Team Germany met expectations on the first day of Dressage competition at the RioOlympic Games in Rio De Janeiro,Brazil on Wednesday, August 10thas the first riders performed their Grand Prix tests on acloudy, drama-filledday atDeodoro Equestrian Complex.
DorotheeSchneider and Showtime FRHwerethe final test of the day and they made it the bestone, scoring thehighest percentage of80.98 percent. Her German teammateSonke Rothenberger andCosmoaresitting in second placewith a77.32 percent, putting Germany firstin team standings as well, with the second half of the teams still to ride tomorrow.Twenty-one-year-oldSonke is one of the younger Dressage Olympians competing in Rio, and his horse, a 9-year-old, ex-jumper, is the youngest equine in the Dressage competition.
Dorothee, who has been building up Showtime FRH all seasonand felt that he really turned a corner earlier this summer, had a minor misstep in the canter pirouette, but otherwise laid down a smooth test that waspowerful and strong in rhythm.She has had Showtime FRH since the10-year-oldHanoveriangelding bySandro Hit was a three year old.
“He feels like he wants to do this with me together,and that is very important,”Dorothee said. “The feeling is amazing with this horse, it’s easy. He’s amazing outside and then amazing inside the ring. He stayed the whole time in front of my aids, and worked with me.And it’s a very good start to the team also!”
With a strong test, FionaBigwoodof Great Britain was thrilled to be in thirdwithOrthilia, and Edward Gal of The Netherlands is in fourthwith Voice.
Adelinde Cornelisson’sRio Olympicscame to a disappointing endwhen sheretiredher veteran partnerParzivalafter the first passage of the Grand Prix test. She signaled to the judges and left the arena at the walk. The 19-year-oldParzivalsustained a bug bite onTuesdaythat caused a swollen cheek and fever of 104 degrees, and while the Dutch team vets were able to improveParzival’s condition, he didn’t feel himself in the ring andAdelinde did not want to push the horse that owed her nothing. Together they have earned six championship medals, competing in one previous Olympics, three WEGS, four FEI World Cup Finals, and three European Championships.
“He was nine hours on liquids yesterday, and yesterday evening he was all good and his temperature was down, and I talked with the team vets, we said ok, we’ll give it a try for the team result,”Adelindeexplained. “But [at the start of the test] he felt totally empty, and I didn’t want to push him through. He didn’t deserve that, did he?”
Focus Under Fire, Literally
Team USA saw two of its fourriders perform their tests today, and they both put in strong rides. Kasey Perry-Glass andDubletsit in fifthplace on 75.22 percent, and Allison Brock andRoseveltare tied for seventhwith Great Britain’s Wilton Spencer and Super Nova II.
Allison is making her Team USA Olympic debut withRosevelt, and she was pleased with her Grand Prix test.
“He felt great coming in. He cantered in and halted super, and that first trot extension felt super. He was trying very hard, and I have to give him a lot of credit. It’s his first OlympicGamesand my first Olympic Games, and it’s a lot to be here,” she described. Allison added thatRosevelthas felt comfortable and happy atDeodoroin the lead up to the Dressage competition, and she was able to ride a conservativewarm-up and stick to her routine, mentally checking boxes and touching on every movement at least once.
“He was pretty with me through the whole warm-up today,” she said. “I’ve been riding him for seven years, and he and I are like an old married couple at this point. He’s a real sweet horse, he tries to be a real gentleman.”
Brock went through ups and downs on her road to the Olympics withRosevelt, a 14-year-oldHanoverianstallion byRotsponwho is owned by Claudine and FritzKundrun. But in sticking with him, she found a talented grand prix horse, and was thrilled to ride down centerline in her Olympic debut today.
“The one thing this horse has taught me is that you can’t say ‘they’ll learn it by this time.’ They are all individuals. Good on him, and good on us for believing in him.”
Teammate Kasey performed her testnear the end of the afternoon, and although the grey, rainy weather wasn’t ideal for spectators, she was grateful for the cool temperatures. But with the sound-sensitiveDublet, live gunfire from nearby military exercises that was audible throughout the day provided an unwonted challenge.
“I think he hung in there really well for me, especially with the guns and everything going off, Kasey said. “To be able to keep him focused and together was a challenge for both of us, but he was there, and he was ready to go. I just tried to stay focus and remember my corners and remember my half halts. When you hear the guns it’s a little bit shocking, but we’re both pretty good about staying focused.”
She was happy with herpiaffe/passage tour and her two-tempis; it is their first year in the international grand prix ring, so to feel that all she needed to do was fine tune small details was a big accomplishment.
“We are just happy to be where we are!” Kasey added. “[USA coaches] Debbie and Robert both told me to just go out there and enjoy it. We’ve been working the last four years for this, and when you’re here you have to have fun, while working real hard for your team.”
DeodoroEquestrian Complex is located within an active military base, along with five other Olympic sports. The military has been a heavy presence providing security in and around the venue, and efforts are being stepped up after two reports of stray bullets shot from adjacent favelas were reported; one on the first day of theeventing competition, and one today. After the conclusion of the first day of Dressage competition, word arrived that the military has agreed to suspend its live fire exercises while equestrian competition is underway.
On Thursday,Steffen Peters withLegolasand Laura Graves withVerdades will complete the Team USA lineup during Day 2 of Dressage competition. The USA is fourthin Team Standings, and with coach Robert Dover passionately—and sometimes anxiously—supporting them from the sidelines, they will by vying to move into podium position.
A second day of Grand Prix tests beginsat 10:00am, Thursday, August 11. The Grand Prix Special, also beginning at 10:00am, Friday, August 12, will decide Team medals.After two rest days, the final Individual horses and riders will return to perform the Grand Prix Freestyle, Monday, August 15.