Wow. I can honestly say I have never seen a more spectacular dressage test in my life than the test Edward Gal rode today with Moorlands Totilas. More perfect 10s were given today than I ever dreamed I would see. And they really are spectacular, not just fancy or flashy. The horse looks so incredibly pleased to be doing the work it is hard to believe. And Edward is a part of him, as a rider should be. Amazing to have the chance to see them in person. And then tomorrow and Friday again!!! Needless to say, he had the high score of the day slightly over 84% and that is not a typo. With that score, and Hans-Peter's and Imke Bartel's, the Dutch won the gold handily.
As for the US, Tina Konyot rode a good test but Calecto started out a bit hot and danced through the halt and then broke to the canter in an extended trot. She ended with a score right around 70%. Steffen Peters was the last rider of the day, but he and Ravel have been out of competition for a short while and this was really their first time out on this type of stage in months. It seemed at first that either Steffen was riding a bit on the conservative side, or maybe Ravel was not just "on" yet like he has been at other competitions. A few bobbles here and there, but also a few 10s as well! His half pass in the trot was fantastic, as was the extended canter, each of which scored a 10 from at least one judge. Good showing for the US, but we ended up just out of the medals. Steffen was third place overall at the end of the day, but the team score was just not enough.
The silver team medal went to Great Britain, their first ever team medal at a World Equestrian Games. Laura Bechtolsheimer had a beautiful ride on her chestnut Danish warmblood Mistral Hojris. He reminded me very much of Carver, who I used to show way back when. Big, obedient, well balanced, with a great piaffe that did earn a few 10s as well. She ended up second for the day with a huge score of 82%, which propelled the Brits to the silver medal along with the scores of Carl Hester and Fiona Bigwood.
The Germans barely edged out the US for the bronze; the point differential was really only two or three total points. If only we could go back and fix the little mistakes, right? Anyway, Isabell Werth turned in a great ride as you would expect her to, but some rhythm issues in the piaffe and final passage on centerline kept her score to a 75%. The other German rider today, Matthias Alexander Rath, is one to watch with his horse Sterntaler-Unicef. Nice energy, a huge walk, soft and supple work, but he really almost skipped over the final piaffe at X which dropped his score down to about 72.5%. Enjoyable pair to watch and I look forward to seeing more of them this week.
One more highlight was the ride by Juan Manuel Munoz Diaz riding Fuego XII, a PRE (pure Spanish) stallion. This was the best of the Spanish horses we saw by far, and he had a few little mistakes here and there, but overall was really quite nice. Huge extension in the trot, very steady and active in passage and a great walk. He was quite obviously thrilled with his ride as he showed the crowd after his final salute by repeatedly pointing at his horse to give him the credit. He ended up fifth individually, and we will get to see him ride again in the Grand Prix Special tomorrow.
Two horses were eliminated today, which added a bit of drama. The fourth Dutch rider, Adelinde Cornellison started the test out with nothing but 8s and 9s in the first few marks, but the bell rang as she went to ride the halt and rein back at C, right in front of the judges. The foam on her horse's lips was bloody, which is cause for immediate dismissal. They announced later that the horse had bit his lip, and everything was fine, but rules are rules and she was out. Which means that she cannot compete in the Special or the Freestyle since she did not post a score today. Quite a shame, as the bit we got to see was looking as good as anything that was getting high marks today. Wonder what her score could have been. An Australian rider, Hayley Beresford, was also excused when her horse looked a little bit uneven or off in the extended trot and passage. A huge disappointment for sure, but hopefully the horse will be okay.
I really am going to try to get pictures up tomorrow, I promise!