In the team dressage finals today Germany won the Gold, USA won the Silver and Great Britain won the Bronze. These Olympic games used a new format for the dressage competition, which was aimed at making equestrian sports more accessible for more nations. The new rules were a bit much to take in but the individual rides were impressive.
- Each nation’s team comprised three riders, which meant there was no dropped score. Teams may substitute a reserve horse and rider combination for a team combination mid-competition.
- Competitors for the Grand Prix were divided into six groups of ten based on their world rankings. The best two combinations of each group automatically qualified for the Freestyle. In addition to the twelve combinations, the six riders with the next highest scores also qualified.
- The top 8 teams from Grand Prix qualified for the Grand Prix Special.
- Team medals were decided after the Grand Prix Special – and only from the Grand Prix Special score.
- The dressage tests were shorter.
While there have been mixed reviews about the new team format and the inability to drop the lowest score, it did increase tension and excitement in today’s Grand Prix Special.
Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl delivered the high score of the day, earning 84.666 with the mare Dalera. Her teammate Isabell Werth earned a score of 83.298 on Bella Rose and Dorothee Schneider and Showtime earned 80.086. Germany has won every Olympic dressage team gold since 1984, except 2012!
The third-highest score of the day went to a relatively unknown American combination — Sabine Schut-Kery and Sancero who earned 81.596. Adrienne Lyle’s 76.109 with Salvino giving them a firm basis on which to build before Steffen Peters and Sussenkasper backed that up with 77.766.
Great Britain came into the competition looking like strong contenders for the silver after Carl Hester and En Vogue earned 78.344. But Lottie Fry’s 76.894 with Everdale and Charlotte Dujardin and Gio’s 79.544, were not quite enough to displace the US team.
I so wish that it was easier to find the equestrian sports coverage. Any suggestions on how you’ve been able to watch the rides?