Belinda Trussell from Stouffville, ON closed out the second Olympic appearance of her career on Aug. 12, finishing 27th individually in the dressage portion of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, BRA.

Dressage competition at the Games began with a field of 60 horse/rider combinations in the Grand Prix on Aug. 10 and 11. A total of 31, including Trussell, were then invited forward to the Grand Prix Special on Aug. 12, which decided the team medals and acted as the second qualifier for the individual final. Germany won the gold medal with a team total of 81.936, while Great Britain was awarded silver with their score of 78.602. The United States took bronze with 76.667.

The current individual leaders are Isabell Werth from Germany and Weihegold Old, who scored 83.711% to take over the top spot from Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro. Dujardin is now in second with 83.025%, and Dorothee Schneider of Germany is third (82.619%) aboard Showtime FRH.

Trussell, 44, was paired with Anton (Antaeus x Shirley), a 16-year-old Sachsen-Anhaltiner gelding owned by Robyn Eames and Mark Trussell. Together, they received marks up to 7.9 for individual movements in the Grand Prix Special, and finished to loud cheers from the Canadian contingent in the stands, including Team Canada Chef de Mission, Curt Harnett. Although Trussell and Anton received an overall score of 72.325% (just one percent below their personal best), unfortunately their final placing of 27th put them outside the top 18 invited forward to compete in the Grand Prix Freestyle on Aug. 15 for individual medals.

“In general, I was really pleased and proud of Anton,” Trussell said of her long-time partner, who was also her mount at the 2014 World Equestrian Games and the 2015 Pan Am Games, where she helped Canada take the silver medal. “We had a mistake with the (one-tempi flying changes) on the centreline, which was a bit costly, so I think that brought us down a notch.”

She continued, “I really wanted to get into the Freestyle, so that’s disappointing. That was my goal to come to the Olympics and make it to the Freestyle. But I’m still happy. For me, I really wanted to do this with Anton because he came back from an injury, so I wanted to enjoy the moments and to enjoy being here, and I definitely feel like I did that.”

Trussell also spoke to her overall experience at the Games. “It’s been a great Olympics and more experience, and I think it’s a very solid performance for Canada. We are trending in the right direction, and I’m really proud of my teammate, Megan,” said Trussell.

Megan Lane, 25, of Loretto, ON made her Olympic debut for Canada in the Grand Prix on Aug. 10, scoring 71.286% with Caravella to finish 32nd, just outside the cut-off for the Grand Prix Special.

“We want better in the future, but it’s still a very strong performance,” explained Trussell. “I still feel like I’m not finished yet. I still, as a Canadian, want to be in the top 10 and do that for Canada. So that still inspires me to keep going.”

The dressage competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will now take a brief pause, resuming on Aug. 15 with the Freestyle, which begins at 10 a.m. BRT. In the meantime, the jumping competition kicks off on Aug. 14 at 10 a.m. BRT with the first individual qualifier. Canada will be represented by a four-member team comprised of Yann Candele of Caledon, ON, Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC, Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON and Amy Millar of Perth, ON.