I thought our riders did a good job riding accurate tests but I felt like they lacked a little expression, like they were riding cautiously in order to be accurate. I asked Anne Gribbons what the plan was to see if what I was seeing was true and so she commented, “The plan going into the Grand Prix was to qualify for the Special, which was not a given considering the formidable quality of our competition. We are now in fifth, so mission accomplished with room to spare.” Anne continued, “Between Britain and Germany, it will go down to the wire. The Brits have the home advantage, but the Germans also have incredible horses and as usual a formidable drive to regain their crown.
“The team test, or tests as in this case, are always a bit cautiously ridden because mistakes cost the team too much. A clean test must be the priority.
“Not until the freestyle can the riders turn on full power and take risks, and they are all aware of this and playing the team game.
“This year I think a medal is beyond our reach, which in no way will stop us from trying. We have competent riders, accomplished horses and it is not over until the fat lady sings!”
And just to clarify about Anne’s comment “or tests as in this case.” In years past the teams were decided immediately after the Grand Prix and only using that one test. This time around the Grand Prix scores will be combined with the Special scores to decide the ultimate team winners.
Dressage is no longer being dominated by one country. Now lots more countries have riders and horses that can go with the best of them. We are close but this time we’ll need just a little luck to make a team medal a reality.