Hong Kong Sunday 10th August. Eventing Dressage Day 2
Another 6.30, early morning start and those who are on early probably thank the opportunity to avoid the worst of the sultry conditions that are part and parcel of the typhoon season in Hong Kong. As was the case yesterday, New Zealand are the 'first cab off the rank' Joe Meyer and Snip getting this final stage of the eventing dressage off to a start. Yesterday Mark Todd drew the time for the first ride.
Snip began quite well and finished on 43.90 which gave them 19th place at this stage.
The second horse out is Livewire and Samantha Taylor from Canada. Like so many horses on the Olympic program, there is no breeding information for Livewire. I am sure that I am not the only person interested in these facts and figures. Live wire is an attractive and athletic grey and her test was disappointing with too many mistakes and resistances they went home with 70.70 penalty points and this gave them 66th position at the end of phase 1.
Next to go is a rider with an excellent pedigree for the job at hand. Germany's Ingrid Klimke rides Abraxxas, a Hanoverian gelding with some thoroughbred infusion. Ingrid is one of the top fancied riders at this event and is no stranger to preparing for her best in top company. As could be predicted Ingrid did a superb test. Being the daughter of the former Olympic and European Champion dressage rider, Ingrid would have grown up having dressage for breakfast. Abraxxxas is a beautiful type and a credit to his Hanoverian breeding. They finished the first part of the competition in third place with 33.50 penalties.
Italy's Susanna Bordone rides the 2002 World Equestrian Games horse of Pillip Dutton, when he rode for Australia. Phillip rides at this event for the USA riding Connaught. Ava was know to us as Belcam Ava and is by the very successful stallion Aachen (Argentinus) who was exported back to Germany to take up a Showjumping career after standing at stud in Australia. Susanne has partnered this fantastic mare for some time and also took part at the Athens Olympics. Ava did a very solid test and Susanne would have been delighted with their eighth finish with 37.80 penalty points to their score.
Karen O'Connor is next to go for the USA and I know that many will wish her the very best of luck knowing that she needs a lucky break following the sad loss of her wonderful pony Theodore O'Connor who shattered a hind leg just 50 days before the announcement of the American team. He was a certain inclusion as the 14.1 hand power pack was almost unbeaten in the lead up events for these Games. Karen's horse was named the reserve and got his place when there was a withdrawal due to injury. Mandibo is only 9 years of age and while he has won enough to earn his place, he lacks the years of experience that is behind some of the more seasoned competitors. This horse was well ridden for a test that pleased the judges and left him with 41.90 penalties and within reach in 16th place.
Australia's Sonja Johnson is next on and we all know that Sonja and Ringwould Jaguar have the talent and determination to do well. Sonja has had several years on top and is well fancied to finish with a good dressage score. Sonja has had to put her farming activities on hold to train and spend time away from her home in Western Australia to be in the Eastern states to contest the 2008 qualifying events. They start their test well and many who know the horse who was lovingly referred to by Sonja as her "little black duck" did a very good test with 45.20 penalties and 23rd place after the first day.
Sonja Johnson (AUS) during the trot -up with Ringwould Jaguar
For Ireland, Patricia Ryan and Fernhill Clover Mist are next out and this Irish Sport horse is very typical of his breed. This elegant bay gelding did not settle and work at the level his qualification to this event confirms that he can and so his rider would be very disappointed - she has it all ahead of her now and today they had 78.70 penalties and this was 68th place.
Sweden's Magnus Gallerdal riding Keymaster is the final horse before the first break. He is cleverly named as his sire is Eighty Eight Keys. With this number of keys in the family, he is sure to be a master. The dressage is lacking the polish of some and leaves Magnus having accrued 54.60 penalties and a dressage finish in 48th place.
The first break sees the weather getting warmer. It is very misty and we are all thankful that the sun does not burst through the overcast skies as it would be 120 degrees! Sharon Hunt and Tankers Town are in the ring for Great Britain and she nails a very fluent test with a lot to like. The judges agree with this assessment and she goes away with 43.50 and this puts her in 18th place. A win is not really likely but Sharon could work her way up to a team medal.
The Brazilian combination of Land Heir and Andre Paro are next out and this finer type of horse with Anglo Arab (by Land Ritter) listed in the program information. They are not able to show the fluency, bend and flow of some of the earlier competitors and the test leaves them with 59.60 penalties and 57th place.
The French are very optimistic about their chances here in Hong Kong and come looking to defend their team Gold from Athens. The team competition does put a lot of pressure on riders and Eric Vigeanel on Coronado Prior will be looking to give his personal best following the shock withdrawal of his French team mate The French Anglo Arab has an enviable reputation as a superb sporthorse and this gelding certainly looks the part. There were some errors and a lack of harmony in some parts which was evidenced by the horse pigrooting in a part of the test and this gave penalties of 53.00 and a place after day 1 of 44th.
Belarus is represented by Alena Tseliapushkina riding her horse Passat. He seems to have a mixture of Warmblood in his pedigree with a very desirable splash of Trakehner blood. Passat would be very at home in the dressage ring and has superb knee and hock action. Unfortunately he spun at the beginning of his test and would not go forward from the leg. It is very difficult to recover from this and Alena did a good job. It was easy to hear the sympathy in the crowd and I had hoped that this might inspire something special. Unfortunately Passat was not really on the aids and many segments of this test reflected this. They ended with a score of 77.40 penalties and 67 place. Alena will be looking to improve her scores on cross country day.
The sole Eventing competitor for The Netherlands will be looking to piggy back on the success of the Dressage team. Tim Lips rides the magnificent Oncarlos - a Dutch Warmblood and they make a very elegant combination. Unfortunately the horse broke in the first extended trot and this upset the flow of the centreline shoulder in and half pass. Tim recovered quite well but this error probably reflected that the horse was not quite on the aids throughout. They scored 52.60 to finish 41.
For Switzerland is the tiny rider Tiziana Realini who rides Gamour are next in this part of the event. Their test is really forward and there were no real errors. I felt that it might have scored more so perhaps there was something from the close front on angle that was not so evident from up in the media position. 48.80 was the final penalty score and this gave 28th ranking after this section.
Tiziana Realini rides Gamour for Switzerland
Joris van Springel and Bold Action are next out for Belgium and this horse carries the respected XX in his pedigree. For many the TB horse is the backbone of this sport and cannot be bettered. Many of the world's best have at least a splash of TB in their ancestry. This is a lovely loose moving horse and from my view the rider really nails the shoulder in and half passes at the trot - the side line view is not always 100% with the judges opinion on the short end but I felt that the test started well. The rider did a good job to keep the horse on the job and in front of the leg as he did get spooky and wanted to back away from the things that seemed threatening. A fair score but maybe disappointing for this pair. 52 penalty points put him into 38th place and too far away from the horses now in contention.
Joris van Springel and Bold Action (Belgium)
New Zealand team member Caroline Powell and Lenamore are next in to contest a team medal for her country. Lenamore is an Irish Sport Horse and he has Sea Crest in his pedigree. This grey gelding impressed with his super engaged hind legs and the expression of movement when he was at his best. Unfortunately, he became too deep in some parts of the test and this revealed a problem in the acceptance of the bridle. The quality of the canter was lovely, but the changes were not really on the aids and became muddled. They finished with 48 penalty points and this saw them finish the day in 26th place.
New Zealand rider Caroline Powell and Lenamore
Canadian Mike Winter is the last rider before a break and he rides King Pin - another Irish Sport Horse with Furisto on the pedigree page. Unfortunately there was some resistance in the first trot section of the test as the rider asked for a transition back to a collected trot. I am pretty sure it was not disobedience and was more likely to be the horse paying attention to something out there in the spectator area. He did this again when asked to canter from the walk and got a wrong depart. Mike would have been disappointed as the horse has a lot of scope and they came away with 48.9 penalty points and this gave them 28th place.
Canadian Mike Winter rides King Pin
We are now in the countdown to be able to see which combinations will take their country's to team glory. Naturally, I have a strong interest in the Aussies but we have seen many commendable performances and based on hard work and effort everyone here would deserve a medal. Germany's Andreas Dibowski is first on in the final group and he rides Butts Leon a Hanoverian gelding with Heraldik on a line of the pedigree. They look good and it was clear that sound basic training carried this combination to a good score. The horse was very securely on to the aids and the test was smooth and obedient as a result. They came away with 39.60 penalty points and this put them within reach of the leaders and in 11th place.
Germany's Andreas Dibowski rides Butts Leon
Italian rider Roberto Rotatori on Irham de Viages is next and this Selle Francais is the type that we expect to see in winner's circles. He is a magnificent type and has talent to burn. A highlight of this test was the outstanding walk and overall obedience. Selle Francais horses have that special quality that seems to combine the best of the warmblood and thoroughbred and this horse was a very nice example of this mix. We also saw a wonderful extended canter with power and expression. The few little errors and this combination could have been in the meddle hunt with a more consistent test.
Italian rider Roberto Rotatori on Irham de Viages
Former Australian rider who now represents the USA is next out on Connaught - another very scopey Irish Sport Horse gelding and this time by Bally Simon. Phillip is known for his winning abilities and is certainly one to fear in this event. They start well and Connaught is a beautiful and scopey type. The trot work was lovely and showed all of the qualities that are available in a situation where self carriage and engagement are present. Unfortunately things fell apart a little for Phillip and the first flying change was not of high quality. The following changes could probably be described as less than perfect without being seriously faulty. Phillip finished within reach with 40.60 penalty points and in 14th position.
Phillip Dutton (USA) riding Connaught
Phillip's ormer team mate and still wearing the Aussie flag on his saddle blanket is Shane Rose riding All Luck. Shane will be looking for all the luck he can muster but at the end of the day he must rely on the hard work and good training that goes into his first Olympic ride. He certainly looks the part to give his team mates a chance to regain their Gold Medal from Sydney as he steps into the ring. The horse looks fantastic ... and we have fingers and toes crossed as he sets of for the ride of his life.
Shane Rose riding All Luck
The first part of the test is positive and forward and everything looks great. Unfortunately at C right in front of the judges (in particular the centre line judge Martin Plewa from Germany, All Luck decides to 'chuck a wobbly' and gives everyone the ides that he had a flea in his ear. His carriage became very tense and his head held to one side. He became very agitated and resistant and took half the distance of the arena and I am sure that Shane's normally positive approach to everything he does would have been challenged. He did very well to keep in touch with his goal to do his best and work to make the most of the situation. Shane did get the horse back on track but the last 2/3rds of the test lacked the promise of the warm-up opening steps. They took away 53.30 penalty points and finished this segment in 46th place. Very disappointing for all of us Aussies who were there to cheer him on.
Seasoned combination from Ireland - Niall Griffin and Lorgaine are next out and experience and good form coming to the Olympics mean that this talented combination were respected by all. The very fit Irish Sport Horse starts well but shows some moments of tension, particularly in the walk which loses rhythm and the marching quality the judges will be looking to see. They finish in 35th place with 50.60 penalties.
Niall Griffin (Ireland) and Lorgaine
Dag Albert from Sweden rides Tubber Rebel - yet another Irish Sport Horse and Dag has a wealth of experience to draw on as he rides through the entrance at A, unfortunately the horse did not take this into account and was very reluctant to travel up the centre line. Albert demanded more obedience to the forward aids and this caused Tubber Rebel to break in the medium trot. I am sure the rider was thinking of too much and made an error of course - this seems silly, but very easily done in a high pressure situation. The test was not as flowing due to the tension and the final centre ling and halt were not so well done as the horse trotted into the halt. They took away 65.60 penalty points and this meant 65 place - so disappointing for all connections.
Dag Albert from Sweden rides Tubber Rebel
Mary King is a crowd favourite and a household sporting hero in her homeland - Great Britain. Mary has been associated with the sport of Eventing for many years and knows how to stay cool and give her best. Her horse Call Again Cavalier is as tall and elegant as his rider and showed that the Brits are in good hands with this combination. Nerves are always a consideration and Mary pushed out the impulsion in the shoulder in on the centre line and the horse broke into the canter momentarily. For me, the canter changes were a little tight but the judges seemed to be prepared to reward the horse's obedience. Mary finished with a good result and 38.10 and 9th position - so it was a very happy Mary that spoke to reporters after her test.
Mary King from Great Britian riding Call Again Cavalier
The last competitor is Jean Renaud Adde who rides for France aboard his lovely horse Halston D'Elpegre. The schedule does not give anything away, but I am suspecting this fellow is another Selle Francais as they are such lovely types and very suited to the demands of the three disciplines that make a good eventer. Jean Renaud enters the arena and the hopes of France rest on his ride. The trot work was nicely executed but tension spoiled the harmony and understanding between horse and rider and the first flying change was late behind. The following changes were not really faulty but they lack the quality and expression that demands the high scores. They finished the eventing dressage competition with penalty points of 56.90 and this put them into 53rd place.
Jean Renaud Adde who rides for France and Halston D'Elpegre
Click below for final results after Dressage:
© Cyberhorse 2008 Berni Saunders