Piggy French holds individual bronze position after the first day of dressage (Thursday, 13 September) in the Mars-sponsored eventing at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon, USA, with Britain less than a mark outside the team medal zone.
Piggy put in a strong test this afternoon to score 27.8 with Jayne McGivern’s Quarrycrest Echo. The pair had a wobbly start when they cantered out of the first halt, but their canter work was excellent.
“He gave it his all — he’s 11 now and last year he was fairly inexperienced, but he’s strengthened up this year and there’s still more to come from him,” said Piggy.
Britain has another rider in the top group after individual Tina Cook scored 29.1 as the last rider of the day. She and Billy The Red — who belongs to Elisabeth Murdoch and Keith Tyson — lie fifth. This was a big question for the chestnut gelding as tension has badly marred his recent tests in big arenas, but he held it together, with just a few lower marks in the flying changes.
“I am really pleased — obviously I was a bit apprehensive because the last two times he went in big arenas he got a bit of stage fright,” said Tina. “I’m a bit cross with myself for the flying changes, but to come back and perform in that atmosphere, I have to be pleased.”
Gemma Tattersall led off for Britain this morning and she and Arctic Soul are in 19th at the end of the day.
Germany holds the team and individual gold medal spots after a spectacular test from Julia Krajewski and Chipmunk FRH soon after lunch blasted them to the top of the leaderboard. They scored 19.9 and have a margin of 7.2 over the chasing pack.
“It’s a really nice feeling when your horse is with you and trusts you,” said Julia. “The dressage is the phase you can do most about and it’s all about preparation with him, right to the last day as he can peak too early.”
Boyd Martin currently holds second for the USA riding Tsetserleg. He scored 27.1.
“I’m thrilled. There’s always a big fear of not doing your best in the moment, but ‘Thomas’ was awesome,” said Boyd.
Australia holds second in the team standings, their effort headed by Chris Burton and Cooley Lands in fourth. France is third, just 0.8 of a penalty ahead of Britain.
New Zealand sits fifth after a slightly disappointing test for Mark Todd and McClaren left them 14th — the pair’s marks ranged from three to eight as some excellent work was interrupted by mistakes.
“He’s a horse in the making and while he has amazing presence and movement, he’s only in his second year of real training,” said Mark.
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The dressage continues tomorrow, when Tom McEwen (Toledo De Kerser) and Ros Canter (Allstar B) will ride for Britain.
Horse & Hound has two journalists and a photographer in Tryon for WEG. Keep up to date with all the news onand in the magazine issues dated 20 and 27 September.