South Gloucestershire, England—May 6—Rosalind Canter and her hugely popular horse Lordships Graffalo lit up a damp Coronation Day when producing a superb dressage test to take the lead at Badminton Horse Trials.
Canter, the 2018 World Champion, scored 22.1 with Michele Saul’s 11-year-old by Grafenstolz, giving her the slimmest of leads after the first phase. She has a 0.2 penalty advantage over Kitty King and Vendredi Biats—1.5 penalties covers the top five before a cross-country day that riders anticipate will be influential.
First-day leaders Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs are now third, Gemma Stevens (Jalapeno) is fourth and Tom McEwen (Toledo de Kerser) is fifth.
Canter was full of praise for Lordships Graffalo, or “Walter,” a horse that seems to revel in his job. “He loves it, he just loves it,” she said. “If the crowd had stamped their feet, he’d have danced even more. That’s why he’s such a wonderful event horse.
“It’s great to be at the top today, but with such small differences in dressage scores it will probably be a bit irrelevant tomorrow. It’s a great cross-country track, and it will just be a case of getting stuck in and riding sensibly according to the conditions.”
Kitty King led the dressage at Burghley last year and still managed to finish in the top 10 despite hitting a frangible pin on the cross-country course. “It would be wonderful if luck was on my side this time,” she said.
Townend is also in sixth place and close contention on his second ride, Ballaghmor Class, who scored 24.7. “I’m happy with the position I’m in, and there isn’t the pressure of being in the lead now!” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same top three sitting here tomorrow but, equally, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a totally different top three. We will just have to ride reactively to the conditions.”
The price of one cross-country pin (11 penalties) covers the top 40 riders and the price of a run-out (20 penalties) covers virtually the whole field of 64. A few alterations have been made to the cross-country course and two elements of combination fences removed in deference to the heavy rainfall.
The second U.S. rider in the field, Lillian Heard Wood and LCC Barnaby, scored a 39.5 to sit in 60th place.
“He’s not very good at this [the dressage], but he’s done a lot worse," she said. "It’s our worst score, but he’s been a lot more crazy in there before now. Walking out I was happy. What makes him not very good in the dressage is what makes him very good across country. I’ll be happy to be riding him tomorrow.”
The other U.S. rider, British-based Katherine Coleman, completed her test yesterday on Monbeg Senna and is now in 27th on 31.0.
The cross-country is due to start at 11.30 a.m. BST Sunday and will be livestreamed on Badminton TV.
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After not running in 2020 and 2021, the MARS Bromont CCI Three-Day Event returned to the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Center in Quebec, Canada, in 2022. America's Jennie Saville (née Brannigan) and Twilightslastgleam won the CCI4*-L, as the chestnut Thoroughbred gelding (National Anthem x Royal Child) bred and owned by Nina Gardner moved up from eighth after dressage into the lead after cross-country with the fastest round on wet ground over the tracks designed by Derek di Grazia. Canada's Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge, a bay Selle Français gelding (Mylord Carthago x Lelia) owned by Patricia Pearce, finished second, and they are among four from the top-10 in the CCI4*-L in 2022 that return in 2023.
Hannah Sue Hollberg of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, was on a winning streak at the Essex Horse Trials on Sunday, claiming victory in both the $10,000 Open Intermediate and Open Preliminary divisions with two horses that are fairly new to her. Some difficulty on cross-country did not stop her mount Hachi from claiming victory in the Open Intermediate with a score of 101.6, while Open Preliminary partner Rockster finished on his dressage score of 27.3.
The great football coach Vince Lombardi said, “We win our games in practice.” With the goal of having the most effective practices possible for horses, their riders, and their coaches, Cathy Wieschhoff explains some signs that can indicate when horse and rider should repeat an exercise, switch it up, or be done with that activity. Wieschhoff brings perspective as a five-star rider that has competed at the Kentucky Three-Day Event and Burghley Horse Trials, a USEF “R” Course Designer for eventing cross-country and show jumping, a former Area VIII chair and member of the USEA Board of Governors, and a Level V USEA ECP Certified Coach based out of Carriage Station Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.