Filling the top two spots on the leader board after day one of team dressage at the Olympic Games is a fairytale start, right? Well actually it’s not quite that simple.
Both Carl [Hester] and Laura [Bechtolsheimer] would have hoped to post closer to 80%, if not the other side of it, to ease the pressure off Charlotte. With two strong German combinations to come tomorrow, the Brits have no room for complacency.
Things looked dire for Laura for the majority of her test: the scoreboard froze and when it came back to life, it showed her trending at 69%, prompting gasps from the crowd. Surely her minor mistake in the one-times and the early flying change in the extended canter — a mistake also made, uncharacteristically, by Carl — weren’t so bad? Luckily, it was simply a technical glitch and normality was quickly restored, but her score still lagged behind what she expected.
If you take the two British and one German team scores from today and combine them with the best international grand prix scores to date of the team riders yet to compete here, Germany’s scores equal 236.554 and Britain’s 236.219 — just 0.33% behind.
But — bear with me — add in all the combination’s best special scores to date, and the tables are turned, with Britain leading the Germans: 487.506 to 476.532. In a nut shell, it’s tight at the top, but we’re still well on track for gold.
Here comes the rain again
And it may be boring and very British but, again, the weather deserves a mention. Poor Anna Kasprzak had the brunt of the the torrential downpour (rain drops landing the size of 50p pieces) riding Donnperignon, but this happy little horse was so focused on Anna that they scored more than 75%, keeping them them right in the mix.
Canada’s David Marcus wasn’t so.lucky. A spook at a camera while trotting round the edge heralded what was to come. Half way through their tidy test in bucketing rain, Capital was spooked by a poncho-sporting camera man and totally lost the plot, spinning round in fright until the bell was rung, signalling his elimination.
After a great day’s sport, I have one Greenwich gripe… Well, two actually.
The scoreboards are not showing individual judge’s marks, where in the eventing they were. What a shame.
And the big screen is blank during tests. In the eventing dressage the screen offered spectators the opportunity to watch more closely, or from a different angle. As it is not close to the arena or directly behind any of the lines in the test, please turn it back on!
Full 13-page report on the team dressage in H&H out next FRIDAY, 10 August.