Andrew Nicholson and Nereo retained the commanding lead they took mid-morning to hold pole position at the end of the first day of dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (England).
“From start to finish this was probably the smoothest test he’s done,” said Nicholson of the 15-year-old Spanish-bred gelding, who has three Badminton completions to his name. “I could ride him forward for the maximum marks and he stayed with me. He went into that arena and gave me 100 percent; he doesn’t look at the people, he’s focused on me and he knows what he has to do.”
“This is the ultimate dream. As a little boy in Australia, I used to wait for the videotapes of Badminton to arrive, so to ride here was always a major ambition. This means the world to me,” said Sam Griffiths of Australia after winning the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton CCI****. “Badminton is the pinnacle.”
Griffiths produced a superb display of horsemanship in the show jumping phase to win his first major title with Paulank Brockagh, the mare that he co-owns with Dinah Posford and Jules Carter.
Of course I knew that the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton CCI**** cross-country was going to be a tough course in terms of the questions—there were so many combinations that the horse and rider would be taxed both mentally and physically before the course was over, but then you added in the footing, and that added an exponential element to the complexity of the course.
As the rain died down late Thursday at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton CCI****, the wind picked up and we could hear it howling all night, but it blew the sky clear and Friday morning dawned bright and sunny. Henny is eating well here and he was looking for his grain this morning when I arrived. I mix all of his feed and I like to actually feed him myself too, so I can monitor his meals.
U.S. rider Clark Montgomery swept into a commanding lead aboard Loughan Glen in the closing stages of the second day of dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
“He felt amazing,” said Montgomery. “I knew he was capable of producing that sort of test, but it’s the first time he’s performed in front of a crowd like that. He loves an atmosphere, and he really perked up in there.”
“I have a tendency to over-think my tests sometimes, but today was the most relaxed I've ever been—I think partly because I know that come Saturday the competition will probably be turned on its head,” said Paul Tapner after winning the first day of dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton CCI**** (England) with Kilronan.