Tag Archives: Olympic Games

Jur Vrieling Disqualified from Sunday’s Individual Jumping Competition

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 14 August 2016 – Stephan Ellenbruch, President of the Rio 2016 Equestrian Olympic Ground Jury, said: “We can confirm that Jur Vrieling has been disqualified from today’s individual Jumping competition.

“The FEI’s rules are very specific – if any blood is found on the flank of a horse, the Athlete/Horse combination is automatically disqualified from the competition.

“The veterinarians on site have examined the horse, Zirocco Blue, and will continue to monitor to ensure he is fit to compete on Tuesday, 16 August for the Jumping Team Round 1 qualifier event.”

*Please see FEI rule below:

Article 242.3.1 of the FEI Jumping Rules: Horses bleeding on the flank(s), in the mouth or nose or marks indicating excessive use of spurs or of the whip anywhere on the Horse (in minor cases of blood in the mouth, such as where a Horse appears to have bitten its tongue or lip, Officials may authorize the rinsing or wiping of the mouth and allow the Athlete to continue; any further evidence of blood in the mouth will result in Disqualification.)

*Please see statements below from the Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation:

Rob Ehrens, Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation national coach: “I’ve been a professional rider for 27 years and I know the feeling when everything goes wrong. But this should not happen and will not happen again. While Jur and Zirocco Blue are chasing medals, this has to be handled professionally. We will use tomorrow to relax Zirocco Blue.”

Jur Vrieling: “I was encouraging him, saying ‘come on boy, don’t do this again’. I should not have given him these extra pushes. It is stupid, this happened in the heat of the moment, and it will not happen again.”

FEI Contacts:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

US Show Jumping Team Begins Competition at Rio Olympic Games

Kent Farrington and Voyeur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The show jumping competition, the third and final equestrian discipline at the 2016 Olympic Games, got underway at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center, on Sunday, showcasing 75 athlete-and-horse combinations from 27 nations. In addition to serving as the first individual qualifier, Sunday’s results determined the starting order for the Team Competition. Kent Farrington produced a clear round for the U.S., while teammates Lucy Davis, McLain Ward, and Beezie Madden each had four-fault rounds. All four athletes sit in the top 30 and are qualified to continue in the individual competition. As a team, the U.S. finished in a four-way tie for eighth and will go sixth in the order of 15 nations in round one of team competition on Tuesday. All nations will begin round one of team competition on a clean slate of zero faults.

Guilherme Jorge’s show jumping course was technical and challenging. Riders faced a forward-riding course with a time allowed of 82 seconds. Many competitors had trouble at fence 7, the liverpool, and at fence 11a-b, a wide square oxer to an airy musically-designed vertical plank. Out of the 75 starters, only 24 combinations went clear. First to enter the ring for the U.S. was Farrington (Wellington, Fla.), and Amalaya Investments’ 2002 KWPN gelding, Voyeur. Providing the second clear round of the day, Farrington and Voyeur made light work of the course setting the stage for the U.S. team.

“We are off on the right foot so that always feels good in terms of confidence and is a boost for the team,” said Farrington. “It’s a great technical course for the first day. The last line is very technical and bending. Being the lead-off rider, I know my horse very well, and one of my strengths is that I know what I want to do with him.”

Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Old Oak Farm’s Barron, a 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding, entered the ring calm and composed. Looking to repeat Farrington’s clear round, they jumped beautifully. However, Barron’s back feet tapped the top rail on the last jump, fence 12, resulting in an unlucky rail for four penalties.

“My horse is jumping incredibly, and we had an unfortunate rail at the last jump,” said Davis. “My trainer told me before I went in to enjoy the moment and that was the perfect thing to say. We all worked hard to get here, and it’s a pretty special moment. I just went in really calm, and my horse was jumping out of his skin.”

McLain Ward and Azur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
McLain Ward and Azur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Putting in a professional ride, Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) and Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s Azur, also had a nearly faultless first round. Confident and careful throughout the first triple combination, and clear over the liverpool, Ward and Azur dropped the back rail when landing at the wide oxer at fence 11a collecting four faults.

“I was very happy with Azur. She jumped amazing as always. I purposely left her a little fresh today; it’s a long week and temperatures are going up,” said Ward. Looking forward to the rest of the competition and the position the U.S. currently holds, Ward stated, “It’s a great group; I think we look strong. It’s quite a good position we’re in, and things start to get a little more serious on Tuesday.”

The anchor for the U.S. team was Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and her famed partner, Cortes ‘C’, a 2002 Belgium Warmblood gelding owned by Abigail Wexner. Beezie and Cortes ‘C’ were on point in delivering a solid round. Sailing through the combinations that had been problematic throughout the day, Cortes ‘C’s back leg had an unlucky light tap on a block on the wall (fence 8) for four faults.

“The ride felt very good, always a good feeling to get the first round out of the way. I think on the whole it was a very good round,” said Madden. “He jumped very well, and I’m happy where he is right now. I had to ride the water a little strong. I think I took for granted that he’d back off on the wall; he clipped it coming down and stalled a little when I turned him in the air.”

Madden looks forward to Tuesday’s competition, saying, “Today, it’s important; we want good scores, but we are setting up a little for Tuesday and Wednesday. All of us are really happy with how everybody’s horses look and the rounds we had.”

Action continues on Tuesday with the first of two rounds of the team competition, which will conclude on Wednesday.

NBCOlympics.com Tuesday (Team Competition, Round 1) Live Stream

Keep up-to-date on equestrian competition at the Rio Olympic Games on the USEFNetwork.com. Coverage includes links to live streams and TV coverage, athlete bios, behind-the-scenes photos, and more.

Classic Communications/USEF Communications Department

Packed Stadium as Brazil and Germany Dominate Olympic Jumping Opener

Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Fibonacci. (Dirk Caremans/FEI)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 14 August 2016 – The packed stadium at Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) exploded into a wall of sound when Team Brazil matched the performance of a mighty side from Germany to post a zero score as Olympic Jumping got underway.

The first Jumping qualifier decides the starting order for the first round of the Team medal-decider on Tuesday, 16 August, and is taken into account for the individual rankings. Following the result, Brazil and Germany will get the best of the draw for the team event.

The world and European champions from The Netherlands collected just four faults along with Canada, France and Switzerland while Qatar collected five and the defending Olympic champions from Great Britain shared an eight-fault result along with USA, Spain and Sweden.

A total of 15 teams and 75 riders representing 27 countries have started the battle for the Jumping medals, and the first course designed by Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge was a tough one. German ace Ludger Beerbaum (52) said, “I wasn’t expecting it to be so big, and to have the water jump on the first day too!” after his horse, Casello, hit only the very last obstacle on the 12-fence track. However, all of his team-mates, including Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (46) who got a last-minute call-up with Fibonacci when Marcus Ehning’s Cornado “trotted up slightly irregularly”, kept a clean sheet.

Clear round

It was the clear round produced by 26-year-old Brazilian, Stephan de Freitas Barcha, that truly set the stadium alight, his brilliant horse Landpeter do Feroleto ensuring he joined the 24 others who finished fault-free on the day. “He’s a fighter, and as nice a person as you will ever meet!” Barcha said of his 14-year-old horse.

Not everyone had such a great day, with multiple eliminations including one for French star Penelope Leprevost (36) who was unseated when her mare, Flora de Mariposa, stumbled on landing over the big oxer at fence nine. The biggest trouble-spot, however, was the line of fences from the planks three from home, through the following Musical Instruments double, and then the final oxer. Just how much accuracy was required here was clearly evident from the outset, as defending team gold medallist Britain’s Nick Skelton (58) paid the price for missing his strike to the last when third into the ring.

In place

Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (34) left all the poles in place with his London 2012 gold medal winning ride Nino des Buissonnets to kick off his campaign to become the first-ever Jumping athlete to win back-to-back individual Olympic titles. “The course is more massive than we are used to seeing on sand, and today was tough, so I wasn’t sure how Nino would respond to it but he actually felt confident, happy, fresh and powerful,” he said after jumping clear. “There was nothing to win today, but you can lose it!” he added, referring to the fact that the results also count towards the individual rankings.

However, he is staying grounded in the knowledge that there is a long way to go before the Team medals are presented on Wednesday and the Individual title is decided on Friday (19 August). “Anything can happen, so I can only bring Nino here to Rio in the best possible shape, but there is always luck along the way. He will give me his best and I will give him my best; that’s all we can do!” he added.

Medal tables

Germany currently leads the medal tables in Olympic Jumping, with five individual and eight team titles since 1912, and if Sunday’s performances are anything to go by they look set to add to that.

Ludger Beerbaum admitted that his country is spoiled for choice when it comes to Olympic-standard horse-and-rider combinations. “We had to replace Marcus and that’s not nice, but there was no complaining or anything. It wasn’t easy for Meredith to know only three hours earlier that she would have to ride, but she did great. To have her as our reserve is kind of a luxury!”

Results First Jumping Qualifier

Quotes:

Steve Guerdat SUI: “I’m very happy. I was a little bit nervous myself in the warm-up yesterday; some of the horses were tense and Nino was too, but he was fine today.”

Eric Lamaze CAN (talking about riding a very fast round): “Every competition we go to the first class is always a 1.50m Speed, so although I know this class wasn’t based on time, I made it like a speed competition. That helps her (Fine Lady) to be scopey and competitive. She felt so ‘on’ that I just let her go! That double at 11 comes up on a difficult angle. I didn’t expect to see all that trouble there when I walked it, but also there’s a crown (a rise) in the arena, so the distance is affected because you’re jumping up a slope. She has a round under her belt now. To be honest she speaks louder than me sometimes and today we just hit our stride and kept on going!”

Ludger Beerbaum GER: “I started a bit aggressive for the first part of the track and I rode the water a bit strong. There were a lot of problems on that last corner; horses were backing off – I think the brown wings made them look – but my horse was good and I’m not sure why we hit that last fence.”

Jerome Guery BEL: “My horse was a bit sharp at the beginning of the course and the first day is hard for him because he is a bit spooky, but he jumped great.”

Equestrian in the Olympics

Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912. Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Jumping. Uniquely across the Olympic Movement, men and women compete against each other for all the medals in equestrian sport.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

Rio 2016:

Anja Krabbe
Venue Media Manager
anja.krabbe@rio2016.com
+55 (21) 97556 1218

FEI:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Olympic Rider Adelinde Cornelissen Quits Rio 2016 after Horse Falls Ill

Cornelissen and Parzival won a silver and a bronze medal at London 2012.

(CNN) A Dutch dressage rider’s Olympic dream is over after her horse fell victim to an insect bite at Rio 2016.

Adelinde Cornelissen shocked fans by quitting the Games mid-test after her horse Parzival contracted a fever the day before the event.

Cornelissen and Parzival, who won individual silver and team bronze together at London 2012, retired from the individual Grand Prix Wednesday after only a handful of movements.

And it’s likely to have been Parzival’s final Olympic performance because the Dutch warmblood gelding is 19 years old.

Cornelissen took to Facebook and explained she pulled out of the Games over concern for Parzival’s welfare.

The day before the event, she said her horse’s head was swollen and Parzival had developed a fever, the exact cause of which is still unknown.

Cornelissen said the Dutch team had asked to alter the starting positions of the team to give the horse another day to recover but the request was refused by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).

On the day of the event, Parzival was deemed well enough to compete by FEI vets but during the test, Cornelissen realized something was not right.

“In the arena he felt totally empty and I decided not to continue. He did not deserve this,” she said.

“In order to protect him, I gave up… My buddy, my friend, the horse that has given everything for me his whole life does not deserve this… So I saluted and left the arena.”

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/08/11/sport/dressage-rider-rio

Story by Claire Corkery, CNN

“I am not much of a follower of sporting events so the Olympics fall under that umbrella of disinterest and of no concern (except it is difficult to live in the Greater Houston area and not hear about the local, gold winning Simones, hurrah).  But this week I did sit up and take note of a particular competing duo that stepped up and stood above the crowd, not because of what they did but instead because of what they did not do.  An Olympic rider decided NOT to compete for the safety and well-being of her sick horse.  Now THAT was something that touched me all the way down to my toes and back again: an athlete with a heart that was by far, much bigger than any ego.  I am forever moved.

“My hat is off to one of the biggest winners of the summer Olympics in Rio, Ms Adelinde Cornelissen – thank you for showing us what a REAL winner looks like and for reminding us to continue to act from the heart, even when it hurts.  You will always be the biggest Olympic winner, ever!” ~ R. T. Fitch

https://rtfitchauthor.com/2016/08/14/feel-good-sunday-olympic-rider-adelinde-cornelisse-quits-rio-2016-after-horse-falls-ill/

Show Jumping Ready to Take Center Stage at Rio Olympic Games

McLain Ward and Azur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Show jumping enthusiasts from around the world have been eagerly anticipating the start of the third and final discipline at the 2016 Olympic Games. The show jumping competition got underway at Rio’s Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center Friday with the horse inspection. Representing the United States are Lucy Davis, Kent Farrington, Beezie Madden, and McLain Ward. The U.S. team is led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland.

“The horses traveled well and arrived in great shape,” said Ridland. “We have been in Rio for a few days now and are a little anxious to get going. The horses all looked great in the training session Saturday, and we are looking forward to a great competition.”

Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) is riding in his fourth consecutive Olympic Games, having earned Team Gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Games. He will ride Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s Azur, a 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare who has proven to be a force in Ward’s barn with impressive wins over the last two years. In 2015, they won the $132,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ class and $75,000 Big Ben Challenge at the Royal Horse Show® in Toronto. This year, they won the $400,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Spruce Meadows, the $380,000 Suncast® Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival, and the Loro Piana Grand Prix at CSIO5* Rome. The pair was also a part of the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Teams at CSIO5* Rome and Aachen where the U.S. tied at both events for the Silver medal.

Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.), a first-time Olympian, will ride Old Oak Farm’s Barron, a 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding. Aboard the chestnut gelding, Davis was a member of the Bronze-medal winning Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. In 2015, Davis and Barron contributed to the U.S. win at the 100th running of the Nations Cup of Germany, and were part of the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team that finished fourth at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final. The pair also placed ninth at the 2015 Longines FEI World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas. The pair has contributed to multiple successes for the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team this summer. They were a part of the U.S. teams that tied for the Silver medals at CSIO5* St. Gallen and Aachen, and earned the Silver medal at CSIO5* La Baule.

Farrington (Wellington, Fla.), also a first-time Olympian, will ride Amalaya Investments’ Voyeur, a 2002 KWPN gelding. In 2015, the pair amassed an impressive record of wins in world-class competition, including winning the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, the $250,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ class at Lexington, the $400,000 Pan American Cup and $400,000 RBC Grand Prix at CSI5* tournaments at Spruce Meadows, and the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix at CSI5* Hamburg. Farrington and Voyeur were part of the U.S. Bronze medal team at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The pair also contributed to the Silver medal-tie for the U.S. at this summer’s CSIO5* Rome.

Beezie Madden and Cortes 'C' (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’ (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) is riding in her fourth consecutive Olympic Games, having been teammates of Ward’s for the U.S. Team Gold medal wins in 2004 and 2008, in addition to earning an Individual Bronze medal in 2008. She will ride her famed partner, Cortes ‘C’, a 2002 Belgium Warmblood gelding owned by Abigail Wexner. Madden and Cortes ‘C’ won Team and Individual Bronze medals at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. In 2015, the pair aided in the Gold-medal win by the U.S. team at the 100th Nations Cup of Germany at CSIO5* Mannheim, the Bronze-medal finish at CSIO5* Hickstead, and the fourth-place finish at the Furusiyya FEI™ Nations Cup Jumping Final. Following the team competition at Hickstead, the pair won the Longines King George V Gold Cup for the second consecutive year. The pair was also a part of the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team at CSIO5* Aachen where the U.S. tied for the Silver medal.

The show jumping competition will begin on Sunday with a total of 75 athlete-and-horse combinations representing 27 countries. Sunday’s first qualifying round will determine the starting order for the team competition, which commences with round one on Tuesday, August 16. Round two of team competition will be on Wednesday. The competition will come to a close with the Individual Final on August 19.

NBCOlympics.com Live Stream

Keep up-to-date on equestrian competition at the Rio Olympic Games on the USEFNetwork.com. Coverage includes links to live streams and TV coverage, athlete bios, behind-the-scenes photos, and more.

Classic Communications/USEF Communications Department

A Believer and the Horse of a Lifetime: Stephan Barcha (BRA) and Landpeter do Feroleto

Brazil’s Stephan de Freitas Barcha and Landpeter do Feroleto. (Arnd Bronkhorst/FEI)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 13 August 2016 – Everyone sat up and paid attention when a relatively unknown Brazilian called Stephan de Freitas Barcha produced two spectacular clear rounds in the super-tough team competition, the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™, at La Baule (FRA) and Falsterbo (SWE) this year. Double-clears at this level of the sport are hard to come by, but while many other top combinations struggled to make it happen, Barcha’s horse, Landpeter do Feroleto, made it look like a walk in the park. Fast-forward a couple of months and they popped around in the training session at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deordoro, giving the fences plenty of air.

Competing at the Olympic Games is a big step up for a young man on an upward trajectory, but both he and his horse are totally taking it in their stride.

Rio born and bred

“I’m from Rio and I have lived here most of my life. My father had a farm in the countryside where he bred a special kind of Brazilian working horse, the Margalanga Marchador. From the time I was five years old I liked to ride them and I always wanted to be around them but my mother was unhappy because I spent every weekend away from home and only got back late every Sunday night. So my parents decided I should start to ride at the Sociedade Hipica Brasiliera here in Rio and I grew up in this club. My family love being part of my riding career but it’s difficult for us to be together now that I am in Europe. I miss them, but they will all be here to see me compete!” the 26-year-old said just before he climbed into the saddle.

He has learned his trade from a master, Brazil’s Nelson (Neco) Pessoa, a household name in his country and a legend right across the sport. Barcha has been based with Neco for three years now, and it has been a fruitful learning curve. “During that time I have competed in three and four-star shows and I also did a season in Wellington (USA) but I never had a really good horse like this one until last year.

“Peter used to be ridden by my best friend Sergio Marins who competed for Brazil in Eventing at the Athens Olympics before turning to showjumping. He is Brazilian champion and we have known each other since we were small children. Peter’s owner is also my friend, Chiara Besanzoni (25), and Peter is Brazilian bred. I started riding him last year in Brazil; I took him to three shows here before bringing him back to Europe. Our first big result together was in the Grand Prix at the 5-Star show in Paris (FRA) and this year Nelson and I made a plan to try to be part of the team for Rio and it went really well. Peter is really good and Neco and I are really confident – this horse deserves this – and Sergio is also here this week to support us.”

Brave

Peter does indeed deserve to be at the Games. He is a spectacularly brave horse. Barcha talks about the horse’s courage and determination to survive after a horrific accident in which he was seriously injured. “When Sergio was competing him, Peter was travelling home from a show and the driver fell asleep. Some of the horses in the lorry were killed and Peter had a huge injury to his neck; it was cut wide open; you can still see it clearly.”

With blood pumping from an artery it was only the quick intervention of a top Brazilian vet that saved the horse’s life, “but this will tell you about my horse. He is so kind and gentle, and he still goes up the ramp of the lorry without even a small worry today. He just trusts you. And you know, I think he loves it here in Rio again; he’s really happy to be back home!”

Barcha describes himself as “a dreamer and a believer! When I started to ride in Europe with Neco I didn’t have a horse to be part of the Brazilian team but I always thought that I would somehow get my chance. This horse has given me my chance, and so has George (Morris, the Brazilian team manager). I met him in the USA some years ago and he saw me compete there, then he started with our team in January this year and we did a nice season together in Portugal where we won a Grand Prix and then we finished fourth in Maubeuge.

“Competing on the team at La Baule was my first opportunity to show what I could really do – I knew it was my chance and I would have to do great and Peter jumped amazing! And then he was brilliant again in Falsterbo. He is a wonderful horse!”

Barcha can’t wait for the Jumping action to begin Sunday. “Competing here is a huge pleasure, to be part of the Brazilian team at the Olympic Games in my home town, in my home country, to ride for 200 million Brazilians and to carry our flag; it’s fantastic! I just said to my team-mates that we must have fun and enjoy the experience. We have good riders with nice horses and we know what we are here to do. I believe in our team and we can have a really great week here. We are confident; we have great support and the atmosphere in the team is a bunch of guys who are very close.”

He knows he owes a lot to top trainer George Morris, who has been so influential in the careers of many of America’s top riders, and to Nelson Pessoa whose name has long been linked with great highlights of the sport.

“I’m 26, and when I was born Nelson was already 54 and George was 52. I am so lucky to work with them and when I am a grandfather I want to be able to tell my grandson about the opportunity life gave to me to be close to these two legends. Life isn’t easy in this sport, but I’m a fighter and I’m going to try to build my career and if, some day, I can be one percent of the legend that these two men are, then I will be very happy!”

The startlist for Sunday’s first Jumping qualifier will be available at this link: https://www.rio2016.com/en/equestrian-schedule-and-results.

Equestrian in the Olympics

Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912. Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Jumping. Uniquely across the Olympic Movement, men and women compete against each other for all the medals in equestrian sport.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

Rio 2016:

Anja Krabbe
Venue Media Manager
anja.krabbe@rio2016.com
+55 (21) 97556 1218

FEI:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

US Dressage Team Wins Bronze Medal at Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Laura Graves and Verdades (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The U.S. Dressage Team won the Bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Friday following the conclusion of the second half of team competition, the Grand Prix Special. Led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover, the team, comprised of Allison Brock and Rosevelt, Laura Graves and Verdades, Kasey Perry-Glass and Dublet, and Steffen Peters and Legolas 92, won the Bronze medal on a final score of 76.667%. Germany won the Team Gold on 81.936%, while Great Britain claimed the Team Silver with a score of 78.595%.

The third day of dressage team competition featured the top six teams and eight individual combinations from the first two days’ Grand Prix at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center. Each team’s top three scores from both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special were averaged together to determine the team medals.

It took a personal best score of 80.644% from anchor rider Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own Verdades, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding, to claim the Team Bronze medal as The Netherlands moved slightly ahead of the U.S. before her ride. The pair held fifth place individually going into the Grand Prix Special and their performance was truly spectacular. The duo scored mostly 8s or above throughout the test and earned six 9s for their left canter pirouette down centerline and for their flying changes in canter.

“We’ve captured the elusive 80% – it does exist!” said a thrilled Graves, who was one of only five riders to score above 80%. “I knew the test was going well, but you just always hope that your reflections match up with the judges. I had no idea going into the ring what I needed for a score and to see my teammates so happy and then to achieve my personal best score – and a score I’ve been reaching for – was just icing on our cake today.”

Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Peters (San Diego, Calif.), competing in his fourth Olympic Games, rode Legolas 92, a 14-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Four Winds Farm. The pair held sixth place individually going into the Grand Prix Special and produced a superb test with one mistake coming at the beginning of the test in the left trot half-pass. The duo quickly recovered to produce a score of 74.622%.

“I’m super happy with Legolas. We delivered for the team; that was my goal and that’s what we did,” said a delighted Peters. “We had a couple of little fumbles – he lost his balance in the left half-pass which is uncharacteristic of him and we had a little delayed reaction into the first piaffe, but then he did it beautifully.

“The rest of the test was very clean,” he continued. “He did his changes very nicely, but I knew that after the half-pass ‘fumble’ that if we had one more mistake in the flying changes then we’d be below the required average score to stay ahead of The Netherlands. I knew going into the ring exactly what score I had to get and I’m super happy that it worked out – but it was close!”

Olympic first-timers Brock (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Rosevelt, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Claudine and Fritz Kundrun, were the trailblazers as the first U.S. pair to perform its test. The duo executed a solid and confident test, earning a score of 73.824% from the seven judges with many good highlights throughout, earning high marks their first extended trot, flying changes, and extended canter.

“I was really happy with him,” remarked Brock. “He was really good. He was better than in the Grand Prix and did a clean test. That’s what we needed to do to set the stage for my teammates and we did it, so I’m really happy with him. I laughed a little at the end of my test because I said thank you [to Rosevelt] for doing this for me because it got hot in the ring and I just had to give him a lot of credit. He tried really hard. Bless him.”

Second up for the U.S. was Perry-Glass (Orangevale, Calif.) and Diane Perry’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Dublet. The pair produced a fluid test in the Grand Prix Special with especially beautiful passage work. Unfortunately, the pair had a mistake from the passage into the extended trot, but quickly regrouped and completed with a respectable 73.235% in their first Olympic Games.

“It wasn’t our best, but you know I have to give it to Dublet as he’s really trying to stay with me,” said Perry-Glass. “We have a couple kinks to work out, but it’s our first year and we moved up very fast, so I have to give him credit on that for staying patient and really trusting me in the ring. My plan was just to give him a good experience and also I was thinking about the team. I really wanted to do this for the team, but sometimes it’s just not your day.”

Reflecting on the Bronze medal win, Peters said, “First of all, a big thank you to Robert Dover [U.S. Dressage Chef d’Equipe], who was also on the team in 2004 [the last time the U.S. Dressage Team won a Team Olympic medal]. Today we knew it had to be above 75 percent and all four riders and horses are capable of delivering 76-77 percent, so we knew we had a chance, but when it actually happened it was amazing! If you wanted to see a 52-year-old guy acting like a 10-year-old boy, you should’ve seen me in the stands when Laura was coming down centerline – I was crying my eyes out and it was just one of those absolutely amazing experiences. There’s a lot of people who are certainly a big part of this medal.”

The top 18 competitors from the Grand Prix Special will now go on to compete in the Individual final, the Grand Prix Freestyle, on Monday. Only three athletes from each nation are eligible compete in the Freestyle, which ultimately decides the Olympic Champion. Graves, Peters, and Brock all qualified.

Keep up-to-date on equestrian competition at the Rio Olympic Games on the USEFNetwork.com. Coverage includes links to live streams and TV coverage, athlete bios, behind-the-scenes photos, and more.

Classic Communications/USEF Communications Department

Normal Order Restored as Germany Takes Olympic Dressage Team Gold Once Again

L to R – Isabell Werth, Dorothee Schneider, Sönke Rothenberger and Kristina Bröring-Sprehe. (Richard Juillart/FEI)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 12 August 2016 – Like re-booting to re-establish a connection, Germany clinched team Dressage gold in considerable style at the Olympic Equestrian Park in Deodoro. Germany has now won eight of the last nine Olympic team Dressage contests – with only Great Britain spoiling the party on home soil in 2012 – and the result brings the Germans overall tally to 13 sets of Olympic team golds.

Already looking like the ones to beat after topping Thursday’s Grand Prix, they stamped their authority all over Friday’s deciding Grand Prix Special with a team total of 81.936. Great Britain had to settle for silver with 78.595 while Team USA, posting 76.667, fended off the Netherlands for bronze. It was a tough day for the Dutch who lost out on a podium placing by a margin of just 1.15 percentage points. And with last-to-go German team member, Isabell Werth (47), posting the highest score of the day – 83.711 – with the fabulous mare Weihegold and pinning Britain’s 2012 double-champions Charlotte Dujardin (31) and Valegro into second place in the individual standings, the stage is set for a fascinating battle for the individual title in Monday’s Freestyle.

This was Werth’s sixth Olympic gold medal, her first two collected in Barcelona (ESP) in 1992 where she claimed team gold and individual silver. And she has now matched the record set by the Netherlands’ Anky van Grunsven with nine Olympic medals in total. If she picks up another on Monday she will hold a whole new record.

Sönke Rothenberger’s pathfinding ride for Germany with Cosmo was only good enough for 10th place at the end of a day on which many riders exceeded even their own expectations. The judges were unrelenting, however, in punishing mistakes and, already reduced to a team of three, Dutch chances of overtaking the Americans slipped away when Edward Gal and Voice posted 73.655. “I wanted to take some risks, but there were too many mistakes,” he admitted afterwards. Going in the latter stages of competition the Americans knew what they had to do, but it came down to the final rider to ensure the bronze, and Laura Graves and Verdades really nailed it with a personal-best score of 80.644.

In silver medal spot as the day began, the British felt the pressure, but Carl Hester wasn’t prepared to take any monkey-business from his naughty gelding, Nip Tuck, who lost marks with silly spooking in Thursday’s test. “There was no way he was going to do that again today!” he said after posting 76.485. And even though Dujardin’s performance wasn’t quite what she wanted due to a mistake in the first half-pass which cost her dearly, she still earned a massive 82.983.

But Dorothee Schneider and Showtime had already scored 82.619, and world number one Kristina Bröring-Sprehe and Desperados were only a little short of that with 81.401, so when Werth threw down 83.711 after a magical and confident test with the lovely mare Weihegold the German win was in the bag. Werth knew she had produced something extra-special. “Today’s performance was near the optimum. I don’t think it will be easy to repeat it – this was a day of days!” she said.

Result here

Quotes:

Edward Gal: “He (Voice) showed much more expression but with the mistakes the scores were really low. He felt sharper than in the Grand Prix; we had a mistake in the two-tempis and then he felt like he wanted to run away. I had to take some risks but I made too many mistakes and that was a pity.”

Diederik van Silfhout NED: “I’m really happy; he didn’t make any mistakes he just got a little bit tired at the end. It was a long trip and he’s been here now two weeks. You do best but I was hoping for 78/79. I had a good feeling coming out of the arena so I was a bit disappointed with the result. He was really sharp and up; he always wants to fight and to go brilliantly. After yesterday we just said we would give everything today and do our best.”

Hans Peter Minderhoud NED: “It was much better than yesterday, more freshness and energy; there were some small things but I was disappointed with the score – it’s two points less than yesterday. We (the Dutch team) talked together as a group yesterday and agreed we didn’t want to go home without a medal so we would fight, so we had to take some risks today and now we have to wait. The new draw in the group is not good for us; there is only one percent difference with the Americans but it’s quite tough how it works. They all have a number four rider too; it hasn’t been an easy time for us at this championships but we did what we could – we will wait and see.”

Dorothee Schneider GER: “My horse did an amazing job; he felt easy. I was so delighted. In passage I had so much power in the hind end. Going into Freestyle I’m 50 kilos lighter! He’s fit and he wants to do it, so I won’t do too much with him before Monday.”

Steffen Peters USA:  “There were a couple of little fumbles but 74.198 was the score we needed before I went in and I got 74.622. I’ve been waiting for this since 1996!”

Fiona Bigwood GBR: “She (Orthilia) spooked at a camera; they are flight animals so what can you do – it was just one of those things.”

Laura Graves USA: “To get that elusive 80 percent and to do it at the Olympic Games! I knew it was going well and you hope that is reflected by the marks from the judges. I had no idea what I needed to do; there was pressure but it doesn’t achieve anything to let it get to you. He (Verdades) gets pretty wound up in the warm-up but he is a great performer when he comes into the ring; he really likes it!”

Equestrian in the Olympics

Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912. Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Jumping. Uniquely across the Olympic Movement, men and women compete against each other for all the medals in equestrian sport.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

Rio 2016:

Anja Krabbe
Venue Media Manager
anja.krabbe@rio2016.com
+55 (21) 97556 1218

FEI:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

US Dressage Team Moves Up Leaderboard after Second Day of Grand Prix Competition

Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The second day of dressage competition at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games had sunshine beaming down on the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center as the remaining 30 athlete-and-horse combinations took to the main arena to perform the Grand Prix test, the first of two tests in team competition. The U.S. team, which held fourth place after the first day of competition on Wednesday, has moved into third in the team standings on an average of 76.971% after anchor riders Steffen Peters and Laura Graves performed excellent tests aboard their experienced mounts. Of the 11 nations competing in the team competition, Germany is in the lead on an average of 81.295%, while Great Britain is in second on 79.252% going into Friday’s final phase of the team competition, the Grand Prix Special.

Peters (San Diego, Calif.) made his fourth Olympic Games appearance aboard Legolas 92, a 14-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Four Winds Farm. The pair competed during the first half of the competition Thursday morning and performed a spectacular Grand Prix test, earning high marks from the seven-judge jury for their piaffe-passage tours, achieving a well-deserved score of 77.614%. This strong showing put them into sixth place individually going into Friday’s Grand Prix Special.

“Legolas delivered everything that I dreamed of,” said a delighted and emotional Peters. “I’m just so excited that he did one of the best tests of his life – probably one of the best tests of my life – and it’s always been my dream to deliver for my team! It’s the Olympic Games and we are 90% about the Team medal and the other 10% – or maybe even less – about the Individual medal. It’s been a difficult road with him – sometimes I don’t know exactly which horse is going into the show arena, but he did not change one single bit from the warm-up arena to the show arena today, and there was not one single point that we gave away.

“Legolas’s half-passes in the trot felt amazing and the trot extensions got better, which has always been a weak point,” remarked Peters on his favorite parts of their test. “His piaffe-passage were very high today; I was able to keep the 15 steps of piaffe in place. This was the test that I dreamed of for my team. It was just one of those awesome days!”

Laura Graves and Verdades (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Laura Graves and Verdades (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own Verdades, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding, impressed in their Olympic debut, performing an outstanding test to become the highest-placed U.S. rider with a score of 78.071%, good for fifth place individually. The pair’s fluid and powerful test earned a plethora of 8s throughout the performance, as well as several 9s for her right half-pass, left canter pirouette, and passage down the last centerline.

“My horse was really super!” said a delighted Graves. “I’m very happy with the feeling he gave me today and the way the training is reflecting in the arena.”

In regards to her favorite parts of her test, Graves remarked, “I’m really happy with the pirouettes and the passage-piaffe, which is a talent for this horse, but not so much in the arena when he’s not sure where to be with his big legs. I feel that’s really improved in the last two months.”

U.S. teammates Kasey Perry-Glass (Orangevale, Calif.) aboard Dublet and Allison Brock (Loxahatchee, Fla.) with Rosevelt put in impressive performances Wednesday, which put the U.S. into fourth place overnight. After Thursday’s competition Perry-Glass holds 17th place individually with her score of 75.229%, while Brock is in 25th place with 72.686%.

“I can’t say enough good things about our team,” said Graves. “The word team has a lot of different meanings, and for us as equestrians, I think the Olympics is very special, as we have a large team of people including our trainers, friends, family, as well as each other, and I couldn’t ask to be here with a better group of people. Here we also get to be Team USA, which is also really special, and it’s definitely a memory that we’ll all have for a lifetime.”

“It’s going to be a tight, tight horse race, so to speak,” commented Peters about the team standings. “Tomorrow is another day, but today I just couldn’t be happier. There’s so much comradery on our team. We’ve been training together for three months, and every day we all watch each other. It doesn’t matter if it’s 6:30 in the morning, every single team member is there, and it’s the same here in Rio. Every day we come to the barn and there is a big group hug. I’m just so honored to be with these talented girls as part of the team.”

The dressage team competition continues Friday with the Grand Prix Special. The top six teams from the Grand Prix will move forward to the Grand Prix Special, after which each team’s top three scores from both tests are added together to decide the Team medals. The top 18 competitors from the Grand Prix Special will go on to compete in the Individual final, the Grand Prix Freestyle, on Monday, August 15. Only three athletes from each nation are eligible compete in the Freestyle, which will ultimately decide the Olympic Champion.

NBCOlympics.com Morning Live Stream
NBCOlympics.com Afternoon Live Stream

Keep up-to-date on equestrian competition at the Rio Olympic Games on the USEFNetwork.com. Coverage includes links to live streams and TV coverage, athlete bios, behind-the-scenes photos, and more.

Classic Communications/USEF Communications Department

Queen Charlotte Steals the Show, but Germany Leads Olympic Dressage Team Rankings

Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro. (Richard Juillart/FEI)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 11 August 2016 – The multiple record-breaking British partnership and defending Olympic champions, Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, more than lived up to expectations when producing the top score as the Dressage Grand Prix drew to a close at the Olympic Equestrian Venue in Deodoro. But not even the shining star of the sport could halt the steady march of the Germans who look set to claim their 13th Olympic team title Friday.

“If there is no drama, which we all know can happen, we will hopefully take home the gold!” said five-time Olympic gold medallist Isabell Werth (47), who helped anchor the German total at 81.295 with a great test from the mare Weihegold. But the British are breathing down those German necks on 79.252, just over two percentage points behind, while Team USA is sitting in bronze medal spot another two points further adrift.

Only the top six teams from the Grand Prix go through to Friday’s Grand Prix Special team medal decider, so Spain, France, Australia, Brazil and Japan have now slipped out of contention, leaving the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark still in the medal race along with the leading pack.

Germany was already out in front after two riders from each side competed Wednesday, and looked set to gain an even bigger advantage after Kristina Broring-Sprehe (29) posted a massive 82.257 with Desperados. “We are here over eight days now so I was very happy to begin!” said the world number one afterwards.

And when Dujardin’s London 2012 gold medal winning team-mate Carl Hester (49) had some tricky moments with Nip Tuck, the British looked vulnerable. The 12-year-old gelding is notoriously spooky, unshipping his rider during a training session at last year’s FEI European Championships in Aachen, Germany when he took fright, and living up to his reputation again Thursday.

“He is probably the biggest horse here, but he has the heart of a mouse!” said Hester, who is also team coach. “He is good with noise but very visual. It was probably something ridiculous that spooked him, like a flower moving in a pot – maybe he needs glasses!” Hester joked. “He went fantastic all week and we had ten minutes in the arena this morning and he was totally relaxed. He had me completely fooled. I didn’t expect this and I’m gutted!”

Dujardin rode to the rescue, however, her fabulous 14-year-old gelding producing one of those spell-binding performances which have ensured his superstar status. “I can’t help but smile when I ride Valegro,” she said. “Today I didn’t even have to ask him to do a thing; he just did it himself! He enjoyed it and it felt easy; he just tries his heart out.”

The 31-year-old is really enjoying her second Olympic experience. “Some people come to the Olympics under pressure, but they still have to do the same as at any other show so I’m enjoying it and having the time of my life. I’m in the village with the world’s best athletes. ‘Oh there’s Roger Federer, oh there’s Nadal, or Murray’ and I’m star-struck! I’ve been pin-swapping and everything; it’s just great fun!”

A score of 85.071 left her out in front individually and brought Team GB back up into second place, but although the Germans now hold the next three slots to cement their position at the head of affairs, it’s still tight at the top and it’s still all very much to play for as the action resumes in the morning.

The Americans will also have to stay on their toes to fend off the Dutch who are very hot on their heels, less than one percentage point behind. Olympic veteran, Steffen Peters (51), boosted Team USA’s chances with a mark of 77.614 with Legolas. “This was one of the biggest tests of my horse’s life and it’s difficult, but there wasn’t a single point we gave away,” he said. “He delivered the test I dreamed of for my team! It’s going to be tight here now for the team placings though,” he said earlier in the afternoon. And he was right, with team-mate Laura Graves pulling her side closer to the top of the leaderboard but leaving them still just off a podium placing when scoring 78.071 with Verdades.

Full results here

Quotes:

Laura Graves (USA): “I had my horse out here this morning for a little bit of very light schooling and he was so quiet and so relaxed; I popped on him again this afternoon and he was very quiet and then the wind popped up and the plastic bags around the speaker started going and he just burst into action so I was kind of happy with that! I didn’t get a chance to settle him down before he came in (to the arena) and unfortunately I didn’t ride clean today but super-happy with the feeling and the way the training is reflecting in the arena.

“Can’t say enough good things about our team. Team has a lot of different meanings, and for us as equestrians in particular I think the Olympics is very special. We have the team of our horses and ourselves, and then we have our trainers and our friends and family, and we have each other – I couldn’t ask to be here with a better group!”

Kristina Broring-Sprehe (GER): “It was really good today but we did make a few mistakes. In the piaffe we lost rhythm and there was a mistake in the zig-zag. I’m very proud of him. It was his first time on a flight coming here and he was a bit nervous at first but he’s really happy here now. We are here over eight days so we are happy to begin. We have a very strong team and Sonke (Rothenberger) and Dorothee (Schneider) were great yesterday. I hope Isabell will do the same!”

Patrik Kittel (SWE): “I’m really happy; there was great harmony; there were some small things but at the end of the day I’m very happy. Now I can say I’ve done my third Olympic Games; it’s quite a relief when you’ve actually done it! Everything is special about the Olympics; it’s all crazy-cool, and every time you do it you can’t get enough of it; it’s the same for every sportsman; I think they will all agree with me about that. I enjoyed the test; sometimes you go in there and you just want to go home, but my horse felt really confident today. Scandic (now retired) used to be a bit spooky and scared, but Deja is much more secure in herself; she’s a super character and a very sweet horse. She’s really easy; you could put her in a headcollar and ride her around here!”

Charlotte Dujardin (GBR): “Valegro has the biggest heart; he’s very intelligent and very brave. His only weakness is that, like me, he loves his food. He gets ‘hangry’ when he can’t eat and if I have food in my hand he’ll follow me wherever I go!”

Equestrian in the Olympics

Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912. Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Jumping. Uniquely across the Olympic Movement, men and women compete against each other for all the medals in equestrian sport.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

Rio 2016:

Anja Krabbe
Venue Media Manager
anja.krabbe@rio2016.com
+55 (21) 97556 1218

FEI:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38