And….team dressage is over! And…They’re back!

26 Aug

Charlotte and Blueberry

 

 

He’s back!

Valegro produced the kind of performance we’ve come to expect of him and that was such a shock when the plot (and timing) got lost at Aachen.

 

Under pressure (mostly from herself), Charlotte Dujardin knew she and Blueberry needed about a 76+ for the bronze and about an 81 for silver.

 

Without doubt, this is one of the great partnerships—and both athletes have to be up for it to achieve the over-80 score.

 

When he came in, Valegro looked rather tight, but as the test went on, both athletes found a better connection and just kept sailing higher. The canter work was a highlight, the twos huge and bouncing and then the ones…equally expressive!

The monkey was off her back and the pair just glided through the pirouettes and final centerline.

 

They defined all our buzzwords.

 

Balance and rhythm.

Uphill, power, expression, supple, focused, able to collect and extend, able to stay supple laterally…able to move us by sheer performance excellence.

 

85.271—for most horses, not even a dream. For this pair—not quite the magic world record they already hold.

 

Applause for Team Hester.

Once again, Carl Hester has provided 2/3 of the team scores and in fact trains not only Charlotte,but also helps Gareth Hughes with Nadonna—the 4th team member today.

 

Press conference later, am sure Carl will be witty and buoyant and we will report clever sayings. But under that lies not only the heart of a champion, but a man of real grace and inner strength.

I like to think it is this generosity of spirit that is the main attraction for so many people, as well as the ability to enchant us.

 

So Germany won team gold; Great Britain—thanks to Blueberry’s monster score—jumped into silver; and Netherlands, despite the loss of two team horses held on for team bronze.

 

The U.S. fought for and was awarded 4th place, and can be very proud of the job accomplished here. It took all four riders to dig down and earn every last point, and less than one percentage point separated them from Spain who eared 5th place.

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