Comments from some of the riders after the Grand Prix Special dressage test at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Charlotte Dujardin GBR (1st): “It was a great ride and I was very happy with my test. I had no team members to worry about, I thought I’d just go for everything, my horse was just fantastic – he is a Ferrari! The crowd were very hard to deal with – all I could hear were gasps, whether I did a good or a bad thing. I could hear the crowd the whole time.
“Probably that was the hardest thing because when you were doing good and bad you could hear “ooooh” or you could hear people talking. I wanted to turn round and say ‘shut up!’
“When you’re trying to ride you’re trying to think where to go and to think of what you’re doing, and all you can hear is the crowd talking and gasping, it’s very, very tough. Obviously you don’t experience that very often. I know I had it in Herning (FEI European Dressage Championships 2013 in Denmark) last year and a bit in Aachen this year, but otherwise you can normally only hear the music or it’s silent, so I found it really difficult out there today.”
Helen Langehanenberg GER (2nd): “The test felt very good. He always goes forward and listens very well. He is keen on working with me and knows what to do. I did not know Charlotte’s score before I went into the stadium – I was just concentrating on my preparation and test. I am really looking forward to Friday now – he is a very happy horse!
“I won’t give up (trying to beat Dujardin and Valegro). I believe in Dami and I’m very pleased with him today.”
Kristina Sprehe GER (3rd): “I am really happy. Coming in to these Games I was only focused on Team Gold. I had no thoughts for the Individual at all. This is just fantastic, completely fantastic! My horse was perfect in the test, even if during the passages he lost some rhythm and he has to be more energetic. I had a really fantastic feeling during the whole test.”
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven SWE (5th): “I had a very good feeling today, Don Auriello did his best – he was very light and easy to ride”.
Laura Graves (8th) USA: talking about her successful arrival at the top end of the sport and her result today – “we didn’t expect to be here so I couldn’t be happier! Today the walk was much better – he can do a 9 or a 10 – he went in the spooky corner, nailed all of his changes and he was nice to ride which is why I do this”.
And talking about her concentration during the test: “there’a a point at the end of canter extension when I just let go and I said to myself, that’s pretty good! Three-quarters of the way through the test it’s kind of a relief to come to the pirouette and then to the end.
“I do a lot of homework. I spend a lot of time studying the top riders and I picture in my mind’s eye what I’m trying to do when I’m in the saddle. I shut out what’s going on around us and just concentrate on trying to reflect what I’ve seen them do,” said the rider who finished two places ahead of her considerably more experienced team-mate, Steffen Peters with Legolas, when slotting into eighth place at the end of the day.
Diederik van Silfhout NED (9th): “What a success! I only came into the Dutch team after two of our horses were injured and I just went for it! Everything worked great today and even though my horse was getting tired at the end he gave everything he had. He (Arlando NH NOP) is such a talented horse, still young – he only did his first Grand Prix in January and I have great hopes with him for the future!”
Steffen Peters USA (10th): “The Special is a difficult test for this horse. The Freestyle is something Legolas does well, we previously scored 80 per cent in that so I’m hoping for a good result on Friday”.
Carl Hester GBR (12th) after scoring a personal best of 75.532%: “I wasn’t expecting that; for him to do this on the Grand Prix Special day – this is only the third Special I’ve done on him, and for a personal best, I couldn’t really ask any more of him, he’s trying his hardest and I’ve now got to think about Friday!”
Michael Eilberg GBR (13th): “I’m absolutely chuffed to bits, it’s exactly what I was hoping for. Today she gave her all, I asked her to dig a bit deeper and she gave me everything she had. After yesterday’s mistakes, to go in and ride a mistake free test was what I was hoping for, and what I did. I was really focused, I think it’s the best test I’ve done – certainly the best Special.
“Her owners [Jon and Julie Deverill] are very supportive and they love her to bits; they’re very proud to have a horse in the team and love coming to these events, so all being well she’ll be getting better and better.”
Belinda Trussell CAN (22nd): “When you enter, everyone is just screaming, and I thought to myself, ‘When do you get this? This is amazing!’ The crowd is so wonderful, and supportive, and excited – and it helps you rise to the occasion.
“Yesterday he (Anton) was quite hot in the warm-up, and hot around the outside of the ring. Today he was much more relaxed and he felt really, really good. He warmed up really well. I had pretty much a picture perfect warm-up where everything just goes tickety-boo.”
Edward Gal NED (25th): “It was all very new for this horse. He is also a stallion and has never been away from home for so many days. He was very excited in his stable with many mares passing by and he lost a lot of his energy because of that.”