Ben Hobday may have been rueing the social media hype that his return to Badminton generated when the crowd started clapping as he entered the arena as the first rider on day two of the dressage. Mulrys Error was clearly tight and tense throughout the trot work, but settled in the canter to pick up some higher marks. They won’t be challenging the leaders with a score of 51.8, but perhaps that wasn’t the aim anyway.
The elegant Leonidas II unfortunately caught sight of himself on the big screen, and despite the consummate horsemanship of Mark Todd, didn’t produce the test he was capable of, which on a good day could certainly have challenged the leaders. They ended the day 10.4 marks adrift on 44.8 in 17th place.
It was a pleasure to see Alice Dunsdon and Fernhill Present complete their test after being accepted off the wait list. The pair only need to complete Badminton to gallop into the record books as the only horse and rider combination ever to have completed all six four star events. Dressage isn’t Fernhill Present’s strong point, but a tactful ride from Alice left them on 55.5.
Badminton 2016 saw High Kingdom’s return to the competition arena with Zara Tindall, having not been out at international level since the World Equestrian Games in 2014. The pair didn’t quite hit the top marks, and were somewhat harshly marked in their walk movements to finish on 48.
The real star of the morning session, however, was Emily King with the black gelding, Brookleigh. This is the pair’s second four star, having finished fourth at Pau last year. They bettered their previous dressage score by 1.5 penalties to post a score of 36.8, just 2.4 penalties behind Michael Jung. Emily is clearly keen to catch the selectors’ eyes with Rio coming up, and dressage scores which are so in touch with the German contingent are certainly one way to do it.
The afternoon session was dominated by tension in many of the horses, notably Beanie Sturgis’ Lebowski, who objected to being asked to trot past the camera at K on the outside of the arena. She fared better than Sarah Bullimore, for whom a combination of the applause and the crowds settling into their seats after the break proved to be Reve du Rouet’s undoing. Whilst tactful riding salvaged the second half of their test, it was questionable as to whether or not the judge at C needed to evacuate the box in order to avoid being run down by a very wild and out of control Reve du Rouet.
Gemma Tattersall was visibly thrilled with Arctic Soul at the end of their test, which scored a very creditable 44.6, leaving them in 16th overnight. Dani Evans (Raphael II) and Izzy Taylor (Allercombe Ellie) produced two very smart tests in quick succession, with the only thing keeping Raphael II out of the top three being his costly mistake when he spooked at the camera in what was an otherwise impressive extended trot. Both Dani and Izzy posted the same score of 40.4 leaving them in joint sixth overnight.
Oli Townend more than made up for his disappointment with Armada’s score with his second ride Black Tie. The pair produced a polished performance to post a score of 40.7 leaving them in 8th place overnight.
Christopher Burton was the rider tipped by many of the critics to be the one to watch in the afternoon session, and he certainly rode a brave test which was aiming for the top marks. Sadly this proved his undoing on a couple of occasions, when Nobilis 18 made a couple of errors which dropped them enough marks to leave them in 5th on 40.3.
With just over 10 penalties covering the top ten, and a weather forecast which could see conditions deteriorate fast if the predicted hail storms and rain showers come to pass, there’s all to play for tomorrow over Badminton’s famously big and tough cross country track.
Top Ten After Dressage:
|LA BIOSTHETIQUE – SAM FBW||Michael Jung (GER)||34.4||1|
|BROOKLEIGH||Emily King (GBR)||36.8||2|
|SO IS ET||Andreas Ostholt (GER)||38.2||3|
|HASTY IMP||Francis Whittington (GBR)||40.0||4|
|NOBILIS 18||Christopher Burton (AUS)||40.3||5|
|RAPHAEL II||Dani Evans (GBR)||40.4||=6|
|ALLERCOMBE ELLIE||Izzy Taylor (GBR)||40.4||=6|
|BLACK TIE||Oliver Townend (GBR)||40.7||8|
|BALMORAL SENSATION||Clarke Johnstone (NZL)||40.8||9|
|KAAPACHINO||Jesse Campbell (NZL)||41.1||10|
Our coverage from the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials is brought to you by Horseware – check out their new turnout rug guide and find the right rug for your horse whatever the weather.