The Germans have come to Strzegom stronger than ever. All four of their team riders earned sub-40 marks, and three currently sit in medal position. Not to mention they boast a combined score of 87.7 – a new world record.
They took control of the competition yesterday with Julia Krajewski and Samourai du Thot earning a 36.3, and of course their stronghold was bolstered when Bettina Hoy and Seigneur Medicott smashed a 24.6.
Ingrid Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob OLD may not have been able to best Bettina, but they have put themselves firmly ahead of the rest of the pack on a 30.3 for second place.
“He is really in top form,” Ingrid said. “He is very fit on the one hand. On the other hand, now he knows his job. Being 13, he knows exactly where we are. He knows that he has to be with me in the dressage. He was listening and I could really easily guide him around. It was just pure fun.”
Defending champion Micheal Jung also put on a dazzling performance with fischerRocana FST to hold third place individually on a 32.8.
“It’s an unbelievable start for the team,” Michael said. “But tomorrow is a strong day and we’ll have to concentrate. You’ve got to focus on yourself and not worry too much what’s happening to other people because it’ll be a long day.”
Standing proudly in fourth place is Gemma Tattersall and Quicklook V. They earned a personal best in the dressage, a 33.1. Gemma is riding as an individual this weekend, but the pressure remains for her to put forth a strong result.
“Team GB wanted me to ride as an individual so I could fight for myself and get a medal, which is my dream. It’s incredible pressure, but I’ll be trying my absolute best,” she explained.
— Equestrian Team GBR (@TeamGBR) August 18, 2017
Sara Algotsson-Ostholt and Reality 39 earned a 34.2 for Sweden to sit in fifth place.
The quality of this field as a whole cannot be understated as 15 pairs posted sub-40 scores, which matches this to the likes of Jerez in 2002 and Blair Europeans in 2015.
Germany is sitting pretty in gold medal position with a 24-point lead, but the rest of the team leaderboard is much more tightly packed. France is currently in silver medal position on 111.8 points, but without much breathing room as Great Britain is only .1 behind on 111.9. Sweden stands in fourth on 116.9, and Italy holds fifth on 127.2.
Now all eyes shift to tomorrow’s cross country. Designed by Rüdiger Schwarz, the course will certainly test even the strongest pairs. Bettina has vowed not to take anything for granted. “Riders like Ingrid and Michi will make it look easy, but I think it’s a clever course in that the time will be difficult but many riders will complete. We’re all very much looking forward to it,” she said.
The Germans have a monumental lead, but tomorrow still holds a huge challenge. Watch it all unfold on FEI TV tomorrow beginning at 11:00 a.m. local time/5:00 a.m. EST.
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