There were 18 starters in the Dressage Individual finals when Charlotte Dujardin and teammate Laura Bechtolsheimer became the first British riders to ever win individual Dressage medals. Charlotte rode Valegro to a Gold Medal while Laura won the Bronze riding Mistral Hojris. Sandwiched in between for the Silver was Dutch rider Adelinde Cornelissen aboard Parzival. In the 18th spot was Denmark’s Anna Kasprizak aboard Donnperignon. They had a tiny mistake in one of their pirouettes, where he trotted. Overall she commented, “I am very happy.”
The 17th spot went to our very own Steffen Peters on his Ravel, who took the World Cup in 2009 and in 2010 they won a Bronze Medal at the World Equestrian Games. It was clear Steffen was disappointed with his ride and later commented, “We did a super warm-up…I had plenty of horse – there were just too many mistakes. That is it for Ravel. He is retiring now to his owner’s stud in California. I will remember him for his great career. If you put it all together, today was only a glitch. He has given us so much and it is so sad but it was not quite happening today.”
The 16th spot went to Goncalo Carvalho from Portugal riding Rubi. “My horse was really tired so the mark was not as good as he can get,” commented Goncalo. “It is great that we qualified for this…as I did not expect it.”
In 15th was Italian rider Valentina Truppa riding Eremo del Castegno. “I was happy,” she remarked, “I really enjoy the freestyle and so does my horse. He was a bit spooky in the corner where there are cameras, but apart from one little mistake he was fine.”
The 14th spot went to Swedish rider Patrik Kittel on Scandic, who he says is “very special. He has a lovely personality but he has to have everything as he wants it. When I look at him in the morning I can tell how grumpy he is and I do what he wants.” Patrik had a small mistake in the changes which he felt prevented them from getting 80%.
Victoria Max-Theurer from Austria rode Augustin to place 13th. “Augustin is a very smart horse,” commented Victoria. “He is clever, brave and powerful and always fights for me in the arena. He does not like to travel alone in the box so we brought my reserve horse to keep him company."
In 12th was Denmark’s Nathalie Zu-Sayn Wittgenstein aboard Digby who had the right attitude when she said, “we had a few little mistakes, but who cares.”
Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven rode Don Auriello to 11th. They were representing Sweden. “He loves to show off and he loves attentionm ” admitted Tinne. “He gets upset when I pet the horse next to him.”
In 10th was Spanish rider Juan Manuel Munoz Diaz aboard Fuego. “My horse felt very tired and it was very, very hot out there. We had one mistake. It wasn’t great today.”
Netherlands Edward Gal rode Undercover to 9th. “He was very good today and almost wanted to do too much to please me, “commented Gal about his horse.“
In 8th was Germany’s Kristina Sprehe aboard Desperados. “He loves to work every day and he is very ambitious. He is friendly in the stable and never does anything bad. This was the best freestyle ever. I rode the piaffe pirouette one handed.”
The 7th place went to German rider Dorothee Schneider aboard Diva Royal. “I am a little disappointed,” she remarked. “I had two mistakes and this is something you should avoid when riding at the Olympics.”
A 6th place finish went to many-time Olympic medalist and Dutch rider Anky van Grunsven aboard her gold medal 18-year-old horse Salinero. This was their last competition. “I am very happy,” she commented. “It is emotional but he did a good job. I am not sad. It has been an emotional week, but it was always in my head that it was my last time and I wanted to enjoy it.”
Standing 5th is Carl Hester with Uthopia. They were one of three British riders who made it to the top five, much to the enthusiasm of the crowd. “He was quite low on energy for the last day. He struggled to keep his energy up.”
Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg rode Damon Hill to 4th. “I wanted to enjoy every second of this last ride at the Olympics,” she explained. “There was a brief moment for a hiccup at the piaffe, but the rest was perfect.”
British rider Laura Bechtolsheimer rode Mistral Hojris to the Bronze Medal. “For a horse of his age, at 17, to move like that and give his all is beyond words. He was so full of power and energy. I could ride every move to the maximum. It was definitely the best ride I have ever had on him.” They performed to music from the Lion King which Laura felt suits her horse because “it is childish and playful just like him. He is 17 years old but he has never grown up.”
The Silver Medal went to Dutch rider Adelinde Cornelissen on Parzival, who she said “felt great, powerful and very good. I think it has been his best test ever and I gave it my all.”[
And finally the Gold Medal went to Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro for Great Britain. They had a good go but did have one mistake near the end of the ride. “It was pure greenness,” she explained. “He was just a little tense from the canter to the piaffe and pirouette and he misunderstood me. I’m not worried a bit. He’s just ten years old and has done three amazing rounds. I couldn’t ask more of him. He gave his all and didn’t let me down.”
And there you have it; comments from the top 18 rider at this year’s Olympic Games. I’ll write one more look back in a day or two but in the meantime if you have any comments or questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.