Germany holds team and individual gold at the close of the eventing dressage at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Sandra Auffarth leads individually with her multi-medallist Opgun Louvo (above), after scoring 35.2. She scored a 10 from Gillian Rolton at C for her final centreline and halt.
“I know he can do a very good test, but I also knew it was a difficult arena and atmosphere and that going last could be tricky, with being left alone in the warm-up,” she said. “He was a bit affected by it, but it gave him a bit more pizzazz.”
Harry Meade was Britain’s final team member this afternoon (right) and, as expected, he is the drop score after this phase. His mark of 56.3 puts him 59th. Charlotte Opperman’s Wild Lone was a little fidgety in his mouth in the trotwork, but settled in canter for some good work.
“He’s notoriously difficult in the dressage and the atmosphere is quite close in there with the grandstands being so near — that rather got to him,” said Harry. “But there were no disasters and in the circumstances it was as good as we could have hoped for with him being a bit fractious.”
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the two days of dressage was for Aoife Clark, who should have been Ireland’s strongest performer, but had a horrible time today with the Blenheim and Bramham winner Fenyas Elegance. She is 83rd on 63.5 with her problems including an unscheduled extra rein-back at the end of the walk.
“She was lovely outside, but when the clap went up for the rider before she just didn’t know what to do with herself,” said Aoife. “She got extremely tense and there wasn’t time to settle her.”
To a lesser extent, New Zealand’s final rider Andrew Nicholson also had issues with a couple of mistakes in his canterwork with Nereo, but was not too upset with 45.3 for 13th.
“His trotwork was probably the best he’s done to be up with the leaders and he got over his mistakes each time,” said Andrew. “He’s a big horse to make elegant.”
The other big drama in the final rotation of team riders was the withdrawal of Italy’s star combination, Vittoria Panizzon and Borough Pennyz.
Just 8sec from bronze
New Zealand lies second to Germany in the team standings, with the USA holding the bronze position. Britain is in fifth, 25.1pen behind Germany, but just 3.2pen off the bronze — the equivalent of just 8sec of time-penalties on the cross-country.
No one expects this World Championship to be decided on the dressage with Pierre Michelet’s cross-country course in the mix. Two fences have been taken out of the track because of the soft ground and the route shortened to the tune of 58sec being taken off the original 11min 30sec optimum time (subject to confirmation).
Andrew Nicholson said: “They’ve taken one hill out, which will be a big help, and that hill had a lot of soft patches. There was quite a sizey jump [fence 23] on it too, which would have been difficult to jump on soft ground. The other fence  was in a bit of a bog so it’s good that’s been taken out.”
Other riders warned that the changes may not actually make a lot of difference.
“In some ways it could be more difficult as they’ve taken out a galloping stretch, so it makes it more intense,” said Jock.
More updates from the eventing at WEG over the weekend. Full report in the magazine out next Thursday, 4 September.
Individual placings after dressage
1. Sandra Auffarth on Opgun Louvo (GER) 35.2
2. William Fox-Pitt on Chilli Morning (GBR) 37.5
3. Jock Paget on Clifton Promise (NZL) 38
Other British placings
16. Nicola Wilson on Annie Clover (GBR, individual) 46
21. Oliver Townend on Black Tie II (GBR, individual) 47.2
34. Tina Cook on De Novo News (GBR, team) 50
53. Zara Phillips on High Kingdom (GBR, team) 54.5
59. Harry Meade on Wild Lone (GBR, team) 56.3
Team placings after dressage
1. Germany 116.9
2. New Zealand 125.5
3. USA 138.8
4. France 139.9
5. Britain 142
6. The Netherlands 142.8