Day one of dressage from the World Equestrian Games 2018
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Piggy French WEG 2018 dressage 13 Sep 18

Day one of dressage from the World Equestrian Games 2018

The first day of dressage at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, USA, sees Great Britain’s Piggy French holding the individual bronze medal position, as Team GBR currently lie 0.6 penalties off the medals in fourth place in the early stages of the competition.

First to enter the arena for Team GBR; Gemma Tattersall and The Soul Syndicate’s Arctic Soul did a fantastic job as pathfinder for GB to post an opening team score of 32.4 penalties. Sitting in 19th place after the first day of dressage, Gemma and the 15 year old ex-racehorse showed all their experience in the Championship arena, producing an accurate and relaxed test. Her delight evident through the beaming smile at her final halt, Gemma commented; “I’m super happy with him, he did really well! He did all the movements and I thought he had a pretty clear round. One of the changes wasn’t perfect but apart from that he was pretty spot on.

“I think the dimensions for the course [cross-country] are not overly huge and there are a couple of tricky combinations but I think it is all there to be jumped. We have a really good partnership and loads of experience and I am excited to get out on the course and let him gallop up that final hill.”

Next in for Great Britain and for the team, Piggy French and Jayne McGivern’s striking 11 year old gelding, Quarrycrest Echo, got their test off to slightly wobbly start but settled into some very impressive work and currently sit in the bronze medal position on a score of 27.8. “I am really pleased, he felt fantastic. He had one mistake at the beginning as we cantered out of the first halt and it took a while to warm-up but on the whole I am delighted; he really gave his all,” Piggy said.

Looking ahead to cross country, Piggy commented; “I’ve walked the course and it’s there to be jumped but it’s a Championship and there’s a different pressure to what we’re normally ride under. The course needs to be respected as there are plenty of places where you can make silly mistakes so we just need to go out there and get the job done as well as we can.”

Kristina Cook, who rides as an individual, put in a fantastic test on the rangy 11 year old gelding, Billy The Red, owned by Elisabeth Murdoch and Keith Tyson, to score 29.1 penalties. A flowing test from the British Championships stalwart, sees the combination in fifth place individually heading into day two of the dressage.

Speaking after her test, Tina said; “He’s done some fantastic work since he’s been out here and has been on great form. I felt I could have done the changes a bit better but I’m very self-critical. I’m really pleased with him and I think there’s a lot to come. He’s only 11 and he’s what makes me enjoy the sport, keep going and be part of this amazing team that is here is with us.”

In the team competition, Great Britain have a total team score of 60.2 penalties which puts them in fourth place behind France on 59.4 in third, Australia in second on 58.4 and Germany who hold the gold medal position on 50.1. Individually, Germany’s Julia Krajewski and Chipmunk FRH have a 7.2 penalty advantage over their closest competitors as they go into day two of dressage in first place on a score of 19.9, ahead of USA’s Boyd Martin on 27.1 with Tsetserleg.

Tomorrow will see the remaining two team riders from each nation performing their dressage tests; for Great Britain Tom McEwen will be up first on his own, Jane Inns and Alison McEwen’s Toledo de Kerser at 15.27 (BST), with Rosalind Canter and her own and Caroline Moore’s Allstar B last in at 19.50 (BST).