on Top

24 August 2017

The second day of the European Dressage Championships saw the hot favourites Germany collecting a well-deserved gold medal.

In a result that very few would have predicted, Denmark claimed silver with home nation Sweden in the bronze medal position, followed by Great Britain fourth and The Netherlands fifth.


Germany looked strong from the outset, with the top two scores being held by their team riders at the start of the day.


Of course, nothing is a certainty until the competition is finished, but there was little doubt that they would secure themselves a spot on the podium.




As the day progressed and Sonke Rothenberger shot to first place with her two teammates right behind her, the top spot looked more and more likely, especially with their trump card of Isabell Werth (who was last to go) still firmly in hand.


As part of British team reduced to three riders, Spencer Wilton had some serious pressure to deal with. Watching his test, he seemed in with a very good chance of topping the leaderboard but sadly it was not to be.


Supa Nova dropped out of the canter pirouette and struggled to pick them up again, which caused an instant and significant drop in the pair’s scores.


We’d be willing to bet that thoughts of all British spectators were the same – ‘could one unlucky moment have cost us a medal?’ And if you thought Spencer Wilton was under pressure, the very thought of Carl Hester’s ride would have had you quaking in your boots.


With his nation’s hope resting heavily on his shoulders Carl would have been well aware that he would have to score 75-76% for Great Britain to contest the medals.


With Hester’s score of 74.9%, GB were sitting in third place. Patrik Kittel needed only a 71% to overtake team GB. He duly went and blew the 71% out of the water and scored 73.8% guaranteeing Sweden a medal by pushing them into second place with only the Danish left to challenge them – and challenge they did.


Denmark’s final rider Cathrine Dufour was cool, calm and collected and produced a beautiful test which the judges deemed worthy of a 78.3%.

Isabell didn’t disappoint, ending the day at the top

Final competitor Isabell Werth had the luxury of riding her test knowing that even a bad performance would not knock her team off the top of the podium.


So no real pressure except that of expectation to perform as the world knows she can!


Ever the professional, Isabell didn’t disappoint as she ended off the day sitting exactly where you would expect – at the top, on a score of 83.7%.


We’re looking forward to seeing the World Number One for the Grand Prix special, and can’t wait to see what the superstar Danish and Swedish riders bring to the table.


While most would suggest that Werth, Hester and probably Sonke Rothenberger would make up the top three, today’s events have shown us that nothing is ever guaranteed where horses are concerned!



Text by Sophie Baker

Images by Liz Gregg