The finale of the team competition at the European Dressage Championships in Hagen, Germany, proved to be a nail-biting affair today (8 September).
Following very strong performances from the two Danish riders, Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Cathrine Dufour, Charlotte Dujardin, the final rider for the British team, had to score over 78.64% to secure team silver at the European Dressage Championships. Thankfully she managed to do just that, with the judges awarding her 79.82% with her Tokyo Olympic mount, Gio.
“I’m really pleased with our performance – obviously we’ve just come back from Tokyo, where he performed only his fifth or sixth grand prix, so he’s still very inexperienced,” explained Charlotte afterwards. “Gio was actually a little bit scared of the white boards around the arena today as they are a bit taller than usual, and I knew if he hit them and they moved – they’re ones that are quite easy to move – he’d be scared of that. Of course, he did hit one when he got into canter and then he had a little bit of a spook.”
Charlotte said she was “really pleased” with the 10-year-old, owned by herself, Carl Hester and Renai Hart. They sit third on the grand prix leader board individually, just .3% behind second-placed German rider Isabell Werth and Weihegold Old and just over 4% behind the German rider and individual Tokyo Olympic gold medallist, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB.
“He felt a little bit greener in the arena than I was expecting, but then I have to remember what he’s done, which is so little,” she explained. “And I have all the pressure to hold it together and, hopefully, keep the team in a silver medal position – that’s what I was really aiming for going in there. And we’ve done it and I’m absolutely over the moon for Gareth [Hughes, who was reserve at the Tokyo Games] that he’s now a part of winning a team medal too.”
The German team clinched team gold, 6.6% ahead of the Brits, with Sweden finishing fourth, 5.78% behind Denmark.
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