The U.S. Dressage Team finished team competition Tuesday, July 27, capturing the silver medal under the lights at Equestrian Park in Tokyo, Japan. It was the first time the team has collected a team silver since the London Olympic Games in 1948. The team competition saw eight nations vie for the three coveted podium positions, with Germany taking gold, the U.S. earning silver and Great Britain awarded the bronze medal.
Adrienne Lyle and Salvino received a 76.109 percent from the panel, while Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper, who rode in the second group, finished the competition with a 77.766, a personal best for the combination. Sabine Schut-Kery and Sanceo anchored the team and received a career-high 81.596 percent from the judges as one of the final rides of the evening.
Lyle and Salvino, a 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Betsy Juliano LLC, were the trailblazers for the U.S. Dressage Team, riding early in the first group order. The pair executed a mistake-free test, giving momentum to the team for their second ride with Peters and Suppenkasper.
“I’m super thrilled. I was really hoping we could pull off a score like that for the team today. We were a little conservative in the Grand Prix, and it wasn’t our greatest display, so I wanted to come out here and push for a little bit more,” Lyle said. “Despite the heat and humidity, he was really a good boy, and he delivered with no mistakes, and that’s what you want for the team test.”
In the second grouping of combinations, Peters and Suppenkasper, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Akiko Yamazaki and Four Winds Farm, rode one of their best tests to date and earned a superb score, improving from their previous test in the team qualifier competition.
“This is exactly what I wanted for my team. It’s one thing to ride individually, but when you pull a good score for your team, it’s an incredible feeling. When we came out of the arena, I gave Mopsie a big hug and thanked him from the bottom of my heart,” Peters said. “We were seriously in the zone. When we were out there about to go in the ring, I said, ‘Mopsie, please just do what we just did out here in warm-up,’ and we had a good schooling this morning. He did that for me when it counted, and it’s an incredible feeling when a horse will fight for you like that in the arena.”
As the anchor combination for the team, Schut-Kery and Sanceo, a 15-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Alice Womble, rounded out the team’s effort with another stellar performance and personal best. The duo, who made their presence known in their first outing, returned with another strong performance for the U.S. Dressage Team, helping them to clinch the second-place finish.
“For me, this was my first time here at the Olympics, and it was quite intense to wait that long for the end of the class, but I am so proud of my horse, my team, my owners and the coaches. It has been a really, really great experience, and I am still a bit speechless,” Schut-Kery said. “I was filled with joy and pride. It’s such a team effort. It’s a big relief to deliver for the whole team, not just my teammates, but everyone involved, and it just meant everything. It was just pure happiness.”
With team competition concluded, Chef d’Equipe Debbie McDonald discussed her team’s performance throughout the team competition, as she was overcome with emotion.
“I am just so proud of this team. This is truly the dream team,” McDonald said. “They each persevered and delivered when their team needed them most. I am so elated by their accomplishment tonight, and wow, what a moment to be remembered for this program… I have to thank all of the amazing coaches, support staff and owners, as this wouldn’t have been possible without their dedication and unwavering commitment to our athletes and their horses.”