It’s tight at the top as Denmark sets the target for the team medals at the European Dressage Championships

  • The European Dressage Championships team medals will be decided this afternoon, and the competition is reaching a thrilling conclusion, with Denmark threatening Britain’s grip on the silver medal.

    Denmark have returned to the top of the leaderboard with a superb test from their leading lady Cathrine Dufour, riding the 11-year-old Bordeaux gelding Bohemian, with whom she finished fourth both in the team and individually at the Tokyo Olympics in July.

    Cathrine and the fiery chestnut gelding kept their cool in the rising temperatures in Hagen, Germany, to produce 79.72% to sit fractionally behind Germany’s Isabell Werth at the top of the leaderboard. The majority of their test was fantastic, but a miscommunication in the first pirouette proved expensive, with scores dropping to threes for that movement, before jumping up to eights for the second pirouette.

    “It might have been the best warm-up I’ve ever had, and he felt really, really fantastic in there,” said Cathrine. “It was almost hotter than in Tokyo because of the burning sun, but he felt really super, in particular the piaffe-passage tour.

    “In the canter pirouette left I think he wanted to turn a tiny bit too much and then I corrected him maybe too much and he reacted. He’s a hot horse and reacts really quickly and sharply. But we had a nice second pirouette, so overall I’m really happy. Of course, I’m annoyed we had a big mistake, but we have to try something new every time we get into the ring because we also want to develop – if we only ever do the same, we will only get the same. We have to try to push ourselves, and the margins are tight.

    “And it’s super cool that we have three riders over 75%,” she added on Denmark’s performance as a team. “I can’t remember when that last happened for Denmark. It’s huge for the sport.”

    With all four Danish riders having now completed their tests, the team has a final score of 231.165, giving the other nations in contention – Germany, Britain and Sweden – a big target to reach in order to win European Dressage Championships team medals. The Netherlands are currently sitting in silver, with all four of their riders having gone, but they are 10 points below Denmark so look unlikely to hang on to a podium position.

    It means Britain’s final combination, Olympic bronze medallists Charlotte Dujardin and Gio, must score at least 78.65% to catch Denmark. Germany’s final pair, Olympic champions Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB, must score 76.32% to go ahead of the Danes.

    Jessica will ride at 2.15pm (1.15pm BST), while Charlotte will enter the arena at 2.33pm (1.33pm BST).

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