Hong Kong Saturday 9th August. Eventing Dressage Day 1, Session 2
The evening session starts at 7.15 in the evening and is the middle session of three for the Eventing Dressage. The lighting here in the main stadium is simply fantastic and makes for great photos. Interestingly, it is better than the Hong Kong daylight at this mirky time of the year. A combination of humid haze and smog make for poor daytime visibility. Speaking of photos, most photographers have experienced problems with the lenses of the camera fogging up - it is very difficult if the camera is indoors in the air conditioning and then it goes out in the heat the condensation prevents the camera operating correctly.
The Chinese people from Hong Kong have been wonderful hosts for their part in the Beijing Olympics and the have given everyone a great welcome and have been on hand to help with transport, directions and other things that visitors might need.
This is how I saw the middle session of the Eventing Dressage.
Viachaslau Poita from Belarus is first to go and the program does not tell us anything about his horse's breeding. A nice forward test but perhaps not quite secure enough on the aids. This horse has a lovely walk and this pace was a highlight. Tension into the canter spoiled the depart. The horse became tense into the first change so it was not done well. He was not well engaged with the hind legs and the quarters swung in the counter In the second counter canter the horse stopped. The changes were not well done so the technical scores were adversely affected. They scored 59.10.
Lago Rupanco ridden by Sergio Iturriaga from Chile is next and carries the hoped and dreams of his country following the failure of team mate's horse to get through the vet inspection on Thursday afternoon. This is a Selle Francais and the horse canters from the first halt instead of trotting. This highlights the tension and his reaction to the atmosphere. The rider did not plait the horse's mane or forelock. The walk fails to cover enough ground and the transition to canter was a little earthbound. There was some trot in the counter canter so it was impossible to show a correct flying change. Too many mistakes in this test for a serious chance. The score was The rider's face on the TV screen told the tale ... the score was 63.00 penalty points and I am sure this was disappointing.
Sergio Iturriaga riding Lago Rupanco from Chile
Before I do It ridden by Samantha Albert for Jamaica is next to go and this mare does not have any breeding details listed. Tension was evident as the horse moved with shortened steps but Samantha kept it together and did quite a nice job in the shoulder in and half pass sequences at the trot. The horse has a lovely walk but it was not a secure canter transition. The changes were not of high quality but they were better than some, however the final change was late behind. It was a great effort from a rider with limited opportunities in her home land. They score 56.30
Samantha Albert riding Before I do It for Jamaica
Alex Hua Tian riding Chico will come in as the home crowd favourite at these games. He rides for China and is there first ever competitor in the Olympic Eventing. Chico is an Anglo Arab by Carrlus 1. There are some problems with the horse shying and unwilling to go forward and commence the trot shoulder in and half pass movements. It was well ridden by the young Chinese competitor - but a disappointment. His turnout was terrific with black stars on the rump of his light coloured horse. It is a pretty good job and I am sure that the crowd support would have been a big factor. The changes were a little tight but no real errors. A score of 49.60 was a terrific effort for the tall Chinese rider.
Alex Hua Tian riding Chico from China
Following his ride their was a pretty serious issue of crowd control in the media stand as a scuffle broke out in what seemed to be a human rights protest by some Chinese people.
New Zealand's Andrew Nicholson has a very good pedigree for success at this event and tonight he rides Lord Killinghurst by Sulaafah with no further information about his pedigree. This horse looks very fit and it is a fluent start for the Kiwi rider. There is a little resistance in the shoulder in on the centre line. This horse has a lovely walk and is prepared to stretch and march. The horse steps into the canter safely, but the quarters trail a little in the half passes. The changes were well executed and would have preserved a pretty good average. They scored 44.60
New Zealand's Andrew Nicholson rides Lord Killinghurst
Canada's Selena O'Hanlon rides her Swedish Warmblood gelding Colombo this evening and this horse is another by Eighty Eight Keys (as is Keymaster) Selena has a lovely beaming smile and this is nice to see. This is a lovely horse but he appears to be a little reluctant to move forward off the leg and eyecatching energy was hard to achieve. The walk is nice and Selena does a nice job with the canter segments of the test. The collection was not there to be sure of straight clean changes and today the straightness suffered. It was a nice test and scored 44.10 so Selena was very happy with this.
Canada's Selena O'Hanlon rides Colombo
Hinrich Romeike riding the wonderful Marius is next to go and this horse is a seasoned performer at the top level of the sport. It is clear that Hinrich is not so much about show and more about performance as this horse has a hogged mane. This combination was on the ill fated German team who lost the team Gold medal in Athens in 2006 when their star performer Bettina Hoy was disqualified for crossing the start line twice in her showjumping round. It was a bitter disappointment for Germany and robbed Hinrich of a Team Gold. Marius is a Holsteiner with an infusion of TB through the Condrieu line. This dressage test began in fine fashion with an excellent extended trot. The shoulder in and half pass at the trot were well ridden with a flowing trot and good angles. The transition into the extended walk was very well ridden.and the quality of the walk was outstanding. The canter starts in a good way for maximum marks perhaps the first flying change was not absolutely perfect but no real error. The subsequent changes were very nice and cemented this as one of the really outstanding performances of the day. They score 37.8 and are hot on the heels of the Aussies. This will put some pressure on the Aussies to follow.
Hinrich Romeike riding Marius
There is another break and first back is Fabio Magni and Southern King V, a Warmblood bred in Belgium with Bayard D'Elle mentioned as a close relative. The test starts nicely and this is a forward moving horse with lots of presence. The shoulder in and half passes are well executed. The extended trot would have scored well. The video footage available at the media work stations is great and very much appreciated by all of the reporters as it gives a birds eye view from all positions. Fabio lost the quarters in the half passes at canter. The changes were slightly crooked. and tension affected some of the canter work which would be costly. They scored 49.60.
Fabio Magni and Southern King V
Next in this contest is Rebecca Holder on Courageous Comet by Comet Shine and this combination represents the USA who had a fantastic first session earlier in the day. This is a very loose moving and impressive grey and his work seems set to impress. It is good quality trot work although perhaps the extension was slightly running. The walk was nice perhaps a little deduction as he anticipated the canter and this interrupted the flow. This horse has a really super canter and lovely expressive changes, he showed nice bend in the canter half passes which pushed up the percentage score. This was a very nice test and the crowd appreciated what Rebecca was able to put together in the hot Hog Kong conditions. A great result for the USA 35.7and this moves Rebecca up to second place on the provisional tally and makes a hard act to follow for Megan.
Rebecca Holder on Courageous Comet (USA)
Australia's Megan Jones on Irish Jester is next and she has very big shoes to fill following the provisional leaderboard performances from her team-mates Lucinda and Clayton Fredericks earlier today. All of the riders have approached this event as a team and Megan will be hoping for a great ride which keeps our team on top at the completion of the dressage. Most Australians know her horse as Kirby Park Irish Jester but the Olympics prevents sponsorship and commercial messages so the name of Megan's horse is now minus her stud prefix. Megan breeds Irish horses at her Kirby Park stud in Hahndorf South Australia and has planned the matings of most of her successful eventers. Megan rode the test of her life and hid any nerves that she might have had, so much depends on this few minites and her wonderful grey seems to know what they need to do. What a walk - wow!!! They move nicely into the canter and this will impress the judges who have seen many tense horses which failed to show a consistent rhythm. Megan lost the quarters a little in the canter half passes, but the counter canter was well done and the first change big and correct. The second canter half pass was better and the extended canter was really well done. Megan nails the next change - good girl we say. The test is flowing and smooth and we draw breath and wait It seems like forever but there is room for optimism as her scores look good. 35.4 is a great result and she is in 2nd place so Team Australia is again in the lead.
Australia's Megan Jones and Irish Jester
Louise Lyons and Watership Down are next to go for Ireland and as could be expected this is an Irish Sport Horse of which we are seeing many take part at these Olympics. He is a lovely big horse did some good work but lacked security in the canter which meant that the changes were rushed and not quite clean. A score of 57.4 is a good reflection of the quality of this test even though the rider will be disappoointed.
Louise Lyons riding Watership Down for Ireland
Sweden's Viktoria Carlerback rode the Swedish bred gelding Bally's Geronimo and this horse defines the trend in the sport for horses to have a portion of Warmblood/cold blood in their pedigree to give a better chance at a calm dressage test without detracting from the fleet footedness and bravery of the thoroughbred. This is a nice horse and the opening segments of the test are well executed. Some head tilting in the trot shoulder in and half passes will detract from the final percentage. This horse has a lovely walk and steps nicely into the canter to commence this technical part of the test. The changes shortened a little but were essentially correct. The final score was 46.5 gave them a mid field finish
Sweden's Viktoria Carlerback riding Bally's Geronimo
Great Britain's Kristina Cook on Miners Frolic are last before a break and they have many fans in the crowd. Another very fit looking horse with loose and flowing movement. The trot half passes might have been a little more forward for a 10 but they were obedient and basically correct. A nice walk and canter depart but the half passes saw the quarters trailing a little, but Kristina did correct this. The second sequence was much better from the TV view. It was a bold and pleasing performance and the crowd acknowledged Kristina's great ride. The penalty score was 40.20 sees them finish in 13th place so it is great team effort for Great Britain.
Great Britain's Kristina Cook on Miners Frolic
First back after the break was Saulo Tristao riding Totsie and they represent Brazil. Totsie is a mare and we did not get any details about her breeding. We have been entertained by some amazing examples of the many different sorts of martial arts practised in China and have a following here in Hong Kong. The Brazilian horse has a hard act to follow as the crowd really got into the local entertainment. The liver chestnut mare is very tense and she breaks in the early trot work. This is a very difficult position for the rider and Saulo does a commendable job. The trot half passes do not get going but I can see that the rider dares not push the point, for fear of a blow up. There are some spectacular rears in the walk and Saulo would have been relieved to be in the canter where he could take more control. The work never quite recovers and there seems to be big trouble brewing in each stride. There are mistakes in the changes and his experience would be every riders nightmare. It is such a shame to have things fall apart this badly in front of the eyes of millions. Sometimes horses are unfair and this was one of those times. The score was 78.5 penalty points so very disappointing for a young rider having his first Olympic experience.
Saulo Tristao riding Totsie for Brazil
The hopes for France were riding on Nicolas and his magnificent Grey Selle Francais gelding Galan de Sauvagere (who some say if the best event horse in the world) and they came into the Olympics with a great record and great expectations. Nicolas had had a wonderful career with this grey who won at International level. It was not to be in Beijing 2008 as Nicholas Touzaint was a late withdrawal after he advised that his horse was not right. I understand the horse fell in the stable and the seriousness of the incident was not apparent at this time. Nicholas recognised the tragedy in the warmup ring.
The Russian combination Valery Martyshev and Kinzhal are next out and will be looking for a personal best tonight. Again I cannot make out the breeding history of this horse and so an interesting aspect is missing. It is commonly known that there are some interesting and outstanding horses bred in this part of the world so we might see something special. This horse is very hot and sweaty and bothered by the conditions. The test begins quite well, even though the horse was not in self carriage or collected enough to gain top marks for the shoulder in or half pass sequences in this test. There is a few jogging steps in the walk which indicated an anticipation about the canter depart. The horse is too long and low for good secure changes off the counter and he jumps with the hind legs almost together. All of the changes were similarly flawed and this is costly. They scored 64.40 Penalty points.
Valery Martyshev and Kinzhal from Russia
Poland's Artur Spolowicz on his horse Wag are the next competitors in this second round of the eventing Dressage. This horse was bred in Artur's homeland and has some TB in his blood. The horse was not round enough or collected and this affected his steadiness and the correct presentation of most of the trot work. The canter was a little better but the horse was well before the marker with the change as he knew it was coming and anticipated. The test was mostly obedient, but not the quality to challenge the leaders. The penalty score was 57.00
Poland's Artur Spolowicz on Wag
Gorgeous George and Yoshiaki Oiwa from Japan are next out and Yoshiaki's trainer and coach Bettina Hoy will be somewhere close by to assist with last minute preparations for this big occasion. This rider is the youngest competitor in this event and will draw on Bettina's vast knowledge to bridge the gaps in his own experience. The program does not give us much information about the horse but it is a very nice start in the trot work and the scopey grey shows some nice work. The bend in both trot half passes is much better than some we have seen. There was resistance into canter and these lacked flow and bend. He was strung out in the canter but still managed to present nice quality changes. Bettina watched on and smiled, she is pleased. Penalty score of 52.40 is a pretty good result.
Gorgeous George and Yoshiaki Oiwa from Japan
Austria's Harald Ambros and Quick are next up and begin their test very well with a forward and positive sequence in the trot. Tension interrupted the walk and there were a few jogging steps. The canter depart was quite nice but the half passes lost bend and fluidity. The counter canter was tight and the changes restrained. The horse opened into a nice extended canter but I do not think it was good enough to earn back lost marks. Harald and Quick finished with 55.70 penalty points.
Austria's Harald Ambros and Quick
From Belgium is Karin Donckers on the Swiss Warmblood gelding Gazelle De La Brasserie are the final competitors in this evenings session. Karen is no stranger to big events and has had vast experience to back up her preparation for this event. Karen really put the trot work together and this flowed well. The canter t work was very nice over all even though I felt that it was not quite the same each way. Karin rode very well and I felt that she really showed a clear difference in the collected and extended paces with clear smooth transitions between. The flying changes were of high quality and the penalty points which come up on the board brings a very enthusiastic round of applause from some areas in the crowd. 31.70 and this puts her into second place individually.
Karin Donckers on Gazelle De La Brasserie for Belgium
Final session report will follow shortly....
Sonja Johnson from Australia rode a neat test with no real faults. Ringwould Jaguar appeared to try his heart out and we were very proud of them. The score was 45.20 Penalty Points and this puts Sonja into 23rd place individually.
Not such a good ride for Shane Rose on All Luck. Today the luck was not with him. His test started really well and the brown gelding looked the best I have ever seen him. However, in the early part of the test during the trot work, All Luck became very agitated and started throwing his head in the air, threatening to rear. Shane was helpless to do much except be patient and wait for the moment to pass. All Luck was holding his ear in an unusual way and I am wondering if he was troubled by an insect or something like this. Later in the test there were a couple more shorter moments of resistance. These were taken into account by the judges and put Shane right out of the race today. Such a pity, but we ere able to discard the two scores for today and still end up on top after phase one. Shane and All Luck finished on 53.30 penalty points and 46th individually in these provisional standings.
Click below for results after 2nd session of Dressage:
© Cyberhorse 2008 Berni Saunders