Badminton XC results: Paul Tapner takes the lead

1. INONOTHING Paul Tapner (AUS) +0.4 44.9  

2. IMPERIAL CAVALIER Mary King 44.8 +2.4 47.2
3. FREE EASY NRW Simone Deitermann (GER) +3.2 48.2
4. COMANCHE James Robinson +4.8 48.3 
5. EURORIDINGS BUTTS LEON Andreas Dibowski (GER) +6.0 49.5 
6. SPRING ALONG Daisy Berkeley +2.4 50.4 
7. LENAMORE Caroline Powell (NZL) +1.2 51.4

(1) As always, the Badminton XC shook up the leader board.  40 of the 81 starters had at least a stop, and none of the top 6 dressage horses are placed higher than 38th after the XC.  However, there wasn’t one jump causing all of the problems; all of the issues were spread pretty evenly throughout the course.  For specific incident reports, check out our XC live thread post.
(2) Paul Tapner and Inonothing jumped from 11th to the lead by finishing just one second over the optimum time.  Paul was very efficient galloping hard away from every fence.  Mary King and Imperial Cavalier had a good early ride to jump from 14th to 2nd and are just 2.3 behind Paul going into the show jumping tomorrow.  Mary and Imperial Cavalier were held up after Alex Hua Tian and Jeans broke the frangible pins on the corner at #15.
(3) There were only 4 double clear rides all day long.  Sam Watson and Horseware Bushman jumped from 42nd to 8th on one of those double clears.
(4) I really appreciated how the drop fence into water at #12B (above) rode.  The fence was imposing, solid, round, but still vertical and most of the horses jumped it well as a result of those factors.  You can’t see it’s profile in the above picture, but from the side it almost looked like a tall wave.  Tina Cook fell here, but her horse did not rotate despite hanging a leg and seemed to slide over the round top.  This jump was built with great geometry and didn’t need frangible pins or foam to keep everyone safe.  Maybe the best designed jump into water I have ever seen.
(5) I was also impressed with how the course design gave the riders a chance to easily pull out of most combinations and take an options.  When riders had a sticky jump in, they could quickly pull out of the combination and take a long route without incurring a stop.  It looked like Hugh Thomas gave riders the option in nearly every combination that was under 5 strides, and he made sure that taking the option was convenient.  As a result, riders were not forced to keep attacking anything that didn’t feel right.  The downside to this was a few tough calls for the officials in determining if a rider had presented before taking the option, but this is well worth the added safety.
(6) Andrew Nicholson is starting to look like the Todd Pletcher (before yesterday) of Badminton.  Andrew is an amazing rider, but he has been around Badminton over 25 times without a victory.  Despite having two of the better horses coming into the competition, he picked up 40 penalties combined today.
(7) After picking up a stop on Macchiato and withdrawing Seacookie because the horse didn’t feel right, William will not pick up the second leg of the Rolex Grand Slam this weekend.
(8) Of the younger riders, 20 year old Emily Llewellyn impressed me the most, having clean rides on Pardon Me and Society Spice.  Mark Todd was assisting the live feed announcers while Emily was riding Society Spice and gave her some very high praise by saying she was making all the right decisions.
(9) EN contributor ‘lec’ has commented that Desert Island, ridden by Louisa Lockwood, was put down after a fall at the corner at the Huntsmans Close.  Update: Badminton has confirmed the sad news.
(10) Looking ahead, the show jumping tomorrow will be exciting; the top 4 places are separated by less than a rail.  We will have much more from Badminton XC and a look ahead to the show jumping later this afternoon.
Look at the wry smile on Mark’s face

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