Britain ended Germany's domination of equestrian team dressage by winning the Olympic gold medal at Greenwich Park on Tuesday, adding to its first team show jumping gold in 60 years that it won a day earlier. Germany took the silver and the Netherlands the bronze.
In dressage, the horse performs a carefully choreographed routine of movements that showcases the animal's training: prancing trots, extended strides, twirling pirouettes and a move called the flying change, which looks like the horse is skipping.
Princess Anne, whose daughter Zara Phillips was part of the silver-winning British equestrian eventing team, was among the royal spectators. Danish Crown Prince Frederik handed out the medals. He had hoped that Denmark, with his cousin Princess Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg competing on Digby, would finish in the top three. Denmark however finished fourth.
Germany has won every Olympic team gold in dressage since 1976, with the exception of the boycott year in 1980, and Britain has never won a dressage medal, period. "I hope it doesn't end here. I hope it's the start of the team evolving," said Britain's Laura Belchtolsheimer, who rode Mistral Hojris to help the home team win gold.
The 18 highest scoring individuals in the team dressage competition advance to perform a freestyle test on Thursday, with movements and music of the rider's own choosing, similar to freestyle ice skating or the floor exercise in gymnastics. © GPD AP