Denmark and the Netherlands have set the goal posts as the places for the final of the Olympic team dressage competition go down to the wire.
The two nations held overnight first and second places in the team competition after the first day of grand prix (24 July). While they still hold the first two placings, the order has been reversed now their final team riders have completed their tests, with Denmark in provisional first and the Netherlands in provisional second.
But there remains much to play for as the final dozen or so riders come forwards for the grand prix. Germany has two competitors still to go, Dorothee Schneider (Showtime FRH) and Isabell Werth (Bella Rose 2), and Britain’s reigning Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin and her Games debutant Gio all likely to shake up the leaderboard.
The top eight teams go forward to the grand prix special on Tuesday (27 July). While the performances in the grand prix test serve as a clue as to which nations will likely be gunning for medals, all competitors will start on a clean sheet in the grand prix special, where the team medals will be decided.
Denmark’s team anchor Carina Cassøe Krüth and Heiline’s Danciera gave the nation a perfect end to its grand prix tests, topping group D on 76.68% (76.677%) and lifting the Danish side to the top of the leaderboard.
“I’ve never had a horse like her, you can feel when she goes in [to the arena], she’s like ‘look at me’,” Carina said. “Dressage is normally quiet, but in Denmark when people start applauding on my last centreline, she likes it – you can cheer her.”
The Dutch partnership of Marlies van Baalen and the Totilas son Go Legend were first to go in group E, scoring 71.62% (71.615%) and hold the provisional lead in that group.
“My horse felt very good. I think we had some very nice parts,” said Marlies.
“In the canter work we had a few mistakes – [in one of the changes] and also in the first piaffe we had a little miscommunication. So there were a couple of things which weren’t very fluent and very nice. Of course, that was a shame, but we also had some very nice parts.”
Mariles added while there are riders in other nations to complete their grand prix tests, it is hard to say what the team’s chances are.
“Of course, the special still has to be ridden, so I think we just have to wait for that,” she said, adding Go Legend tends to perform better in the special than the grand prix.
“We like that test as it’s a little bit more fluent and we [have previously] scored very nicely in this test.”
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