We caught up with the riders as they finished their cross country rounds and here are some of their thoughts:

IMG_1598Trailblazer Paul Tapner on Kilronan:
“I’m very happy, he was sensational. I’m annoyed not to make the time which is a bit frustrating. I had a few hairy moments where it didn’t go quite to plan but that’s what 4* riding is all about, you go between the flags and finish. We put an extra stride in at the Mirage Pond which I’m glad we did otherwise we would have missed the fence. The ground is perfect.”


IMG_1632Last year’s winner Sam Griffiths on Paulank Brockagh:

“She is a horse you can point and just be a passenger. She was full of running but I couldn’t quite claw back the time I lost. Guiseppe has been very clever in how he has made us turn. Perhaps I could have galloped a little more but I am absolutely thrilled. She is an experienced horse now. As riders we feel the course has been softened quite a bit but it’s still Badminton so it’s big and wide and you can’t afford not to have a good ride.”

Mark Todd 95 (1 of 1)Mark Todd on Leonidas II:

“He was amazing the whole way – he jumped beautifully and he is a great jumper. I thought we were going to make the time but took a few too many turns. The course rides big. It’s not as technical as last year and the good horses and riders will make it look quite easy. The ground will dry out more but the going is perfect.”
“He is still relatively young and he’s the horse I have an eye on for the Olympics next year. In the last year he has matured a lot and I think next year he’ll be at his peak so I’m very excited about him. He gave me a fabulous ride. He’s got so much ability and he just makes it feel easy.”

IMG_1548Harry Dzenis on Xam, who complete for the first time:
“I am so pleased with Xam. It was amazing to go clear. Every fence I just thought we are one closer to home. We did have a scary moment at the silver birch rails towards the end were I had to circle and waste time but I just wanted to jump clear. Show jumping isn’t always his forte. No matter what he does tomorrow I am really proud of him. Fingers crossed he can pull it out the bag in the jumping.”


IMG_1546Andrew Nicholson on his second ride Calico Joe:
“I have to ride Joe very differently to Nereo he’s used to the pressure in the reins. He’s basically a schoolmaster now.”



Merel Blom 25 (1 of 1)The Netherlands rider Merel Blom on Rumour Has It who jumped clear:
“He was great. I am really happy with him he just gets more fun every time we go cross country. This is the third time I have been here and I am really excited. The course rode exactly like I walked it.”



WettsteinNicholas Wettstein on Nadeville Merze:

“It was wonderful. It was nice conditions for cross country today. My round went to plan and I planned to go long at the lake, until the first stop. He was tired but I am still happy with him.”


DaltonFirst timers Nana Dalton on Absolut Opposition:

“He was fabulous. He is an out and out a cross country horse and made it feel straight forward. He looked at the crowd and because he is so intelligent he lost a bit of focus and straightness as a result of it and we had some not so perfect jumps but I am thrilled with him.”


Cury 3Another first timer Gabriel Silva Cury was beaming when he crossed the finish line and was given a huge hug from Mark Todd, Grass Valley’s previous rider:

“My horse is brilliant. Everything was good and it was a nice round. He helped me a lot.”



B HoyBettina Hoy had a great round on Designer 10 and lies in eight going into the show jumping:

“He was just amazing. He has never jumped anything that big and I don’t think I have gone that fast for ages. He stumbled jumping into the lake but I just kept kicking.”

LevettBill Levett on Shannondale Titan:

“The course designers have been quite clever. There are a couple of turn backs and three or four places that you can’t do anything but slow and jump the fences. If you have a race horse then you have a chance of making the time.”


westbrook-test-Izzy-Taylor-93Izzy Taylor on KBIS Briarlands Matilda and Thistledown Poposki:

“She was really good. I am delighted with her she tried all the way. It’s been a very good day. They are two very different horses. Matilda is a serious jumper, really scopey but she can have the odd nip out every now and then so I was delighted with her. Then Little Pop has got the heart of a lion but has to try hard but he was awesome as well. Pop’s show jumping wouldn’t be his forte but you never know and hopefully normally Matilda is a good jumper but we’ve got the trot up in the morning to get through so fingers crossed for tomorrow.” 

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