My laptop is grossly speckled with fly poop after spending half of the last two days in the barn so that we could watch Olympic dressage while “working” (I use that term loosely). But Horse Junkies are used to things like this and it’s totally worth it after watching the second day of the Grand Prix in London. Here we go!

Tina Konyot and Calecto V

Tina Konyot and Calecto V, USA 70.456%

To start the day off with some fun, Calecto gave a little buck before going into the arena which got a good laugh from Tina. You know she’s relaxed! Loss of rhythm in first & second extended trots, nice half-passes. Sometimes uneven behind in passage, piaffe good. Nice walk. In the flying changes, Calecto jumped together behind in one of the two-times, both pirouettes were a little big and not straight in between. Final trot extension very nice, passage still uneven behind on centerline.

Tinne Wilhelmson Silfven and Don Auriello

Tinne Wilhelmson Silfven & Don Auriello SWEDEN 74.271%

Lovely, steady, relaxed, and expressive are the words I used to describe pretty much everything about this test. There was a mistake in the two-time changes and his hind legs could be more active in the passage, but otherwise very nice.

Renate Voglsang % Fabriano AUSTRIA (individual) 69.635%

The connection to the bridle looked very strong and stiff, and I’d never heard of them, so I used this time to feed my own horses lunch. I’m terrible.

Valentina Truppa and Eremo del Castegno

Valentina Truppa & Eremo Del Castegno ITALY (individual) 75.790%

Now, I’m not so fluent in Italian, but wondering does “Eremo Del Castegno” translate to “Super Fat Sausage Pony?” Wow, that is one chunky monkey in there, but can he ever get the job done! Super expressive trot with great energy. some loss of rhythm at beginning of first passage, otherwise great. Walk good. Second passage & piaffe great – VERY uphill, almost getting stuck but managed well. Canter work good. Final trot extension super, great centerline, a little crooked in final halt.

Beata Stremler & Martini POLAND 69.422%

Big smile from the rider of this elegant horse to start. Small rhythm error in first trot extension, otherwise really nice trot work, energetic & uphill. piaffe & passage got a little sticky. Good walk, better second piaffe, transition to canter from passage was tough. Good two-time changes and extension, zig-zag was a bit of a mess, changing bend too early. Mistakes in ones. Left pirouette was hard to judge from angle, right pirouette looked big. Having never seen them before it was a pleasant surprise, a pair I’ll look for.

Jessica Michel & Riwera FRANCE (individual) 70.410%

Very elegant and flowing trot work. Little rhythm mistake in first piaffe. Good walk, a little spook before transition to passage, second piaffe climbing, not settled. Canter was lovely with a very nice zig-zag. Final centerline a little weak, piaffe not reliable and passage looked tired at the end. Overall lovely pair with soft, correct work and great length of neck and open frame, but at times the neck was a little too low.

Edward Gal and Undercover

Edward Gal & Undercover NETHERLANDS 75.289%

First of all, Edward’s tie pin looked crooked. Sheesh! Otherwise, holy crap! Undercover looked like a hot one (with a freaky good hind leg!) today but masterfully ridden by Gal. So much expression through the trot tour, perfect rhythm, transitions within passage/piaffe outstanding. Walk was okay but a little quick. Second passage & piaffe just resulted in expletives coming out of my mouth, it was just that good. The canter was a little tight, especially in zig-zag. Hard angle to see with the left pirouette, it looked big but ?? Right was good. Even with a little tension in the canter it was a lovely, accurate test with so much energy and expression, great connection and steady frame.

Richard Davison and Artemis

Richard Davison & Artemis GREAT BRITAIN (individual) 72.812%

Trot a little tense, not quite making it from track to track in half-pass zig-zag. Lovely passage, piaffe good, one little hop together behind, nice transitions. Great walk. Canter alright, buried neck a little coming back from extension, nice pirouettes. All business final centerline, Great expression on Richard’s face after final salute, like he couldn’t believe they just did it! This is another example of a horse that maybe doesn’t have the most brilliant of gaits by nature, but accurate riding and correct training can get you through a lovely test at the Olympics!

Kristina Sprehe and Desperados – London 2012 Grand Prix Dressage

Kristina Sprehe & Desperados GERMANY 79.119%

Lovely, flowing, and powerful trot work. Wow. First passage right hind not coming under, piaffe good, passage better after. Good walk. passage still weak but second piaffe was incredible. In canter twos were good, a mistake in change coming back from a bold extension. Zig-zag and ones good, left pirouette looked big (again, crappy camera angle), right good. Last trot extension the hind legs were out and there was a bit of a mess in the corner before center line. The passage was still unsteady but the piaffe is crazy good. I have to say, though this 25 year old rode really well, I thought the score was a little generous. Scores ranged from 81.383 as highest to 75.957 lowest, which would have placed them 9th instead of 4th where they ended up. I just can’t get over the amount of irregular steps in the passage for that score. But what do I know?

Nathalie Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein & Digby DENMARK 74.924%

Not much suspension in Digby’s trot, but accurate, nicely ridden work. Very uphill in connection, nice open neck. Halt & rein-back downhill. Passage good, piaffe good and on the spot, transitions good. Great walk, second passage good, transition to piaffe a little quick & unsteady. Canter had good twos, bold extension, nice zig-zag. In the ones either he didn’t change behind or jumped together in one change. haunches leading out of right pirouette. Super final centerline. Nathalie very emotional at finish, I hope it was happy tears because it was some good riding!

Ashley Holzer and Breaking Dawn – London 2012 Grand Prix Dressage

Ashley Holzer & Breaking Dawn CANADA (individual) 71.809%

Great moving horse, WOW in the trot! Maybe could have reached more in half-pass right, a little sticky out of rein-back. Extended trot to passage was brilliant, great transitions piaffe-passage. Walk okay, not great. Very straight twos, swinging a little in ones. A little too much back after final extension, quit in last piaffe but well recovered and good steps after and nice passage. Maybe it’s a little patriotism here, but I think she could have scored  a wee bit higher. And she gets bonus points from me for wishing the next rider “Good luck!”

Adrienne Lyle and Wizard – London 2012 Grand Prix Dressage

Adreinne Lyle & Wizard USA (individual) 69.468%

Great entrance and first extension, lost a little expression in half-passes, hind legs trailing in left. Lost balance & broke in next extension. Piaffe looked insecure, big transition out to passage which looked labored. Livestreaming got jumpy through walk until canter. Twos were safe, bold extension. Might have been a counting mistake in zig-zag? Nice ones. Pirouette left unsteady but well ridden, right lovely. Super last trot extension, passage & piaffe better, transition out still big. Very impressive Olympic debut and some lovely riding!

Siril Helljensen & Dorina NORWAY (individual) 69.985%

Good trot work, steady rhythm. Super transition extended trot to passage, maybe could have more lift in front for passage. Disunited into canter then good work.

Mary Hanna & Sancette AUSTRALIA 67.964%

Horse looked a little overhwelmed by it all, unsteady in frame through trot. Lovely gaits, but needs to be more consistent. Interestingly, second Sandro Hit offspring on Australian team.

Goncalo Carvalho & Rubi PORTUGAL (individual) 71.964%

Nice moving, good swing in trot, flattens a little in extensions. Amazing piaffe but sits almost too much to have a smooth transition to passage. Better transition out of second piaffe. Canter work good, lovely pirouettes, very nice final trot & centerline. This Lusitano has the biggest neck at the show!

Victoria Max-Theurer & Augustin AUSTRIA (individual) 73.267%

Forward, fluid trot work. Nice passage & piaffe, transition out lost some rhythm. Mistake in ones, pirouette right big, some unsteady final passage. Livestream connection a bit crappy again, so couldn’t see it all, but very powerful horse well ridden.

Svetlana Kiseliova & Parish UKRAINE (individual) 66.793%

Small horse, tendency to drop behind the vertical. Clean trot work. Some tension in collected walk. Could be more active behind in passage & piaffe. Mistake in twos, lovely canter zig-zag & extension. a bit stopping into left pirouette, right could have more activity behind. Passage & piaffe better final centerline.

Juan Manuel Munoz Diaz and Fuego

Juan Manuel Munoz Diaz & Fuego SPAIN 75.532%

If you saw Fuego at WEG 2010, you already love this horse! Great trot, a little tight in beginning of half-pass left. Good piaffe & passage, good walk. Twos nice & straight, bold extension, great ones! Left pirouette a little big, right very nice. Last centerline lovely except for a little bit quick into piaffe. Big smile from rider after!

Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro

Charlotte Dujardin & Valegro GREAT BRITAIN 83.663%

There’s really not enough superlatives in the English language to describe this pair. To me, this is what dressage is at its best. The horse and rider look positively joyous in their jobs, turning me into a teary-eyed idiot. If I have to be picky, Valegro gave a little shake of his head in the first extended trot, looked like a fly touched his nose. And maybe the pirouettes were a little big, like they would fit on a serving tray instead of a dinner plate. Okay? It was beautiful. AND Valegro was sporting quarter marks. Perfect. They are leading, enough said.

Steffen Peters and Ravel

Steffen Peters & Ravel USA 77.705%

First halt and halt before rein-back not square. Beautiful trot half-passes, gorgeous passage, piaffe and transitions. Walk was super, like they were hacking in the field. A teeny bit sticky in second piaffe but still great. Deadly good canter pirouettes but jumped together behind in change between them. Final centerline was gorgeous. Ravel was a rubber ball of goodness, and I think he should have scored higher.

Patrik Kittel & Scandic SWEDEN 74.073%

Beautiful, flowing trot work, could set the time to his rhythm. Scandic didn’t believe he really needed to rein-back. Resistance in second piaffe but good recovery. Canter pirouettes big. Lovely contact and steady frame, unbeatable rhythm. Could be more uphill in frame.

Katarzyna Milczarek & Ekwador POLAND 69.286%

Great moving beast of a horse (half thoroughbred!). Loses some cadence in half-passes in trot. Rein-back not clear diagonal pairs. Quits in piaffe, rider has to work for it. Good walk, gorgeous canter. Too low in the poll often.

Lisbeth Seierskilde & Raneur DENMARK (individual) 69.863%

Super entrance but Raneur was tense & spooky throughout trot and first passage. Very good piaffe. Got better in the canter but too nervous & tight for better scores.

Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival

Adelinde Cornelissen & Parzival NETHERLANDS 81.687%

Parzival looked super tense coming into competition ring and there was some uglies as Adelinde got him focused. But once in the sandbox it was all business (not sure how she managed that?!). A bit unsteady in half-pass left. Not square in halt before rein-back. Amazing piaffe and passage better after. Good extended walk, you could hear Parzival take a deep breath. Collected walk good, passage & piaffe great, super transitions. Whole canter tour was great. Looks heavy in contact, mouth opening often.

Helen Langehanenberg & Damon Hill GERMANY 81.140%

The amazing moving Damon Hill and his wee rider are a very, very close second behind Valegro & Charlotte in my opinion of what dressage should look like. But if I have to take notes other than saying gorgeous! then here we go: lost some rhythm in first piaffe, sitting too much. Excellent second piaffe with a little more forward movement. Could jump more through in change to left throughout ones. Got a little stuck coming out of left pirouette. Otherwise brilliant!

Such a great day of dressage competition! I want to be clear that when I say things like, “big pirouette,” “swinging in changes,” or “unsteady rhythm/frame,” it’s still better than I’ve ever done. I am impressed with each and every combination who made it to London, where 30 riders scored over 70%!


Here is the scoreboard after the Grand Prix (the Q next to the scores means “Qualified for the Grand Prix Special”)

Team Rankings – Top 7 teams are still in the hunt for medals