Oliver Townend further strengthened his claims to this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton trophy when he pulled off an exceptional dressage test on Friday afternoon on his second ride, Ballaghmor Class, to leave him in first and second places at the end of the first phase.
Karyn Shuter, Angela Hislop, and Val Ryan’s 2017 Burghley winner couldn’t quite catch his stablemate, Cillnabradden Evo, who still leads on a score of 19.7, but a mark of 21.1 was still an eye-wateringly impressive achievement under great pressure.
No other rider has been in this position in Badminton’s history and only one rider – Ian Stark – has ever finished first and second. But it would be a brave man to bet against the on-form Townend to match this feat.
“Everyone expected so much of Ballaghmor Class after he won Burghley, but he was quite a novice when he did that; he was still learning flying changes. Now he feels like a well-established horse who is beautiful to ride,” said Townend of the 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Courage.
When asked who trains him on the flat, Townend replied: “Embarrassingly, I don’t actually have a trainer. I have a good set of mirrors and I watch a lot of Carl Hester dvds – so it’s not actually me you’re watching!”
Tom McEwen has been nudged down into third place with Toledo De Kerser. They lie on a score of 24.7 going into tomorrow’s cross-country phase.
“Toledo is fit, fresh and ready to run. Having spoken to other more experienced riders, the course is always tougher when it runs this way round, but I think the optimum time [11min45sec] should be achievable,” said McEwen, when quizzed about his expectations for tomorrow. He added: “This [competing at Badminton] is what we work so hard for every single day and it’s such a privilege to even be here.”
Piggy French and Vanir Kamira slip one place to fourth.
“I have walked the course a couple more times and have a few more plans in my head than I this time yesterday,” she said.
The other notable performance in this afternoon’s session came from Pippa Funnell and five-star first-timer Billy Walk On, the 10-year-old British bred gelding (Billy Mexico x Shannon Line), who squeezed into the top five with an expressive performance that left them on a score of 26.5.
“I’m really delighted with him. He’s been beautiful all week and so I was worried that I might have underdone the work, but he took it all in his stride.”
Jenny Caras is the higher-placed of the two U.S. representatives - currently sitting in equal 53rd with Fernhill Fortitude. The 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Courage x Misty Matilda) scored a 36.9.
Savannah Fulton and the Full Moon Farm Syndicate's Captain Jack, a 16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Numerous x Lady Malone) sit in 80th place on a 51.5.
“We have been treated to two days of truly top-class dressage here at Badminton. The grace and athleticism of the horses and their riders, particularly in the high-pressure buzz of the arena, is simply amazing to witness. And yet, that’s only the beginning – tomorrow they shift gears and take on the cross-country phase and what a spectacular and demanding course it is this year. Hopefully, the weather will be kind so riders and visitors can experience the stunning Badminton Estate at its very best,” commented Rob Lindley, Managing Director of Mitsubishi Motors in the UK.
Tomorrow’s cross-country action begins at 11.30 a.m. when Pippa Funnell will set out on her first ride, Majas Hope.
For the full dressage results, click here.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is thrilled to welcome back longtime sponsor, FITS Riding, Ltd. for 2021. They are returning as a Bronze Level Sponsor of the 2021 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds, a Contributing Level Sponsor of the 2021 USEA Adult Team Championships, a Contributing Level Sponsor of the 2021 USEA Classic Series, and a Contributing Level Sponsor of the 2021 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships. As a sponsor of these USEA programs, FITS Riding will generously provide gift certificates as prizes for the Intercollegiate championship competitors, AEC and ATC competitors, and Classic Series winners.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything, it was an amazing experience.” Twenty-five years ago, Kerry Millikin and her off-the-track Thoroughbred gelding, Out and About (who was only 8 years old at the time) won the individual Olympic bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, making her one of five females to have earned an individual Olympic medal for the U.S.
The Fair Hill Organizing Committee (FHOC), an affiliate of the Sport and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland (The Sport Corp.), today announced athletes and horses in the inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill (CCI5*-L) will be competing for $300,000 in prize money. Additionally, the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) Eventing National Championship (CCI3*-L), running in conjunction with the 5 Star, will award $25,000 in prize money. Both events, as well as the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Young Event Horse East Coast Championships, will take place this October 14-17 at the new Fair Hill Special Event Zone in Cecil County, Maryland.
You’ve seen a horse you like. You’ve ridden it; you love it. The money’s right; you’ve agreed to buy it. What happens next?
Pre-purchase veterinary examinations are one of those topics that a roomful of horsey people could discuss - and argue amongst themselves about - for hours. For the amateur rider, that can be confusing and slightly alarming.
So, let’s simplify it. What is a pre-purchase examination, why are they done, and what should you expect?