Today was the second and final day of the Grand Prix at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Now the horses and riders will have a day off. On Tuesday they will compete in the Grand Prix Special and that will decide which team gets the medals.
I was up at 4:30 am to make sure I was ready for Canadian rider Lindsay Kellock. All of the Canadians are riding in their first Olympics and I think it bodes well for the future of Canadian dressage . Today the CBC chose not to have the live streaming but I was able to find it on the French CBC . My French is not fluent but just good enough to understand a lot of what the commentators were saying. Also I focused more on the rides and less on the commentators.
As soon as Lindsay came in the arena I could see that Sebastien was full of energy. He broke to canter in the trot in an overly enthusiastic gesture. Sadly this is a big loss of marks. She scored a 65.4. She usually scores in the 70s with Sebastien so this was a reflection of the tension he was feeling today. Lindsay rode very well and did a good job of riding as clean a test as possible. Please remember all photos are just snaps of my computer screen.
But Lindsay’s difficulties were minor in comparison to the drama Australian rider Kelly Lane had to deal with . Her horse Samhitas decided to give us a “Hi Oh Silver” rear and strike out with both front legs when asked to do the piaffe. He did this twice when asked for piaffe. The commentator said this was a movement from the Haute Ecole. She was referring to the Vienna Riding School where the horses are trained to do what’s known as “airs above the ground”. This is NOT acceptable in the Olympic dressage ring. Kelly received a 58.354. But she smiled after she saluted the judge and shook her head.
Adrienne Lyle and Salvino had a lovely ride. So much in it was textbook and excellent. They received a 74.876 which I thought was not a generous score for this ride.
In the final group of riders was Brittany Fraser Beaulieu and her big horse All In. They had a good , clean and very well executed test. There was no sign of tension and they presented a lovely picture of harmony. They scored 71.677.
Also in this group was Charlotte Dujardin and Gio. Gio is the smaller chestnut horse that I like so much. They had a fabulous test and I am going to share several photos just because… They scored 80.963.
The last horse and rider were Isabelle Werth and Bella Rose. Isabell is the Number One ranked rider in the world and Bella Rose is my horse, Biasini’s half sister. So I was looking forward to seeing this ride. They did not disappoint. Isabel rides every movement with precision. They scored 82. 50 to win the class.
Here is a photo that shows you the empty stands. I am not sure if the lack of audience helped or hindered the horses and riders. It must have been a very strange atmosphere.
What about the judging? These judges are the most highly qualified judges in dressage and have seen thousands of top level rides and riders . I feel that overall they were somewhat conservative in this Grand Prix. But all seven judges, from what I could see were in agreement with their scores. There is also the Judges Supervisory Panel at the Olympics, who watch on video, and can spot any errors that the judges at the arena may have missed. They will then make adjustments to the scores with explanations to the judges in the arena.
Finally , I think it is a triumph for these horses and riders to have qualified for the Olympics in this Pandemic year and just the fact that they turned up and rode is in itself a victory. I applaud them all!