Tomorrow ,August 29, will see the completion of the Team Tests with the competitions for Grades IV and V. As one of only two countries to have all three combinations compete on day one, which featured Grades I, II and III, Canada provisionally sits at the top of the leaderboard with a final score of 211.699. The second team with a completed score, Singapore, currently holds silver with 200.792.
The Team Tests are ridden with music that is chosen by the riders. The music is not scored as the tests are ridden with not to music as they will be in the Freestyles.
Great Britain is in third position with two of their riders having completed their tests: Lee Pearson scoring a77. and Natasha Baker scoring 76. 618. The USA also has had two riders with Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton scoring 80.321 in the Grade 1 Test and Rebecca Hart and El Corona Texel scoring 72.206 in the Grade 111 team test. Their third rider will go tomorrow in grade 1V.
During the tests today there was a major fire in an area close to the Olympic Equestrian venue and there were sirens heard in several of the horses tests. Roxanne Trunnell felt it affected Dolton a bit.
“He felt really good, just a little tense, but we worked through some of it during the test,” said Trunnell. “He can do more though. He was a little tense with what was going on outside of the venue. You can’t prepare for that; it just happens, and you have to go with it and it’s okay.”
Canadian Winona Hartvikson and her horse Onyx also had a lot of sirens during their Grade 1 test. They scored 69.464 Winona commented on the sirens later with a great sense of humor.
“Maybe that was my grand entry! But it felt really great and the test rode really well.”
Canadian Para Equestrian Roberta Sheffield had a very good ride, in their Grade 111 test, on her mare Fairuza: a good active trot, excellent halt and rein back, and a well executed serpentine with transitions to walk. She scored 72.059. She did not qualify for the freestyle in the individual competition yesterday so this is a lovely score to end her Tokyo Paralympic journey. We will see this pair again I think! Roberta was so happy with her mare. and spoke of how the mare responded to the pressure of the Team competition.
She didn’t dry up, she has such a lovely partnership with me and is a horse that you can always trust. Whenever you put pressure on her she goes, ‘Yep, I’ve got this.’ She’s got such self-confidence and assurance that I was able to really go in there and ride what I wanted to ride.”
The third and final Canadian to ride in Grade 111 was Lauren Barwick. They scored 70. 265. This pair have only been together for a year and this may seem like a long time but for any dressage rider it can take at least a year to bring a partnership together. Lauren spoke about her relationship with Sandrino after her test.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my ride with my horse in the arena; he was a different horse from the first day. It’s just now about getting used to being able to ride that more exuberant horse accurately without some of the costly mistakes that we had tonight.”
Tomorrow we will see who will be taking the Gold , Silver and Bronze Team medals. It’s all to play for and anything could happen.
There were some wonderful things I over heard today from the commentators and quotes from the Para Equestrians. Here are a few.
‘After my stroke horses brought me back to life.Japanese Para Equestrian
The horse gives you freedom and a partner to dance with .British commentator on things he had heard from the riders.
No matter how much movement the rider has in their body the horse seems to know what is an aid and what is not.Commentator
I have to say that I had some very emotional moments while watching these brave riders go through their tests. While I watched Australian rider Emma Booth ,and learned of her horrific injuries in a car accident, the commentators explained why some of the Para Equestrians ride leaning back.
This is to reduce the discomfort from having had a serious spinal injury. Several of these riders have had to recover from life threatening injuries or to live with severe disabilities. I salute them all.