Tokyo 2020 Dressage Day One Highlights: Team GB Success, Eliminations, and Ones To Watch

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Dressage Day 1 Grand Prix Charlotte Fry (GBR) with ride Everdale at Baji Koen Equestrian Park, Tokyo (JPN) FEI/Christophe Taniere 24 July 2021

Here are the Tokyo 2020 Dressage day one highlights. Team GB leave day one dressage at Tokyo 2020 with a successful start. Meanwhile, other nations hit back with leading result, whilst some suffered eliminations.

Team GB Dressage Day One Highlights

Team GB top their group qualifiers after day one of dressage at the Baji Koen Equestrian Park, Tokyo.

Lottie Fry and Everdale

Lottie Fry was the first British combination down the centre line, taking part in the first group dressage competition at Tokyo 2020.

The Olympic debutant was riding Van Olst Horses’ breeding stallion, Everdale. Everdale was making not only his Olympic, but his Senior Championship debut.

A smooth and harmonious test saw the duo fly to the top of their group. They took the lead with 77.069%, a personal best for the duo at international Grand Prix Level.

After her performance on the Olympic stage, Lottie was overjoyed with the test.

Everdale was really with me and was concentrating so hard – I think he had a shock at the end when he realised that there were people watching. He definitely knew it’s a big occasion, he’s been concentrating so hard today because he knew what was coming.”

Riding Everdale since he was a 7-year-old, Lottie has formed the perfect partnership with the stallion. Completing Young Riders, Under 25’s Grand Prix tests, and then moving up to Senior Grand Prix in 2019, the pair have grown in talent and experience together. This joint growth shone through on the Olympic field. 

I enjoyed every second of it and Everdale really felt as though he was enjoying it, too. It’s a shame that there are empty stands, but there’s still so much atmosphere in here. You never know how it’s going to be every time you come into an arena, and each one is different, but I really trust him and he really trusts me, so we don’t tend to worry about that kind of situation because I know he’s going to try his best whatever happens.”

Taking the top spot in their forup, Lottie and Everdale now qualify for the Individual final. The individual final is a Grand Prix Freestyle test, taking place on Wednesday 28th July.

Carl Hester and En Vogue

Another horse making their Senior championship and Olympic debut was En Vogue. Only a fourth international Grand Prix outing for the 12-year-old, gelding, he was accompanied by one of the most experienced and talented riders on the entire team GB equestrian squad, Carl Hester. Carl is contesting in his sixth Olympic Games – the first was in Barcelona 1992.

Their test had a few errors. En Vogue kicked out during the two-time changes across the diagonal, and an over-reaction to the aids entering extended canter lost the pair marks. However, calm and collected, Carl held the gelding together for a credible score of 75.124%.

Following the test, Carl commented;

Vogue’s never done anything like this before, so this enormous for him.”

“He’s nervous, he’s hot, and he was very on it warming up, but you know what, he was actually perfect in there – he walked, he halted. There were two fairly obvious mistakes in my two-tempis and my extend canter.” 

“Normally my canter work is my go-to for marks, he never normally seems to make mistakes in there, but I didn’t think he was going to answer so I just touched him too strongly with my leg and he shot forwards – you can see how sensitive he is.”

“I feel he’s better than the scores we had, but my aim was 75%+ and I achieved that even with two mistakes, so I’m more than happy.”

Carl also alluded to feeling the pressure himself. Wanting to get the scores for the team, Carl mentioned he feels a level of responsibly for team success, after his remarkable achievements at the Games over the previous years.

The combination finished fourth in Group C, meaning they miss out on automatic qualification to the individual final, but there are still Freestyle slots open to the six highest-scoring non-qualified riders. Carl and Vogue currently sit second on this list, so their individual campaign hopes rest on what happens tomorrow in day two – a nervous wait for the Gloucestershire rider.

More Dressage Day One Highlights

Only two riders managed to break 80% on day one, Denmarks’ Catherine Dufor and Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl.

Catherine of Team Denmark scored 81.056 with ride, Bohemian. Currently ranked 6th in the FEI World Rankings and scoring in the 80’s with the Westphalian gelding consistently over the past month before arriving at Tokyo, the combination is one to watch.

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl from Team Germany is also a rider which fans should keep their eyes on. Standing at 2nd in the FEI World Dressage Rankings, she took home team Gold in the 2018 World Equestrian Games with her Olympic ride, Tsf Dalera Bb. The combination have also been posting scores consistently in the 80’s.

Meanwhile, Singapore was eliminated from the equestrian dressage qualifiers. Singapore’s first ever and only equestrian Olympian, Caroline Chew, was elimated from compeititon after her horse, Tribiani was found to be bleeding from the mouth. This brought an abrupt end to the country’s first attempt at the sport at Olympic level.

Caroline commented;

“It was a bit of a freak accident…He was feeling really good actually, presenting really well and then just caught his lip in the corner, I think. I didn’t feel it happen, but obviously the judge saw it.”

Header Image; Dressage Day 1 Grand Prix – Charlotte Fry (GBR) with ride Everdale at Tokyo 2020 (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

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