It was a good day for GBR out at the World Equestrian Games, as day three welcomed the second and third medals for the British contingent.
Day three out at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games saw European and Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin ride to gold in the Grand Prix Special to take her second medal of the games.
With her long-time partner, the talented twelve year old Valegro owned by Roly Luard and Carl Hester, Charlotte once again wowed the judges in the impressive Normandy arena to post a staggering 86.120% in today’s (27 August) Grand Prix Special, to take the world champion title.
Charlotte commented afterwards; “I had so much fun. When you ride a horse like Valegro you have all that power, it’s like driving a Ferrari, you just put your foot down and he goes, it’s an amazing and very rare feeling. He felt the best he’s ever felt; I know I made some mistakes but to have that power, especially after doing the Grand Prix yesterday I just felt delighted with him.”
Alongside Charlotte, fellow British team member Carl Hester with Jane De La Mare and his own Nip Tuck, proved once again why he is one of Great Britain’s best dressage riders as he and Barney pulled out all the stops to produce a lovely test, for a score of 75.532% and a PB.
“I wasn’t expecting that; for him to do this on the Grand Prix Special day – this is only the third Special I’ve done on him, and for a personal best, I couldn’t really ask any more of him, he’s trying his hardest and I’ve now got to think about Friday!”
Having had a somewhat disappointing day yesterday, Michael Eilberg and Half Moon Delphi were back on fighting form today and produced the goods in a stunning early round to be rewarded with a score of 75.462%, and a top fifteen spot.
After his test Michael said; “I’m absolutely chuffed to bits, it’s exactly what I was hoping for. Today she gave her all, I asked her to dig a bit deeper and she gave me everything she had. After yesterday’s mistakes, to go in and ride a mistake free test was what I was hoping for, and what I did. I was really focussed, I think it’s the best test I’ve done – certainly the best Special.”
Germany took second and third spots, with the Silver medal going to Helen Langehanenberg (Damon Hill NRW) and Bronze for Kristina Sprehe (Desperados FRH). All three British riders now go forward to compete in Friday’s Grand Prix Freestyle, where the world’s top fifteen dancing horses will once again grace the Caen stage.
Today’s para-equestrian dressage competition brought the first chance of medals for GBR in the Grade Ib Individual Championship test, with Lee Pearson and Ricky Balshaw both in action.
Lee and Zion (owned by Mr and Mrs Pearson, Gillian Chinn and Lee) were first to go in the second tranche of riders and the duo showed a picture of pure harmony today with a test packed full of energy and accuracy. The judges agreed with 77.31% proudly confirmed on the giant scoreboard overlooking the arena at La Prairie Racecourse.
After the test a beaming Lee said; “I just love that horse! He just gives me everything! He was still a bit aware of his surroundings which is quite novel because usually he’s just totally focus on dad. Today he stayed really relaxed. He warmed up perfectly; long, lose and round to get that big trot that he offers. The walk was really strong today; he stayed really relaxed.”
New Dutch superstars Nicole den Dulk and Wallace produced a lovely test to see the combination post a final score of 71.621%, which slotted them into the bronze medal position. Lee’s final main challenger came in the form of squad-mate Ricky Balshaw and LJT Engaards Solitaire (owned by the Lady Joseph Trust). It was a positive start but ‘Sid’ looked a little off colour and wasn’t his sprightly self to give 69.414%, leaving them out of the medals.
Afterwards Ricky said; “I’m gutted. He was a little flat in there. I had a mistake in the walk pirouette right in front of two judges so it cost me. It just didn’t happen for me today. I’ll look at the criticisms on the score sheets and see what can be worked on. My coach (Michel Assouline) was pleased with the test so not sure what went wrong, just one of those days.”
Both athletes will next compete in Friday’s Individual Freestyle competition. Tomorrow sees the three remaining team members – Sophie Wells, Natasha Baker and Sophie Christiansen – take to the arena for their Individual Championship tests, after which the team medals will be decided.
The GBR eventing team have been announced following today’s horse inspection at Haras du Pin, where all British horses were accepted.
The team is named as Tina Cook (De Novo News), William Fox-Pitt (Chilli Morning), Harry Meade (Wild Lone) and Zara Phillips (High Kingdom). Nicola Wilson (Annie Clover) and Oliver Townend (Black Tie) compete as Individuals.
All GBR horses passed the trot up this afternoon and look fit and ready to go. The team of five riders; Annie Joppe, Beth Langley, Annette Masterson, Catriona Moon and Anna Williams set off on the 160km race ride at 6am (British time) on Thursday morning. The best three scores will count towards the team competition.
Equestrian Team GBR is supported by the UK Sport Lottery funded World Class Programme; the British teams are very grateful to the support they receive from official Team GBR suppliers Dodson and Horrell, Land Rover, Mears Country Jackets, NAF, NuuMed, Point Two Equine, Tagg Equestrian and Toggi.
10.38 Para-Dressage: Sophie Wells
10.58 Eventing: Zara Phillips
15.36 Eventing: William Fox-Pitt
15.45 Para-Dressage: Natasha Baker
16.40 Eventing: Nicola Wilson
17.01 Para-Dressage: Sophie Christiansen
GBR reiners are also in action on Thursday, a start-list can be found here
Please note that all timings are provided in CET (France is one hour ahead of UK time).