Teams dressage thriller in Tokyo

And it's another team Olympic gold for Germany's dressage team! Images: Libby Law

After an outstanding evening’s competition at the Tokyo Games, Germany have again been crowned Olympic team dressage champions. The trio of Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, Isabell Werth and Dorothee Schneider headed off some stiff competition, though their 14th team gold was never really in serious doubt with all three scoring above 80% in the GP Special.

Germany’s golden girls: Dorothee Schneider, Isabell Werth and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (image: Libby Law)
Isabell Werth and Bella Rose in the GP Special (image: Libby Law)
Dorothee Schneider and Showtime FRH in the Grand Prix Special (image: Libby Law)

The real battle was for silver and bronze, with Great Britain, the USA, Denmark and the Netherlands all genuine contenders.

But it was team USA that lived up to their pre-Games predictions.

Their first rider out, Adrienne Lyle with Salvino, scored 76.109%, backed up by Steffen Peters and his beautiful Suppenkasper on 77.76%.

Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper impressed in their Grand Prix Special (image: Libby Law)

The final rider, Sabine Schut-Kery, was then only non-German rider to pass the 80% mark, an absolute show-stopping display to score 81.596% and catapult the Americans on to the second step of the podium.

Great Britain’s three riders were valiant and once again showed beautiful, tactful, empathetic riding. The master, Carl Hester, thrilled his many millions of devoted fans with a text-book display on the hot, relatively inexperienced but hugely talented En Vogue. They scored 78.344%.

Carl Hester gives a reassuring pat to En Vogue after a beautifully-ridden Grand Prix Special (image: Libby Law)

Then Olympic debutant Lottie Fry managed her obviously explosive and powerful stallion Everdale to 76.85%, and it was all up to Charlotte Dujardin and Gio.

Lottie Fry and Everdale (image: Libby Law)

The defending individual champion Charlotte is probably the best rider under pressure we’ll ever see, but her wonderful little horse’s inexperience at this level – he’s just 10 and only new to Grand Prix – just caught up with her as a few tiny mistakes in the one-tempi changes crept in to an otherwise immaculate test. The pair scored 79.544% and it was team bronze for the Brits.

Denmark will be disappointed with fourth place, though all three riders did their nation proud, while the fifth-placed Netherlands had two good scores from Edward Gal (Total US, 79.894%) and Hans-Peter Minderhoud (Dream Boy, 76.353%) but their first combination, Marliese van Baalen and Go Legend, lacked some harmony and softness.

Sweden finished sixth, ahead of Spain and Portugal.