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The weather was a bit kinder this morning at Badminton, not quite as blustery and cold as yesterday. The first one in, Tina Cook with De Novo News, performed her usual reliably good test, for 43.3. We then had quite a while until the top of the leaderboard looked threatened, but dressage specialist Bettina Hoy produced a 42.8 from Designer 10, and professed herself delighted with him: “He tried so hard in there”.
The next in, Bill Levett with Shannondale Titan, looked as if he was on target for a leading test, the early trot work was absolutely stunning for lots of very good marks, and Carl Hester said he would have given it 10s! The horse moves stunningly well and was swinging through its whole body, absolutely correct, rhythmical and relaxed but with power, a joy to watch.
Unfortunately the wheels fell off a tiny bit in the rein-back, an incorrect strike off followed it, and then the first serpentine was marred by a misunderstanding in the middle of it. Bill did well to get it all back on track, but then the penultimate flying change wasn’t great either… expensive mistakes amidst very high quality work. Frustrating, but still good enough for a 45.8, with everything to play for tomorrow.
Ingrid Klimke, who rides at GP dressage as well as Eventing, produced her usual high-quality goods with last year’s Pau 4* winner Horseware Hale Bob. He is not a hugely impressive mover but was presented absolutely correctly and softly, with Ingrid again feeling relaxed enough to give him an appreciative pat on the neck with her inside hand just after a good flying change… always nice to see.
He poked his nose slightly in the rein back, and the walk was not perfect, which affected the marks, but it was still good enough for a 40.2 into 2nd place (and personally I think she was absolutely ROBBED, only being given 8,8,8 for her riding!)
Lucy Jackson then conjured another nice test from Willy Do, to edge into the top 10 with 45.7. She was sporting her grandfather’s school hat, shown in the pic with its orginal box. It is obviously a lucky charm!
The afternoon session starts at 2pm with Oliver Townend and Armada. There are lots of great combinations in these final two sessions, including quite a few who could top the leaderboard, so stay tuned!