A beautiful day in Rio saw a dramatic and grueling second qualifying round for the showjumpers

Today’s showjumping saw the true cream rise to the top; eleven riders have now gone clear in both individual qualifying rounds to be in prime standing for individual medal contention. Also noteworthy, more riders have been eliminated for breaking the “blood rule” regarding spur and whip overuse.

Brazil, Germany, The Netherlands and USA all tied for the lead on a zero score after the first round of Team Jumping at Deodoro Olympic Park today, with France trailing by just a single time fault going into tomorrow’s second-round medal decider.

Canada lies sixth on a four-fault tally, and the top-eight qualifying group is completed by Sweden and Switzerland, each carrying eight faults. A total of 15 nations competed in today’s first round, and amongst the seven teams that did not make the cut were the defending Olympic champions from Great Britain.

Here are the “elite eleven” who have managed clear rounds in both qualifiers:

K.Farrington, C.Ahlmann, P.Fredricson, M.Van der Vleuten, M.Michaels-Beerbaum, H.Smolders, D.De Miranda, D.Deusser, S.Alvarez Moya, E.Lamaze, P.Veniss.

21 riders went clear today, but the course was anything but an easy stroll.Three American riders achieved clear rounds (Farrington, Lucy Davis and McLain Ward) but Beezie Madden had uncharacteristic trouble and was the drop score. The Brazilian team, coached by George Morris, kept the crowd electrified with each performance and also achieved three clears to advance in good position for tomorrow’s second team round. World-class threats Germany and Netherlands are also poised to make moves on the podium.

One of the biggest upsets in the team medal chase are the defending gold medalists Great Britain now totally out of the competition. Individuals Ben Maher, Michael Whitaker and Nick Skelton are all individually qualified but the number of faults today took Britain right out of team medal contention. Even with Great Britain’s appeal to the call that Skelton’s horse had a foot in the water (the appeal was rejected) the team is still out of the competition.

Two riders were disqualified today for overuse of spurs when their mounts presented with traces of blood. Brazil’s Stephan de Freitas Barcha and Ukraine’s Cassio Rivetti were the riders in question when blood was found on Landpeter Do Feroleto and Fine Fleur du Marais respectively. Neither rider is eligible to jump for their team again during this competition. Brazil has lodged a protest over Stephan de Freitas Barcha’s disqualification.