Germans dominate Olympic dressage arena as team finale looms

Share
A great ride from Isabell Werth with Bella Rose helped Germany secure pole position for Tuesday’s medal-decider, the Grand Prix Special.
A great ride from Isabell Werth with Bella Rose helped Germany secure pole position for Tuesday’s medal-decider, the Grand Prix Special. © FEI/Shannon Brinkman

Germany has edged into the lead among the eight nations that have qualified for the dressage team medal decider at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Strong results from both Dorothee Schneider and Showtime (78.820) and world No.1 Isabell Werth and Bella Rose (82.500) bolstered the score of 84.379 posted by pathfinder Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera to leave Germany well out in front. But the evening’s show-stealer was no surprise, when Charlotte Dujardin steered the relatively inexperienced Gio to a great score of 80.963 which rocketed Great Britain up to second place.

Denmark, USA, The Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal and Spain will all resume the battle for the team medals in Tuesday’s Grand Prix Special in which all teams start again with a clean sheet. And with the conclusion of the Grand Prix the 18 athletes qualified for Wednesday’s Freestyle which will decide the Individual medals has also been confirmed.

They are:

  • Charlotte (Lottie) Fry, Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester (GBR)
  • Therese Nilshagen and Juliette Ramel (SWE)
  • Cathrine Dufour and Carina Cassoe Kruth (DEN)
  • Edward Gal and Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED)
  • Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, Dorothee Schneider and Isabell Werth (GER)
  • Sabine Schut-Kery, Adrienne Lyle and Steffen Peters (USA
  • Nanna Skodborg Merrald (DEN)
  • Beatriz Ferrer-Salat (ESP)
  • Rodrigo Torres (POR)

Denmark’s Carina Cassoe Kruth and Adrienne Lyle claimed the top two spots in Group D, and then Germany’s Dorothee Schneider headed up Group E. Compatriot Isabell Werth headed up the final group of 10 horse-and-athlete combinations and, last to go, underpinned the solidity of the German challenge. With her beloved Bella Rose who scored 82.500 she pinned Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and the charming little chestnut gelding Gio into second place in that group.

Charlotte praises her new star, “Pumpkin”

Dujardin, whose reign of supremacy with the great Valegro changed a lot about the sport of dressage in recent years, is clearly super-excited about her latest rising star.

Dujardin co-owns Gio with New Zealand equestrian Renai Hart and Carl Hester. He had just three international Grand Prix starts under his belt before travelling to Tokyo.

Great Britain's Charlotte Dujardin and Gio produced a fabulous test in the Grand Prix Team and Individual qualifier at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Baji Koen Equestrian Park.
Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Gio produced a fabulous test in the Grand Prix Team and Individual qualifier at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Baji Koen Equestrian Park. © FEI/Christophe Taniere

However, their polished performance belied the Apache x Tango gelding’s inexperience. In fact, by the time they left the main arena, not only had they achieved a personal best as a combination with 80.963%, but it was also Gio’s first international Grand Prix score over 80%.

“To me, this was as good as winning tonight because I know he couldn’t have done any more for where he is right now in his training and with how few competitions he’s done. That’s like a gold medal, one of those really special moments that I’ll remember for forever and a day,” Dujardin said.

Her relationship with the diminutive ‘Pumpkin’, who stands at just 16hh, began in the US when he was five years old. She was there giving a demonstration and the gelding was drafted in as a last-minute replacement for one of the horses, who had to pull out because of injury. It was love at first sight.

Dujardin spoke to Hart, who had bought Gio in The Netherlands. “I bought him and flew him back again. When he came off the lorry, Carl asked what on earth I’d done buying a ‘pony’. I told him to wait and see, and here [Pumpkin] is today!

“I just love him, he’s such a little pocket rocket. He might be small, but he’s definitely mighty – he’s got a powerful engine in him. You could stand there and kiss his face all day, he just loves it. People keep stopping in the stables because he’s got the sort of face where everyone wants to look at him and pat him. He’s just adorable. He’s a lovely, lovely horse – such a cheeky little character, but so loving at the same time.”

Charlotte Dujardin and Gio in the Grand Prix Team and Individual qualifier at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Charlotte Dujardin and Gio in the Grand Prix Team and Individual qualifier at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. © FEI/Christophe Taniere

“I spoke to his owner, who’d trained other horses to Grand Prix and knew what he was capable of doing. She’d bought him in Holland and flown him to America, and I bought him and flew him back again. When he came off the lorry, Carl asked what on earth I’d done buying a ‘pony’. I told him to wait and see, and here [Pumpkin] is today!” Dujardin said.

“I just love him, he’s such a little pocket rocket. He might be small, but he’s definitely mighty – he’s got a powerful engine in him. You could stand there and kiss his face all day, he just loves it. People keep stopping in the stables because he’s got the sort of face where everyone wants to look at him and pat him. He’s just adorable. He’s a lovely, lovely horse – such a cheeky little character, but so loving at the same time.”

 

Horsetalk.co.nz

Latest research and information from the horse world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *