A Grin Mitigated with a Frown
First, hats off to Steffen Peters for pulling out all the stops in a extremely difficult and well ridden kur. He said in an interview, that Ravel seemed "distracted " today, hence the uncharacteristic mistakes in the test, but there is no doubt it was still a tremendous performance. I certainly wish he had scored higher--I think in his case some of the scores were lower then deserved--but it was a masterful effort.
Ravel will probably retire now and as a gelding, live a happy life, I hope. There is no hint that his owners intend to sell him, so that's good.
Disappointment was overcome by the incredible rides of the British dressage riders! Wow! Charlotte Dujardin's ride brought tears to my eyes, and a worried shudder at one small mistake at the end. But for once, fate and the judges chose wisely and she won the gold medal with an incredible 90.089%! (Gee, she would have beaten Tucker!!)
The best part was watching how correct her horse, Valegro, was. He was ever so slightly in front of the vertical in all the extensions and in the piaffe as well, carrying himself in beautiful natural balance without being cranked into the bridle. He was round, engaged, willing an just beautifully ridden.
The worst part was, again, Adelinde Cornelisson's 88+% ride on Parzival. Once again her horse was tight and
"closed" in the neck, opening his mouth against the bit. Despite the restricted frame, he was able to move well enough and execute the exercises, but it was far, in my mind, from the grace and beauty dressage should present. Parzival is an amazine horse to be able to extend his gaits while his neck and frame never lengthen to match his stride.
I was watching the tests with my friend on the phone--she is a dressage rider as well--and after Adelinde's test was over, she was sure it must have scored out of the medals. I warned her, "Just watch. She's going to have high score of the day."
My friend replied, "No way, that was horrible." And then, when the score was announced, she said it again, "NO WAY!"
At that point, both of us were cheering Charlotte on with a vengeance.
Once again, the good guys won. I hope against hope that the British victory might begin a new era of dressage where truly correct training and performance once again wins the day over horses forced into submission by the evils of rollkur.
Here are the FEI guideline pictures: