Well ,many of you know by now that the US squad just barely missed out on the bronze in the team dressage competition...they all rode very well and did super jobs. The day today did not in fact belong to the Dutch (even tho they won the gold)...it was the day for the Brits! The team from Great Britain continued their mastery of dressage and with their anchor rider Laura B on Mistral Hojris getting a career high of 82.511...it was made in heaven ( for the Queen and all!!!) that the Brits earned their very first medal in dressage competition at either the Worlds or Olympics. The Union Jack flew proudly all around the arena and when their final team total of 224.767 was displayed on the board, it was locked in that they were going to get the silver.
The US anchor Steffan and Ravel did a fine job,...but his score of 78.596 was just short of the needed score for the bronze. Tina on Calecto V , who went third for the team, had a few mistakes that cost her additional good marks, and her score of 69.915 was also just outside the needed score for a team medal. They did fine tests....but today, great tests were needed. Of course, the new Master and Commander, Edward and Totilas blew the field away with such a test...I think it is his best or second best score ever in the Grand Prix....they entered and had the most square halt and just took off for the clouds from there. This partnership is flawless, (there were many 9s and 10s in the judges scores) and they are truly from another dressage planet. Ease and grace, elegance and harmony....these are the terms that will be found in the dictionary when you look up the names Totilas and Gal...their pictures will be right there beside these words. No lie......
Needless to say that the crowds went crazy for Totilas, Ravel, and for Mistral Hojris.........and the very supportive fans gave poor Adelinde with Parzival a very nice send off after being eliminated for blood in the mouth. Let me say, that I have now heard (tonight after getting home) that there is a video of abuse and excessive work in the schooling area that caused this injury and elimination. I did not witness any of this, but did witness, and verified via walkie-talkie to the officials in the arena, that the horse had bitten his tongue, and thereby the blood (mostly in the froth/foam in Parzival's mouth) was evident IN THE RING ONLY.
As per the rules (FEI and National) when blood is present (visible) a horse is always eliminated....it is the correct thing to do, and tough as it may be, was certainly the right response by the Ground Jury. Stephan Clarke (GB) was mortified that he had to do this to, what would probably have been , the individual silver medalist. He did not want to do it, but he had to.......a very sad day for the Dutch team, but nevertheless, with Totalis guiding the way to the podium on his 84%, the team from the Netherlands still won the team gold...2010 dressage champions here at the Games....well done.......and well earned.
30 go thru to the GPS tomorrow and then 15 on to the GP Kur on Friday.....another great series of competitions to begin on Wed.....the shoot out continues...........I believe that even tho the US team finished fourth, with Britain already having a spot in the 2012 Olympics as the host nation, we move into a qualifying position for those Games by our 4th place finish...more on this tomorrow.
Lots of drama, sadness, laughter , smiles, and brilliant performances (and that is just in the booth!!! HA!)...no really, all those things were in play today and I am so glad to have been part of this wonderful stage for greatness....to get to participate with these terrific horses and riders is what these Games are all about. Proud and happy...that is a great way to end the day.
Hats off to the Dutch team......but even more.....tophats off to the Brits....they have shown us why they belong on the podium! Jolly good........right mate?
Photos by Diana DeRosa