Bettina Hoy gave us a dressage exhibition at Strzegom today, scoring 24.6 with Seigneur Medicott to set a new European Championships record and take a nearly 10-mark lead after the first day of dressage.
She now holds the dressage record for both the Europeans and World Equestrian Games (20.8 with Woodsides Ashby at Jerez in 2002), and Bettina coyly said after her test that she’s not sure anyone will catch that score on the second day tomorrow.
“I did expect Seigneur Medicott to do a very good test,” Bettina said. “He’s lovely to ride. He’s such a beautiful horse and he always wows the spectators and also the judges. I don’t know if anyone can overtake me. Certainly they will try. Ingrid (Klimke) and Michi (Jung) will try, but I don’t know if they can.”
That’s an astute observation on Bettina’s part. Ingrid Klimke and her Europeans mount Horseware Hale Bob are averaging 33.3 in dressage over the past 12 months, with Michael Jung and his mount fischerRocana FST averaging 37.3, according to EquiRatings.
While those are very strong sub-40 averages, they are nowhere in the stratosphere of Bettina’s score of 24.6, and she has positioned herself and the German team very well indeed as we look ahead to the remainder of the competition.
“The team is feeling very positive,” Bettina said. “We are lucky to have such a good system of training riders in Germany and we all motivate each other.”
After the first day, Germany holds a comfortable lead in the team standings on 60.9, with France in silver position on 75.9 and Great Britain in bronze position on 82.4, just 0.6 penalties ahead of Sweden.
Thomas Carlile and Upsilon, widely expected to challenge for the lead in dressage for France, scored 2 marks off their 12-month average to sit in second place on 34.4. They had the misfortune of following Bettina’s record-breaking performance, and while the 9-year-old Anglo Arabian stallion is a striking mover, the test couldn’t match the quality of the leader.
“Bettina is a super rider to watch,” Thomas said. “I expected to be behind her, but perhaps not quite so far behind! Upsilon is mature for his age and very precise, so I was able to put the pressure on myself, but in a good way.”
Luhmühlen CCI4* winners Julia Krajewski and Samourai du Thot scored 36.3 to give Germany two riders in the top three after the first day. They are one of seven combinations in this Europeans field that averages sub-40 scores for dressage. With six tests scoring in the 30s today, we are almost certainly in for another exciting day tomorrow.
Looking to the rest of the day one leaderboard, the next six riders all scored personal bests at three-star level: Switzlerland’s Felix Vogg and Onfire on 37.2 for fourth, Sweden’s Louise Svensson Jähde and Wieloch’s Utah Sun on 38.3 for fifth, and Great Britain’s Ros Canter in her senior team debut with Allstar B on 38.6 for sixth.
Dr. Ernst Topp (GER), Sue Baxter (GBR) and Dr. Slawomir Pietrzak (POL) are presiding on the ground jury at Strzegom, with Rüdiger Schwarz as the cross country course designer. Rudiger, who also designs at Aachen, has reportedly designed a “strong but fair” course that will test accuracy all the way around the twisty track.
While Andrew Nicholson can’t compete in the European Championships as a Kiwi, he is in Strzegom this week acting as a cross country advisor for the German team, who are looking to win the Europeans for a consecutive fourth championships.
Michael Jung is also bidding to win a fourth consecutive individual gold medal, which would set a record for the most European wins by any rider in history. Can anyone stop the Germans? You can tune in live to day two of dressage on FEI TV starting at 10:15 a.m. local time/4:15 a.m. EST.
EN is proud to have our Europeans coverage powered by EquiRatings, who are also the official statistics provider for the championships. Be sure to follow EquiRatings on Twitter @EquiRatings for real-time data, analysis and commentary as the action unfolds. Go Eventing.