Dressage Riders Begin Their Tour After Half the Riders Go US Team Stands Third

t could be a Bronze Medal for the US. After the first day of the two-day Grand Prix tests the US stands third behind Germany and the Netherlands.t could be a Bronze Medal for the US. After the first day of the two-day Grand Prix tests the US stands third behind Germany and the Netherlands.

Story originally posted by: Diana DeRosaAHSA Correspondent for HorseCity.com

It could be a Bronze Medal for the US. After the first day of the two-day Grand Prix tests the US stands third behind Germany and the Netherlands. Their hopes are high that this will continue through Wednesday’s final rides when the Team Medals will be given out.

The dressage tests are scheduled to run over four days. The Grand Prix was split into two days with the first 26 riders going on September 26 and the second group of 22 going on September 27. Friday, Sept. 29 would continue with the Grand Prix Special with the Kur or ride to music taking place on Saturday, Sept. 30. When the Individual Medal winners will be named.

Robert Dover aboard Ranier was the first of our U.S. contingent to enter the main arena.

After Dover’s ride he was pleased. A bobble in the pirouette where Ranier hesitated before taking his first step to the left, and a kick out down the centerline at the end of the ride were the only clearly obvious mistakes. Other than that the ride was where it should have been for the level of the horse, who is still a little new to the grand prix level.

"This was a big deal for a nine-year-old," explained Robert. "I needed to keep my leg on him a little more for the first pirouette, but I was really happy with my ride. It started our team out with a really nice team score. His score was 67.12%." Robert felt that since the other horses were "experienced horses that have a lot more ring time," there was the potential that the scores could improve with a race to the finish with the Danes for the Bronze Medal. Dover was certain the Germans would win the Gold and the Dutch the Silver.
photo: olympics

In the lead so far are the Germans, who have dominated the dressage medals for as long as I can remember. Isabel Werth is the leading German rider and scored 1908 on Gigolo. The Dutch were led by Anky Van Grunsven, who rode Bonfire to a score of 1857. These two riders will probably change places a few times before the final individual medals are decided.

Anky had a couple of mistakes that were a total shock to her. A bobble in the first extended trot was because Bonfire was "very fresh," explained Anky, but why he broke from the canter to the trot across the diagonal was a surprise. "He gave me no signal. I don’t know what happened." In the end it cost her points, which she feels she will make up the next time in the ring.
photo: olympics

Susan Blinks, the second rider for the US, had a very confident round with Flim Flam, save for the pirouettes (turns in place). "The pirouettes are especially hard for the two of us," explained Blinks. "If I make them too small it looks really labored."

Other than that Blinks was happy. Her score of 1725 and Dover’s 1678 helped put them in the third position with one more day to go.