Germany’s Julia Krajewski produced a staggering performance in the North Carolina sunshine as Mars, Inc. Eventing began at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 Tryon on Thursday.
Krajewski, a renowned superstar performer in the dressage phase with Chipmunk FRH, did not disappoint the electric atmosphere in Tryon Stadium that lapped up every moment of what at times looked like an exhibition performance.
The rider herself admitted she was close to tears, such was the horse’s brilliance in scoring just 19.9 penalties, as defending champions Germany made an immediate statement of intent in their quest to capture the Mars, Inc. Eventing crown.
There were some strong dressage displays on day one of the competition, with the likes of USA’s Boyd Martin, Great Britain’s Piggy French, Australian Christopher Burton and France’s Donatien Schuly all posting sub-30 scores.
But, the German was in a different league, and she said, “Maybe something really good was going to happen today and he felt awesome during the test.
“He has done good dressage tests before, but to produce it in such an atmosphere on this day, the people went crazy.
“It is not a personal best – he has had scores of 19 something before – but it is not just push a button and get 19. With a horse like him that can really do it, it is all about the detail.
“I am so proud. I had to stop the tears when I finished the test. It is an amazing feeling.”
Boyd Martin rose to the challenge impressively on home soil with Tsetserleg to post a 27.1 score and lie second overnight, just ahead of Piggy French and Quarrycrest Echo on 27.8.
“I am very happy with him,” he said of the 11-year-old gelding. “It is only the second time he has done that test. He’s a good boy and just gets in there and does it.”
French led the British challenge on day one as they bid to reclaim a title won impressively in Kentucky eight years ago.
“He is a really cool horse,” French said. “He’s still not the most experienced and there is still more to come from him, but he has got an amazing brain and so you can be quite brave. I always give it a good go.”
Eventing icons Blyth Tait and Andrew Hoy, meanwhile, showed they had lost none of their world-class quality by holding top 10 placings overnight after New Zealander Tait – twice an Eventing World Champion – and Australian Hoy, a three-time Olympic Gold medalist, shone on Dassett Courage and Vassily de Lassos, respectively.
“I was thrilled to bits with him, to be honest,” Tait said. “My team mates told me to be brave, but when you are going out first for the team you want to post a solid score, and he did that.”
And Hoy added, “He (Vassily de Lassos) could not have done one step better. He is not the finished product, he is a long way from it, but his test was a personal best. I jokingly said on Wednesday night that I was going to ride for a sub-30 score!”
Remaining Team and Individual riders enter the arena for day two of dressage on Friday, September 14, before attention turns to the second phase of Cross-Country on the White Oak Course at TIEC on Saturday, September 15.