New Zealander Jock Paget conjured a personal best four-star dressage performance from Clifton Lush to jointly lead the field with Germany’s Andreas Dibowski on FRH Butts Leon at the halfway stage of the first day of dressage at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in England.
Paget, who won The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials earlier this year on Clifton Promise, scored 42 with Frances Stead and Lucy Allison’s wiry 14-year-old chestnut.
“I am really stoked with him; he did everything I asked,” said Paget, whose British dressage trainer Andrew Gould was on hand to oversee the Kiwi’s test preparation.
Gould, who has been helping Paget for 2 1/2 years, explained that the pair have devised a strategy to get the best out of the gelding, who is not blessed with natural aptitude for the first phase.
“The horse isn’t naturally talented and doesn’t have the most impressive paces, but now that Jock has developed a very structured training program it has allowed Lush to work to his full capacity and for Jock to fine-tune him,” he said. “Not all horses can cope with this but this one has a great mind, which allows for this and he enjoys the work.”
Gould will also help Paget warm up his second ride, Clifton Promise, tomorrow before his test in the afternoon.
“Now we are here, we are just working on Jock and the horses’ focus and their frame of minds. We don’t tweak and niggle at this stage, we just work on things that are personal to the combination,” said Gould.
Just before the lunch break Andreas Dibowski and FRH Butts Leon pulled off an elegant test to equal Paget’s mark. The pair are 6 penalties ahead of third-placed Sarah Cohen and Treason on 48.