After the first half of day one at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy, France, first-drawn Germany lead the way in the grand prix, occupying the two top spots.
Kristina Sprehe bounced back to form with the black De Niro stallion Desperados FRH, posting 78.814%. This score is more akin to their usual standard of performance and is a significant improvement on the last time out, where they scored 73.96% at Aachen.
At 7am British time – 8am local time – Fabienne Lütkemeier rode D’Agostino, her 14-year-old Hannoverian gelding (De Niro/Shogun xx) to 73.586%. They were the first horse and rider to compete at these Games in any discipline and are lying second.
Brits under way
Britain’s only rider so far, Gareth Hughes, rode Jane Brewin’s DV Stenkjers Nadonna to 69.714%, dismissing fears over the 16-year-old Danish mare’s ability to concentrate in a big atmosphere. Aside from a distracted first halt and an inattentive rein-back, the test was clean and very well presented, with the passage a particular highlight.
“I’m very pleased; she was hot in there,” said Gareth of the Donnerschlag daughter. “She’s had a really good year leading up to the Games; we were here for the test event, but that obviously doesn’t have the same kind of atmosphere you get in there. I’m really proud of her; she was nervous on the centre line and in the first halt.”
The score was a little lower than Nadonna has been posting this year, and Gareth posted on his Facebook page: “As a competitor I had hopes of a slightly higher score. As a horseman I couldn’t be prouder if her. She was nervous, but tried her heart out. She gave me everything.”
Despite the entire city of Caen being overtaken with posters and advertising for the event, the stadium was a maximum of 20% full on this the first day of action.
Current dressage grand prix top 10
1. Kristina Sprehe on Desperados FRH (GER) 78.814%
2. Fabienne Lütkemeier on D’Agostino FRH (GER) 73.586%
3. Diederik van Silfhout on Arlando NH NOP (NED) 73.414%
4. Jose Antonio Garcia Mena on Norte Lovera (ESP) 72.414%
5. Mikala Münter Gendersen on My Lady (DEN) 70.271%
6. Jeroen Devroe on Eres DL (BEL) 70.214%
7. Gareth Hughes on DV Stenkjers Nadonna (GBR) 69.714%
8. Jeanna Högberg on Darcia VH (SWE) 69.657%
9. Tina Konyot on Calecto V (USA) 69.643%
10. Maree Tomkinson on Diamantina 4 (AUS) 69.3%