The world’s top riders and their mounts are all at the Domaine de Sers in Pau, Southwest France until this Sunday to battle it out in the five-star, the highest level of eventing competition in equestrian sport. The first phase of the competition, dressage, ended with the victory of British rider Laura Collett on her mount London 52 (Landos x Vernante), her own, Keith Scott, and Karen Bartlett's 11-year-old Holstiner gelding.
Australian Christopher Burton was in the lead of the provisional ranking yesterday evening with Jill Martin and David Webster's 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Graf Liberty (Limmerick x Lisheen Star) on a score of 22.0, but in the end, it was the 2015 Young Horses World Champion, Collett, who won the competition this morning. She finishes the event with 21.3 penalty points. Collett is currently 49th in the world rankings, but she also took 10th place in the event with Mr Bass (Carrico x K-Jeunesse), her own, Nick How, and Keith Scott's 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding, on a score of 26.2.
Close behind, Burton and Piggy March remain in second and third place, respectively. Although six of the 10 top scores were taken by British riders, Tim Price (NZL), who ranks second in the world, took fourth place with a dressage score of 23.0 penalty points with Wesko (Karandasj x Kolien), his own and the Windrush Equestrian Foundation's 17-year-old KWPN gelding. German rider Christopher Wahler also made it to the top 10 with Carjatan S (Clearway x Kajenna), his own and Lena Thoenies's 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding. The last French rider to take off this morning, Maxime Livio scored 32.4 penalty points to stand in 31st place.
"I am very happy with both my horses!" commented Collett at the completion of dressage. "This is the first CCI5* eventing competition for London 52. He was a bit nervous when he entered the track but then he was well focused throughout the test! Of course, the event is not over yet and the cross-country tomorrow will undoubtedly shake up the ranking, but I have confidence in my horses. Mr Bass is experienced at this level of competition and is a very good cross-country horse. London is less experienced but he is in great shape this weekend and I can't wait to see how he will perform tomorrow! We are very lucky to be here this weekend and I am very happy to be able to compete with these two outstanding horses."
Tomorrow's event will be the breathtaking cross-country competition. Horse and rider will set off on the 6.3-kilometer course, with an array of 31 impressive natural obstacles. An event which promises many twists and turns in the rankings and a good dose of adrenaline for the public!
And they're off! Eventing kicks off today in Tokyo (Thursday, July 29 – 7:30 p.m. ET), with the first of three Olympic dressage sessions. Competitors from 29 nations will go head to head, vying for a spot on the coveted Olympic podium.
There were a few last-minute dramas at the first horse inspection for the Tokyo Olympics which took place in the main equestrian park at Baji Koen Equestrian Centre at 9:30 a.m. JST today.
It’s the most hotly anticipated few hours of the eventing year - the cross-country from Tokyo 2020. What will Derek di Grazia’s track have in store for the Olympic riders?
We’re nearly there! Olympic mania has taken over the world, and we’re in the final countdown to the Olympic eventing competition in Tokyo, which starts with the first horse inspection on Thursday. Our USA riders are raring to go, but let’s remind ourselves of the history that precedes them. Just how well has the US team done in past Olympics?