Equestrianism: Great Britain win team gold in dressage
Great Britain’s equestrian squad won its second gold medal in the team dressage.
Twenty-four hours after winning the team show jumping gold in the same arena in Greenwich Park, Laura Bechtolsheimer (riding Mistral Hojris), Charlotte Dujardin (Valegro) and Carl Hester (Uthopia) made history when they won Britain's first Olympic medal in the sport.
Just a mile away from the hustle and bustle of Deptford High Street was an oasis of quiet as horse and rider attempted to perform intricate patterns in what is regarded by some as the highest expression of horse training, where power is held within the confines of grace, elegance and precision.
The British team finished top of the standings after the Grand Prix Special round, with Germany taking silver and the Netherlands finishing with the bronze.
The gold medal was a career-defining moment for Hester, 45, who was contesting his fourth Olympics. Having held the lead going into the grand prix special - the second part of the team test - Hester gave them the perfect start when he broke Anky van Grunsven's Olympic record on Uthopia, only to have it beaten by Dujardin, his protégé, with a score of 83.286%.
But Hester was not too bothered as he said: “We've done what we've wanted to do. It's been a very stressful time for me through this whole thing.
“Obviously Charlotte relishes this whole thing, it's an absolute joy to her to be here and she sleeps like a baby at night, whereas I get up at 1.30am like I did this morning thinking about how the day's going to go.”
Dujardin was already the world grand prix special record holder, a mark she recorded in Germany in April, which is an amazing achievement for someone who only rode in her first significant competition in January 2011.
The 26 said, after marking her Games debut with a gold, that much of the credit went to the 10-year-old Valegro. “He’s a once in a lifetime horse, he is unbelievable, just very special.”
The victory also took Team GB's overall gold-medal tally to 20 - surpassing their efforts in Beijing four years ago and making it their most successful Games since 1908.
All three riders will now prepare for the individual contest, the freestyle to music on Thursday, for which they could all be contenders for individual medals.
Today at the Games
Golds for Hoy and Trott as Pendleton bows out with silver
Alistair Brownlee wins first GB triathlon gold
Robbie Grabarz reaches high point for Team GB
Fred Evans just makes his point
Silver for Dempsey in the Men’s RS-X
GB men through to semis after draw with Spain
Rachel Cawthorn storms into final
Brazil to play Mexico in Olympic final
China add two gold medals to tally
Mears ends Olympic debut on a high
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