Japanese rider Yoshiaki Oiwa has shocked the world — and himself — by leading the eventing dressage at the London Olympics.
Yoshi, who is based in Germany with Dirk Schrade, scored 38.1 on the Selle Francais mare Noonday De Conde.
“I still cannot believe it,” a smiling Yoshi said a couple of hours later. “Nobody was expecting it — there are hardly any Japanese media here!
“She was very relaxed and soft so I could really ride her in the arena — I felt everything was as good as I can do it.”
And Italian rider Stefano Brecciaroli was delighted to find himself second with the eye-catching Apollo WD Wendi Kurt Hoev on a mark of 38.5.
“He’s a special horse to me and was beautiful to ride today,” said Stefano.
The pair were fifth at last year’s European Championships in Luhmuhlen and have won two CIC***s in the past year, so the placing was not as surprising at it might seem to some.
A more familiar face to British eventing fans is that of Mark Todd, who sits in third position on Campino with 39.1. Last to go of the competition, Mark rode a beautiful test on the inexperienced Contendro 10-year-old.
“He gave 110%,” said Mark. “If he continues to perform like he did in there, I’ll be rapt with him.”
Ingrid Klimke is the highest-placed German in fourth with 39.3 on Butts Abraxxas. The other two German riders in the top 10 are Dirk Schrade, sixth with 39.8 on King Artus, and Sandra Auffarth, equal seventh on 40.
The man most people expected to lead the competition, reigning world and European champion Michael Jung, is 11th with 40.6 on Sam. A couple of small mistakes proved quite costly for the German pair.
Sweden’s Sara Algotsson Ostholt is equal fourth with Ingrid on the homebred grey mare Wega.
And the husband and wife pairing of Lucinda and Clayton Fredericks are equal seventh and 10th for Australia. Lucinda scored 40 on Flying Finish, and Clayton has a mark of 40.4 on Bendigo.
Belgium’s Karin Donckers completes the top division in equal seventh with Gazelle De La Brasserie.
Don’t miss H&H’s full report of the Olympic eventing, in the issue on sale FRIDAY 3 August – 23-page special report, with comments from Ruth Edge, Pippa Funnell and Mark Phillips, pictures of every cross-country fence, stunning photos and full analysis.