Day 2 of the dressage didn’t disappoint on the photo opportunities here at Badminton nor did the brilliant commentary on Radio Badminton from Pammy Hutton and Carl Hester. Let’s not talk about the pants episode!
Andrew Nicholson stayed at the top after his test throughout the day and the final 3 going into today’s XC are Andrew on 37.8, William Fox-Pitt on 39 and Oliver Townend on 39.6. See below for a round-up of the dressage from Samantha Clark.
But it wasn’t all about the dressage. We caught up with William and Alice on the Fox-Pitt Eventing Club course walk and when I say caught up with, it was more like jogged along next to the FEI World No. 2. When asked about the optimum time, William said he thought it was tight and both Harry Meade and Yogi Breisner agreed with this. It was interesting to hear William’s thoughts on the longer routes and whilst he did walk them, he felt if Chilli had to take one of these options, it would mean he would be jumping it before walking home.
Later in the day, after a quick browse around the shops, the obligatory purchase of the annual official Joules hoody for Pony Mad Daughter, we met up with Team Mulry: Sallie Ryle, Vanessa Binnie Ryle and Lisa Hobday who were getting very excited for the cross-country and I know Carl Hester is looking forward to seeing Mulry and Ben Hobday go XC. Aoife Clark was delighted with her dressage test (42.9) and it was great to bump into Natasha Baker MBE, double London 2012 Paralympic and European Gold medallist and hear about her preparations for the summer but more on that another time.
The highlight of the whole day was the XC Preview with Ian Stark, Harry Meade and Yogi Breisner as the panel and Alice Plunkett (Fox-Pitt) compering laid on by Rosemary Barlow and the Horse Trials Support Group. Whilst I have praised this Group in previous posts, mainly because they have the best loos at Badminton and a hairdryer, it is these intimate events that really make the membership so valuable. Much of the panel discussion was far too fruity to report on here and Alice did an incredible job of not only keeping the panel under control, but also getting their frank and honest view of the course with many hilarious anecdotes from their combined experiences.
Ian Stark did admit he would have liked the course to have been tweaked a bit more and there was a general consensus that it was a shame some of the iconic fences were missing, such as the Vicarage V. Yogi Breisner said that due to it being a fast track, with long galloping stretches, the riders would need to be on their minute markers right from the start. Harry’s advice for the Lake was that riders should leave their set up for it as late as possible so that you can get to the Mitsubishi’s as deep as possible and Yogi’s advice for Fence 18abc, the Mirage Pond, was to follow Frank Weldon’s advice and “give them one in the kisser, and two in the guts!” and treat it as 3 different fences. Let’s see how they all get on today especially as there was quite a downpour last night. We have just heard that Mary King has withdrawn Kings Temptress, which is a real shame as this weekend Mary celebrated her 30th Badminton, so that’s make 3 withdrawals now – Tom Crisp (Coolys Luxury) and Nick Gauntlett (El Grado) will not be tackling Giuseppe’s course today. Wherever you are watching, have a great day and we will share our views from today with you later.
Read Samantha Clark’s round up from the dressage competition on Eventing Nation
Photos copyright Lucy Hall Photography