Rio de Janeiro – August 6, 2016 – The 2016 Olympic Games kicked off on Saturday morning with the first equestrian event. Top athletes from around the world gathered to compete during the Dressage phase of Eventing. Clark Montgomery is the highest ranked rider for the United States, turning in a test that earned 46.6 penalties on Loughan Glen for tenth place after the first two riders from each team have competed.
An overall solid score, it was a disappointment for Montgomery who hoped to be in the mix with the leaders. Loughan Glen has not earned a score outside of the 30’s in quite some time, but issues during the trot tour and in the flying changes proved very costly for the pair.
“This was [Loughan Glen’s] time to shine in the dressage and he was a little disappointing,” admitted Montgomery. “He started out really well and I don’t know what really happened. He really sucked behind my leg, where he constantly wants to walk or stop, but I squeezed every point I could of him and it’s time to focus on the cross country now.”
Montgomery added, “He’s a very good cross country horse. He’s quite reliable, so that’s what we’re all hoping on. That’s how we made the team. We thought coming here that clean cross country rounds were going to be a big part of the competition and that has definitely turned out to be true with what the course looks like.”
With many twists and turn, the course will test riders right from the beginning. It features a CIC feeling at the beginning, but will require must more endurance for the 10 minute time allowed.
“For me, it’s going to be important not to go too fast in the beginning so that I have some horse at the end,” concluded Montgomery. “That’s where a mistake can be made. You go a little too quick and lose your horse’s energy. Then at the end, where you could be making up time, you have to be on a tired horse.”
Boyd Martin and Blackfoot Mystery are represented the United States on the first day and are currently ranked in seventeenth place individually. The pair finished on a score of 47.7, a personal best, as the first Americans to compete at the Olympic Games.
“My horse is the greenest on the team, but a good, fast galloper, so it made sense to put him put first,” noted Martin. “I think we can expect three better scores from the U.S. after my guy, but I couldn’t have asked for much more. It’s about where he is in his training, he’s still on the more inexperienced side of things and he did get a little bit excited with the cheering, but he kept his cool and did a good job.”
Now Martin is looking forward to the challenging cross country phase that looms ahead on Monday. “It’s tough, and it’s very tricky,” he stated. “My guy, it wouldn’t suit him that much with all these twists and turns and angles, so I am really going to have to ride well to get him around clear and fast. There are a lot of angles and corners and narrows. The one thing I have, this horse has tremendous speed and endurance, so I think I can afford to take my time at some of the tricky fences and really get him to look at it and press him the galloping lanes and make up some time. I’m quietly confident.”
Martin added, “I noticed a few of the other countries picked stronger show jumping and dressage horses and greener cross country horses, so it could be an exciting test. I think America has failed a bit in cross country in years past, so we decided to go with four stronger cross country riders and that could come into our favor.”
Stay tuned as the USA’s Lauren Kieffer with Veronica and Phillip Dutton on Mighty Nice take their turn during Sunday’s Dressage phase of Equestrian Eventing at 11:00 a.m. EST and 2:38 p.m. EST, respectively.
For live results visit https://www.rio2016.com/en/equestrian-eventing-individual-dressage-day-1 or follow the USET Foundation on twitter at https://twitter.com/USETFoundation/.
1 GBR FOX-PITT William CHILLI MORNING 37.00
2 AUS BURTON Christopher SANTANO II 37.60
3 GER JUNG Michael SAM FBW 40.90
4 GER AUFFARTH Sandra OPGUN LOUVO 41.60
5 FRA NICOLAS Astier PIAF DE B’NEVILLE 42.00
6 FRA LAGHOUAG Karim ENTEBBE 43.40
7 NZL TODD Mark LEONIDAS II 44.00
8 NED LIPS Tim BAYRO 46.00
9 AUS GRIFFITHS Sam PAULANK BROCKAGH 46.30
10 USA MONTGOMERY Clark LOUGHAN GLEN 46.60
11 SUI VOGG Felix ONFIRE 46.70
12 IRL MCCARTHY Padraig SIMON PORLOE 46.80