Germany, Britain and U.S. Hold Podium Positions After Rio Grand Prix

Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 photo by cealy tetley
Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 scored a 77.614 percent to help the U.S. team sit in the bronze medal position after the first half of team competition at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – August 11, 2016 – Germany held strong while the teams beneath them fought for position on the second and final day of Grand Prix competition at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Scores from the Grand Prix are half of the equation in the dressage team competition, with Friday’s Grand Prix Special providing the other half. Click here for the Grand Prix Special order of go.

Kristina Bröring-Sprehe on Desperados FRH, ranked first in the world, and Isabell Werth on the rapidly improving Weihegold OLD, ranked second, bolstered the German effort with two scores above 80 percent. Bröring-Sprehe overcame a couple of bobbles to score a 82.257 percent, the second highest score of the class, while Werth moved into fourth, just behind teammate Dorothee Schneider, with an 80.643 percent.

“Desperados was really great today,” Bröring-Sprehe said. “In the piaffe we lost a bit the rhythm, and [we had] one mistake in the zigzag. But the rest was really great. He was very concentrated. I’m very proud of him today. We have a very strong team.”

Teammate Werth commented, “If there is no drama, which we all know can happen, we will hopefully take home the gold!”

Kristina Bröring-Sprehe (GER) and Desperados FRH
Kristina Bröring-Sprehe (GER) and Desperados FRH

Dujardin anchors British team

British team veteran Carl Hester, who contributed to the country’s team gold at the 2012 London Olympics, did not have quite the ride he had hoped for Thursday morning. His mount, Nip Tuck, spooked at a flower at the beginning of the extended walk, affecting their scores for that movement. The pair still scored a solid 75.529 percent, and Hester discussed the spook with his usual humor, joking that the horse needed glasses and later tweeting, “Frustratingly a Pokemon at P!”

That put a little extra pressure on the shoulders of defending Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin, but she shrugged it off, putting in an incredibly accurate, flowing and powerful effort with Valegro. The pair scored a 85.071 percent, the highest mark of the day, proving they are fit and ready to defend their title despite a very light show schedule over the past year. The seven judges on the Olympic panel awarded them 16 marks of 10 throughout the test. Their score put Great Britain in a clear second place position, with a solid gap between them and Germany but also plenty of breathing room over the rest of the field.

“I really enjoyed it,” Dujardin said after her ride. “I felt like he enjoyed it. I felt like it was easy to do it. I didn’t feel like I had to pull or kick. He is so lovely to ride. If I can do that every time and come out and feel happy – even if he makes mistakes, I know he always tries his hardest, so for me that’s what it is all about. I can’t ask for any more.”

Peters and Graves guide U.S. to third place position

Now competing at his fourth Olympic Games, Steffen Peters recognizes the importance of performing under pressure to support the team effort. He rode a carefully controlled, accurate, flowing test with Legolas 92 to score a 77.614 percent, one of the best marks to date for the gelding in the Grand Prix.

“It has always been my dream to deliver for my team,” Peters said. “It’s the Olympic Games, so we are 90 percent about the team medal and the other 10 percent, maybe even less, is the individual medal. I’m just so excited that Legolas did one of his best tests of his life, maybe one of the best tests of my life.”

He added, “It’s been a difficult road with Legolas. Sometimes I didn’t know exactly which horse was going into the show arena. But he did not change one single bit from the warm-up arena to the show arena, and there was not one single point that we gave away. This was it. This was the test I dreamed of for my team.”

Laura Graves and Verdades
Laura Graves and Verdades

When Laura Graves headed down centerline later in the afternoon, the Dutch and U.S. teams were very close together in the race for the podium position. Graves’ performance showed the result of her hard work with Verdades, with improved piaffe and outstanding pirouettes earning them high marks.

A late final change coming out of the half-pass zigzag lost them some points there and also caused them to be less prepared for the one-tempis, but they still finished on a personal best score of 78.071 percent. When Dutch anchor Hans Peter Minderhoud finished his test on a score of 76.957 percent, the U.S. was assured the third place position overnight.

“My horse was really super,” Graves said. “Unfortunately we were not able to ride clean today, but I’m super happy with the feeling and the way the training is reflecting. (I’m happy with) the passage/piaffe, which is the talent for this horse, but not so much in the arena when he’s not quite sure where he needs to be with all his big legs. I feel like that has really improved over the past two months.”

Graves finished fifth in the Grand Prix, while Peters was sixth.

Six teams advance to the Special

Along with the leading three teams, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden all qualified to move on to the Grand Prix Special. Those 23 riders (five teams of four as well as the Dutch team of three) will be joined by the eight other top-ranked competitors: Severo Jurado Lopez (ESP), Inessa Merkulova (RUS), Karen Tebar (FRA), Beatriz Ferrer-Salat (ESP), Judy Reynolds (IRL), Marcela Krinke Susmelj (SUI), Belinda Trussell (CAN) and Pierre Volla (FRA).

Team Standings After the Grand Prix
Teams are ranked by the average of their top three scores. Drop scores are in parentheses.

1. Germany: 81.295
Sönke Rothenberger/Cosmo 59/(77.329)
Dorothee Schneider/Showtime FRH/80.986
Kristina Bröring-Sprehe/Desperados FRH/82.257
Isabell Werth/Weihegold OLD/80.643

2. Great Britain: 79.252
Spencer Wilton/Super Nova II/(72.686)
Fiona Bigwood/Orthilia/77.157
Carl Hester/Nip Tuck/75.529
Charlotte Dujardin/GBR/Valegro/85.071

3. United States: 76.971
Allison Brock/Rosevelt/(72.686)
Kasey Perry-Glass/Dublet/75.229
Steffen Peters/Legolas 92/77.614
Laura Graves/Verdades/78.071

4. Netherlands: 76.043
Edward Gal/Voice/75.271
Diederik van Silfhout/Arlando/75.900
Hans Peter Minderhoud/Johnson/76.957

5. Sweden: 75.319
Mads Hendeliowitz/Jimmie Choo SEQ/(71.771)
Juliette Ramel/Buriel K.H./74.943
Patrik Kittel/Deja/74.586
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén/Don Auriello/76.429

6. Denmark: 74.276
Anders Dahl/Selten HW/(69.900)
Agnete Kirk Thinggaard/Jojo AZ/72.229
Cathrine Dufour/Cassidy/76.657
Anna Kasprzak/Donnperignon/73.943

7. Spain: 74.029
Claudio Castilla Ruiz/Alcaide/(69.814)
Jose Daniel Martin Dockx/Grandioso/70.829
Severo Jesus Jurado Lopez/Lorenzo/76.429
Beatriz Ferrer-Salat/Delgado/74.829

8. France: 71.914
Ludovic Henry/After You/69.214
Stéphanie Brieussel/Amorak/(65.114)
Pierre Volla/Badinda Altena/71.500
Karen Tebar/Don Luis/75.029

9. Australia: 69.576
Suzanne Hearn/Remmington/(65.343)
Mary Hanna/Boogie Woogie 6/69.643
Lyndal Oatley/Sandro Boy 9/70.186
Kristy Oatley/Du Soleil/68.900

10. Brazil: 67.562
Pedro Tavares de Almeida/Xaparro do Vouga/(65.714)
Giovana Prado Pass/Zyngaro de Lyw/67.700
Luiza Tavares de Almeida/Vendaval 4/66.914
João Victor Marcari Oliva/Xamã dos Pinhais/68.071

11. Japan: 67.486
Akane Kuroki/Toots/66.900
Kiichi Harada/Egistar/68.286
Masanao Takahashi/Fabriano/(62.986)
Yuko Kitai/Don Lorean/67.271

Grand Prix Results
All riders listed below qualified for the Grand Prix Special, either with one of the top six teams or as individuals
1. Charlotte Dujardin/GBR/Valegro/85.071
2. Kristina Bröring-Sprehe/GER/Desperados FRH/82.257
3. Dorothee Schneider/GER/Showtime FRH/80.986
4. Isabell Werth/GER/Weihegold OLD/80.643
5. Laura Graves/USA/Verdades/78.071
6. Steffen Peters/USA/Legolas 92/77.614
7. Sönke Rothenberger/GER/Cosmo 59/77.329
8. Fiona Bigwood/GBR/Orthilia/77.157
9. Hans Peter Minderhoud/NED/Johnson/76.957
10. Cathrine Dufour/DEN/Cassidy/76.657
T11. Severo Jesus Jurado Lopez/ESP/Lorenzo/76.429
T11. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén/SWE/Don Auriello/76.429
13. Diederik van Silfhout/NED/Arlando/75.900
14. Inessa Merkulova/RUS/Mister X/75.800
15. Carl Hester/GBR/Nip Tuck/75.529
16. Edward Gal/NED/Voice/75.271
17. Kasey Perry-Glass/USA/Dublet/75.229
18. Karen Tebar/FRA/Don Luis/75.029
19. Juliette Ramel/SWE/Buriel K.H./74.943
20. Beatriz Ferrer-Salat/ESP/Delgado/74.829
21. Judy Reynolds/IRL/Vancouver K/74.700
22. Patrik Kittel/SWE/Deja/74.586
23. Anna Kasprzak/DEN/Donnperignon/73.943
24. Marcela Krinke Susmelj/SUI/Molberg/72.700
T25. Allison Brock/USA/Rosevelt/72.686
T25. Spencer Wilton/GBR/Super Nova II/72.686
27. Agnete Kirk Thinggaard/DEN/Jojo AZ/72.229
28. Belinda Trussell/CAN/Anton/72.214
29. Mads Hendeliowitz/SWE/Jimmie Choo SEQ/71.771
30. Pierre Volla/FRA/Badinda Altena/71.500

37. Anders Dahl/DEN/Selten HW/69.900

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