Olympic dressage teams final: what the riders said

Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) and Valegro after their test in the final of the Olympic dressage team event. ©
Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) and Valegro after their test in the final of the Olympic dressage team event. © Kit Houghton/FEI

Comments by riders after the Olympic dressage team event of London 2012  at Greenwich Park.

Steffen Peters (USA): “I’m very happy. We had a little stumble after the first pirouette, but I thought the piaffes were even better today. He (Ravel) is still in great form and wants to perform. It is a great honour to represent your nation (at the Olympic Games). It has been three times for us, but I am still excited by it. It is still just as fresh as the first time, especially at a beautiful venue like Greenwich Park.”

Jan Ebeling (USA): “I wish my score was higher but we made no mistakes. I couldn’t be more pleased with my horse (Rafalca, who is part-owned by the wife of 2012 US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney). When asked if Rafalca’s owners were at Greenwich Park to watch their horse in action: “Yes, the three amigos are in the audience – that is Mrs Romney, my wife and Beth Meyer. I blew them a kiss at the end as I knew where they were sitting.”

Ashley Holzer (CAN): “It was an incredible ride. He [Breaking Dawn] loves the crowd.  You can’t get a busier arena, and this horse couldn’t care less.  He goes the same way in there, the same way that he goes in the warm-up, and the same way that he goes at home. For a horse that hasn’t been doing Grand Prix for a year yet, I’m thrilled.”

Charlotte Dujardin (GBR): Talking about her horse, Valegro: “He is a once in a lifetime horse, he is unbelievable, just very special.” Of her test, she said: “My legs were like jelly, I was more nervous in there; I didn’t ride like I knew I could but he still felt really good. It’s so surreal but it was the ultimate dream to get here and win gold.”

Dorothee Schneider (GER): “In the arena there is never a moment to feel complacent, too many things can happen. But when I was over the pirouettes, I started feeling like I would come home in good shape”. Talking about the number of German supporters in the stadium: “It gave me goosebumps, made the hair rise on the back of my neck. There are so many people from home in the stands. When they learned I had qualified they all bought tickets on ebay.”

Ashley Holzer (Canada) and Breaking Dawn, who finished 24th individually.
Ashley Holzer (Canada) and Breaking Dawn, who finished 24th individually. Cealy Tetley, www.tetleyphoto.com

Laura Bechtolsheimer (GBR): “The old Alf’s back, he felt fantastic; he gave me the performance of a young horse which makes me feel really emotional. He felt fantastic and even though we had a few costly mistakes I was so pleased. I feel so privileged to be part of the evolution of dressage, today has been so special. The crowd – there’s nothing like it, it’s amazing to have all those people behind you.”

Carl Hester (GBR): “You have to be a bold rider to score eight, nine and 10s, otherwise you are not going to get high scores. This was a new world record for the Special. Charlotte (Dujardin) holds the world record and it will be very hard for her to achieve that again here but I expect her to come in and squash my Olympic record very shortly!”

Helen Langehanenberg (GER): “It’s important for the sport that many nations can reach this goal. It’s not that the Germans are getting weaker. The other countries did their homework and really worked hard on it.”

Anky van Grunsven (NED): “I’m really happy and really proud of my 18-year-old (third Olympics) horse Salinero. He’s fit and loose and in a good mood, me as well. Last week I thought my individual chance had gone, but today I am thinking let’s do a Kür as well.”

Carl Hester (GBR): (who learned to ride bareback on a donkey): “What this says about dressage is that it is accessible to anyone. The three of us [Hester, Dujardin, and Bechtolsheimer] come from three totally different backgrounds.”

Anky van Grunsven (NED): On Carl Hester: “He has really played a very important part in their gold medal by picking those two horses, I really admire what he’s done. Besides from the fact he trained those two horses, he’s also been able to show his best under pressure, in front of a home crowd. That’s pretty astonishing.”

Kristina Sprehe (GER):  “Desperados from the beginning was very nervous and very focused on the cameras and photographers.” Of his jump in the middle of the passage, Sprehe said something had given him a fright, but they quickly regained their composure.  “The rest of the test was great, but the error is of course very disappointing … I’m very happy with the ride.”

Germany's Kristina Sprehe and Desperados.
Germany’s Kristina Sprehe and Desperados. © Kit Houghton/FEI


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