Germany holds the whip hand after the first day of dressage in the Eventing Championship at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky (USA) today. Individual rider Simone Dietermann holds top spot after a superb test with Free Easy NRW while Ingrid Klimke lies second with FRH Butts Abraxxas and fellow team-member Dirk Schrade is fourth with Gadget de la Cere. Great Britain's William Fox-Pitt and his 2010 Rolex Kentucky 4-Star winner Cool Mountain were the only ones to break the German strangelhold when slotting into third, and his result, combined with that of Nicola Wilson (Opposition Buzz) has ensured fourth place for the British in the team rankings going into tomorrow's closing stage of the dressage phase.
Sweden lies third after Linda Algotsson and the amazing 20 year old Stand by Me slotted into eighth place and Niklas Jonsson (First Lady) finished tenth. But it is the Australians who are the closest challengers to the leading nation after the opening day. When Paul Tapner's fifth place score with his 2010 Badminton winner Inonothing was added to that of Stuart Tinney and Vettori the total of 91.00 points left the Aussies in second spot, just 7.2 points behind the leaders.
A total of 40 riders started in the first group and Wilson was pathfinder in the ring, setting the standard at 51.20. But before the first morning session was completed Tapner overtook her with a score of 43.80, which held the lead until just under an hour later. Schrade's test with 16 year old gelding was enthusiastically applauded by the crowd, and his score of 42.50 went out in front until Dietermann really raised the bar again, posting 36.00 with a lovely performance.
Fox-Pitt started the afternoon session with Cool Mountain who lived up to his name when breezing through his test to put up a mark of 42.00, and although it was well-short of the leading score he was happy with his result. "It was an advantage being here before with him (Cool Mountain)" the British rider explained. "It was great to know he travelled well, competed well and went home happy the last time and he knew where he was when he arrived back here. He's not an excitable horse, although he did get a bit excited over the first few days but he settled down. He's only a ten year old, he's not so experienced but he's had a good preparation for coming here" he added.
Klimke and FRH Butts Abraxxas went in the penultimate group and her score of 41.30 slotted her in behind the leader. Dietermann was amazed to find herself out in front at the end of the day. "I can't believe it - but my horse did a very good job" said the 28 year old from Saerbech near Munster in Westphalia who shares her time between working as an accountant and riding her horses. She is an experienced rider however, and was reserve for the German team for the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. At Badminton this year she and her 13 year old horse showed their huge potential when lying second after dressage and cross-country. However four fences down in the show jumping ring proved very costly indeed.
Asked about their thoughts on Mike Etherington-Smith's cross-country track the riders were in agreement that it will be "a true championship track". Ingrid Klimke said "It will be strong, there are lots of alternatives but they will waste a lot of time, but if you have a proper line and proper speed it should jump well. Time will be difficult though" she added, "the course is very up and down and we will have to watch our speed".
Fox-Pitt said "it will be testing, but I think the questions will be very clear to the horses and the course will reward forward riding. We know that we can have confidence in Mike's courses but it will be competitive to the very end".
Dietermann described the 28-fence track as "very technical, but very beautiful and very fair. If you ride positiveLY then all the distances will be positive - I like it!" she insisted.
Dressage resumes tomorrow morning just after 8.30am in the Rolex arena, and there are still plenty of big guns to come.
FEI TV - As well as live competition coverage throughout the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™, FEI TV will make all competitions available post-event via VoD, plus an exclusive daily 30-minute VoD highlights show from the Kentucky Horse Park featuring the best of the day’s action, interviews, previews and reviews. There will also be lots of behind the scenes footage available. Check out www.feitv.org
Facts and Figures:
40 of the 80 competitors in the Eventing Championship completed their dressage tests today.
14 teams are competing - Germany, Australia, Sweden, Great Britain, USA, Canada, France, New Zealand, Italy, Belgium, South Africa, Ireland, Japan and Brazil.
There are 28 fences on the cross-country course designed by Britain's Mike Etherington-Smith.
Simone Dietermann (GER), first-day dressage leader, when asked why she is not on the German team - "this is my first Championships and the team consists of riders with more experience".
Simone Dietermann (GER) - "I have my horse for nine years".
Ingrid Klimke (GER) lying second after first-day dressage "There was such a big atmosphere in the arena today!".
ALLTECH FEI WORLD EQUESTRIAN GAMES™ EVENTING CHAMPIONSHIP
Results after first day of Dressage:
Teams - 1, Germany 83.80; 2, Australia 91.00; 3, Sweden; 91.70; 4, Great Britain 93.20; 5, USA 96.50; 6, Canada 103.30; 7, France 104.50; 8, New Zealand 105.70; 9, Italy 105.90; 10, Belgium 111.80; 11, South Africa 119.30; 12, Ireland 124.30; 13, Japan 130.70; 14, Brazil 131.80.
Individual (after 40 of 80 starters) - 1, Free Easy NRW (Simone Dietermann) GER, 2, FRH Butts Abraxxas (Ingrid Klimke) GER 41.30; 3, Cool Mountain (William Fox-Pitt) GBR 42.00; 4, Gadget de la Cere (Dirk Schrade) GER 42.50; 5, Inonothing (Paul Tapner) AUS 43.80; 6, Clifton Promise (Jonathan Paget) NZL; 7, Carrera (Susanna Bordone) ITA 45.20; 8, Redesigned (Pippa Funnell) GBR 45.50; 8, Stand by Me (Linda Algotsson) SWE 45.50; 10, First Lady (Niklas Jonsson) SWE 46.20.
Full results and startlists at www.alltechfeigames.com
Photo Caption: Germany's Simone Deitermann and Free Easy NRW took the lead on the opening day of dressage in the Eventing Championship at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky (USA) today. Photo: FEI/Dirk Caremans.
Audio Links: Eventing leader, Simone Deitermann (English): http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Simone%20Deitermann%20dressage%20reaction%2030-9.mp3
Eventing leader, Simone Deitermann (German): http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Simone%20Deitermann%20DEUTSCH%20eventing%2030-9.mp3
Eventing 3rd, William Fox-Pitt: http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/William%20F-P%20dressage%20reaction%2030-9.mp3