Michael Jung took an early lead at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials as he seeks to reclaim the title he won two years ago.
With the 17-year-old La Biosthetique Sam FBW, the German was the only sub-40 score during the first day of dressage, with a mark of 38.9.
He commented: “When Sam was younger it wasn’t always easy for him with the atmosphere, but we have learnt together and I now know how to prepare him and can enjoy it. Sam is on good form, and a very good horse in all three disciplines. I didn’t have him quite enough in front of my leg for the flying changes; you have to be 100% perfect in all phases to win and this was not our best performance in dressage – but I think the cross country is tough enough to change the result,”
Britian’s top rider comes in the form of Gemma Tattersall, who currently sits in the runner up spot
following a personal best at CCI**** with her British Open Championship partner Arctic Soul. With a score of 43.0 she commented: “I’m chuffed to bits, he did everything I asked of him in there. He’s very shy, so the key is him feeling confident, rideable and relaxed. Today he allowed me to place him so that all of his movements were correct. I spent ages on the arena walk yesterday, reasurring him and patting him, and he has been out of his stable, walking around most of the day.”
Burghley first timer Mackenna Shea (USA) swept in to the top three. The 24-year-old arrived in the UK at the end of June and whilst it hasn’t all been plain sailing – Landioso suffered from shipping fever on the journey over – she feels that her preparation has been good.
She said: “I was really happy with most of my trot work. The canter was pretty good, but it was more consistent in the later work. We aren’t really fans of the changes. I didn’t know what a big step beyond Kentucky Burghley would be. Just walking the course takes so long! I’ve had Landioso since he was four, and he’s now 15 – we have a great partnership and he takes his work very seriously.”
Australia’s Paul Tapner lies in fourth place with Bonza King of Rogues (46.2), while Georgie Spence and Wii Limbo sit in fifth position (46.4) ahead of Tim Price and Xavier Faer (46.5).
After his test Tapner commented: “The horse did as good a test as he could do, I rode as good as I could do – and I can be as grumpy as I want with the judges…”
Photographs courtesy of Tanzy Lee
EWW INTERVIEWS THE RIDERS FROM DAY 1