Japan and Italy at the Top after Dressage
“The difficulty is up and downhills and some of the technical fences will be very difficult when she is tired,” commented Japan’s Yashiaki Oiwa after he rode Noonday De Conde to a record setting first place finish after Eventing Dressage. “I can’t say this or that fence. For us all fences will be difficult and you have to really fight,” he added. “The course is very twisty,” remarked Italian rider Stefano Brecciaroli aboard Apollo WD Wendi Kurt Hoev after he finished second. “The jump is okay but it is very important tomorrow to look for the fitness of the horse and also at the end there is a lot of galloping. Very important to ensure in the end the horse comes home well.”
It wasn’t until third place that a rider that probably has the potential to win this class spoke up. Olympic Gold Medalist Mark Todd was aboard Campino. As the final rider in a field of 74 he rode one of the nicest Dressage tests despite the thunder and lightning that spoke loudly while he was in the schooling ring but silenced once he entered the Olympic Stadium.
“I don’t think the fences themselves are difficult,” noted Todd. “But when you add in the hills, the twists and turns and riders trying to go fast, there’s plenty of places you can make a mistake.”
Todd continued, “I think it’s going to be very hard to make the time. If we get rain it is going to make the ground slippery and that’s going to make a big difference.”
New Zealand’s Jonathan Paget, now in 17th aboard Clifton Promise, noted, “You’ll have to drive it like a Formula 1 racing car. If you want to just go round safely you’ll be all right, but if you want to be within the time it’s going to be really difficult.”
Germany’s Peter Thomsen who is in 58th place aboard Barny, but his country is the leading team ahead of Australian (2nd), Great Britain (3rd), Sweden and New Zealand (4th), Japan 6th and USA (7th). Thomsen remarked, “The fences are built very safely but the course will be extremely demanding in regards to making the optimum time. The biggest challenge will be to make the time and keeping the rhythm, because the track is very twisty.”
Australian’s Olympic Gold Medalist Andrew Hoy agreed, “Horses and riders will have to be very fit mentally and physically. I ran up one of the hills in the park yesterday and was quite pleased with myself when I got to the top without losing my breath, although Rutherglen will have to do a lot more.”
In fact after walking the course myself and having to walk up and down some incredibly steep hills, Hoy’s words are more than true. Take some time to look at the selection of pictures I took while walking the course to see just what I mean.
Now I’m looking forward to seeing how the cross-country day unfolds.
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