Badminton Final Horse Inspection: North Americans Accepted; Popular Pair Withdraws

Foxwood High looks a picture of health at the final horse inspection. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

There’s something funny in the water this week at Badminton. Everyone seems to have been affected by the sort of punchy silliness that hits Britain approximately 1.5 times a year when the sun finally makes an appearance and we all emerge, squinting, blinking and disorientated, from the media centre, like weird, horse-mad moles. If this seems like an unfair or unflattering assessment, consider this: a table full of people hunched over laptops at 7pm last night, getting absolutely no work done for a solid half an hour because they were too busy saying ‘some mare!’ over and over again in terrible Kiwi accents. Eventing Nation had nothing to do with this. We are professionals. (Also, our impersonations are terrific.)

An 8.30am trot-up the morning after Saturday night inspires silliness at the best of times, but when the sun is blazing, it’s considerably worse. It was during a spate of this silliness that we realised something remarkable.

Spain’s Carlos Diaz Fernandez, whose Junco CP was accepted this morning and will showjump in the final session, looks familiar. Very familiar. Almost unnervingly familiar. Like someone has shoved both Phillip Dutton and David O’Connor into a (frighteningly large) blender and poured out a saucy Spanish smoothie. Case in point:

YOU WILL NEVER UNSEE THIS. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

I’ve spent a long time gazing at the poll option on the back-end of the Eventing Nation website and yearning for a reason to use it. Today is finally that day, and I, for one, couldn’t be more thrilled. This is my Grand Slam.

Anyway, moving on to some actual news, the final horse inspection this morning was largely uneventful, perhaps surprisingly after yesterday’s gruelling competition. Only one horse will not proceed to the final phase – Andrew Nicholson‘s Nereo, who was seventh to present and sat in 12th place overnight. Andrew made the decision to withdraw the eighteen-year-old gelding after he was sent to the holding box.

Cooley SRS – held, and then accepted, for Oliver Townend. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Also held was the first of Oliver Townend‘s rides, Cooley SRS. He was subsequently accepted after re-presentation and goes into the showjumping in fifth place, with stablemate Ballaghmor Class sitting in second. France’s Regis Prud’Hon‘s Kaiser HDB 4175 was also held, re-presented, and accepted, giving us the great thrill of having to write his name THREE times now this morning.

Foxwood High and Selena O’Hanlon at the trot up. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Our two remaining North American pairs – Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High and Lauren Kieffer and Veronica – passed with flying colours, with both horses looking fit, well, and not a bit tired after the exertions of yesterday. Both will showjump in the final session today, with Selena sitting in 17th place and Lauren in 7th.

Lauren Kieffer and Veronica – cool and calm despite the heat. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Flora Harris‘ groom Charlotte Aitken was awarded the prize for the best cared for horse, for her tireless ministrations with Bayano, who goes into showjumping in 46th place.

The morning’s showjumping session is underway, for horse and rider combinations outside of the top twenty, and we’ll be taking a look at how the course is riding, and what the leaders’ chances are, going into this afternoon’s final session. The top twenty will showjump from 2:00pm BST/9:00am EST.

Go Selena, go Lauren, and GO EVENTING!

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