The German dressage team claimed team gold at the Olympic Games in Rio this afternoon, while inspired performances from the British riders nailed silver. The USA took bronze.

Charlotte Dujardin was last into the arena with the inimitable Valegro. They scored 82.983% despite an early break to canter in the half-pass.

It means that the gold and silver medal-winning nations from London 2012 have swapped places.

“It’s a very happy silver,” said team member Carl Hester, who rode a 76.485% test on Nip Tuck this afternoon. “It was really well fought by all of our team. To come back after London gold we knew was going to be very difficult to recreate, any medal would have made us very happy.

“The whole GB team has ridden beautifully and it’s quite a big margin from bronze.”

The German team once again dominated, delivering three scores over 81%. Neither the Brits not the German teams needed to count the score of their final rider to secure their respective medals.

Rio Olympics dressage Britain silver

Fiona Bigwood, Charlotte Dujardin, Carl Hester and Spencer Wilton claim team silver for Britain at the Rio Olympics. Picture by Peter Nixon

Isabell Werth finished top individually, laying down an emphatic 83.711% on Weihegold OLD.

Britain’s third counting mark came from Fiona Bigwood on Orthilia, who scored 74.342%. Spencer Wilton also put in a strong test for 73.613% with Super Nova II.

Team GB has three pairs — Charlotte, Carl and Fiona — qualified for Monday’s freestyle where they will compete for the individual medals. Riders start on a clean slate for that competition so their scores from the team rounds do not count.

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Judy Reynolds has made history by becoming the first ever Irish rider to qualify for the individual freestyle final at an Olympic Games. She finished 17th today.

Judy was second to go into the arena in the grand prix special — a more difficult set test than the grand prix — on a drizzly day on her Jazz gelding Vancouver K, laying down 74.09%, a new personal best.

“It was the best special we’ve done, so I’m thrilled,” she said.

The Dutch had a difficult time of it, finishing in fourth. They did not bring a reserve rider and Adelinde Cornelissen elected to retire with Parzival part-way through the grand prix as he was suffering from a  fever after being bitten by an insect. 

Team standings

1. Germany (81.936% average)
2. Great Britain (78.595% average)
3. USA (76.667% average)

Full 20-page report on the dressage from Rio in H&H next week, out Thursday 18 August, including full analysis of how the medals were won and comment from Richard Davison and Peter Storr.