Wednesday kicks off Equestrian’s second Olympic event, dressage. The discipline requires training a horse at a high level and highlighting its athleticism and beauty of its movement. Riders and horses must work together to display balance, rhythm, and subtleness in each movement, imitating a “dance”.
Twenty-five nations, eleven teams, thirteen countries, and sixty riders will all be competing for titles.
The Grand Prix round will start Wednesday morning and 9:00 am ETS, followed by a second round on Thursday. The top eight individual rider-horse combinations plus all athletes from the top six teams will qualify for the Grand Prix Special held on Friday. The top eighteen riders will compete in the Grand Prix Freestyle where medals will be awarded on Monday, Aug. 16.
Great Britain’s London fairytale is one that simply can’t be forgotten. The riders claimed Olympic gold in their home territory. Charlotte Dujardin, Carl Hester, and Laura Bechtolsheimer received a crowd roaring standing ovation for earning the first-ever Britain dressage title, which just so happened to be gold. The team is hungry for a second title and will be a tough contender in the Rio Games, especially with world-record holder and reigning gold medalist Charlotte Dujardin returning.
Germany, claiming silver in London shouldn’t be underestimated. The country holds the Olympic Dressage record for most combined titles with a total of twelve team titles and seven individual and is looking to seek more with the return of Olympic veterans Dorthee Schneider, Kristina Sprehe, and Isabel Werth.
London’s bronze medalists, the Netherlands, will remain a top competitor in the team dressage competition with returning medalists Edward Gal and Adeline Cornelissen.
The USA, Denmark, and Sweeden will battle it out for a spot on the podium. Team USA claimed gold in July's Pan AM Games and are looking to continue their dominance in hopes for an Olympic gold.
Individually, Charlotte Dujardin, the reigning gold medalist is the woman to beat. She currently holds the world record for the best dressage performance with a score of 87.46%. Dujardin broke her previous record of 83.784 in December 2014 at the London International Horse Show. Dujardin will be riding horse Valegro. The duo won individual golds at the 2014 World Equestrian Games and the 2015 FEI World Cup Final.
German riders Kristina Boring-Sprehe will fight Dujardin in hopes of making her first individual title gold,While USA’s Steffen Peters is looking to earn his first individual in his third Olympic appearance. It
USA’s Laura Graves and horse Diddy also a duo to watch out for. The duo will make their Olympic debut in hopes of getting their fairytale ending. Graves and Diddy finished fifth in the 2014 World Equestrian Games Grand Prix Freestyle and were second in the Grand Prix National Championship, behind Olympic teammate Steffan Peters.
Day one of the Grand Prix round will begin on Wednesday Aug.10 at 9:00 EST.