GERMANY’S Sandra Auffarth, anchorwoman for the eventing dressage phase at Le Pin National Stud, has swept into a healthy lead aboard Opgun Louvo.
A harmonious performance, with her horse light and elevated, earned the approval of all three members of the ground jury who awarded the German Olympic team gold medallist 35.2 penalties. Gill Rolton at C even gave Auffarth a perfect 10 for her final halt.
“He got better and better during the test,” said Auffarth. “The canter work is his strength and you could earn a lot of marks doing that so that was good for us.”
Auffarth has an advantage of 2.3 penalties over Thursday’s leader William Fox-Pitt (Chilli Morning), but even she admitted that this three-day event will not be a dressage contest.
“Let’s forget the dressage. It was nice but now we have to move on to the cross-country,” she said.
With consistent marking from the trio of judges across the two days, other leading lights from day one remain in the hunt.
Germany’s Michael Jung (Fisherrocana FST) and Ingrid Klimke (FRH Escada JS) are fourth and fifth, positions that have guaranteed their nation a commanding team lead going into tomorrow’s cross-country.
Germany carries forward a score of 116.9, compared to New Zealand’s 125.5. The USA is in third, while the home side has risen to fourth with 139.9 in the clubhouse. Great Britain is fifth on 142.
Jock Paget, now in third with Clifton Promise, is the best of the Kiwis. His squadmate, Andrew Nicholson, the penultimate competitor into the arena, scored 45.3 after Nereo struggled in the serpentine and with the subsequent canter work. However, the seasoned rider, lying 13th, was complimentary about the scoring.
“I think the judges have done well. From what I’ve seen they’ve been very consistent.”
Nicholson's mark still counts for his nation, Mark Todd and Leonidas currently carrying the discard score.
Back towards the top of the individual leaderboard, Tim Price is just a few slots behind Paget, in sixth aboard Wesko, while The Netherlands’ Elaine Pen has been pushed down to equal seventh with Karin Donckers, a new name to appear in the top 10 this afternoon. Belgium’s leading lady is known to rise to an occasion in a dressage arena and she didn’t disappoint her supporters, who cheered wildly as she rode out of the arena waving, Fletcha Vant Verahof, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood, having netted 42.3.
Maxime Livio and Qalao Des Mers are the best of the French in 13th place, with Cedric Lyard (Cadeau Du Roi) and Jean Teulere (Matelot Du Grand Val) sharing 22nd.
Livio said: "I have made progress with my horse. He is particularly sensitive but he was much better today. I'm happy because he is constantly improving."
Former World Champion Teulere used all of his experience to coax a calm performance from Matelot Du Grand Val, but the horse’s tension did show in the walk, for which he lost marks. Nevertheless they still received a standing ovation from their delighted supporters.
One surprise was the non-appearance of leading Italian competitor Vittoria Panizzon, who was forced to withdraw her grey mare Borough Pennyz who hadn’t felt level in the warm up.
Top 5 results (individual)
Sandra Auffarth (GER)/ Opgun Louvo – 35.2
William Fox-Pitt (GBR)/ Chilli Morning – 37.5
Jock Paget (NZL)/ Clifton Promise – 38.0
Michael Jung (GER)/ Fischerrocana FST – 40.7
Ingrid Klimke (GER)/ FRH Escada JS – 41.2
Top 5 results (team)
Germany – 116.9
New Zealand – 125.5
USA – 138.8
FRA – 139.9
Great Britain – 142.0
For the full results from the Eventing dressage phase Results