What a morning at Boekelo! The rainy, chilly weather can’t dampen the excitement in the main arena right now, as Niklas Lindbäck and Centrillon just brought the house down with a dazzling test to take a commanding lead on a score of 33. This 10-year-old dark bay Swedish mare positively floats across the ground — especially in the trot work — and every part of the test built on the prior movement, culminating in two flawless flying changes and a perfect square halt. The Swedish contingent erupted in applause after the final salute, and Niklas knew the score would be very good. He now enjoys a nearly four-point margin over Kitty King and Persimmon, and now we wait to see if anyone can match that score. Of course, it’s very early in the day, and we still have a long way to go.
We’ve already seen numerous other excellent tests this morning, most notably from Kitty King and Persimmon, an 8-year-old Bay Dutch gelding, who tried their very hardest to catch Niklas and Cendrillon. They came close with a lovely, accurate test, scoring 36.8 to move into second place; that’s also a counting score for the British team in the Grolsch Nations Cup. German team stalwart Dirk Schrade also put in an excellent performance with Lord Lauries, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding previously campaigned by London Olympic bronze medallist Sandra Auffarth. This horse has beautiful, rhythmic gaits and worked wonderfully with Dirk for a very good score of 38.6, which puts them in fourth place behind Kenki Sato and Chippieh, the overnight leaders from day 1 of dressage.
After the first two groups have performed their tests, Germany continues to lead the Grolsch Nations Cup team standings with a score of 125.6. Great Britain holds second place on a distant 138.6, while Sweden has moved into the top three thanks to that stellar test from Niklas — which you can watch below — with a total team score of 143.4. We still have a lot of exciting rides to see on the second day of dressage here at Boekelo. Lauren Kieffer and Veronica will be our second pair out for Team USA in the next group of riders; their ride time is 11:55 a.m. local time, or 5:55 a.m. EST for anyone back home who happens to be awake. You can catch Lauren’s test of the excellent live stream by clicking here. And Boyd Martin and Trading Aces will be third to last to go at 4:18 p.m. local time, or 10:18 a.m. EST. Stay tuned for much more from Boekelo. Go Team USA!