Great Britain won dressage team silver in Rio after Germany reasserted themselves as the sport’s dominant team force, while the United States finished third.
The British quartet of Charlotte Dujardin (Valegro), Carl Hester (Nip Tuck), Fiona Bigwood (Orthilia) and Spencer Wilton (Super Nova II) all performed impressively, but it was not enough to trouble the Germans, led brilliantly by Isabell Werth and Kristina Broring-Sprehe.
Dujardin, as last British rider to go, faced the hard task of trying to claw back the Germans, who have now won eight of the last nine Olympic team titles. A couple of uncharacteristic mistakes saw her outscored by Werth, who is now at her sixth Olympic gold medal, but this merely strengthened her resolve for Monday’s individual final.
Dujardin said: “If I don’t get that gold on Monday, I am going to slit my throat! No, not really.
“It just makes you more determined and want to fight harder.
“It has kind of given me that wake-up call that I have got to shake myself, get myself in gear and off I go again. If it all goes to plan, fantastic.”
Dujardin’s marks dipped dramatically in the two test elements where mistakes happened, and she added: “I was so annoyed. It was my fault, really, I just used too much leg, and he thought it was a canter (movement).
“I was so cross with myself. I haven’t ridden that test since the Europeans last year, and I should have probably practised it a bit more.
“He is normally such a genius. It was just tiny misunderstandings, that’s all it was. He felt so good, I was just a bit disappointed with myself.
“I felt on such good form, but it happens. It’s dressage, he is a horse, he is allowed to make mistakes, and so am I. I will blame myself, though.
“I didn’t even hear [the passing helicopter]. It was just one of those things. You have just got to forget it – you can’t dwell on mistakes, you move on. You have still got the rest of the test to go.
“I hate making mistakes. The fact I did, it is nice for the world to see that it does happen! I am so proud of him, though.”
Reflecting on the result, Hester said: “We are very happy. Any medal, we would have been very happy with, because any Olympics produces a lot of nerves, different atmosphere and different rides.
“But the whole of the GB team has ridden beautifully. Everyone coped with the pressure, and the fact these horses have come halfway around the world and performed like that is testament to the grooms and support staff.”
Germany finished on a score of 81.936%, with Britain on 78.595% and the United States on 76.667%.
Dujardin, Hester and Bigwood, have all qualified for the individual final as has Ireland’s Judy Reynolds on Vancouver K.
Britain wins dressage team silver, with Germany in gold and the United States in bronze, by Arnd Bronkhorst, courtesy of the FEI