Hong Kong Saturday 9th August. Eventing Dressage Day 1, Session 1
It was an early start for everyone and even at 6 in the morning the weather is very hot and steamy but there was quite a good crowd for such an early start. It is probably about 30 degrees and like a sauna. The French will be looking to defend their Athens Team Gold Medal, but it will be without the experienced 5 time Olympian Jean Teulere who was a last minute scratching when, last Thursday his horse sustained a slight injury and had to be withdrawn. The team will now focus on the remaining members including Nicholas Tousant, the double European Champion and 2008 Badminton winner.
First to go is Mark Todd riding Gandalf for New Zealand. As you would expect this veteran of the sport of eventing started the day with a neat test. Some resistances in the changes would have cost marks, but the horse settled in the canter work which was easy and quite flowing. 49.4gets the competition off to a good start. They finish with penalty points of 49.40 which eventually puts them into 9th position so well within reach. Following his ride, Mark said, I was really pleased with Gandalf. "It is only a short time since I got the horse and it can't be any better." About his own preparations Mark said, "I've kept very fit and have worked very hard to get here, I did not make any mistakes and that's great. It's been very, very hot and I'm absolutely drenched. I suppose seven minutes in the sauna wasn't that bad!" "Eight years have slipped by very quickly and it's been a little hard to get back into gear."
Mark Todd riding Gandalf for New Zealand
Next to go was Kyle Carter riding Madison Park for Canada. The horse had a silly moment at the first halt but Kyle got him back on the job for a smooth and obedient test. Madison Park's dripping wet body was an indicator about the heat - not the best riding weather. Some resistance in the canter upset the flow of the counter canter movements. Tension was evident in this horse's mouth and the first chance was not quite active enough but correct and it was a commendable effort. Madison Park must have enjoyed his time under the spotlight as he did not want to leave the arena. The score of 63.5 makes the rest of the task difficult and sees them in 23rd position.
Kyle Carter riding Madison Park for Canada
The Ghost of Hamish and Peter Thomsen for Germany are next to go and this obedient horse and his experienced rider were very settled and competent in their work. Peter is the oldest member of the German team and got his spot when Bettina Hoy's horse Ringwood Cockatoo sustained a training injury and did not recover in time to take his place here in Hong Kong. The shoulder in and half pass sequences in trot were nicely performed from where I was sitting. The walk was relaxed with a good over-track. In the canter half passes the quarters trailed a little. But the more forward paces were bold and obedient. The German coach looks satisfied as the camera focused on his face, following Peter's ride. The score was 53.3 was the final tally of penalty points.
Peter Thomsen riding The Ghost of Hamish for Germany
Vittoria Panizzon on the elegant brown Rock Model. Bold extensions and an elegant and well maintained frame set this horse up as a real contender, judging by the first elements of their dressage test. This horse became more tense as the test progressed and became another casualty of flying changes which fell apart and they were not well balanced and through. The canter work deteriorated and brought the marks down The marks reflected the strong start and penalty points of 50.60 put them into 12 position after this session of the competition. Vittoria said after her ride, "It was not a best score but I think it was quite a fair one!"
Vittoria Panizzon on Rock Model
The USA sent out Amy Tryon on Poggio 11 and they were looking for a strong performance from this experienced horse. The first sequences of their test confirm this and is a well balanced shoulder on exactly in, exactly on three tracks ... and the same each way, were a highlight of this test. Some tension into the walk and the horse hesitated to stretch down enough for a top score. Amy is dripping - golly it is hot. The canter work is calm but the changes are not all perfectly timed. A bold extended canter got the test back on track and the score was 46.5 gives her the provisional No 1 spot - un fortunately for Amy the next rider put an end to her short time of glory. They finished in a commendable 7th place after today's first session. Amy was asked after her ride if she feels any pressure when she was announced the leader of the provisional tally, she said, "Oh gosh, no. It (the ranking) will change a hundred times between here and the jumping." She said of her horse, "I'm very happy, he tried very hard. He is a strong horse and has confirmed what he's doing." Amy commented about riding among the skyscrapers in Hong Kong and said "It was very unusual to ride among the skyscrapers but I have ridden in some odd places before!"
Amy Tryon on Poggio 11 (USA)
Aussie Clayton Fredericks is next on and Ben Along Time has been in fine form, we are looking this to carry over today. The Irish sporthorse is a fantastic mover and really commands attention in the ring. It is an obedient halt and a lovely flowing sequences of shoulder in and half passes to start. A little trip in the extended trot was not too serious but spoilt the flow slightly. A great extended walk impressed the judges on this day 1 of competition. Clayton and Ben are nicely into the canter and the changes are clean and fluid. Ben maintains a lovely frame throughout his test. The canter work is rhythmical and balanced with great changes. A brilliant extended canter - the best so far and really cements Clayton as a leader in his sport. The crowd's response says it all - this is probably the winner at this point in time. The score comes in and confirms the fact 37.0. Clayton spoke to the press following his ride and said of his performance, "You can always be better with Dressage. Making mistakes is difficult to take but the horse really tried hard and I'm really happy with him today." Clayton said that he hopes for a good individual performance but he was here for the team first. "I know I was a few marks adrift, but it is always like this with going early!" He said that he would be out there to help his wife Lucinda get a better score, I have always said that she would be my biggest competitor. If I can end with a score of 37, I will most probably be in for a medal." said Clayton.
Aussie Clayton Fredericks on Ben Along Time
Austin O'Connor and Hobby Du Mee for Ireland are next on and they have a hard act to follow. There was a little too much angle and not enough bend in the shoulder in which was more realistically a leg yield. The horse was obedient and the extended trot a highlight. This rider tilts his head and this seems to interrupt the energy and flow in many parts of this test. The quarters trailed in the canter half passes and there were problems in the first flying change. A lovely bold extended canter was a highlight of the test and they score 52.80 which puts them into 15th place so far.
Austin O'Connor and Hobby Du Mee for Ireland
The Swedish rider Katrin Norling riding Pandora are the last before the first break of the day. This is a very elegant horse but he was running and on the forehand. The trot shoulder in and half pass sequence lacked energy and this interrupted the flow of the test. There was not enough lengthening in the extended walk. The canter was a little spoiled as the horse demonstrates tension and is overbent. The counter canter begins well but the change wandered off the line and lacked expression. Altogether, the faults would have cost marks and when compared to some of the more correct tests Katrin will be a little down the leaderboard today. They accrued 52.00 penalty points and this put them into 14th place at this point in the competition.
Swedish rider Katrin Norling riding Pandora
First on after the break was Daisy Dick riding Spring Along for the United States. Daisy will be looking to add to the great start by fellow country woman Amy Tyron. They make an impressive entrance and things look good with the shoulder in and half passes, forward and flowing ...and Daisy keeps the angles in check. There is a little shy from Spring Along in the corner and this momentarily spoils the flow. The extended walk is wonderful and sets up a nice depart into the canter. The horse stiffens and balks into the first flying change - a pity for Daisy who was helpless to influence a better response from her headstrong mount. They re-group and a lovely extended canter is the result. The second change was better but the newly marked centre line seems to be the problem for this sensitive horse who was on edge in this atmosphere. The mistakes are costly when compared to a near perfect ride like Clayton's Daisy would have hoped for better. They scored 51.70 penalty points and this put them into 13th place on the provisional leaderboard. Daust was asked to comment on her ride and said "I am not satisfied. I find the horse a bit tense and he finds every flower-pot terrifying. He just got spooky but we held it together. He had this blatant error and he has never done that before. He got a bit nervous." She said, "The score of 51.50 was really frustrating, but 51 is not a nightmare." Daisy said she hoped that the team did not need her score as the plan is a team Gold. We willl do our very, very best", she said. "That is what we want."
Daisy Dick riding Spring Along for the United States
Next to go is Marcelo Tosi on Super Rocky for Brazil. They start quite well and this imposing brown gelding looks good. Perhaps the shoulder in and half passes lacked some suppleness than some of the earlier combinations were able to achieve. The horse looks very hot and sweaty - it is so hot and humid - pity for the riders in their jackets! Marcelo is unable to contain the horse's enthusiasm to jump a little too high in the first change and this would be seen as a fault to be penalised by a loss of marks. The second change was decidedly resistant and will be penalised more harshly as a kick out is unacceptable. The horse did not settle into the final halt and the score was 64.80 penalties and they finished in 24th position at the end of this session.
Marcelo Tosi on Super Rocky for Brazil
Pawel Spisak and Weriusz represent Poland at these Olympic Games. This is a lovely loose moving horse and Pawel really gives it, his all. The shoulder in and half pass sequences are nicely done and from my screen where the front view is possible he has done a pretty good job. The extended walk is tight and the transition into the canter lacks commitment. The first change was not technically incorrect but it lacked expression. This could not be said of the extended canter and the second change was great. 48.7 and 8th in the provisional tally is a pleasing result for this great combination.
Pawel Spisak riding Weriusz from Poland
Elkasar and Igor Atrohov ride for Russia and the attractive liver chestnut begins quite well. Perhaps for top marks the trot should be a little more 'fluid' and there are moment when the rider and horse seem to lack harmony. This effects the flow and quality of the trot half passes, which lost the security of bend. The extended walk did not have the marching quality that these judges would be wanting to see. There is some tail swishing in the canter and this would indicate the horse's resistance. The first flying change out of the counter canter is not quite clean and the half pass to the right in canter lost the line. It is so easy to sit and make these critical comments, in this big atmosphere he has done quite well. They score 65.2 and this was a score that put them well down in 25th position at the end of the first session of competition.
Igor Atrohov riding Elkasar for Russia
The South African Warmblood Karla is ridden by Jaroslav Hatla for The Czech Republic and this 11 YO mare showed early promise. There is too much resistance and the horse's back is tight and this brings down the quality of the shoulder in and half passes. Karla does not really want to stretch in the walk and the canter work begins quite well. Even though the counter canter is unbalanced the first change is neat and clean, indicating that the horse is listening to the rider and not too tense. The half pass at the canter, to the right was quite nice. A good result and Jaroslav should be pleased with his 15th provisional placing after this session.
Jaroslav Hatla riding Karla for The Czech Republic
Denmark's Peter Flarup is riding Silver Ray in this second session of the first day of Dressage. This is a lovely grey and makes a pretty ;picture against the grey skyscrapers. Peter's shoulder in and half pass was very nicely ridden and would score well. The horse was a little running in the extended trot and the shoulder in to the left seemed a little tighter. The walk demonstrated a nice over track and marching quality and for the first day of competition for an eventer this was a great achievement. The canter half passes were tight but Peter got the changes on the marker and correctly flowing. The final change sequence fell apart but the overall quality of the test was pleasing. They scored 53.3 and this was 17th after this morning session on the 1st day of dressage.
Peter Flarup riding Silver Ray for Denmark
The very experienced Heelan Tomkins is next to go on Sugoi and she is the second New Zealand rider for the day. The horse is quite tense in the halt and this affects the flow of the move off and turn at the end of the centre line. Sugoi is seeing monsters in the stand and Heelan is having to work hard to keep her horse's attention. The shoulder in sequences are not as secure as she would liked due to the horse's lack of attention to his rider. He gets too deep in the walk and does not over-track to the max. The tense canter depart would not be on Heelan's wish list but she got it anyway. Too many changes after the counter canter with tension and resistance interfering with the flow of most of the canter work. Heelan keeps her cool - not easy to do in this weather - and makes the most of Sugoi's obliging moments. The score for New Zealand is 55.6 and puts Heelan in 19th Provisional placing at this stage of the competition. She was asked why her horse Sugoi was so neervous and she said "You don't eve know until you are actually in the arena. You never know how the horse is going to to react and from that, the next time you go in you just become more prepared like riding him a few more times." Heelan said of her performance, "I did what I did. I am satisfied and will go on and focus on the cross country."
Heelan Tomkins on Sugoi from New Zealand
Sandra Donnelly on Buenos Aires for Canada are next to go and this lovely loose moving horse begin their test very well. He has relaxed and flowing paces and this makes the job a little easier in the tense atmosphere of an Olympic Games. The shoulder in half pass sequences are quite nicely executed but I would have liked to see a little more stretch in the walk. The quarters trailed in the first canter half pass and tension made the first flying change muddled. Sandra was ready for further resistances and she was able to keep them at bay for a much better sequence of changes as the canter work progressed. The mistakes were too numerous and were costly with a penalty score of 61.70 and this is 21st place after the first horses have competed this morning session. This gives Sandra a real challenge in the following two phases of this event.
Sandra Donnelly on Buenos Aires for Canada
Frank Ostholt and Mr Medicott are the final combination before the break and this striking chestnut Irish Sporthorse by the respected sire, Cruising and he begins with promise. Mr Medicott has a steady frame and the flow if the trot work is pleasing, and the judges will reward for this quality. The horse came above the bit into the canter but Frank did not let this spoil the flow and the canter began well. The first flying change was not clear but this part of the test seemed to on the improve. The second sequence of counter canter ended with a nice clean change and pleasing harmony between horse and rider. Frank pumps the air and confirms what I have observed - a test he was pleased with. A score of 44.60 put them up the leaderboard in 6th position after the first session this morning. Frank was asked his ride and said "I'm super satisfied. Normally the dressage part is still our worst discipline, but today it turned out better then expected." He said "Mr Medicott took offence to one of the cameras on the short side of the arena and he also noted some birds taking off. He was not totally relaxed but we could mask this quite well. We have shown what we possibly could do." Frank was one of the riders who rode in the test event for this competition and said "when you already have been somewhere and you know how it works, you can be much more relaxed."
Frank Ostholt and Mr Medicott
First back after the break is Stefano Brecciaroli and Cappa Hill for Italy. This horse has a really lovely canter which opens his test well. The trot work is flowing and he has no dramas with the counter canter and changes. The extended canter is glorious and will score well. For me this was the best overall canter and other technical difficulties detracted in the final tally of penalties. I remember this horse from Athens and he has improved greatly. They finish with penalty points of 50.00 and this is 10th after the first session.
Stefano Brecciaroli and Cappa Hill for Italy
Gina Miles and McKinlaigh make their appearance for the USA and the Irish Sporthorse gelding is another fine representative of the breed that has really captured the hearts of Eventing enthusiasts. This elegant liver chestnut showed all the qualities that the judges will be looking for and their test starts well with obedient and flowing shoulder in and half pass sequences. The walk was very nice and so too the canter depart. Gina allowed the horse to trail his quarters a little in the canter half passes but not so much as to be heavily penalised. There was a muddled moment out of the first counter canter and this affected the flow of the change. There were more mistakes in the changes but not so serious as to cause heavy penalties. This was a nice test for a score of 39.30 and third place for this United States team member. After her ride Gina was asked about her performance on McKinlaigh and she said "We did very well. We did enough in training but I didn't use up all his energy. I have been trying to break the 40 points in Dressage and this is the first time we have done it." Gina was asked about her low score for the flying changes and she said, "It was a challenge for a young horse. We have been working on it and we have got much better!"
Gina Miles and McKinlaigh for the USA
Next for Australia is Lucinda Fredericks and we have fingers and toes crossed that she can do a test up to the standard of her spouse who is the current competition leader. I was talking to the British press in the Media Centre and they predicted a great test for Lucinda on Headley Britannia. Its a power performance and Lucinda is riding for every mark that it is possible to squeeze from the judges. The transitions are brilliant and she really shows a clear difference. The walk is very nice and this little horse surprises with her scope under saddle. A wonderfully expressive flying change is nailed by Lucinda after the first counter canter and this is the place where lots of today's riders have come unstuck. More fantastic changes and I am starting to agree with what I heard said in the press room. Lucinda finishes her superb test and hugs her horse - what a girl!! She is looking like the competition leader at the moment - GO Aussies 30.4 and this combination prove the saying - The harder I work, the luckier I get - Lucinda has worked hard and today got "lucky" They are the first session leaders and cement Australia as the provisional team leaders at this point. After her sensational ride Lucinda said that Headley Britannia (Britt) has been doing 35, 34 and 32 in previous competitions and that her team mates said that 30 would be fairly good. Britt got 30 which is the best she has ever done. "The more crowd she has, the better!" said Lucinda. "She is very consistent and is a horse that you can trust completely. I am not so much thinking of medals, I just do my best performance." Lucinda was asked about her expectations of her her horse and said, "I said to Brit before, this may be the last Olympic Games, so give it all you've got ... and she did!" Lucinda said that Clayton did not give her any tips before she rode, "He just said 'good luck', but he did remind me to keep my eye on the time and go down the centre line." Lucinda also added that she thought the cross country course was very tough. "My horse is 100% fit and is suitable for the course. The test is that I don't stuff it up and take a wrong line."
Aussie Lucinda Fredericks riding Headley Britannia
Kilkishen and Geoffrey Curren for Ireland are next to go and this divinely elegant horse would be very at home in the Grand Prix Dressage ring as he has self carriage to burn. He is a little tense and this willl detract from the judges generosity. Kilkishen gets a little hollow at times and this affects the forward flow in most segments of the test. Some of the flying changes were hollow and not quite securely through. Still this was a very elegant horse and some nice moments in the test for a score of 63.50 and 22nd place on the provisional leaderboard.
Kilkishen and Geoffrey Curren for Ireland
The very experienced Linda Algotsson and Stand By Me are now in the ring for Sweden. A solid entry and onto the centre line of shoulder in and half pass which is well prepared and ridden by Linda. This horse is very steady and shows that he has learned from his vast experience at the top level. He was a little inattentive in the extended walk and did not securely stretch to the bridle. I felt that this carried over to the canter half passes and allowed some wobbly steps as Linda struggled to regain the straight lines on the centre. The extended canter up the long side was very nice and would have commanded the judges attention. Linda avoided major errors and good riding allowed a polished performance for a score of 41.5 so Linda will be pleased as this gave them 4th place in this part of the event.
Linda Algotsson riding Stand By Me for Ireland
William Fox-Pitt and Parkmore Ed are now in and representing Great Britain. William had a few scary moments at yesterdays trot up as the Ground Jury held him over while they re-inspected a swelling on the horses belly near the position of the girth. After the second vet inspection William's horse was passed without the need for a second trot up. We felt the relief of the crowd as the British hero got the right to start today. The entry and halt was marred by tense steps and the horse looked set to blow up. The very experienced and cool William, kept a lid on this and presented some pleasing trot work to the judges. The extended walk was really nice and shows that the horse is back with his rider. The canter depart and first few strides are not straight or securely into the bridle, but good riding and good training enabled William to keep things together. The extended canter was expressive and gave a glimpse of what we might see on the Beas River cross country course. The changes were well ridden but the last one before the final centre line was late behind. I am sure that William knew it was not a winning test but a good start for the three phase event. 50.20 puts a talented combination well within reach and they finished in 11th place in this part of the competition. After his ride William was asked about his performance on Parkmore Ed and he said, "It wasn't what I expected. The horse has been very lit up in the big arena and he would like to leave, basically. But it could be a lot worse. I think he picked up well and we are lucky to get 50." William was asked his opinion of the Beas River cross country course and said, "It is not easy for the horses. I am glad it is only eight minutes long."
William Fox-Pitt and Parkmore Ed representing Great Britian
Jeferson Moreira and Escudeiro - an Anglo Arab are next to go and they compete for Brazil. The elegant grey made a forward entrance and showed a lovely loose and rhythmical trot. Some hollow steps spoiled the first part of the shoulder in on the centre line and the second half pass sequence was spoilt by the horse tilting his head. The extended walk could have marched more and covered more ground but it was relaxed. The canter depart was not perfect as the horse came above the bit. Head tilting, again spoiled the counter canter and because the horse was not securely on the aids, the first flying change was messy. The extended canter was great and the second sequence of counter canter was a little better. When the horse was accepting the rider's influence, the changes were of good quality. Today's score was 55.90 and this gave a provisional placing of 20th.
Jeferson Moreira and Escudeiro from Brazil
Didier Dhennin from France was the last to go before the big break between sessions. This imposing grey Selle Francais makes an impressive entrance to stake a claim on the podium. I liked the horse's frame and self carriage and predicted from this early point that he would perform the more technical parts of the test very well. In the extended trot he became a little heavy into the contact and lost the roundness. It was nicely into the canter but the horse was not always securely on the bit and this allowed some swinging steps and head tilting. The first change evidenced this problem and was not quite clean. A great extended canter was good preparation for the next collected sequence which was better controlled by Didier. The last two changes were a good reward for this more secure contact. They scored 42.80 for 5th provisional place.
Go to Provisional Results
© Cyberhorse 2008 Berni Saunders