People didn’t expect the Special of the World Equestrian Games to become very exciting. But in the end it was pure thrill. Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, the winner of the Olympic Games, had to enter the stadium as one of the favorites first. The Dutch gelding probably was as strong as he had never been before but made mistakes. Before the first piaffe Valegro had to defecate and thus started the piaffe too late. Later on mistakes in the tempi changes followed. But the horse was able to persuade in the other lections and thus his head start was big enough.
In total 86.120 percent meant gold in front of Helen Langehanenberg with Damon Hill who achieved 84.468 percent. Once Langehanenberg’s stallion stopped during the passage but otherwise everything worked out. When approaching the centre line everybody hardly dared to breathe. And yet, this time there was a happy end.
Kristina Sprehe and Desperados finished third. The German rider achieved 79.762 percent thus winning her first medal in the individual at a championship. At the same time she could leave behind Adelinde Cornelissen with Parzival who had been considered favorites as well. The couple came in fourth. There was a fierce battle for the third and fourth place. Monica Theodorescu, the federal coach, and Klaus Roeser, Chef d’Equipe, were standing in front of the monitors in the mixed zone and stopped breathing. Once Sprehe was ahead of Cornelissen and vice versa. And then finally there was the release: There was no bracket any longer. The result was no longer preliminary but had been confirmed. Two medals in the individual for Germany!
„Today’s three best horses have been ahead of all others”, said Monica Theodorescu and appreciated the judges‘ good performance. Theodorescu had sprained her knee and thus showed up limping at the press meeting: ”Kristina Sprehe has already benefited from Isabell’s drop out. But all three horses have a pretty high level.“
The lucky third winner was just simply baffled: “I haven’t worried much about the individual. It is amazing! When I was watching Adelinde’s ride, I was nearly dying.“ And Helen Langehanenberg even had to shed some tears. “ I thought that I could still improve my performance and that’s what I did. Today I also ran a higher risk. And when approaching the goal I was praying.“
Charlotte Dujardin, the new world champion in the individual, bubbled: “This felt like one of the best rides I’ve ever had. Although I made three expensive mistakes and thought that this could abolish my chances for a medal, I wanted to give it all. To the first piaffe he needed to go to the toilet while I needed a piaffe. But what really influenced me most today was the crowd. This really was the biggest challenge. I had to concentrate extremely because I basically could hear that everybody had stopped breathing. But of course, it’s good to have them behind you.”
Now the dressage riders can rest for one day before there will be the final freestyle decision on Friday.