All British dressage horses have been passed by the ground jury at today’s first horse inspection at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Carl Hester’s En Vogue, Charlotte Dujardin’s Gio and Lottie Fry’s Everdale, as well as the reserve Gareth Hughes’ Sintano Van Hof Olympia, will go forward to the rest of the competition, which kicks off tomorrow.

The horse inspection took place at Baji Koen Equestrian Park, and from the 72 listed, a total of 70 horses were presented to the ground jury with and two were held. Isabelle Pinto’s 14-year-old Hot Chocolat vd Kwaplas, representing France, and her husband Carlos Pinto’s 15-year-old grey gelding Sultao Menezes, flying the flag for Portugal, were both sent to the holding box.

A statement from the FEI said both horses will be inspected again by the ground jury on Saturday morning.

Brazil’s Joao Victor Marcari Oliva and his 12-year-old stallion Escorial will be first into the arena tomorrow morning when the dressage Grand Prix gets the equestrian Olympic action underway.

The Grand Prix is the team and individual qualifier and will take place over two days — Saturday 24 July and Sunday 25 July. A draw took place after today’s horse inspection and the 15 teams will go in the following order:

  1. Denmark
  2. Japan
  3. Australia
  4. Great Britain
  5. Sweden
  6. Netherlands
  7. Spain
  8. Portugal
  9. Canada
  10. ROC
  11. Austria
  12. Belgium
  13. France
  14. USA
  15. Germany

Team Germany are defending champions and are chasing a 14th Olympic team title.

For Great Britain, Lottie Fry will ride first at 10.03am on Saturday followed by Carl Hester at 12.30.

Charlotte Dujardin will ride at 1.06pm on Sunday.

How it works

Athletes are drawn in six groups, with three groups per evening. A total of nine rider/horse combinations will go in the first group that includes Australia’s Mary Hanna with Calanta and Great Britain’s Charlotte Fry with Everdale, with competition starting at 5pm (local time).

The Netherlands’ Edward Gal will be first to go when the second 10-strong group take their turn at 6.36pm (local time), and Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour and Bohemian will conclude this session.

Rounding up the day will be another group of 10, with Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera last into the arena at 9.42 pm (local time).

Tokyo is eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). We have put together a handy timetable which includes GMT times here.

Another three groups of 10 will compete on Sunday to identify the top eight teams that will go through to Tuesday’s team medals decider, with world number one Isabell Werth last to go on the mare Bella Rose.

For the individuals, the top 18 will go through to Wednesday’s Freestyle and compete for the individual medals.

Great praise

The top-class facilities at the Japan Racing Association owned Baji Koen, which include air-conditioned stabling, a stunning competition arena and beautiful training areas for the horses, have drawn great praise from the athletes who are now looking forward to superb sport over the coming days.

There’s a mix of excitement and relief that these Games, which have been doubly-challenged by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) outbreak in mainland Europe, are at last about to begin.

“We are so grateful to be here in Tokyo and owe a big debt of thanks to our hosts, the people of Japan, and of course to the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the IOC for maintaining their belief in the Olympic Games and finding the route to deliver them in a safe and secure way”, said FEI President Ingmar De Vos.

“Our athletes and our horses are ready, our venues are superb, we have amazing volunteers and we’re ready for top Olympic equestrian sport.”

Don’t miss a hoofbeat! Live results and start lists are available here:

Words by Louise Parkes. Photo by FEI/Christoph Taniere — America’s Adrienne Lyle and Salvino at the dressage first horse inspection in the stunning Baji Koen Equestrian Park

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