Plenty of action on Rio GP Dressage day 1

You may have thought things would calm down once eventing moved out of the Deodoro Equestrian Center and the spotlight shifted to Grand Prix dressage, but no.

The biggest surprise of the day was Adelinde Cornelissen’s decision to retire from the ring partway through her ride with the 19-year-old Parzival, leaving the Dutch with a three-member team, no drop score and a real job to take the bronze medal they were predicted to win.

The horse had a bad reaction to an insect bite, and after treatment it was decided he should go for it.  But it wasn’t working and Adelinde retired early in her test. I remembered when he was eliminated for blood in the mouth at the 2010 WEG, and it was a bit of deja vu today to see him sadly leaving the ring.

Germany was as predicted, with Dorothee Schneider and the lovely Showtime getting the only score over 80 percent, 80.986, with Sonke Rothenberger, the youngest on the team fairly close behind aboard Cosmo at 77.329. That brought up another memory, his parents on the podium at the Atlanta Games 20 years ago.

Germany leads with an average of 79.157 percent, while Britain is at 74.921 after Fiona Bigwood finished third on 66.157 with Orthilia. Her score and that of Spencer Wilton on Super Nova, tied for seventh on 72.686, might be a case of “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet” after Brits Carl Hester (Nip Tuck) and  Charlotte Dujardin (Valegro) get finished tomorrow on the second day of GP dressage.

The USA’s Olympic debutantes were great. Allison Brock and Rosevelt tied with Spencer, while Kasey Perry-Glass is an amazing fifth with Dublet on 75.229. She was right behind Holland’s Edward Gal with Glock’s Voice, not quite where I expected him to be at 75.251. His total is the only one counting for the Netherlands at the moment, which technically puts the Dutch second or definitely not, if you average it with the non-score of Adelinde..

kasey perry-glass and dublet
Kasey-Perry Glass and Dublet had the high score for the U.S. on Wednesday. (Photo copyright Shannon Brinkman)

The U.S., which has an average of 73.357 for fourth (or third, depending on how you consider the Netherlands is, of course, aspiring to the podium that many felt would be dominated by Germany, Britain and the Dutch. As I said in my preview, I saw the Dutch as the weak link, which might enable the U.S. to grab the bronze. But watch out for Sweden, at 73.357. Denmark is sixth at 71.064.

After the second half of the team riders go on Thursday, the top six squads will compete for the medals on Friday in the Grand Prix Special. The standings could change drastically on Thursday, as such strong contenders as Steffen Peters and Laura Graves for the U.S. and Beatriz Ferrer-Salat for Spain have their turn.

Not many people were in the stands on a dull gray day, but then, GP Dressage isn’t a big sport in Brazil.

There was news on the show jumping front as France’s Simon Delestre dropped out following the revelation that his mount, Ryan, had a microfracture of his hock. As number two in the world, Simon was a powerful medal weapon for his homeland. He’s being replaced by Olympic veteran Philippe Rozier.

I hope you’ve been following my tweets at twitter.com@nancyjaffer. I’ll be at it again tomorrow, so check in with me.

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