The German dressage supremos exited the World Equestrian Games arena with the heating left turned right up today in the first day of the eventing competition, leaving a number of 4* winners in their wake. Simone Deitermann, the 28 year-old accountant, leads the dressage on 36.0 a full five points clear of her countryman, Ingrid Klimke (41.3), and the multi-talented William Fox-Pitt in 3rd (42.0).
You rarely get to see the young riders from other nations, and I remember seeing Simone go round her first Badminton earlier this year and thinking wow, this lady can really ride, but although she has lead the dressage before in some hotly contested big events, I have to say, I really didn’t expect to see her so far ahead.
Another pleasant surprise was Mark Todd, who managed to get a score into the late forties, not an easy task with this horse. He’s must has squeezed every last ounce out of Grass Valley to get that score. This might just put him in contention for some personal honours.
Both Pippa Funnell (45.5) and Nicola Wilson (51.2) were reportedly a little disappointed with their scores, but given that Nicola drew the outside stall and was in first, it was always going to be tough. She is the perfect choice as the British team front runner though, because if there is going to be any major headaches on Saturday, this is the horse and will pick through them. It’s just a shame she’s the very first out on the cross country course, so doesn’t an opportunity to see how achievable the time is beforehand.
But it ain’t over ’til the last whistle, and we’re only half way through the pretty part of the 3 day event. Many teams still have their trumps to play. For Britain we have Tina Cook with the the fabulous Miners Frolic (3rd after Dressage at Badminton), and Mary King, the queen mother of eventing. The American’s still have Phillip Dutton, the man who spends so much on horseback you’d think he was a centaur, and we’ve yet to see Andreas Dibowski, Andrew Nicholson, Sam Griffiths or Michael Jung, and these guys should prove interesting.
They will all need to start ‘cooking on gas’ though if they’re going to get within reach of Simone, who is riding as an individual, and looks to have given herself a comfortable lead. Few riders are capable of ‘dressaaaging’ into the low 30s, and one of those has already been, Ingrid Klimke, the other that springs to mind being Bettina Hoy, and she isn’t in it.
I’m hoping that Yogi has a dressage test sheet to hand, for Mary King, as the Brits can ill afford any penalty points for error of course, and I do hope Andreas Dibowski manages to keep his horse firmly planted both in and out of the arena!
If there are 3 or more Germans in the top 5 after tomorrow, I demand a stewards enquiry, as the scoring team (Team Janssen Nothofer) are German. We’re watching you, very carefully boys….
And finally how nice not to see any ridiculous bibs…
It’s the 3-day World Champs, it’s started, it’s just too exciting…….
(see link on right for real ‘live’ results from the eventing)