Despite being first into the arena this morning at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, no one managed to top defending champion and current World Number One Oliver Townend’s leading dressage score of 27.2 with MHS King Joules. There were, however, some new faces from the morning line up, and a British top five by the end of the afternoon session.
“If MHS King Joules can stay on his dressage score of 27.2 I’ll be happy,” said Townend. Looking ahead to Saturday’s cross-country phase, he admitted that Mark Phillips’ track will be very influential: “Burghley is always very big but it’s as big as it’s been, in terms of dimensions, as I’ve seen it. I think it will be stamina sapping for the horses as there are three big hills and no real breathers. It will be tough.”
Sarah Bullimore came within .1 of Oliver’s score with her Pau CCI4* runner-up Reve Du Rouet. “I’m really chuffed,” beamed Bullimore. “He’s genuinely scared of the crowds so he was fabulous.” She also admitted that the 14-year-gelding is very set in his ways, which she and her team have had to learn to accommodate: “I actually think he’s a bit autistic,” she said. “He has to do things certain ways and has his own routines – it’s just a case of us trying to keep him happy really.”
Despite some equine acrobatics at the first horse inspection, Harry Meade’s Away Cruising posted probably his smartest dressage tests to date to move into third place on 29.5: “I’m delighted with him,” said Meade immediately after his test. “I’ve felt all season that he was on the path to putting in a good test and today was a good day to execute our plan.”
Last year’s runners-up Piggy French and Vanir Kamira lie fourth on 29.9 after French just about managed to keep a lid on the 13-year-old mare’s sensitive personality: “I’m pretty pleased on the whole although it definitely wasn’t a personal best,” she admitted. “She didn’t bubble or boil over and there were no major mistakes but she does tend to struggle in this phase.”
Georgie Spence and Wii Limbo complete the top five on 30.4.
Andrea Baxter and Indy 500 were the only U.S. pair to ride today and scored a 36.6 to sit in equal 25th.
For full results and tomorrow’s start times, click here.
Dressage kicks off again tomorrow morning at 9:30, with Ireland’s Ciaran Glynn and November Night first in front of the Ground Jury. All the action will be live streamed on the Burghley Facebook Page.
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.