Hong Kong, China – The first round of team competition got underway for the team portion of the dressage competition and Courtney King-Dye, from New Milford, CT, was the lone American to perform her Grand Prix test today based on the advantageous draw of the US team.
The US team drew 11th of 11 teams so King-Dye and Mythilus were the second to last combination to go of the second rotation. They put in an excellent test with no mistakes, highlighted by good piaffe and passage and clean changes. Mythilus seemed to thrive in the Sha Tin arena. After 24 of 47 horses contesting for medals, Mythilus sits fourth.
The 13-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Harmony Amateur Sports Foundation rose to the occasion for King-Dye in her first opportunity at the Olympic Games.
“I’m happy with that score,” said King-Dye of her mark of 70.458%. “He can do more but he had a few down days when we first got here so there’s more there. He did a clean test and I can ask for more if I make it to the Special. I think it was a stellar first test for the US.”
Her score was good enough to put the US team in second place overnight. Germany’s Heike Kemmer and Bonaparte were the best of the first night of competition on a score of 72.250% which put them in the lead both individually and in the team portion of the competition. British rider Emma Hindle rode Lancet to a stellar effort and a score of 71.125%, which was well received by the plethora of British fans on hand. Dutch rider Imke Schellenkens-Bartels and Sunrise snuck into third place on 70.857%, just barely ahead of King-Dye and Mythilus.
Mythilus was a little worn out from his trip halfway around the world but King-Dye said he feels back to normal and that it took him a few days to acclimate to the heat and humidity.
“It took awhile for him to build back up,” said King-Dye. “Now I can ask for more.”
Olympic veterans Debbie McDonald and Brentina are the second US combination to go, they will ride at 8.18 tomorrow evening as the last to go before the first break. The final US pair of Steffen Peters and Ravel will be the very last combination in the ring to contest the team medal tomorrow night at 11.03 pm.