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Dressage Horses Dance to a Dramatic Close on the Olympic Stage
The final equestrian events of the London Olympics concluded on Thursday with dynamic dressage musical freestyle rides before an awed crowd of 23,000 in the packed stadium at Greenwich Park. The individual freestyle gold medal went to Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain on Valegro, with 90 percent. Her teammate Laura Bechtolsheimer took the bronze on Mistral Hojris (84.34) and Adelinde Cornelissen of the Netherlands earned the silver with Parzival (88.25).
Cavalor sponsored rider Anky van Grunsven, competing her three-time gold medal mount Salinero for the final time, finished sixth with 82 percent. Their ride began with Anky's trademark piaffe-passage choreography and moved into expressive trot extensions that drew gasps from the spectators. Salinero offered tiny and near-perfect pirouettes and performed half-pass zigzags that were as breathtaking and controlled as ever in his career.
Steffen Peters of the United States, also a Cavalor rider, piloted Ravel to a powerful, dramatic performance set to music from the movie "Avatar." His freestyle incorporated numerous zigzags that demonstrated Ravel's suppleness and grace. The choreography included a series of pirouettes into piaffe/passage and half pass.
Earlier in the week, after competing in the grand prix, Steffen said he was "thrilled" with Ravel. "He has done this for six years and he still feels the same, very energetic. He takes it up a notch for the Olympics."
When asked about his experience at Greenwich Park, Steffen said, "It couldn't be better. The footing is outstanding, the competition is extremely well organized and the people are so friendly. It's a great atmosphere."
In team dressage standings, Great Britain took the gold medal with a score of 79.407. Germany was second (78.845) and the Netherlands ranked third (76.809).