Bettina Hoy’s brilliant dressage test with Ringwood Cockatoo on Thursday afternoon, which gave both her and Germany a healthy lead was complemented on Friday by German rider Frank Ostholt’s impressive performance on Air Jordan, propelling him into equal third place on 38.0, and the German team into an even stronger position.
Leslie Law and Shear L’Eau were the final British combination to compete on Friday afternoon, bringing up the rear with a solid and consistent performance.
In the novel position of going last for the team, Law contained the gelding’s exuberance, and rode an accurate test to finish on 42.6, in 11th place overall. His result will now count, along with William Fox-Pitt’s and Zara Phillips’ scores, towards the British team score.
Law had a broad grin on his face on hearing his score: “I am very pleased with him. It was tough waiting until the end of the day to perform, as I didn’t want to overcook him, but had to ride him again as it’s a long break from 8am to 4pm, when we were competing. But it’s a novelty going last for the team!”
In spite of excellent performances from all four team riders, Britain has proved little competition for Germany over the last two days. They now trail their European rivals by more than 12 penalty points. But they are well clear of France, on a total 131.1. Reigning European champion Nicholas Touzaint completed a slightly disappointing dressage test, finishing on 50.0, but he is without his champion horse Galan de Sauvagere, instead riding the less experienced Hildago de L’Ile.
Yogi Breisner, British Chef d’Equipe was full of praise for British team and individual riders alike. “I am delighted with the way all twelve British riders performed – they really couldn’t have performed better,” and seemed unconcerned by the German lead at this stage.
“We always expected it to be a very tight competition, and things tomorrow could go either way – as wrong for us as it could for them,” said Breisner. “It all depends on how tight it will ride on time.”
Leslie Law, like so many other riders here this weekend, referred to the size of the fences: “Dimensionally, the course is quite big. It will stretch them, stretch them and stretch them, but the distances seem fair and beautifully presented.”
The cross-country has also elicited a healthy respect among the German team, who are taking nothing for granted at this stage. German team member Hinrich Romeike commented: “Bettina [Hoy] explained to me earlier the meaning of the word ‘decent’. Now I know that a decent course needs decent riding!”
1. Ringwood Cockatoo (Bettina Hoy GER) 31.3
2. Ensign (Pippa Funnell) 37.8
=3. Toytown (Zara Phillips GBR) 38.0
=3. Air Jordan (Frank Ostholt) 38.0
5. Escape Lane *Mili (Didier Willefert FRA) 40.2
6. Carrera III (Susanna Bordone ITA) 40.4
1. Germany 111.7
2. Great Britain 123.9
3. France 131.1
4. Belgium 143.0