Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Markopoulo Olympic Equestrian Centre, Markopoulo
Date Started: August 20, 2004
Date Finished: August 21, 2004
Format: Four rider teams. Average of top three scores count towards team total.
Germany, the traditional superpower of dressage, had failed to win the team competition at a major championship on only three occasions since 1964. If you discount the boycotted Moscow Olympic they had been undefeated for 32 years and arrived in Athina as overwhelming favorites. The battle for silver and bronze was expected to be far closer with as many as six nations in contention.
Without Ulla Salzgeber in the German team it might have been a close competition but the performance of Salzgeber and her horse [Rusty 47] kept the German winning streak intact. Salzgeber's score of 78.208 was over 3.5 points more than any other rider and the difference between first and second was greater than that between 2nd and 12th.
A three way contest to decide silver and bronze developed between The Netherlands, Spain and USA. The performance of Beatriz Ferrer-Salat, well supported by Juan Antonio Jiménez and Rafael Soto, provided second placed Spain with a first ever dressage medal and despite the presence of reigning Olympic champion Anky van Grunsven, the US team edged the Netherlands to the bronze medal. Spain's medal broke the run of three Olympic Games where Germany, the Netherlands and the USA had finished in the exact same order at the top of the leaderboard.