Thirty more equestrian athletes got their Olympic campaigns underway today as the dressage competition kicked-off at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deodoro this morning with the first day of the Grand Prix dressage competition.
Making his Olympic debut, the first Great Britain team rider into the arena, Spencer Wilton with Jennifer Goodman’s Super Nova II, produced a lovely test in an atmospheric stadium after a slight spook on the way in, with highlights coming through the flying changes and passage, to see sevens and eights flash up on the scoreboard. A total score of 72.686% was awarded, which was met by cheers from the British supporters.
Spencer commented; “I had a fantastic warm-up, probably one of the best I’ve had, I was really looking forward to it and then unfortunately he [Super Nova II] just had a little fright just before he started. He just had a little moment which unnerved him. I did get the feeling that as the test went on he relaxed and I relaxed and we did get into it. I’m very pleased.”
With only two riders for the teams competing on each day of the Grand Prix, the afternoon welcomed the arrival of the second British athlete making their Olympic debut, Fiona Bigwood with the talented Orthilia, owned by Penny Bigwood and Neils and Lis Dahl. Entering the arena with supreme confidence, the pair produced a superb test, with eights awarded in the extended trot work and through the passage.
Scoring 77.157%, a delighted Fiona said; “I am so over the moon. Going over that last centre line, they all said afterwards that they [Carl and her husband Anders] were saying on the last extended trot, ‘I bet she goes for it now’, and when I came round that corner I thought I’ve got nothing to lose and just went for it. I love that horse, I was very emotional afterwards and had to go and give her a big hug because of how good she was. Everyone’s here, I’ve got my mother-in-law and my mum here looking after the kids; for them to be here living and seeing it is fantastic.”
At the end of the first day of the Grand Prix competition, Fiona lies third in the Individual placings, whilst Spencer sits in joint seventh place.
Thursday 11 August sees the second day of the Grand Prix competition contested; timings for the two remaining Team GB athletes are as follows;
- 11.27am ( 15.27 BST) Carl Hester and Nip Tuck
- 14.24pm ( 18.24 BST) Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro