Tokyo, Japan – July 25, 2021 – Following an exciting first day of Tokyo 2020 Olympic dressage competition, the second half of the world’s top riders took their turn under the lights at Baji Koen [the equestrian park] in Setagaya City, Tokyo for the second day of the Grand Prix phase. As the final team members turned in their Grand Prix scores, the leaderboard from Saturday saw a shake up with Team Germany aiming to hold on to their reign within the sport, ultimately showcasing their domination in the sport with all three riders scoring 78%+.
The last of the three leading team member’s, World No. 1 Isabell Werth, laid down the best performance of the day aboard Bella Rose 2, earning the number two spot heading into the individual Grand Prix Freestyle on Wednesday, July 28 just behind fellow teammate, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl.
Competing under a new format, teams consisted of only three athletes and their mounts, no longer relying on a drop score from a fourth teammate. All individual and team competitors were broken into six different groups or ‘heats’, organized following Friday’s health inspection and based on each athlete’s FEI World Ranking. The first half of the groups battled for top scores during Saturday’s Grand Prix, while the second half of the groups rode during Sunday night’s program in the hopes of earning their respective country a spot in the top eight in order to advance to the Grand Prix Special competition Tuesday, July 27. The top two scores in each heat followed by the next highest six scores total will advance to the individual Grand Prix Freestyle Competition Wednesday, July 28. A total of 18 riders will qualify to compete for individual medals.
Spain’s Severo Jurado Lopez and Fendi T were the first pair to take to the ring Sunday evening from Group D, scoring a 68.370% and setting the bar for the remaining 29 riders. The evening of competition went smoothly other than Singapore’s Caroline Chew and Tribiani elimination due to blood in the horse’s mouth. Denmark’s third and final team member, Carina Cassoe Kruth, kept their team’s standing in strong contention scoring a 76.677% with Paul Thøgersen’s 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, Heiline’s Danciera (Fuerstenball Old x Danceline Ts). The duo’s performance proved to be the best of the group as they secured their place in the individual Grand Prix Freestyle.
USA’s Adrienne Lyle, who was favored to sweep the Group D heat, settled into second place with Betsy Juliano’s Salvino (Sandro Hit x Dynastie), a 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion, with a score of 74.876%. The long-time pair, who have gone undefeated in competition in the past two years, also claimed their place in Wednesday’s individual final, though it was not the expensive, shoe-in performance the duo usually brings to the ring. The score was the lowest the pair have earned in two years.
Following two solid performances on Day 1 of Grand Prix competition from the leading team, the Netherlands’ third and final team member, Marlies van Baalen, added a score of 71.615% to the average with Go Legend, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding. The pair held the lead in the heat until the final two rides of Group E knocked her out of contention for the individual competition. Juliette Ramel of Sweden’s final ride down the center line boosted her overall score to a 73.369%, aiding in claiming her own qualification with the 15-year-old KWPN gelding owned by La Pomme HB, Buriel K.H. (Osmium x Ronja K.H.). Last to ride was the fourth FEI Dressage World Ranked German athlete, Dorothee Schneider aboard the 15-year-old Hannoverian gelding, Showtime FRH (Sandro Hit x Rosaria Alpina). Though the pair posted an unusual sub-80 score, following suit with the rest of her teammates, Schneider dominated the heat with a 78.820%.
Chile’s Virginia Yarur kicked off the Group F, the final heat on the last day of qualifying, setting the base score of 66.227% with Ronaldo. As the competition boiled down to the final few, it turned out to be a battle between 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) and 5-time Olympic Team Gold dressage veteran and reigning world number one Isabell Werth (GER). The experienced Brit entered the ring ahead of Werth on her young, inexperienced mount, Gio (Apache x Zenzi). At just 10-years-old, the KWPN gelding proved to be one of the top scores of the weekend, turning in a personal best marking their first over 80 score turning in an impressive 80.963%, one of only three over-80 scores seen during the Grand Prix.
Steffen Peters followed up with his own powerhouse round scoring a 76.196% with the 13-year-old KWPN gelding, Suppenkasper. Though the pair turned in the second best performance, Germany’s anchor rider, Werth, was the last to take to the ring with her equally experienced partner, 17-year-old Westfalian mare, Bella Rose 2 (Belissimo x Cadra II). The unsurprisingly walked away from their round with an 82.500% the highest score of the day, and second highest of the weekend, just behind her own teammate, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl.
Following crucial performances from several final team members, the leaderboard saw a shakeup in the standings with Germany claiming the top spot. Though Bredow-Werndl held onto her reign over the rest of the pack with a score of 84.379% her two fellow teammates aided in continuing their dominance within the sport as Schneider and Werth brought it home with high scores. Charlotte Fry and Carl Hester of Team Great Britain waited with baited breath on their final team member’s performance. Having boasted their own competitive scores, Fry and the 12-year-old KWPN stallion, Everdale’s (Lord Leatherdale x Aliska K) 77.096% and Hester and the 12-year-old KWPN gelding, En Vogue’s (Jazz x Nicarla) 75.124%, Dujardin and Gio solidified their team’s position with the second best score of the day, 80.963%.
Rounding out the top three teams were the Danish. Dropping down one place from Saturday following Cathrine Dufour and the 11-year-old Westphalian gelding, Bohemian’s (Bordeaux 28 x Sunshine) 81.056% and Nanna Skodborg Merrald and the 17-year-old KWPN gelding, Zack’s (Rousseau x Orona) 73.168%. As the final team member of Team Denmark, Carina Cassoe Kruth and Heiline’s Danciera score of 76.677% was just high enough to hold off the United States from breaking into a podium position. Sitting 63.5 points behind in fourth place was team USA consisting of Sabine Schut-Kery’s Day 1 score of 78.416% aboard Sanceo (San Remo x Rivera), Peters’ Day 2 score of 76.196% with Suppenkasper, and Lyle’s score of 74.876% on Salvino.
In addition to the 12 athletes who earned qualifying spots in the Grand Prix Freestyle based on their placement in the Grand Prix, the following riders earned slots as the next highest scoring – Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED), Peters (USA), Carl Hester (GBR), Nanna Skodborg Merrald (DEN), Rodrigo Torres (POR) and Beatriz Ferrar-Salat (ESP).
Dressage competition will continue at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Tuesday, July 27, as the top eight teams return to the arena for the Grand Prix Special. Team Medals will be awarded at the conclusion of Tuesday’s competition following the Grand Prix Special, while qualified individual athletes will have a final shot at a medal finish Wednesday, July 28, as they take to Grand Prix Freestyle competition.
C – Jury President – Francis Verbeek (NED)
K – Jury Member – Susan Hoevenaars (AUS)
E – Jury Member – Katrina Wuest (GER)
H – Jury Member – Janet Foy (USA)
M – Jury Member – Andrew Gardner (GBR)
B – Jury Member – Hans-christian Matthiesen (DEN)
F – Jury Member – Magnus Ringmark (SWE)
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Isabell Werth – Germany
On her performance, topping Group F with a score of 82.500:
“I was really pleased and happy with [Bella Rose 2]. She was very concentrated and focused, and I could take risks. I tried to present her in the best routine, and safe way, and I think it worked very well. Two or three little things which we have to work on for Tuesday and Wednesday, but with her whole shape, I’m really happy.”
On seeing her long-time rival Charlotte Dujardin produce a score of 80.963 earlier in the evening:
“It’s always very important that you have a strong field and that you have strong competitors, because then you push each other to top performances. That’s a special feeling and atmosphere, the spirit and the competition. That makes a difference.”
On the empty stands at Tokyo 2020:
“I think mostly you feel it in the medal decisions, especially in the freestyle, with the music and when you do not have the crowd carrying the riders. That, I’m sure, makes a big difference. But on the other hand, we are so happy that we can be here, that we can compete, that we have the Olympic Games. I think each country is really thankful for the Games, because then we are much more in the focus of all the world, and it helps the younger riders at home a lot, to get the motivation, to get the support. So it’s a big package we have, and we are thankful to be here.”
On her lucky riding boots:
“These boots are quite old. They are my lucky ones. I’ve had them since 1991.”
Charlotte Dujardin – Great Britain
On her ride, in which she scored 80.963:
“I was so happy. He’s a very green and inexperienced horse, I think he’s done six or seven Grand Prixs, at the most. It’s a bit of the unknown really, not knowing what to expect in there under the floodlights, in an arena like that. I couldn’t ask any more from him tonight. He went in, and he tried his absolute heart out. He’s just unbelievable. He gives me everything he’s got, even though he still needs to get stronger and a bit more confident in everything, but he still gives more than he’s capable of giving at the moment, and I’m able to just help him out here and there. I can’t ask any more. I really felt emotional on the last center line because when you have a ride like that, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, that’s what it’s all about for me.”
On riding a new and inexperienced horse at Tokyo 2020 after winning three gold medals on Valegro (GBR):
“It just goes to show like the relationship we have, because for him to go in there and trust me to put him in that situation. It could have been a full house, and he still would have done the same. He is just that sort of horse. I just love him, he’s such a little pocket rocket.”
On watching teammate Carl Hester (GBR) on En Vogue (GBR), another horse she owns:
“That’s another proud moment really, because I bought him as a three year old. Everyone thought I was crazy for buying him because they were like, ‘You can’t catch him.’ And then trying to break him in, he was wild. They were all like, ‘You’re gonna die,’ and I didn’t. But he bucked a saddle clean off, and I went through a lot with him. But the feeling that horse gives you when you ride him is unbelievable, I mean, he’s just phenomenal. He’s probably one of the best horses I’ve ever ridden in my life. I trained him to Grand Prix, and last year Carl needed a horse, and I just said take him, so it was a massive honor for me. He gave me that opportunity with Valegro, so it’s a huge honor to stand there and watch him. Last night, just seeing Carl and him together, there were a few blips here and there, but it’s going to be an incredible combination with the more competitions they get under their belt.”
Steffen Peters – United States
On his test:
“[Suppenkasper] felt great! He came in super relaxed, the same feeling I had in Florida [at the U.S. Dressage Olympic Observation Event], and in Florida we had one misstep from walk to passage, otherwise it was a clean test. I think today was even cleaner and the changes clearly were careful because we had some problems [in the schooling]. We missed two lines of one-tempis and there is always a Plan B in line for that to settle for a moment: standing still, doing the two-tempis, bringing him back into confidence, making the next line of changes even more collected, and then it clicked right in! He was right with me. He had a very good walk tour, which is challenging for him in an arena like this. We are going to step it up a little bit in the Grand Prix Special, but we I think are in a great spot to be in for the Grand Prix.”
On the Grand Prix Special:
“His trot extensions help him quite a bit. The walk to piaffe transition we don’t have to do, the silly zig-zag we don’t have to do, the rein-back we don’t have to do. So it flows a little bit more and for a big horse, it’s a better test.”
On his experience at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games:
“I think, as Olympians, we are used to rules. Of course the rules were stricter this year with COVID, and if we can’t respect the rules then we shouldn’t be Olymnpians. In the big picture, what a tiny, small sacrifice we made compared to the rest of the population. If we think that we lost 600,000 people in the United States, that’s a sacrifice. The families that lost friends and family members, that is a sacrifice. What we did here is not a sacrifice whatsoever.”
Adrienne Lyle – United States
On her test:
“[Salvino] has been schooling really well, he’s had some really brilliant stuff in schooling. Unfortunately he kind of went in there and got tense and tight and we lost a little of the balance in the self carriage where we needed to be. It was unfortunately far below what he is capable of, but hopefully decent enough to get our team qualified in a decent spot for the [Grand Prix Special].”
On being a part of the United States Olympic team:
“My teammates are incredible. In an equestrian team event you are riding for your team members and it becomes about so much more than just you. I’ve been to two [World Equestrian Games] but my first Olympics was individual, so this is my first Olympics as a part of the team. I couldn’t ask for a better team, they’ve been awesome and I’m counting on Steffen now to pull out a big one!”
On plans for the horses over the next two days:
“They will have a little bit of time to recover tomorrow and then we will go through the video and see what we can tweak, but they are living animals and some days they are not perfect and you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, sometimes it just happens.”
CURRENT TEAM STANDINGS
Rider / Horse / Score
TSF Dalera / Jessica von Bredow-Werndl / 2717.0
Showtime FRH / Dorothee Schneider /
Bella Rose 2 / Isabell Werth / 2656.5
Great Britain: 7508.5
Rider / Horse / Score
Everdale / Charlotte Fry / 2482.5
En Vogue / Carl Hester / 2419.0
Gio / Charlotte Dujardin / 2607.0
Rider / Horse / Score
Zack / Nanna Skodborg Merrald / 2356.0
Bohemian / Cathrine Dufour / 2610.0
Heiline’s Danciera / Carina Cassoe Kruth / 2469.0
United States: 7389.5
Rider / Horse / Score
Sabine Schut-Kery / Sanceo / 2525.0
Salvino / Adrienne Lyle / 2411.0
Suppenkasper / Steffen Peters / 2453.5
Rider / Horse / Score
Total US / Edward Gal / 2532.5
Dream Boy / Hans Peter Minderhoud / 2473.5
Go Legend / Marlies van Baalen / 23.06.0
Rider / Horse / Score
Dante Weltino OLD / Therese Nilshagen / 2419.5
Brother De Jeu / Antonia Ramel / 2207.0
Buriel K.H. / Juliette Ramel / 2362.5
Rider / Horse / Score
Fenix De Tineo / Maria Caetano / 2264.0
Fogoso / Rodrigo Torres / 2338.5
Equador / Joao Miguel Torrao / 2260.0
Rider / Horse / Score
Elegance / Beatriz Ferrer-Salat / 2321.5
Sorento 15 / Jose Antonio Garcia Mena / 2226.5
Fendi T / Severo Jurado Lopez / 2201.5
OVERALL GRAND PRIX RESULTS
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / Score
1. TSF Dalera / Jessica von Bredow-Werndl / GER / Beatrice A. Buerchler-Keller, Max von Bredow / 84.379
2. Bella Rose 2 / Isabell Werth / GER / Madeleine Winter-Schulze / 82.500
3. Bohemian / Cathrine Dufour / DEN / Abildgaard Equestrian APS / 81.056
4. Gio / Charlotte Dujardin / GBR / Charlotte Dujardin and Renai Hart / 80.963
5. Showtime FRH / Dorothee Schneider / GER / Gabriele Kippert, Jobst Krumhoff and Eva-Maria Mann / 78.820
6. Total US / Edward Gal / NED / Glock HPC NL B.V. / 78.634
7. Sanceo / Sabine Schut-Kery / USA / Alice Womble / 78.416
8. Everdale / Charlotte Fry / GBR / Charlotte Fry, Van Olst Horses / 77.096
9. Dream Boy / Hans Peter Minderhoud / NED / Glock HPC NL B.V., Palmar BV – J.T.M. Maree, Stal Brinkman V.O.F., TC Dutch Sport Horses – T.J.M. Coomans / 76.817
10. Heiline’s Danciera / Carina Cassoe Kruth / DEN / Paul Thøgersen / 76.677
11. Suppenkasper / Steffen Peters / USA / Four Winds Farm and Akiko Yamazaki / 76.196
12. Dante Weltino OLD / Therese Nilshagen / SWE / Dressurpferde Leistungsz, T. Nilshagen / 75.140
13. En Vogue / Carl Hester / GBR / Charlotte Dujardin, Lady Anne Evans, Sandra Biddlecombe, Carl Hester / 75.124
14. Salvino / Adrienne Lyle / USA / Betsy Juliano / 74.876
15. Buriel K.H. / Juliette Ramel / SWE / La Pomme HB / 73.369
16. Zack / Nanna Skodborg Merrald / DEN / Blue Hors ApS / 73.168
17. Fogoso / Rodrigo Torres / POR / Rodrigo Torres / 72.624
18. Elegance / Beatriz Ferrer-Salat / ESP / Deliber S.L. / 72.096
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