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Dressage at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been nothing less than exciting with some heavy competition. Germany stood out the most; they crushed the competition with over 8000 points, the United States with 7747 points, and Great Britain with 7723 points. The battle between the United States and Great Britain was very close, with only 22 points separating the two countries. Then looking at the gap between Germany and United States at nearly 8200 points for Germany and 7700 for the United States was a significant lead for Germany.
Looking at the individual results, in first place for the gold medal was Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl, with her horse TSF Dalera; the only person to score over 90 with a 91.7, which is unheard of in the world of dressage. Coming in for the silver was Isabel Werth with BellaRose with a score of 89.6 and Charlotte Dujardin with an 80.5.
Charlotte is a very decorated rider; she’s been to many Grand Prix and Olympics in the past; in Rio specifically, she was riding her multi-medaled and very experienced horse, Valegro. However, in Tokyo, she was riding Gio, a horse that is a lot younger and a lot greener, but what is surprising about this 10-year-old gelding is that he’d only done three Gand Prix before competing in this year’s Olympics. That shows there is a ton of potential, and they will have multiple opportunities to compete in the Olympics again. Another interesting fact about this horse is she calls him a little pocket rocket, as he stands at only 16 hands high, which is pretty small for a dressage horse. Some interesting information about Isabel’s horse Bella Rose is that this mare will be retired and used for breeding purposes following her silver medal; what a great way to end a career. Overall, everybody did terrific, scoring in the high 80%, and then Jessica, the multi-medal winner scoring a 91.7, is incredible.
I was lucky enough to be able to connect with Belinda Trussell, who’s a former Canadian team dressage rider with who I’ve worked closely on a few different projects. I asked what her thoughts were regarding the Olympics. Who were some of her favorite riders? If she could ride any of the horses, who would she like to ride? She said, “I love the Olympics; it’s like chocolate watching them; you want to see more top riders and horses; they are so inspirational. I don’t have a favorite rider at these Olympics, I appreciate so many of them, but one of my famous horses is Dante Weltino. He is such a soft and elegant stallion, and Teresa rides him so elegantly they look harmonious together. Isabel Werth and Bella Rose’s piaffe and transitions are mind-blowing, just so good, and Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl was so beautiful overall. Everything was so easy for them. The mare looked happy, light, and in exclusive partnership with Jessica. Another top performance was Sabine Schut-Kery, wow top notch. I want to ride all of them.”
What stands out is how athletic and fit these horses are; the amount of time put into these animals shows in their performances. So much time and energy are put into these equine athletes. You can imagine it is frustrating to see some people slandering these riders. Instead of people posting the whole video clip of the movement of a horse that might be in hyper reflection or the person’s pushing deep in their seat are taking screenshots of a video of a moment in time and slandering them for it. We have to remember that you can create a screenshot of pretty much anything on any given day, and you can make it look not very pleasant. We can be quick to judge, so instead, we need to look at the whole picture.
Hyperflexion is not a good thing; however, we shouldn’t be so critical and quick to judge from a screenshot. Taking the time to watch the video and review the pattern is much better than the alternative. We also have to remember that these people have been training and working so hard to achieve that specific moment, not to mention the nerves they are experiencing; it’s the Olympics, and they’re in a different country, and it’s all foreign to them. Charlotte’s ride was fluid with natural carriage and collection. The horses’ movements were effortless and balanced.
An interesting side note, hyperflexion is equally as damaging as excessively long and low head carriage, which both can lead to soft tissue damage. However, long and low is good as a stretch, but the key is to not force them into a particular headset; it is the force and constant pressure that causes these issues.
So, I leave you with those thoughts for today. I hope you guys enjoyed today’s blog post. And as always, thanks for reading.
Remember to check out more great free resources and other information at harmonyhorsemanship.com or check me out on my personal website lindseypartridge.com.
Thanks so much, bye for now.