still to go… A lot of responsibility weighed on those riders shoulders. For Germany’s Isabel Werth this is not something new, nor it is new for Team GB’s Charlotte Dujardin. For Canada’s final rider, Brittany Frasier-Beaulieu, this is her first time riding in a World Equestrian Games for Canada. But she will not be stressing about medals she will just be thinking about her ride and riding her best test with her horse All In. It was a good test and Brittany was pleased with a score of 70.016
The next horse and rider I was very interested to see was Charlotte Dujardin and Freestyle. This mare is only 9 years old and relatively new to the Grand Prix level. But apart from a hesitation in the piaffe she did not look it.
They scored 77.764 ( just slightly ahead of Carl which is their usual placing)
Then I watched Edward Gal and Zonic. What an impressive stallion this is.They received 77.189 to come in just behind Charlotte and Carl.
I am going to go our of order here and show Laura Graves and Verdades who were actually the last to ride. I have great admiration for Laura and her connection and gentle riding with her horse. They scored 81.537 which would boost the placing for Team USA.
Now I want to tell you about Isabell Werth and Bella Rose. There is a wonderful story behind this relationship. Bella Rose was injured four years ago and the injury was very difficult to heal. But Isabell did not give up on the mare and just this past summer brought her back into competition. This is Isabell’s horse of a lifetime. I have watched and admired this rider for almost two decades. She rarely shows any emotion but with Bella Rose her love for this mare overcame her.I am only going to show one photo of them. I took this in the moments after she finished the test scoring 84.829
So…First place and the team gold medal to German team . Second and the silver medal to the USA. Third and bronze to team GB.
What a splendid day of dressage. My favourite moments….
1… Carl Hester’s ride and the audience response to him.
2. Isabell Werth and her brilliant ride on the mare Bella Rose. That ride was perfection; horse and rider working together in seamless union.