The first half of the eventing riders completed their dressage tests on Thursday, with the rest to ride on Friday. Germans Simone Deitermann and Ingrid Klimke finished in first and second, scoring 36.0 and 41.3, respectively. William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain rounded out the top three with a 42.0 on his 2010 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event-winning mount, Cool Mountain. Germany also held the fourth-place slot, with Dirk Schrade scoring 42.5.
The sun was hot and the crowd was light, but each rider did their best to keep their horse relaxed in the large stadium. “A lot of horses here have never been in an atmosphere like this before,” said Fox-Pitt. “I have the advantage of having been here in the spring with Cool Moutnain, and I was confident he’d do the same, and he did. We had an arena familiarization on Tuesday, and it was madness with 80 horses galloping around. Luckily we had another chance afterward to show him it was a calm place.”
Simone Deitermann may be an unfamiliar name to most eventing fans, but her horse Free Easy NRW turned in a world-class performance at just the right time. “I’m very happy to be in first place on the first day–he did a very good job,” said Deitermann. “I’m riding as individual because the other team members have more experience than me,” she said with a gracious smile when asked about the subject. As it turns out, she also has a day job. “I study economics and work in accounting. I have a job that’s half-day, and then ride a half day. For me it works very well.”
Asked for her thoughts on the upcoming cross-country course, Ingrid Klimke felt it looked challenging, like a true four-star course. “There are lots of alternatives, but the long options are quite a long way,” she said. “And I’ve never jumped a Normandy bank in the water, so we’ll see how that ends up! The time with the hills is not easy to make, so you must be sure you still have enough energy in the tank to go for the direct route.”
Stay tuned tomorrow for one more day of dressage, including the rest of the U.S. team, before the excitement of cross-country day on Saturday.
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