#TheTeaFromTokyo: Day One of the Dancing Horses

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I don’t know if it’s the lack of sleep, the enormous amount of coffee and Diet Coke in my system, the fact that I’ve eaten three pizzas in four days, or simply the overwhelming emotion of the whole Olympic experience, but absolutely everything has been making me cry over the course of the first two sessions of dressage. Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto, who’s sacrificed everything to try to help his country to the podium, putting a mid-20s mark on the board? Sobbed, mate. Ireland’s Sam Watson, giving 15-year-old Tiggy Hancock her Olympic debut after her tragic death last month by wearing a yellow ribbon in her honour? Bawled like a baby. Every rider who completed their halt and salute and then threw their arms around their horse’s neck in elated gratitude? I’ve got tears for you, and tears for you, and TEARS FOR EVERYONE, baby.

If you’re like me and missed most of the finer points of the first two sessions purely because it’s quite hard to see through teary eyes, refresh your memory with our round-up of the best of social media – and rehydrate before the final session begins at 7.30 p.m. Eastern time/00.30 British time tonight. Go Eventing, indeed…

Thailand’s Korntawat Samran summed up the vibe before his teammate, Arinadtha Chavanatont, got the first session of dressage underway: 

We saw one of the heaviest hitters in the field take an early lead as Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class posted a 23.6 when performing the second test of the first session:

Doug Payne and Vandiver kicked things off for the US effort, putting a 33 on the board:

Swiss lynchpins Felix Vogg and Colero got off to a super start, scoring 26.7 for provisional sixth:

Australia’s Shane Rose and Virgil scored a 31.7 after a technical hitch in the scoring system erroneously put them in the 40s:

Alex Hua Tian and Don Geniro shaved nearly five marks off their Rio test, which saw them eventually finish in the top ten – now, they sit second going into the final session on a super score of 23.9:

Christopher Six and Totem de Brecey were first in for France, and produced a smart, workmanlike test for 29.6: 

Ireland’s Sam Watson and his golden boy Tullabeg Flamenco honoured 15-year-old Tiggy Hancock, who died in a training accident in June. They delivered a 34.3 and sit in the top 30 currently:

The FEI shared a carousel of reaction shots – including a brilliant pic of Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto, who sits fifth on 25.9 with Vinci de la Vigne:

We all fell in love with the striking Ferreolus Lat, the ten-year-old mount of the Czech Republic’s Miloslav Prihoda Jr:

Jessica Phoenix was on cheerleading duties for Colleen Loach and Qorry Blue d’Argouges of Canada: 

There was dancing! So much dancing:

New Zealand’s Jesse Campbell soaked up the sun before his moment of reckoning: 

The second session started with a bang, as India’s Fouaad Mirza and Seigneur Medicott delivered the best-ever Indian dressage score of all time. Their 28 has them in equal seventh and the only non-team rider in the top ten: 

The big test of the second session was that of Laura Collett and London 52 – but despite dazzling in much of their performance, they didn’t usurp Oliver. They sit fourth on 25.8:

China’s second rider, Sun Huadong, produced a solid 35.2 with pretty Lady Chin V’T Moerven Z, sitting them in the top 30 and helping the team into fourth place provisionally: 

Australia’s Kevin McNab and Scuderia 1918 Don Quidam stepped into the team after a call-up from reserve after the first horse inspection. They scored a 32.1 to sit in the top 20, though they’ll have been aiming for sub-30 as a partnership that’s twice been top ten at CCI5*:

Sweden’s Louise Romeike stormed into the top ten on a score of 28 with Cato 60, helping Sweden into provisional silver: 

Brazil’s Rafael Losano brought forward Fuiloda G, arguably the greenest horse in the field, and rode her sympathetically for a 36: 

24-year-old Janneke Boonzaaijer and ACSI Champ de Tailleur put a 33 on the board to tie with Doug Payne and Vandiver: 

Even the people on site in Tokyo had to keep track of the times somehow – though at least there’s no math involved there:

Those supporting from home went all out – including Ingrid Klimke, who was sidelined with an injury: 

Piggy March sent her support to Thailand’s Weerapat Pitakanonda, who rides her former mount Carnival March: 

 

 

Paula and David Evans, who own Andrew Hoy’s Vassily de Lassos, were well-stocked for their viewing party:

Commentator John Kyle surveyed his kingdom:

Boyd Martin is busy getting some tips from the boss:

The question on everyone’s lips – can Michael Jung beat the Olympic dressage record? We’ll have to wait for the final session to find out:

 

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