The day all dressage fans have been waiting for….Day 1 of the Grand Prix at Deodoro Olympic Stadium!
Today saw 30 horse/rider combinations go down the centreline in what is Session 1 of the Grand Prix. Tomorrow will see Session 2 with another 30 rides. The outcome will then determine who are the 6 Teams who will progress onto Friday’s Grand Prix Speciale.
Again, it was disappointing to see so many empty seats. I really think this is largely down to location. Aachen (Germany) have massive stands, and they are always packed.
Megan Lane was the 10th rider of the day, so the judges were well warmed up by the time she hit the big sandbox. You’d never know this was her very first Olympic Games given how calm and relaxed she looked when entering the main stadium. And that smile! It never left her face, and in fact only got bigger as her ride went on.
She nailed it all – 1-tempi changes, pirouettes, extended trot, piaffe. It was fantastic to watch. The armchair critic in me would say that a little more energy and less travelling in the piaffe would have pushed her even higher, but it really was a fantastic ride and one which may even qualify her for Friday’s Grand Prix Speciale. I hope she does make it to the Speciale, because I have a feeling she will push the envelope further to get even more brilliance in the ring.
Megan’s is such a phenomenal story. Caravella is owned by her family and is Canadian bred by another Canadian dressage rider – Jill Irving. Trained by Megan, he pair have methodically worked their way up the Junior and Young Rider ranks until they made their first Senior National Team in 2014 at the World Equestrian Games (Normandy). Then went on to help Canada earn a Team Silver at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.
The smile of a newly minted Olympian who nailed it in the biggest sandbox in the world.
Megan sister’s Kelley (far left) is undoubtedly Megan’s biggest fan!
Team Canada’s Chef de Mission Curt Harnett even stopped by to watch Megan in action. Curt has a soft spot for Dressage as his wife is none other than Victoria Winter who has represented Canada at two World Equestrian Games (1998 & 2010) and multi-medalist at the Pan American Games (1995 & 1997).
Megan and her supergroup Evelyn Lucas celebrating in true Canadian fashion…with a cold one 🙂
“You guys have all led me to be the person that I am here today”
The Top 5 After Day 1
The USA’s Kasey Perry-Glass had a fantastic ride in her first Olympics aboard Dublet. The duo put in a very elastic and energetic test which was rewarded by the judges with a score of 75.229%. Combined with Alison Brock’s earlier ride of 72.686, the Americans are looking great going into day 2 which will see Steffen Peters and Laura Graves perform.
Great Britain’s Fiona Bigwood laid down a very solid test to score 77.157% and set up Great Britain extremely well for a Team Gold repeat. Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin both ride tomorrow.
For those who aren’t familiar with Fiona’s story, a freak riding accident in 2014 caused not only a concussion but lasting nerve damage to her eye. Fiona continues to experience double vision in her one eye which is why she rides with an eye patch.
The Germans certainly laid down the gauntlet when Dorothee Schneider, the last rider of the day, put in a spectacular test and was the first to crack the 80% barrier with 80.986%
Thursday Grand Prix Riding Times
Although CBC provided brilliant coverage of every Eventing day (including both Dressage days), the same isn’t true for Dressage. They are apparently only showing the Grand Prix Speciale and Freestyle days.
Hopefully the outcry today will mean they will have a change of heart, in which case check it out here:
The following link has apparently been working for many folks, but do be careful. There are a number of pop-up windows enticing you to click on them or “login”. Ignore these, and apparently the livestream feed from BBC works great
It was heartbreaking to watch what happened to Dutch Team Rider Adelinde Corneslissen and her beautiful Parzival. Near the very beginning of her dressage test, you could see Parzival’s tongue hanging out, and it almost looked like he might have somehow got his tongue between the bits. It was actually remarkable how well he was still performing, and a true testament to the special bond between this horse and rider. During the free walk, Adelinde excused herself from the ring, looking visibly disappointed. She then took to Facebook to provide more information on what the last 48 hours has been like for her. Kudos to Adelinde for her horsemanship.
This was to be Parzival’s swan song, after winning so many medals with his partner Adelinde including Silver and Bronze at the London 2012 Games, and Gold at the 2010 Kentucky World Equestrian Games.
Not sure if these will work, but here you go.
The Netherland’s Edward Gal & Voice
Belinda and Anton On Deck!
In tomorrow’s Session 2, it will be Belinda’s turn to shine with Anton. This pair have had a fabulous 2016 season, culminating with personal bests and Canadian record-breaking scores.
They ride at 10:00am Rio time.
Go Canada Go!
Gunshots Still Ringing
After the scare a few days ago when a bullet came through the media tent, gunshots could again be heard throughout the day, and apparently another bullet was found on site. However since the Olympic Shooting venue is nearby, I’m not sure if that was the source of the gunfire?
Kasey Perry-Glass told the Chronicle of the Horse that the noise did bother her gelding, but saying that “He hung in there really well for me, especially with all the guns going off.” (read the full interview here)
The practice of learning how to ride through gunfire is a skill that I’m pretty sure was dropped many moons ago when nations stopped using a cavalry in active warfare. Although maybe it might be a good idea for future Games to get some tips from the Mounted Police!
Canada’s Eventing Team taking in some Olympic basketball action