Three days in and the 2018 World Equestrian Games is a complete 'Deutschland Domination'.
Germany's reign over the international field, starting with team gold in Thursday's FEI Grand Prix, continued with, a 7.4 point lead over the closest team, Great Britain, to close out the second day of the dressage phase competition for Eventing.
Did we mention that their overall score, 73.4, is the best eventing team dressage score in the history of the World Games? #micdrop #mindblown and any number of impressed expressions you want to add.
Germany's Julia Krajewski and Chipmunk FRH.
Not only did they ride away with the highest team score, but 30-year-old and recent girl on fire, Julia Krajewski and Chipmunk FRH, broke away from the pack with a score of 19.9 to secure the individual high score, a score that's been documented as the best dressage performance by an eventer during the World Games since 2002.
"He has done 19 points twice before so I felt some pressure to produce it again. It's all about preparation. Certainly, I can't just pull him out of the stable and push a button and then there's the 19, it's about having him right on the exact day," shared on her 10-year old Hanoverian gelding and her impressions of their record-breaking test.
"Yesterday Chipmunk felt really relaxed and with me and I could really ride for all points. He was calm and collected like a real pro, even though he's only 10 years old. I think after a couple of movements, I thought it could be something really good but you never know how the judges see it. When I finished, the audience went really crazy and I thought it might be some really low points. I was very happy to see the 19 points there."
The display of overall talent from the Germans has, honestly, been on another level but to the athletes, it's just business as usual and a credit to their prep leading up to Tryon.
"I'm always amazed at how smooth their tests are and how harmonious they are," individual third place rider from Great Britain, Rosalind Canter answered on what others can learn from Germany's squad. "They always have an ability to make their horses show expression without it coming out as tension. I think that's something that I, myself, still need to work on and still need to learn but also remembering at the same time, that we're all riding completely different horses. That's the one big thing to remember, is to do what's best for your horse. Always learning but remembering that you're sat on your own horse."
Speaking of Rosalind's 13-year-old KWPN stallion, Allstar B, "Throughout his career, he's been a really consistent horse in the dressage. He has an amazing temperament if anything he's lazy. So it's all about winding him up and pushing the buttons and hoping he wants to go forward on the day. He never preempts the movements, he always waits to be told what to do, which makes my life really easy. It's basically the pressure on me to make sure that I ride and tell him exactly what to do and when to do it and I know he'll always try his hardest for me."
Ingrid Klimke also had top marks for her 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding SAP Hale Bob OLD. "I was very pleased because he was so relaxed and so smooth. As soon as he entered the ring it was as if he knew his program, he was listening, waiting. There was nothing he could do better and I am very pleased with him."
Germany's Ingrid Klimke and SAP Hale Bob OLD.
One phase is complete but the hardest is yet to come. Even with Hurricane Florence looming, warmer weather and humidity have been a major factor, namely in the ultimate cancellation of the Endurance competition. So what do eventers anticipate that they'll face looking ahead to tomorrow's cross-country phase? What's the strategy at this point?
"There are quite a few fences where you have to have your line right and be very concentrated," said Julia. "There are many fences where you have several options and we hopefully did a good job to find the best way for each horse on the team so everyone has a chance to do the best tomorrow."
"We had a really hot summer in Germany. Over 30 degrees for more than five weeks which I think quite helps because the horses are quite used to it but what we're not used to, so much, is the humidity. The rest is up to the rider and our feeling during the course tomorrow. So if we feel them tiring earlier than normal, we'll slow down a bit and let them do their job at their pace. I think we're prepared to go fast and slow down too if necessary."
Germany's Julia Krajewski and Chipmunk FRH.
The top three women present at the press conference were all in agreement with Julia but the last comment made by Rosalind sums up the eventing community's characteristic gritty attitude when faced with obstacles, "we're looking forward to the challenge."
So it's safe to say, 'challenge accepted', and now we go off to dream of clear skies and safe rides in the cross-country for these badass athletes.
Full results of Friday's Eventing Dressage team competition and individual results, here.
Weather permitting, the cross-country phase begins tomorrow morning at 11:00 AM EST. Stay up-to-date on the Noelle Floyd.com homepage with our leaderboard and medal counter and watch competition via live stream at FEI TV.
All photos: Alison Green for Shannon Brinkman