New Zealand and Germany share the top spot after dressage in the U.S.
Michael Jung and Sam proved they’re still the partnership to beat by sitting at the top of the leaderboard after the first phase in Kentucky. However the German duo are having to share the overnight top spot with New Zealand’s rising star, Tim Price and his top ride Wesko.
Tim, who had a shot at winning 2014’s Badminton Horse Trials on Wesko before the pair tipped up in the famous lake, said of today’s performance:
“I was very aware that it was a very strong field this year and that made the challenge quite serious – I came to do what I did today because he is a very capable horse and I just wanted to put my best foot forward. The preparation prior to the test over the last three days – just the suppleness of the horse and when we got into the ring today and the atmosphere gave him the lift and the extra dynamic I think to use to our advantage.”
Of his London 2012 Olympic champion ride, Michael said:
“I feel very happy, both my horses have done a wonderful job. Sam was a little bit nervous but everything works well. It was a very big atmosphere and we are only at the beginning of the season and I am very happy about it.”
Best of the Brits at this stage goes to last year’s winners William Fox-Pitt and Bay My Hero.
Michael Jung also sits in fourth with his second string, Ficherrocanna. After his Thursday dressage on the mare, Michael said:
“is a very nice stadium, a quiet stadium and very good that we can work in the stadium before the dressage – it helps a lot for the horses. Today my horse gave me a really good feeling – she was calm and quiet – I could do everything that I wanted. She was fantastic to ride and one of the best tests she has done. Today she is the leader but tomorrow Sam is in very good form, but you never know.”
Team GB took a blow when Zara Philip’s High Kingdom kicked out and caught himself meaning the gelding was withdrawn just before his dressage. Talking about the withdrawal from the competition, GB Performance Director Yogi Breisner, said:
“Basically he is fine, about an hour before he was starting his warm up for the dressage test he kicked in the stable and split the skin around his fetlock so he had a wound which we tended to immediately, but as Zara started to warm up it was quite clear that the horse was not 100% so we made the decision to withdraw him which was very very sad for Zara”.
Eventing Worldwide will have cross country and show jumping reports over the weekend, as well as full picture galleries.
Report by Natalie Clark