Ingrid Klimke is just a step above everyone else when it comes to eventing dressage. Today she looked like she belonged in the pure dressage competition at the Olympics as she rode her way to a 39.3 and the overnight Olympic eventing dressage lead. You could hardly see Ingrid move a muscle as Butts Abraxxas flowed effortlessly beneath her. The German team is starting to flex its dressage muscle in London as we head into the second day of dressage.
Olympic dressage scores after day 1:
1. Ingrid Klimke and Butts Abraxxas (GER) 39.3
2. Dirk Schrade and King Artus (GER) 39.8
3. Mary King and Imperial Cavalier (GBR) 40.9
4. Andrew Hoy and Rutherglen (AUS) 41.7
5. Ludvig Svennerstal and Shamwari (SWE) 43.7
6. Jonathan Paget and Clifton Promise (NZL) 44.1
7. Sam Griffiths and Happy Times (AUS) 45.4
8. Chris Burton and HP Leilani (AUS) 46.1
9. Karen O’Connor and Mr. Medicott (USA) 48.2
10. Virginie Caulier and Nepal Du Sudre (BEL) 48.3
11. Hawley Bennett-Awad and Gin & Juice (CAN) 48.7
12. Aoife Clark and Master Crusoe (IRL) 48.9
13T. Boyd Martin and Otis Barbotiere (USA) 50.7
13T. Marc Rigouts and Dunkas (BEL) 50.7
16T. Nicola Wilson and Opposition Buzz (GBR) 51.7
18. Tiana Coudray and Ringwood Magister (USA) 52.0
25. Michelle Mueller and Amistad (CAN) 57.0
32. Peter Barry and Kilrodan Abbott (CAN) 61.7
[Olympics Final Day 1 Scores]
Despite Ingrid’s great performance and Dirk Schrade’s second placed ride from the morning session, Germany didn’t quite catch the Australians in the team competition based on straight point totals thanks to the three Aussie rides of the day all finishing in the top 8. The team situation is a bit hard to decipher at the end of today because only 7 of the teams have competed three rides. Of those seven, Australia leads in raking total points with 133.2, Germany is second with 137.6, and USA is third with 150.9. However, the British two-rider average of 46.3 would put them into third with the USA three rider average in 4th and New Zealand’s average in 5th. If you looked at the two best scores of each team, Germany (79.1) would have a big lead over Australia (87.1), and Great Britain would be third with 92.6. Remember that the Olympic team scoring format will take the best three scores from each team.
Team average scores:
1. Australia 44.4 average (3 rides)
2. Germany 45.9 average (3 rides)
3. Great Britain 46.3 average (2 rides)
4. USA 50.3 average (3 rides)
5. New Zealand 50.4 average (2 rides)
6. Belgium 50.6 average (3 rides)
If you missed any of today’s dressage, NBC sports has a replay online for US viewers, and I have heard via @USEquestrian that the NBC Sports Network will show highlights on your cable TV at 1:45pm ET, again for US viewers. For viewers outside of the US, please check your local programming directory or you online feed provider.
The afternoon horses were, on average, considerably more relaxed and focused than their morning predecessors. I would attribute that to the afternoon pairs being more experienced, and also perhaps to the teams adapting their afternoon warm-ups based on how tense the morning horses were. Whatever the cause, the result was a big change to the leaderboard. Five of the top six rode this afternoon.
Mary King started things off after the lunch break, and I can’t say enough good things about her ride on Imperial Cavalier. Mary rode with such poise, grace, and calmness and Imperial Cavalier “Archie” answered with complete focus. It looked like they were schooling at home on a Saturday afternoon rather than competing in front of thousands of fans on the biggest stage of their career with the weight of a home nation’s dreams for gold on their shoulders. Mary gave the biggest smile of the day after her salute, drawing the biggest cheer of the day, and the third best score of the day so far–40.9.
The first three rides after the lunch break all jumped into the top four places at the time and they remain in the top 6 at the end of the day. Jock Paget has been mentored by his veteran Kiwi teammates over the past few years and today he delivered a veteran ride with Clifton Promise. New Zealand should be really proud of this pair tonight and Jock is quickly rising in my mind to one of the very best riders in the world.
Ringwood Magister entered the Olympic arena as the most elegant and best turned out horse of the day. Tiana gave a smile to the judges with her first salute and with that they were off on their first phase competing for Team USA. If I had to nitpick I would say that “Fin” was maybe moving a bit more down than reaching forward, and Tiana lost his concentration in the canter for a moment. They didn’t produce their best test, but Tiana rode with calmness and precision to manage her horse really well. Ringwood Magister deserved the big pat Tiana gave him after their salute and I thought they were scored fairly by the judges with a 52.0.
An interview with Ingrid after her ride:
Ronald Zabala-Goetschel scored a 53.3 with Master Rose for Ecuador. This is a score that will be lost in the score board and footnotes of the competition, but Ronald rode a terrific test that is by far the best I have ever seen him ride. No one stepped their game up today more than Ronald and Master Rose.
Andrew Hoy rode Rutherglen in a double bridle which gave Rutherglen a steady contact with a reliable frame. I liked Rutherglen at Rolex this year and I loved the fact that he looked much more confident and mature today at the finale of a busy spring and summer season that has included Bramham and Luhmuhlen. As usual, Andrew didn’t give the judges any major chances to deducts points. Couple that with seamless, almost invisible changes and you are going to get a great score–41.7 for 4th place tonight.
Canada’s third rider of the day, Peter Barry, rode perhaps my favorite horse in the competition–the lovely Kilrodan Abbott. Peter has built a wonderful partnership with Kilrodan Abbott and the horse rewards him each and every day with pure kindness and effort. Peter did suffer an error of course when he forgot his extended canter, but that was the only major problem in an otherwise polished test. Peter’s dressage has come such a long way since Canadian training camp started–I hope Peter is proud of himself and his horse tonight.
Congratulations to all of the riders on a fantastic day of representing their countries. Check out our dressage open thread from SmartPak and our morning report for more detailed coverage of today’s action, and please join our live blog at 5am ET Sunday morning for day two of Olympic eventing dressage.