Hong Kong Wednesday 14th August. Team Dressage Day 1 Continued....
Following the rise in the standard of dressage from the United States we are looking for some big things from Courtney King on her black gelding Mythilus.. He is by the well credentialed Dutch Olympic stallion, Ferro. This is a lovely horse and the first halt had a slight fault with the left one hind leg left out behind, it was a small error but the demanding judges and crowd are looking for perfection. The first extended trot by is nicely done, but perhaps a slight unevenness in the way the legs moved spoilt the expression and hinted to a little tension. This horse is a magnificent black liver chestnut and he really gleams under the evening lights Hong Kong. The piaffe and passage appeared to be a little wide behind from where I was sitting but the transition into walk is nice and the horse gets into a good extended walk which covers ground in a calm and relaxed manner. Next comes more passage/piaffe and the piaffe is high-quality, on the spot and even with all four legs. It is a good quality extended canter and an obedient and expressive flying change. The horse moves into the two-time changes which are correct and expressive, perhaps they could come a little more off the ground but the quality is there. The one time changes are neat and clean even if they should cover more ground for higher scores. I felt that the changes were this horse highlight and showed us that this horse is supple and has a very compliant nature. The piaffe and passage on the centre line is well ridden and the score of ... is very pleasing and gets a great crowd response.
Courtney King (USA) on Mythilus
Oceano Do Top is next to go and with his rider Leandro Silva, they represent Brazil. This horse is a Lusitano stallion by Fiancado de Flandes. Unfortunately the halt is far from square and at this level of competition this fault will be penalised quite seriously. Disobedience of the horse spoils some early moments but the rider gets him back on track and the test then gets going quite well. Unfortunately there is far too much irregularity into the first passage/ piaffe sequence at D where I'm sitting. The horse is very wide behind the regular steps that am sure that the even the judges who don't have quite the same position will not overlook this quite serious fault and penalise accordingly. I didn't get such good view of the second piaffe and it looked a little better though I doubt that it would have been completely without spreading hind legs as that seems to be the way the horse does it. The horse moved with a clean depart to canter and onto the centre line for the counter changes of hand at the half pass. This horse maintains quite good lines even though the canter work lacks the balance and flow of the top scoring horses. The two-time changes are OK with the footfalls correct but the changes are a little tight. The one time changes are hurried and unbalanced and lack the artistry of some of the horses with more flowing movement. The canter pirouettes are nicely sitting but unfortunately these movement were rushed and this spoilt the average ... was the score.
Brazil rider Leandro Silva on Oceano Do Top
Another break and it is down to the wire.
First on in the final group is Notavel ridden by Carlos Pinto from Portugal he is another Lusitano bred horse and proves the talent of this ancient breed for the high scoring elements of the grand prix test. This gelding is by Forcado and Carlos is off to a pretty good start with a perfectly square halt which is just what the judges want to see. This gelding has a good reaching trot and opens with a very impressive extended trot across the diagonal line. Unfortunately the piaffe and passage elements are faulty with the horse swaying in a sideways movement that indicates a lack of balance and correct engagement. The horse decided to concentrate on something in the stand and this caused the extended walk to almost come to a stop and Carlos has to ride very tactfully not to lose his connection and the horse's confidence. The transition into the collected walk is cleat and this walk is active and allows for a nice transition into the canter. The horse was a little inattentive in the two ties changes but the quality was nice. The one times changes were big and of good quality but I think the judges will penalise the excessive tail swishing that spoiled the harmony. The final centre line of passage and piaffe revealed that the horse steps unevenly with his legs and this is why the spreading. This sort of irregularity is penalised at this level and the mark reflected the faults. It was a good job and great experience for this combination. They scored 61.78%
Carlos Pinto from Portugal riding Notavel
Lina Lui from China is next to go on her lovely mare Piroschka who had the home town advantage and huge crowd support. With China embracing more sporting activities and a definite feeling that dressage will expand here in Hong Kong, all eyes were on this elegant combination. Piroschka is by Piaster and we do not know any more about her lineage. Lina has a task ahead of her to keep her sensitive mare on the job in this big atmosphere and she was not helped at all by big noise which sounded like someone wheeling a noisy vehicle with hard wheels on the unlevel bricked flooring below. I am not sure if this is a valid reason for the horse's concern,. but it was something that the other competitors did not have to deal with. The trot half passes are tight and restrained. I believe that Lina kept the quarters quite well placed. The counter changes at hand in the canter were similarly flawed and the extended canter was modest. The passage and piaffe lacked power and expression and at time the piaffe was almost grounded. I feel that this combination could have done better and a combination of the pressure of millions of Chinese wishing for her to do well along with the lack of match practise would have brought the score below her personal best. They scored ...
Lina Lui from China riding Piroschka
Sweden are next to go and are represented by the stunning bay Danish bred gelding Solos Carex by Castro. He is ridden by Tinne Silfven who has changed her name since I last saw her ride. The start with a very polished entry and into an expressive extended trot. Like most of the horses we have seen today, this horse also lacked some softness and flow in the trot half passes although I felt that the one to the right was better than the left. The piaffe and passage demonstrated lovely lift and regularity and were very nicely executed. It is a very neat and convincing transition into the extended walk and the horse stretched down and marched across the short diagonal paying particularly attention to his rider in a way that made Tinne's job a little easier to do. We know that all of these horses can do Grand Prix dressage, it is a question of them being submissive and listening to the rider's requests. The canter depart was of good quality but the canter lost some energy and for me this affected the counter changes of hand. The energy level was restored and the horse did a very nice, bright and enthusiastic extended canter on the diagonal line. Unfortunately the first of the two times changes was incorrect but this experienced rider got the horse back on track and then proceed to show big and correct changes in one times sequence. The first canter pirouette lacked a little lift and expression but there were no mistakes. The second was of similar quality. The final extended trot was lovely but the centre line of piaffe and passage showed the judges some snatching steps and this would have lost a few marks for them. The score of 66.042 is a good result from very lovely horse.
Tinne Silfven (Sweden) riding Solos Carex
Korean rider Junsang Choi was riding a very good quality horse with elegance and talent to burn. Cinque Cento is a bay Holsteiner gelding by Cambridge and he really commanded as he entered the very brightly lit arena. The test starts very well and the extended trot is expressive and very well ridden. The wheels fall off a little and the half passes in the trot are probably the tightest the tightest I have observed from my angle - I am on the side line and this is not the best view for a fool proof assessment. The rider gets things back together and the second extended trot is proof that this horse is with him again. They progress into the piaffe and passage sequences but there are quite a few problem with regularity and resistance. The move on to a very nice walk transition and the extended walk shows a good marching quality. The passage and piaffe that follows the walk is similar to the first sequence and this is costly with all of the co-efficients that are also affected. The canter changes looked very nice from my angle and I think they would have scored quite well although this horse often drops behind the vertical and contact problems are always penalised a quite serious fault. Tightness and resistance caused a few mistakes in the two times changes and the ones were also faulty. The canter pirouettes lack adequate preparation and lost the quality. The Korean rider scores 57.333% but there is a lot of room for improvement and the talent to do it.
Korean rider Junsang Choi on Cinque Cento
There is an air of expectation as the next horse enters the ring. It is the magnificent Lancet who is ridden by Emma Hindle for Great Britain.. This is another Hanoverian and cements the dominance of this stud book at top international level. Lancet is a stallion by Wenzel 1 and he competed at top company before he went on to partner Emma. Lancet is solid in his work and maintains a wonderful frame in the first trot sequences of his test. As has been a frequent comment - he could have been more fluid and loose in the trot half passes - but this is very difficult and now often seen. The lateral work was well maintained and Emma kept the bend and it appeared very accurate. The piaffe and passage movement was certainly up with the best of them with good ground cover and regularity. The walk transition was lovely and the walk really stretches and covers ground. The second piaffe and passage is well done and the canter transition is big and expressive. From the limited view on the side the canter changes of hand could have flowed more but the transitions into and out of the extended canter are nicely ridden and would have scored well. I will add that perhaps it was too much of a good thing as Emma came back from the final extended canter as the transition at F was abrupt and lost the flow. This is small criticism and I enjoyed the fact that Emma was riding for the big scores. Back to the canter work ... the two time changes were nicely done but for a perfect score would need to cover more ground. The judges like what they're seeing that the score is a averaging at around 70% of the moment. The one time changes are of good quality and obediently jump through in correct steps. Lancet's first canter pirouette is very nicely done and he really keeps the beat well timed. He is on the aids and under control and demonstrated a high standard of dressage to leap forward into second place on 71.125 %
Emma Hindle for Great Britain riding Lancet
Mieko Yagi is the second team rider for Japan and she rides the elegant gelding Dow Jones. He probably cost as much as a significant investment on the stock exchange and is therefore appropriately named. The brown/black is of Oldenberger decent and by Primero. It is interesting to see the bloodlines of the good horses and realise that their success is no co-incidence it is good planning by the breeders who have tracked and recorded the winning families. This combination get off to quite a good start but the horse was not always 100% secure on the aids and this causes him to lose the security into the bridle and confidence in his job. As the work progressed, the contact problems meant that the piaffe and passage sequences were difficult to keep up to the highest standard and the horse became irregular and showed swinging steps. However was a nice depart into the extended walk which is of high quality and marched across a diagonal line well. The persistent lack of security into the bridle allowed some faulty moments in the two time changes. The rider held the one time changes together well as there were moments when I predicted some issue due to the horse tightening his frame and losing the quality of the canter. The first canter pirouette lacks bend and flow but the rider did a quite good job to keep it going. I felt that the second canter was not around the riders inside leg and therefore was not really correctly bent, notwithstanding the rider did a pretty good job. There was a lot to like about the test and Dow Jones is a good quality horse with a big future. The marks varied from 62.00 down to 57.00 and this range confirms that the combination have a good future.
Mieko Yagi for Japan riding Dow Jones
Pierluigi Sangiorgi and Flourian and the second last combination to go for the evening and this horse is by the stallion Savoy. This is a very elegant horse and it is a good start for Pierluigi. The horse became tight in the trot half passes and the one to the left is worse than the other from the angle that I can see it. It is a very nice extended trot and the horse shows great potential as he moves into the passage and piaffe but they are impaired when the horse loses his self carriage and ease of movement. . It is a nice clean depart into canter at B and I was hoping to see similar freedom of his movement as the horse comes up on to the centre line and into the counter changes of hand at the half pass. Unfortunately he does get tight and the marks will reflect this. The two time changes are big and correct they will have impressed the judges with the quality. In the one, the canter itself was tense and tight. On the centre line the horse approaches the canter pirouettes and I feel that the canter is not good enough, so the pirouettes lacked the flow and jump and tends to bring down the at the average significantly. The final centre line of the passage is really nicely done and the horse sits in the piaffe but possibly comes a little base narrow. This shows some tension and lack of balance. but the test is nicely ridden and pleasing.
Pierluigi Sangiorgi and Flourian
Next to go is a special personal thrill as I have followed the career of Hayley Beresford ever since she came to Melbourne to take part in a National rider event and rode a horse that I had owned. Hayley won the big event and has gone on to carve a name for herself as a great rider and outstanding horsewoman. Hayley won the Bates Saddles award for the best rider at the 2001 Dressage With the Stars and really impressed the visiting riding judge Michael Klimke, with her talent and skill. Hayley has worked hard to carve out an international riding career for herself and has been based with German Champion Isabell Werth, for the past two years.
Hayley is another Olympian mounted on a Lusitano stallion and Relampago is a very capable example of the breed ... and by Luar. I am feeling the excitement that Hayley would be experiencing here, at her first Olympic Games and she gives the opening trot work her best shot to impress the judges. It is a great extended trot - no wonder Hayley's been doing so well - this is a lovely little horse. The move on to the trot half passes and they also have difficulty showing the ideal bend and flow that the judges would like to see for top marks. Relampago swings a little in the piaffe but Hayley keeps him settled and does a pretty good job in this demanding segment of the test. The stallion steps nicely into the extended walk but it is a little hurried and this probably isn't his best pace. For a big mark the walk needs to be more marching and ground covering. It is a very obedient transition into the passage and this will score well. Hayley steps into lovely canter at B and then onto the centre line, to the counter changes which follow a convincing extended canter. Hayley moves onto the diagonal line in two time changes which are perhaps a little bit hurried that she keeps together and performs a nice big diagonal line of one time changes. Hayley keeps them correct and shows the benefit of her work with Isabel. The first canter pirouette is a little big and the horse tightened a little and this interfered with balance and flow of the last few strides. Like most Hayley was not able to produce her personal best, but it was a great performance and gives Australia a wonderful base for improvement. The strong Aussie contingent appreciated Hayley's test that earned 65.583. We now have to wait for Kristy and hope that she can pull off one of her magical rides or better still a PB.
Australian rider Hayley Beresford on Relampago
Tomorrow night is the second heat of the Grand Prix Teams event (really it is later today as it was after midnight that things finished here)
Results after Day 1:
Dressage Team Grand Prix Day 1
Dressage Individual Grand Prix Day 1
© Cyberhorse 2008 Jenny Barnes