Athens, Greece - On another windy day at the Markopoulo Equestrian Center, Debbie McDonald of Hailey, ID finished in fourth place and Robert Dover of Lebanon, NJ and Wellington, FL in sixth place in the Dressage Individual competition which concluded today. Today’s final phase of competition was the Grand Prix Freestyle. The individual scores are compiled from three days of competition which include the Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle.
Anky van Grunsven of the Netherlands won the individual gold medal on Salinero today, Ulla Salzberger of Germany the silver on Rusty, and Beatriz Ferrer-Salat of Spain the bronze on Beauvalais.
McDonald and Dover were members of the US Team which won the team bronze medal this past Saturday. Guenter Seidel of Del Mar, CA and Lisa Wilcox, a Los Angeles native residing in Germany, were also on the team. Seidel competed today in the Grand Prix Freestyle and finished 14th with a score of 71.447.
A couple of small errors on his one tempis were, according to Dover, his problem. Coming into the ring, his horse was somewhat nervous and lost his concentration. Dover said it was the back side of the ring that caused the distraction. Nonetheless, he said that the day was a lot of fun and that he couldn’t be happier with his mount. It was a difficult Freestyle presentation by all standards.
“There is nothing that is not difficult in my Freestyle. I go from one thing to the next to the next,” he said. “It comes immediately. The only relaxed moment is the walk-in for Kennedy.”
The “First Lady of American dressage,” Debbie McDonald, along with her Brentina (owned by Peggy and Parry Thomas) put in the final performance for the U.S. team to a compilation of Gershwin tunes. She finished her Individual medal effort with one percentage point keeping her from taking home a second medal, in addition to her Bronze Team medal.
“I’m happy with myself and I’m happy with my horse,” said McDonald. “You know, some things are out of your control and this was totally out of my control.”
“My body just wasn’t working with my brain,” she laughed. “And that happens. At least I came and lived the Olympic experience and I’m going home with a Bronze medal. It’s O.K.”
The top six total scores were as follows:
van Grunsven, NED, Salinero 79.278
Salzgeber, GER, Rusty, 78.833
Ferrer-Salat, ESP, Beauvalais, 76.667
McDonald, USA, Brentina 75.653
Schmidt, GER, Wansuela Suerte, 74.883
Dover, USA, FBW Kennedy, 74.713
A complete report of the competition can be found later this evening on the homepage at www.usef.org.