Day Two: Harmony and Drama in the Grand Prix!

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.

Happy at the end of the test.

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!

16 Comments Add yours

  1. I must say I usually miss these events completely, but this year because of your blog I’m following what little I can. Thank you


  2. Avery says:

    That Australian horse was just not having a good day for sure. He was pretty reluctant and not forward I felt throughout many of the movements. He was not into it. They did well to improve on their last Piaffe down center line. I thought the judges were conservative as well. I have not been able to watch all, but I thought some combinations deserved a little more. But, what do I know?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      The piaffe is a place where horses can show resistance and many do. But this was extraordinary. She basically kicked him on in the final centerline and he just did a few steps. I’m not sure why he reared. Maybe something physical? His rider will be getting that sorted out I’m sure. And yes a lot of scores were conservative. The judges were leaving room for the German rider coming at the end. That’s dressage for you. Interesting to see what will happen in the Special tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Avery says:


        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lesley says:

    Those horses are breathtaking! Thank you for sharing the pics, Anne. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Diana says:

    Huge applauds for all!! 👏 Thank you for all the photos as I’ve yet to find out where to watch myself and was hoping to catch up but maybe there isn’t anything available to see after the performances have concluded. I am so happy you share all the photos (even from your computer, such beautiful horses! ) And updates of how everyone performed. The Australian rider my heart goes out to her, but am happy she was able to complete the test. Gio looks so happy! What a team, they will get better and better!!


    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes it was very unfortunate for Kelly Lane to have such serious resistance in the Grand Prix at the OLYMPICS!!!
      When it came to the third and final piaffe on the centerline at the end of the test she just kicked on and did not let him stop. So no piaffe but she knew that by then her score had gone down in flames anyway. The Canadian team are out now as they did not make it into the top 8 of the teams so they will not go forward to the GP Special on Tuesday. So I may look for replays rather than getting up at 4am. Also I have a lesson and can’t be up at 4 and riding effectively at 1pm!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. David says:

    Empty stands, last year, the daughters had empty stands when they competed in Saratoga. It really didn’t matter since riders zone out the noise, the electric atmosphere that can happen This year, they didn’t really see a large number of spectators until we got back for the last two weeks of Summer In The Rockies. The grandstand was rocking during the Grand Prix. The atmosphere during the jump-off of the SIR V Grand Prix was electric. Most disappointing for the daughters was the 2* here in Denver. They said the competition was more of a 3* field in The Saugerties. One rider in today’s Grand Prix entered all four of the horses she brought. Her best finish was 6th


    1. anne leueen says:

      The first day the English commentator said that the riders said some horses respond well to having an audience and others not so much. Some also get tense when there is no one in the stands. Apparently the big difference will be for the Freestyles as the audience usually reacts to the music and the atmosphere is a very vibrant one.



    Thank you for the update 🤩

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. anne leueen says:

      My pleasure Janne. I am happy to hear from you. I hope all is well with you and I hope to be in Fl this coming winter.


  7. Emma Cownie says:

    Oh the poor Australian rider and the drama of her over-excited (?)horse.


    1. anne leueen says:

      It is hard to say what caused the horse to react so strongly to being asked to do the piaffe. He was fine with all the other moves but said a big NO to that one. There may be a physical issue and his rider will no doubt be checking that out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Emma Cownie says:

        That’s an interesting point – I never thought about that side of things.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          Well horses are complex animals and since they don’t speak we have to pick up other little signals to know what they are feeling. Thanks for commenting Emma

          Liked by 1 person

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