A Team Bronze Medal is Ours

When Guenter Seidel put in a decent dressage ride on Foltaire it almost secured the Bronze Medal for the U.S. Going in he hadn't worried about how high he had to score to beat the Dutch, ...When Guenter Seidel put in a decent dressage ride on Foltaire it almost secured the Bronze Medal for the U.S. Going in he hadn't worried about how high he had to score to beat the Dutch, ...

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

When Guenter Seidel put in a decent dressage ride on Foltaire it almost secured the Bronze Medal for the U.S. Going in he hadn’t worried about how high he had to score to beat the Dutch, their closest rival. He was "leaving that to Christine (Traurig)," the last team rider and the last to go in the class.

Seidel’s ride was good "except for the two mistakes in the canter," he explained. His horse got a little spooked on one canter change and then bobbled in the two tempis (in which the horse changes leads every stride). Seidel was happy, not because they had done their best, because they hadn’t. However, considering the fact that just 2 _ weeks earlier Foltaire had a pretty bad bout of colick, his performance was fabulous.

They also had some deep footing to contend with after three days of rain. Just prior to Guenter’s ride the sun finally came out but the footing was a bit sticky and his horse was not thrilled about that. "Nothing was horrible," commented Guenter about the ride, "just certain moves were a little weak."

And so it was up to Christine and Etienne to truly secure the Bronze Medal for our team. Going into the arena Christine had no idea what she had to score either. "I asked them not to tell me. This was my first Olympics and I didn’t want that pressure. I just went in and rode my best."

In fact her best was good enough to steal the Bronze from the Danes. Germany won with 5632. The Netherlands was Silver with 5579. US scored 5166 and Denmark just 17 points behind with 5149. Traurig’s ride was the highest at 1746. Then came teammate Susan Blinks with Flim Flam (1725), Seidel with 1695 and Dover and Ranier with 1678.

"It’s unbelievable how close we were," commented a delighted Christine. "This moment has been a dream of a lifetime. I am so proud of my horse. I could not have expected more," she said.

Christine was quick to congratulate her teammates as well. "I think we all did a great job. We all rode really hard. We don’t have the best group of horses in the world. I am so happy I cannot tell you."

Christine went on to explain that Etienne has only been competing at the Grand Prix level for a little over a year and this was his highest score so far. For the US team, that score came just at the right time, giving the US team their third consecutive Olympic Bronze Medal.