Dressage got underway at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials this morning against the backdrop of glorious sunshine.
At lunch on the first day, the field is led by Paul Sims and Glengarnock on a score of 46.6, closely followed by Elisa Wallace of the USA and Simply Priceless (46.8) with Rosalind Canter in third on Allstar B (47.0).
Here’s what some of the riders had to say after their dressage.
Tom Crisp after his test on Coolys Luxury, scoring 52.6.
“It could have been better. You are never sure going first that the judges come out a little bit cold back and stiff and the marks don’t tend to flow as they do later in the programme. But to be honest o think t was a fair Mark. The hors was trending well before the canter work and the changes just let him down today which is a shame. I frightened myself yesterday walking the course yesterday. It’s strong again and hopefully we won’t be looking too much at a dressage competition.”
Burghley first timer Alexander Bragg after his test on Zargreb, scoring 50.9
“I was very satisfied. The horse didn’t make any mistakes, he stayed with me and concentrated all the way through. I would have loved to have snuck under the 50 and had a score in the 40. But overall at my first four star and the horses first four star I’m pleased with his performance. I’m thrilled to have two great jumping horses here because I think you are going to need it out on the cross country. I’ve walked round it, there’s lots of options out there and picking your line and being positive about it is going to be key. Everything has been built to ride in a confident fashion. I’ve just got to stay focused. The cross country is going to have a huge influence. As long as you are there or thereabouts you stand a chance. I think the leader board will have a but shuffle about on Saturday.”
Another Burghley first-timer Arthur Duffort talks about his test on Herbst Golden Eclipse, scoring 66.4
“The test wasn’t great. It’s my first four-star test so it will get better with more experience. She is a good jumper – very brave. I’m just here for the experience. I haven’t walked the course yet. I had a look as I was warming up for the dressage and it looks like Burghley, we know what we will get. It means so much to be here. I was just happy to trot up. It’s a special atmosphere.”
Ireland’s Austin O’Connor & Balham Houdini scored 56.0 in the dressage.
“I was generally very pleased with how the horse tried and went for me. There were two or three expensive mistakes and unfortunately that bought the score down. He dealt with the atmosphere very well, it’s just at this level the movements come very quickly and there isn’t much time to prepare. Leaving the score aside I’m very happy.”
Roo Fox looks ahead to the cross country after her dressage test on Fleet Street.
“He went out and produced some tests recently and I was hopeful. We planned it, we timed it and he just let me down. But he is a massive cross county horse so you think we’ll, I’d rather get around the cross county nicely. It’s hugely disappointing. I hoped he would have grown up but he’s not. At least he’s got a bit of attitude and I’m probably going to need that on Saturday. I’ve walked the course. I think it’s tougher than it has been, certainly since I last came here in 2014. I’m kind of excited, kind of nervous. I’ll keep walking it and walking it. The good thing about going so early is I won’t see anybody else’s plan and I’ll stick to mine.”
Katie Barber and Woodfield Ria after their dressage test, scoring 62.4.
“I was crying when I came out of the arena, I was so excited. It felt so good to get that done hopefully do it nicely. It’s not a great mark but I wasn’t expecting to. I’m really looking forward to getting on the cross country start box. I’ve walked the course twice now. It’s big, it’s bold and hopefully it will be fun. I can’t wait to get out there.”
Elisa Wallace, representing USA, scored 46.8 with Simply Priceless to go into second before lunch on Day 1. Here’s what she had to say after her test.
“He’s such a good boy, when we’re able to get it to happen we’re right up in there. There’s no amount of words to describe the amount of pride you have (to ride at Burghley). It was a test where I hoped that was scoring well. He was with me the whole time. He’s been a very difficult horse in the dressage – when I got him he was scoring in the upper sixties. So the fact he can come in and do his best four-star test here is so cool. Cross country I need to ride the course that is in front of me. It’s very doable. Captain Mark Phillips has done an excellent job of making it a course people can finish. I do think I’m on a very good cross country horse – it’s his favourite thing. We have to ride smart and ride safe and hopefully we can finish up on our score. It’s just incredible to be here.”