British riders occupy the top five spots after the first day of dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. No-one could catch Oliver Townend, who was fourth into the arena this morning on Cilnabradden Evo and pulled off a record-breaking score of 19.7.
“I tortured myself a lot last night, lying in bed and riding the test over and over in my mind,” said Townend. “I knew he was capable of a performance like that, but you never want to get too complacent.”
Sally-Ann Egginton’s 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (S Creevagh Ferro x Willow Garden), who has been a multiple winner at lower levels, has yet to complete a major five-star competition.
“I know there are people questioning why I have brought him here [the pair fell on their last outing at this level at Pau], but he feels on great form and I have faith in him. This is the biggest event in the world in terms of history and you can never predict what might happen – one silly slip and you can be flat on your backside – but I’ll be giving it my best shot.”
Townend goes again on his second ride, the 2017 Burghley winner, Ballaghmor Class, tomorrow afternoon at 3:56 p.m.
Tom McEwen and Toledo De Kerser pulled off a personal best score at this level (25.7) to lie in second place overnight.
“He was awesome in there. He’s been building up to the higher marks at home and we were able to reproduce that work in the arena, which I was really pleased about,” said McEwen of Jane Inns’, Ali McEwen and Fred and Penny Barker’s 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Diamant De Semilly x Ariane Du Prieure II), with whom he was part of Britain’s gold medal-winning team at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG).
Tom’s teammate, Piggy French, currently occupies the third spot with Trevor Dickens’ 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare Vanir Kamira (Camiro De Haar Z x Fair Caledonian). French was thrilled with their mistake-free test, which left them on a score of 26.
“I was away last week in Kentucky [where she finished fourth with Quarrycrest Echo], so my sister [Nini French] kept ‘Tilly’ ticking over, which is not an easy job,” said French. “She’s a feisty mare with a few issues that need carefully managing, so it’s a fine balancing act. She’s not a dressage horse, but she felt very professional today. She kept her ears forward and had a smile on her face, which gave her presence. As the test progressed and I wasn’t swearing under my breath, I figured we must be doing ok.”
Kitty King continued Britain’s dominance with an eye-catching test aboard the lovely grey, Vendredi Biats, a 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding (WinningMood x Liane Normande), owned by Dally Eyre, Sally Lloyd Baker, Samantha Wilson, and Diana Brown.
“He spooked at the camera going around the edge of the arena and when his back went up I thought I might get bucked off, but he held it together and I was pleased with the mark [27.2],” said King, who last competed here on Boondoggle in 2010.
First-timer Millie Dumas made a spectacular start to her campaign with Artistiek. Their score of 27.3 leaves them in the top five at the end of the first day.
Rob Lindley, Managing Director of Mitsubishi Motors UK, said: “We have had an exciting first day of competition here at Badminton where the atmosphere is already beginning to build. This is just the start of things to come and we can’t wait. Good luck to all taking part, we are on the edge of our seats.”
Tomorrow’s dressage action continues at 9:00 a.m. when the first rider in the arena will be first-timer Matthew Heath (The Lion). The first U.S. rider will be Jenny Caras aboard Fernhill Fortitude at 10:34 a.m. and the final U.S. rider will be Savannah Fulton aboard Captain Jack at 3:12 p.m.
For the full results, click here.
To watch the live stream, click here.
The FEI has announced that the Swiss horse Jet Set, ridden by Robin Godel has had to be euthanized after pulling up extremely lame on the Sea Forest Cross Country Course during Equestrian Eventing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on August 1, 2021.
In 2002, at the age of 15, I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Maine while Tremaine Cooper was there building some cross-country jumps. I helped him build a trakehner, not realizing that this day would set the course for my future. A few weeks later he called asking if I could help him at Millbrook Horse Trials. From there I helped Tremaine during most of my school vacations and throughout the summers. After graduating high school I kept at it never looking back. I lived the gypsy lifestyle for about six years going from coast to coast and event to event. In 2013 my wife Kathryn and I settled down in Lexington, Kentucky. These days I spend roughly 60-75 percent of my time on the road preparing events or building private schooling areas. I’ve had the privilege of being involved with some really great events around the states and have cultivated many friendships all over the country. In 2019 I was asked to be a part of Team Evans Olympic cross-country building crew. As I write this I am on my third trip to Tokyo. Here’s a day in Tokyo . . .
The British team cemented their gold medal position at the Tokyo Olympics with three magnificent cross-country performances, all clear inside the time. Added to that, their first rider, Oliver Townend, holds pole position individually after the dressage leader, Germany’s Michael Jung, picked up 11 penalties for triggering a frangible device.
The 2012 and 2016 individual Olympic champion, Germany’s Michael Jung, blazed into first place after dressage at the Tokyo 2020 Games with a superb test on Chipmunk.
Deservedly scoring 21.1 - a record for both rider and his country at an Olympics, according to EquiRatings - it was a joy to watch. From the first extended trot, the pair looked secure, positive, and harmonious. The test was as accurate and as well-delivered as that of long-time leaders Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class (GBR), but with more expression and ease. Jung and the Contendro 13-year-old demonstrated all this specially-written, short Olympic test asks for and each movement flowed into the next.