The pressure is on when it comes to the final competition for the Olympic Team Medals. The top eight teams from the two days of Grand Prix moved on the the Grand Prix Special today. I did not get up at 4am to watch all of the Special because I had a lesson at midday and there is no way I could ride effectively having been up since 4am. So I tuned in to the live stream for the final group of riders. These were the rides that would determine who got the Gold, the Silver and the Bronze. But there were other pressures. Would Portugal come out on top of Spain? Would Denmark be in the medals or would it be the USA?
I did not see Carl Hester on the live stream but watched his rider later on replay. He looked relaxed throughout his test as did his horse En Vogue. His score was 78.344 and I think he was pleased with the score and with his horse.
I also did not see Isabel Werth and Bella Rose live but caught up with them on replay. I can say that every time she rides a test she is giving a clinic on how to do it. She got a score of 83.298 And this is what she had to say”
“I’m so happy and so proud about Bella. She was fantastic. And this (performance) is I felt more than 83% I would say. She was so great, this was one of our best tests. It is like it is (the judges’ scores) and I don’t know why. We can only do the best we can do, and show the best we can show, and I’m really happy with Bella.”Isabell Werth.
It was looking like Germany had the gold and Great Britain would be silver with the USA or Denmark in the Bronze position. But then came Sabine Schut-Kery and Sancero.The pressure was on. Sabine was the last USA rider to go. It was up to her. She was riding for a medal. Her transitions were seamless: passage to piaffe and passage to extended trot and back to passage. Seamless and lovely. Her score…..81.596. Well that shook things up. Now it was up to Charlotte Dujardin,riding for Great Britain, to hold the Silver medal position. Her smaller horse Gio (only 16hh) is 10 years old and has little experience at a competition of this stature. He had one tiny mistake in the one tempis and the judges were merciless scoring her 4.0 and 4.5 for that mistake. That took her score down to 79.544. She needed over 80 to keep the silver medal. Great Britain would be Bronze. But Charlotte was happy with her ride and her horse. Here is what she said.
‘I went in there to do best I could and I’m absolutely thrilled with Pumpkin (Gio) because that’s the second time he’s gone through that Grand Prix Special, we’ve had very little shows to compete in this year, he is only 10 years old and with not a lot of experience at all and the last few days he’s really tried his heart out and I can’t really ask for more than that. This might look like bronze but for me and my horse it feels like a gold medal”.
The last German rider was Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Dalera. Their marvelous ride clinched the Gold Medal with a score of 84.666
I can only imagine the pressure these riders were under as the medals were on the line. But they all came in and rode beautiful tests. To me this means that they kept the pressure out of their minds so their horses could be relaxed enough to perform their best. That is what top quality riding is all about.
Here is a snap from my computer screen of the medal ceremony on the live stream.
Riders removed their masks for photos after the medals were presented. Here is Team GB: Charlotte Dujardin, Carl Hester and Lottie Fry.
And here is another photo I found on the Carl Hester Fan Page. Even with the intense competition Bella Rose and Gio ,with their riders Isabell and Charlotte, are friends at the end. What do you think Gio is saying to Bella Rose?
Tomorrow will be the Grand Prix Freestyle for the Individual medals. Eighteen riders will take part in this competition.
- Photos from British Dressage /Jon Stroud media*
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