DENMARK have won the team gold medal at the Blue Hors FEI World Dressage Championships in Herning, Denmark. The home nation made history when clinching the gold for the first time on a score of 235.451 thanks to a top scoring test from Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour, holding off Britain by 1.22 marks while Germany took the bronze medal.

During a fascinating final session in the electric Stutteri Ask Stadium, Lottie Fry thrust Britain to the top spot with a breath taking test aboard championship debutant Glamourdale; they were the first to break the 80% mark when scoring a personal best of 80.83%. The team finished on 234.223.

The home nation’s golden girl, Laudrup-Dufour had to score 80.63% or higher to secure the top spot and she duly delivered with the wonderful 10-year-old gelding Vamos Amigos producing stunning work throughout to end on a personal best of her own, 81.86%.

A new-look German team – who only retained Isabell Werth from last year’s Tokyo Olympic Games where they won team gold – slotted into the bronze medal position with a 77.12% from Werth and the 12-year-old stallion DSP Quantaz earlier in the day.

Sweden, The Netherlands and USA finished in fourth, fifth and sixth place and secured their qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Home class

Laudrup-Dufour was joined on the team by Nanna Merrald Rasmussen (Blue Hors Zack), Carina Cassøe Krüth (Heiline’s Danciera) and Daniel Bachmann Anderson (Marshall-Bell) who all scored within 76%.

After winning gold, Bachmann Anderson commented: “We put everything into this; this is our life, our sport, this is our everything. We put every waking hour into achieving these goals and I am so proud to stand here with these three fantastic girls.”

It was a third silver medal at a World Championships for the British team, made up of Fry, Charlotte Dujardin (Imhotep), Gareth Hughes (Classic Briolinca) and Richard Davidson (Bubblingh).

Meanwhile, Werth led the German team of former eventing European champion Ingrid Klimke (Franziskus), Benjamin Werndl (Famoso OLD) and Frederic Wandres (Duke of Britain FRH).

Irish eyes

The Irish team finished in 16th place on a score of 201.723. Co Down’s Abigail Lyle made her debut at this level on Sunday morning when third of the Irish riders to compete. Riding her own 11-year-old Giraldo, she scored a 65.71% after a really solid test with the horse she has produced from a four-year-old. They lost marks for a mistake at the end of the two-time changes and errors in the one-times but produced excellent halts and showed a lot in extended trot and canter.

Lyle, who is based in Northumberland and trained by British legend Carl Hester, was so proud of ‘Arty’, as he is known at home, throwing her arms around the gelding as they finished their final halt, and high fiving chef d’equipe Johann Hinnemann as she exited the arena.

Abigail Lyle and Giraldo at the FEI World Championships in Herning \ Tomas Holcbecher

On Sunday afternoon, two-time Olympian Anna Merveldt completed Ireland’s World Championship campaign when scoring 68.47% with the 13-year-old Lusitano stallion Esporim, who is owned by Eleonore and Michael Higgins, Giovanna Mazza and Mario Greco.

The highlight of their test was two fabulous canter pirouettes down the centre line, while a mistake in their one-times would have lost some marks, as would halts that were not square. Merveldt finished best of the Irish in 58th place at her sixth world championships, the first being in 1990.

Commenting afterwards she said: “The ones mistake was unfortunate, I touched him with the spur at the wrong time and he listens to me! He usually never makes mistakes in the changes so that was my fault.”

The other Irish counting score was from Alex Baker who scored 67.53% with Dutchman on Saturday morning.

The top 30 combinations go through to tomorrow’s individual Grand Prix Special, where the first set of individual medals will be awarded.

Full team results.

See the final individual standings.

More to follow and full report in next Saturday’s The Irish Field.