Bonjour ENers! After a super, and soggy, start to the competition yesterday, we’re back between the white boards for a full day of dressage action at Les 5 Etoiles de Pau.
But first, a quick recap of what went down on the first day of competition:
Leading overnight is Tim price with Viscount Viktor for New Zealand on a score of 28.
Just a whisker behind, in second we have Britain’s Piggy March with Coolparks Sarco on a score of 28.1.
And rounding out the top three as things stand, right up their tail, is Ros Canter with Pencos Crown Jewel for Great Britain on a score of 28.3.
Here’s a look at the leaderboard as we start the second day of dressage:
1 – 28.0 – 🇳🇿 Tim Price and Viscount Viktor
2 – 28.1 – 🇬🇧 Piggy March and Coolparks Sarco
3 – 28.3 – 🇬🇧 Ros Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel
4 – 29.6 – 🇬🇧 Pippa Funnell and Billy Walk On
5 – 30.5 – 🇨🇭 Nadja Minder and Toblerone
6 – 31.1 – 🇳🇿 Muzi Pottinger and Just Kidding
7 – 31.7 – 🇬🇧 Kylie Roddy and SRS Kan Do
7 – 31.7 – 🇬🇧 Izzy Taylor and Happy Days
9 – 32.4 – 🇳🇿 Jonelle Price and McClaren
10 – 32.9 – 🇫🇷 Gaspard Maksud and Zaragoza
11 – 33.8 – 🇳🇿 James Avery and MBF Connection
12 – 35.3 – 🇬🇧 Tom Rowland and KND Steel Pulse
13 – 35.5 – 🇬🇧 Alex Bragg and Ardeo Premier
14 – 35.7 – 🇮🇪 Felicity Ward and Regal Bounty
15 – 37.4 – 🇬🇧 Kirsty Chabert and Opposition Heraldik Girl
16 – 38.1 – 🇮🇪 Daragh Byrne and Kilcannon Ramiro
17 – 39.5 – 🇳🇿 Jesse Campbell and Cooley Lafitte
18 – 40.3 – 🇬🇧 Phil Brown and Harry Robinson
19 – 41.6 – 🇬🇧 Selina Milnes and Gelmer
But there’s still SO MUCH MORE to come!
Here’s a tasty selection of some of the combinations who’ll be cantering up the center line today:
🇺🇲 For the USA contingent:
- Seven-time Olympian and Pan-Ams medalist Phillip Dutton with Z – they go at 5:16am ET;
- Olympian, Pan-Ams medalist and two-time 5* winner, World No. 3 Boyd Martin with Fedarman B – they go at 5:30am ET;
- USEA ECP trainer Allie Knowles and Morswood – they go at 6:15am ET;
- 5* debutant Cosby Green and Copper Beach – they go at 6:29am ET.
🇬🇧 In the British camp:
- Newly crowned European Champion, Badminton winner and World No. 2 Ros Canter with Izilot DHI;
- World No. 1, Olympic team gold medalist and Burghley winner Oliver Townend with Tregilder;
- Multi Olympic, World and European Championship medalist and 5* winner Pippa Funnell with MCS Maverick;
- Team gold and individual silver Olympic medalist Tom McEwen with Kentucky runner-up JL Dublin.
🇫🇷 Home crowd interests lie with the likes of:
- Camille Lejeune and Dame Decoeur Tardonne, who was 5th in the world as a seven-year-old at the Championships in Le Lion d’Angers;
- Olympian and former Pau winner, Maxime Livio brings Carouzo Bois Marotin, who was 7th here last year;
- Olympic team gold winner and World Championships team silver medalist Cedric Lyard brings Unum De’Or for the gelding’s fifth 5* start;
- World Championships rider Gaspard Maksud with 5* debutant Kan-do 2.
🇳🇿 And Kiwi eventers extraordinaire Tim and Jonelle Price will both be back in the ring with the second of their two rides.
This is our chance to get to know the the stars of the show – from recent form and 5* stats to fun and random facts, I’ve got you covered.
I’ll also be bringing you live updates of each test – right from the first step to the last, hopefully, square halt. If you happen to have missed yesterday’s tests, catch up with the the live updates here and Tilly’s round-up report here.
If you’re following along live, don’t forget to refresh this page periodically.
We’re kicking things off with one for the home crowd, French favorite Cedric Lyard will get us underway this morning with Unum De-Or at 10am local time / 4am ET / 9am BST.
If you’re reading this later, the round-up of Cedric’s test will be at the bottom of this post, so if you’re of the variety that likes to keep things in order, scroll down ⬇️ and read up ⬆️ – if you’re happy to go backwards through the drawn order, then have at it from the top.
EN will be bringing you all of the action over the course of the event, so keep your eyes on – and ears pricked – as we go eventing! We’ve got loads of great IG content happening too @goeventing, and if you want to follow along with the form, you’ll find EN’s 5* Form Guide here.
So, croissants at the ready… Let’s go eventing! 🥐
EN’s coverage of Les 5 Etoiles de Pau is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products.
4:56pm And that’s it! Dressage is done and we can start looking forward to the very best bit of eventing – cross country day is tomorrow!
Let’s have a look at how things stand before we get too carried away with what’s to come:
It’s a British 1, 2, 3.
The clubhouse leader is Tom McEwen with JL Dublin on a score of 23.1.
In second is Ros Canter with Izilot DHI on 24.3.
And rounding out the top 3 is Pippa Funnell with MCS Maverick on 26.4.
New Zealand make their mark in 4th with Jesse Campbell and Diachello on a score of 26.9.
And 5th is Britain’s Oliver Townend with Tregilder on 27.2.
Overnight leader from the first day’s dressage, Tim Price for New Zealand holds 6th place with Viscount Viktor on a score of 28.
The American riders are led by Phillip Dutton and Z in 12th on 29.9, with Boyd Martin and Fedarman B in in 16th on 31.7. Allie Knowles and Morswood are in 28th on 33.3, and Cosby Green and Copper Beach are in 35th on 35.1.
The scores are tight and as we know, there’s likely to be a good ol’ shuffle once all’s said and done tomorrow.
Watch out for EN’s full round-up of all the day’s dressage – coming soon!
We’ve got loads of content coming your way as cross country day at Pau grows ever nearer so stay tuned for Tilly’s cross country preview, and we’ll have an in-depth look at exactly what the riders think of the track in Riders React to Cross Country.
I’ll be back with live updates from the cross country tomorrow, starting around 11:30am / 5:30am ET / 10:30am BST, and then again for the finale of the final 5* of the season on Sunday at 2:30pm / 9:30am ET (I’m pretty sure, although the clocks will have changed here in Europe potentially throwing my timings out!) / 1:30pm GMT.
Thanks for coming along for the ride. Au revoir, and go eventing!
EN’s coverage of Les 5 Etoiles de Pau is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products.
4:49pm And finally, flying the flag for the home nation, British-based French rider Gaspard Maksud is back in the ring to wrap things up for the first phase with his 5* debutant Kan-do 2.
Eventing idols 🤩 He made the move to Britain in 2013 and based himself with Andrew Nicholson before going on to work with Sam Griffiths the following year.
This nine-year-old has gained experience at the 4* level throughout this season, competing at British events such as Chatsworth, Burnham Market, Bicton and Blenheim. How will he find his step-up to 5*?
Dressage form 📈 His last three runs have all seen him post dressage scores in the 36s. He was trending a bit higher than that previously, in the high-30s with a toe in the 40s at the beginning of the season.
Gaspard had other sporting dreams, before eventing – he wanted to play rugby 🏉 however… “I didn’t really have the size and when the other players started to think I was the ball, it was time for me to change sports!”. Rugby’s loss is for sure eventing’s gain Gaspard!
⛳ Gaspard brings a bit of fun and French flair to the horse inspection:
Kan-do 2 comes boldly into the ring, really making an entrance. They set off into trot and the gelding looks relaxed. He’s just a nine-year-old so Gaspard’s really having to support him as he takes on his first 5*. Because he’s young, there could be more self-carriage, but he’s trying really hard and seems happy in his work.
He steps out nicely for Gaspard in the walk and stays very relaxed. For such a young horse the walk is really very impressive. The extended scores two 7s.
The halt and rein back are quiet and accurate and they get a good strike off into canter.
There’s a bit of upset over the changes and Kan-do lifts his head up. He seems like he’s trying so hard to do his best and gets a bit upset when he finds something difficult. It’s two 4s and a 6 for the change.
There’s a lot of potential on show here, some greenness, but he’s soft in his body and he’s really confident in Gaspard, who’s supporting him constantly.
He’ll have learned a lot from his time in the ring today. He looks very pleased with himself at the end of his test and Gaspard looks very pleased with him also. A lovely way to end the first phase of the competition.
Gaspard Maksud and Kan-do 2 score 36.5.
4:42pm Our penultimate rider of the first phase here at Pau, Kiwi rider Muzi Pottinger is back with her second ride, 5* first-timer Good Timing.
Muzi brought some French flair to the Horse Inspection with a very natty beret!
Hot form 🌶️ They were 3rd in the 4*-L at Millstreet in June, very nearly finishing on their dressage – they added just 0.8 cross country time to their first-phase score of 33.7. They were top-20 in the Nations Cup in Arville a few weeks ago, where they added just 1.6 cross country time to their dressage of 37.3.
🎓 Muzi has a degree in AgriScience and worked as a Business Analyst.
When she’s not eventing, Muzi likes to go fishing 🎣 or to the beach 🏖️ She also enjoys a round of golf ⛳
Muzi’s second/joint favorite animal is dogs 🐶
In the genes 👖 Muzi’s mom is Olympic eventing bronze medalist Tinks Pottinger.
Dressage form 🩰 At 4* they’re consistently mid- to high-30s. It was a 37.3 last time out, 33.7 the time before. But it’s very likely that they’ll be finishing up on a score very close to what they put down in the first phase.
Ears pricked and happy to be going eventing:
Muzi and Good Timing start off with a square halt and set off in trot. Good Timing’s a little fussy in the mouth, but Muzi’s supporting him and he’s performing the movements accurately.
The lateral work is nice and scores 7s, there’s a 7.5 for the circle.
This pair look to be working well together, Muzi’s supporting Good Timing and the gelding’s doing his best for her.
He really takes the rein down in the extended walk, and then picks his head up for a look around as Muzi collects him up.
There seems to be a little tension creeping in, but then they do a great halt for an 8.
There’s a lot of nice work happening and Muzi’s very much riding the horse underneath her and presenting him to his best. He’s clearly trying very hard.
There are some mixed scores for the changes, and the extended canter is tentative for a 6, 6.5 and 4.
The circle does show some relaxation and the final change is a similar story to the others.
You can tell just how hard Good Timing’s worked as he has a good shake at the end of his test. A good boy, and Muzi looks pleased.
Muzi Pottinger and Good Timing score 35.4.
4:35pm Britain’s Pippa Funnell is back in the ring with relatively new ride MCS Maverick for the gelding’s first time at the level.
Royal approval! 👑 Pippa was awarded an MBE from the Queen of England for her services to equestrianism.
💵 She was the first (and only in the long format) winner of the Rolex Grand Slam.
MCS Maverick was produced through the levels by British eventer and The Billy Stud stable jockey Helen Wilson, with Pippa taking over the reins at the beginning of this season.
Hot form 🌶️ They showed their mettle at 4*-L when they won at Bramham in June – a class Pippa’s won four times across four decades – adding just 1.2 cross country time to their dressage score of 29.3, and followed up that success in their latest run in the 4*-S at Little Downham, where they finished fourth on a three-phase score of 39.7.
Pippa describes the gelding as “very, very hot” and spends a considerable amount of time settling him at events. Will he be a hot prospect at Pau (in the best possible way)? We can’t wait to find out!
He certainly stayed true to form at the Horse Inspection, giving the judges a quick wave 👋 He looked VERY keen to be at Pau.
Dressage form 📋 We’re likely looking at a dressage score in the low- to mid-30s for the gelding’s first time at 5*. He’s been pretty consistently low-30s at 4*, squeaking in that sub-30 at Bramham earlier this season.
🏆 Pippa’s winning ways:
Pippa takes MCS Maverick to have a look at that camera that spooked Billy Walk On yesterday as they go around the ring waiting for the bell to ring. Smart lady.
They look an impressive picture as they canter up the center line and score an 8 for the halt.
MCS Maverick looks supple and strong in the trot work and they get two 8s and a 7.5 for the medium.
Pippa’s riding for every single mark, really supporting MCS Maverick and giving him lots of confidence. She’s such a treat to watch, a total pro and really inspiring.
MCS Maverick nods a little in the walk, but he’s listening to Pippa. It’s almost like he’s trying too hard. He drops his head down to take the contact forward, and the extended scores two 7s.
The halt is clean and so is the rein back, it’s 7s across the board for that.
They get off into canter and the first change is exquisite for an 8 and two 7.5s. No troubles with the changes for this gelding. The second one gets an 8 too.
The trending score is looking very good. Pippa’s getting absolutely every mark she can and MCS Maverick looks so happy and soft in his work. The stretch circle scores two 8s and a 7, really showing how much confidence the horse has in his rider.
It’s two 8s and a 7.5 for the final change and another 8 for the halt.
Pippa looks delighted and MCS Maverick gets a huge pat. What an exciting partnership this is.
Pippa Funnell and MCS Maverick score 26.4 and go into 3rd.
4:28pm Team Price are here with four rides this week, two each. Jonelle Price brings forward Hiarado for the mare’s first 5* start.
Jonelle says that ‘Jools’ loves to gallop and jump, but hates bossy people. She’s sassy, bouncy and feisty – just how we like them here at EN. If she’s ever in need of a job, I’m sure Chinch wouldn’t mind sharing his mascot duties 🐿️ 😂
Just to put Jonelle’s ridiculous amount of success into a bit of context:
🥉 She won Olympic team bronze in London and finished top-12 individually in Tokyo;
🥉 She’s also got a team bronze medal from the World Championships in Pratoni;
🥈 She was runner-up at Luhmuhlen in 2015;
🥉 She was 3rd at Burghley in 2016;
🏆🏆 She won both Badminton and Luhmuhlen in 2018;
🥉 She was 3rd at Kentucky in 2021.
And that’s not all – check out her Pau form:
🥉 🏆 She was 3rd here in 2021 with her other ride this week, McLaren, and she comes here as the reining champ after winning the thing with Grappa Nera last year. She finished in the top-10 in 2017 – two months after giving birth!
Jonelle took over the ride on Jools from American rider Grace Taylor in 2022 and brings the mare forward for her first 5* start. They come here with some good form, having come 2nd in the 4*-L at Kilguilkey House in Ireland this season.
Dressage form 💃 Their 4* form is very low-30s, with a 31.6 last time out at Little Downham where they finished 10th.
Jonelle’s fashion sense has changed slightly over the years, but she’s always been hot in the saddle:
Jonelle and Jools canter up the center line and get off to a nice start with a solid halt which scores an 8.
Jonelle is riding forwards and bravely, as ever. Jools looks happy to be in the ring for her first 5* and is relaxed and clearly very supple. There’s an 8 in the scores for the circle.
There’s lots of rhythm and balance in the trot work, it’s very fluid and fluent.
The relaxation continues in the walk and Jools takes the contact forward for the extended which scores two 8s and an 8.5.
The halt is sound and the rein back is clean and accurate for 7.5s across the board.
They strike off into canter and there are a couple of 8s coming in.
The scores drop ever so slightly for the first change, then the second one isn’t quite as good and scores a 4.5, 5 and 6.
They’re back up to 7s and a few 8s for the canter in between, but the next change is 5s across the board.
Oops, the last change is green and Jools jumps it.
But she stands square and still at the end and Jonelle looks very pleased with the mare’s efforts. She walks out looking very relaxed. Lots of potential for the future on show here, an exciting prospect for sure.
Jonelle Price and Hiarado score 30.4.
4:21pm Britain’s Kirsty Chabert comes forward with her second ride, another mare, Classic VI. They’re here after a successful trip ‘round Kentucky in the spring.
It’s a third trip to Pau for ‘Betty’. She made her 5* debut here in 2019, finishing in 24th place, before returning in 2022 and creeping up the leaderboard to 22nd.
5* form 🌟 She’s also been to Badminton, Luhmuhlen and Kentucky, making this her sixth 5* start.
🥈 They finished just outside the top-20 at Kentucky this season, and were 2nd at Luhmuhlen last year, where they finished on their dressage of 31.1.
Betty is a bit of a quirky mare – Kirsty rarely does any work in the arena with her, instead she hacks around the New Forest, which seems to keep Betty happy, and sane.
Dressage form 🩰 At Kentucky they put down a 30.8 in the first phase; they went sub-30 at Pau last year with a 29.9.
Betty checking out the Horse Park on her trip to Kentucky:
Betty looks impressive as she canters ’round the outside of the ring before she enters up the center line. She’s in a lovely frame and they make a stunning picture together.
There’s a bit of a stutter into the first halt but they put that behind them. Kirsty pushes for the medium and scores 7 across the board. Betty’s ever so slightly behind the vertical which will have affected the score.
She shows a lovely uphill frame in the extended trot, there could be a little tiny bit more self-carriage and balance, but the marks are 7.5s.
Betty seems relaxed in the walk and listens to Kirsty when she asks for a change of pace.
Sometimes she loses the contact for moments, and that affects their marks. The extended is 6s but the medium picks up to 7s.
The halt and rein back are very good – 8s in the scores for them.
Kirsty is brave to push for the canter, she’s riding forward and going for the marks, and often, she’s getting hem.
The first change is solid but the second one scores two 4s.
Kirsty pushes for the extended canter but Betty spooks at that dang camera that caused trouble yesterday. A real shame, there’s 4s in the marks for that.
Overall though, they are creating a lovely picture of harmony, with their relationship clearly on show. There was a lot of pleasing work in this test. Betty gets a big ear rub as they finish.
Kirsty Chabert and Classic VI score 32.9.
4:14pm Getting us back underway for the final session of dressage, New Zealand’s Tim Price and Happy Boy are here for the gelding’s first proper 5* start.
Tim’s aiming for his sixth 5* win here this week. Will Happy Boy make it a half-dozen for this eventing star?
Tim took his anorak off to show off his smart jacket for his jog at the Horse Inspection, but was super quick to put it back on again as the deluge poured down ☔
Although not officially his first 5*, it’ll be his first start at the level. He was entered for Luhmuhlen but was withdrawn before the dressage as Tim wasn’t 100% happy that Happy Boy was 100% happy.
He comes here with a win in the 4*-L at Boekelo under his girth, where he finished on his dressage of 25.6.
Tim describes Happy Boy as arrogant and says the gelding hates to be ignored.
🏆 He’s a talented chap, that’s for sure. He won the World Young Horse Championships as a seven-year-old in 2019.
Medal alert! 🥉🥉 Tim won individual and team bronze at the World Championships in Pratoni with Falco.
Dressage form 🕺 He could be anywhere between the high-20s to mid-30s in the first phase. They posted a 33 in the 4*- S at Millstreet at what would have been their prep run for Luhmuhlen. Let’s see if Tim’s a happy boy after his test.
The Prices are each riding double here at Pau:
The rain clouds have cleared for Tim’s test with Happy Boy. There’s a little irregularity at the beginning of the medium trot but Tim pushes on and it ends up very good.
The extended trot is better and scores an 8.
Happy Boy really does look happy in his work. There are a smattering of 8s coming if for the trot work.
Happy Boy seems very relaxed at the start of the walk and they score a 7.5 and two 7s for the extended.
The halt is very, very nearly square and the rein back is clean and accurate for two 7s and a 7.5.
They set off into canter but the first change isn’t quite there – it scores 5s across the board. Happy Boy seems to get a little tense in the stride before the change. The second one scores two 4s and a 3.
The rest of the work is very good though with lots of 7s and 7.5s coming in.
Overall this test has been very good, a few moments that have affected the marks. The final change doesn’t happen and there’s a 1 in the scores. Tim gives Happy Boy a pat as he walks out of the ring. Some nice work, some things to work on.
Tim Price and Happy Boy score 33.
4:04pm We’re heading into a short break now. Changes to the leaderboard:
Tom McEwen still leads with JL Dublin.
Ros Canter goes into 2nd with Izilot DHI.
Jesse Campbell goes into 3rd with Diachello.
Back in around 10 minutes – at 4:14pm local time / 10:14am ET / 3:14pm BST.
3:57pm Rounding things off before the final break is 2023 European Champion, Badminton winner and World No. 2 Ros Canter who’s back in the ring today with 5* debutant Izilot DHI.
🌶️🌶️🌶️ They come here on HOT FORM! They won the 4*-L at Blenheim last month, after winning the 4*-S at Blair Castle the month before. The month before that? They were 2nd in the 4*-S at Burgham.
In 19 FEI starts, ‘Isaac’ has no fewer than eight wins under his girth! This guy is a SERIOUS talent!
👻 He is known to be spooky though, and Ros sometimes has to ghostbust as they gallop ‘round the cross country.
Dressage form 🕺 This dude can seriously dance! At 4* he’s been as low as 18 in the first phase. He put down a 21.6 last time out and a 24.8 the time before.
Isaac is one to watch in this phase, for sure:
There’s a very dark cloud over the arena as Ros canters up the center line with Isaac, but if anyone can shine some light in the dressage ring, it’s Ros.
Unfortunately it seems that they enter the ring a fraction of a second late though. We’ll have to see if they’re penalized for that.
Well the medium trot is really rather lovely and scores 8s across the board.
There’s so much cadence to this trot work, and of course Ros is riding masterfully to really show off her horse. Lots of 8s coming in.
Everything’s so soft and supple and Isaac is working super, super nicely for Ros. He steps out in the walk and takes the contact forward in the extended. They really are presenting a gorgeous picture.
The halt is dead square – more 8s coming in. The rein back is clean and accurate.
Isaac is really focused on his work in the ring, we know he can be spooky but there’s no sign of that this afternoon despite the atmosphere there. There’s a slight loss of self-carriage in the changes – tiny – but it does affect some of the marks.
The extended canter is great! 9, 8.5, 8. And the stretch circle – two 9s!
Another square halt to end and a massive pat for Isaac. Beautiful work from horse and rider. A happy horse and an exquisite rider. They’re definitely going to be right up there…
Ros Canter and Izilot DHI score 24.3 and go into 2nd place.
3:50pm British rider Tom Rowland has two top-level debutants here at Pau, although he’s got clear round form at 5* himself. He brings MGH Maybe A Mission forward with some good 4* placings this season.
‘Mark’ kicked out at the flowers at the end of the jog strip at the Horse Inspection 🌷 Hopefully he got that out of his system before his dressage test!
Early eventer 👶 Tom first went to Badminton when he was just 11 months old! (As a spectator, not to ride.)
5* form 🌟 Tom was top-20 at Badminton in the spring with Possible Mission.
Mark comes to Pau for his first 5* following a 6th place finish in the 4*-S at Little Downham and Chatsworth this season.
Dressage form 🕺 At 4* their dressage scores range from the low-30s to the high-30s – it was 37.4 last time out, 31.5 the time before.
Tom cuts a very stylish figure on the jog strip:
We’re on the home straight with all the riders now coming forward with their second horses.
Tom and Mark get off to a good start with a square halt. Mark looks relaxed and happy to be in the arena. The extended trot is very nice.
He shows a little tightness in the lateral work but he’s working hard for Tom.
The walk is relaxed but not massively expressive. Mark’s listening to Tom, but the quietness of the paces means they don’t pull in top marks.
Oh dear, Mark does not want to rein back, at all. He says firmly no. Tom gets him going but it’s awkward and there’s two 2s and a 3. Mark was looking straight into the crowd when that happened.
Tom’s a pro though and gets things back together. Mark seems to find the changes a little difficult, but Tom gets what he can and supports his horse in every way. They really do seem to have a good partnership and on the whole, Mark’s been happy in his work. He enjoys the stretch circle and gets two 7s for his efforts.
It’s a real shame about the rein back, because apart from that Mark seemed very happy in his work. Tom gives him a good pat. There’s no doubt that Mark will have grown from his experience in the ring today, and Mark really rode him sympathetically when he wobbled. All in all, lots to like here.
Tom Rowland and MGH Maybe A Mission score 37.3.
3:43pm Kiwi Olympian Jesse Campbell got us going yesterday as the first to canter up the center line. He returns to the ring with his second horse,Diachello, his Tokyo Olympics ride.
All the accolades 👑 Jesse was selected onto the NZ Eventing senior Talent ID Squad when he was just 14! He’s also won the NZ Prime Minister SPARC Future Champion Award and been a Champion Equitation rider.
James and ‘Danny’ went to Tokyo as part of the New Zealand team, where they finished just outside the top-20, adding just time penalties to their first phase score of 30.1.
5* form 🌟 They went to Kentucky in 2021 and finished just outside the top-10.
They come here off the back of a 6th place finish in the 4*-S at Little Downham last month.
Dressage form 👀 They were sub-30 at Kentucky, putting down a 29.1 in the first phase. At 4* they’re regularly in the high-20s. Will they manage more of the same here at Pau?
Danny did good at Tokyo:
Diachello looks very impressive as he enters the ring. He’s a lovely elegant looking horse. Jesse pushes for the medium trot and it scores a 7.5 and two 7s. The half pass left gets two 8s. This is a very good start.
More 8s are coming in for the trot work. Jesse’s such an accurate dressage rider and goes for every single mark.
Diachello is walking very nicely, he uses his body so well and really steps forward. He’s relaxed and supple and working well within himself.
The extended walk scores a 9 and an 8.
The halt is very stationary and the rein back scores an 8 and an 8.5.
The first change is excellent and is rewarded with an 8 and two 7s.
This horse is very confident in his rider, they make a very nice picture. They’re totally in harmony with one another. The next change scores an 8 and there’s another 8 for the extended canter.
There could have been more relaxation in the circle, but the final halt scores another 8. There are two more 8s for the halt at the end. This has been an excellent test, lots and lots of great work on show here today. A good score coming in…
Jesse Campbell and Diachello score26.9 and go into 2nd place.
3:36pm Britain’s Kate Rocher-Smith and HHS Dassett Class come forward for their first 5* together.
🎓 Kate studied Economics at University before setting up Dassett Eventing.
Multi-discipline – As well as eventing, Kate also show jumps at 4*.
Known as ‘Matt’ in the barn, HHS Dassett Class started out in pure show jumping before beginning his eventing career in 2019.
He’s got some good experience under his girth this season, with multiple 4* runs ‘round British events.
Dressage form 📈 They put down a sub-30 dressage score last time out in the 4*-S at Little Downham – a 29.8. More often he trends around the mid-30s mark.
😃 Smiles all round:
The rain has started to fall in Pau, although it’s also really sunny. I’m hoping for a massive rainbow to break out over the ring.
Kate and Matt canter into the arena and halt, but it’s not square behind. Matt’s in a lovely balance and is showing a lot of self-carriage. There’s an 8 for the medium trot.
Matt shows nice elevation in the extended trot and looks very supple.
He sets off into walk quietly and takes the contact forward when Sarah asks him to. It’s not expressive, but it is relaxed and the extended pulls in two 7.5s.
The halt and rein back are quiet and they have a clean strike off into canter. The first change is difficult though and scores two 4s. Matt’s obviously trying his best but those changes are so tricky for event horses. The second one scores a 4, 5 and a 6.
Aside from the changes, this test has been nice and accurate and Matt has looked very rideable. He’s been in a lovely frame throughout and seems to be very comfortable in his work.
He has a big scratch before he walks out of the arena, and sticks his nose out. He looks like he’s tried really hard and he was a very good boy.
Kate Rocher-Smith and HHS Dassett Class score 34.6.
3:29pm Lithuanian rider Aistis Vitkauskas brings 5* campaigner Commander VG to Pau for his fourth top-level start this season, and third start here at Pau.
5* form 🌟 This is Commander VG’s eighth 5* start – he’s been to Badminton, Burghley, Luhmuhlen and Pau. They were 26th at Badminton this season, and 18th at Pau last year. They’ve also been just outside the top-10 at Luhmuhlen twice.
They’re here after re-routing from Luhmuhlen to Burghley after retiring out on course, and then re-routing from Burghley to Pau after a fall saw their Burghley debut end early.
Cuteness alert 😍 This lovely horse can be spotted at events giving Aistis’ young daughter pony rides.
That doesn’t mean he doesn’t challenge Aistis’ sometimes though. He got hot, hot, hot – despite the rain – during his dressage at Badminton and scored 48.1, his highest dressage score for some time. Will he keep a lid on it today? Only time will tell!
Commander VG sports blue and yellow ribbons in his braids at Horse Inspections, in support of Ukraine, and Aistis had remembered his iconic patchwork flat cap when he packed for Pau.
Dressage form 🕺 This combo are not averse to dipping a toe – or two – into the 40s in the first phase, although at Pau last year they scored a career-best at the level with 36.1. They put down a 41 at Burghley, and a 43.2 at Luhmuhlen. How will he do here?
Fun fact – Aistis wears a knitted cross country silk that his grandmother made for him:
Commander VG has a good look round as he halts to make sure everyone’s watching him. He’s swishing his tail a little but Aistis is riding forward bravely.
Commander VG’s working nicely for Aistis in the trot work, he’s listening and performing all the movements asked of him.
The walk isn’t super relaxed, but I’ve seen this horse really quite wild between the white boards, so Aistis will be pleased that Commander VG’s keeping a lid on his excitement for the cross country.
He really puts his head up in the halt and scores a 5, 5.5 and 6. Aistis asks him to drop his nose though, and he does.
The first change is clean and scores two 6.5s and a 6. Commander VG is playing with his head a little, and the tail’s still swishing, but he’s with Aistis and trying to do what’s being asked of him.
There’s a 7 for the extended canter.
The final halt isn’t much of a halt, but Aistis is grinning and Commander VG looks to be very impressed with himself.
Aistis Vitkauskas and Commander VG score 38.1.
3:22pm Getting us back underway we have Britain’s Wills Oakden who brings A Class Cooley forward for the horse’s 5* debut.
Wills made his 5* debut in 2013, but then faced a gap of six years before returning to the level at Badminton in 2019. He comes here on hot 5* form having placed 5th and 8th at Burghley this season 🌶️
‘Felix’ is also on hot form, with a win in the 4*-L at Blair Castle last time out, where he added just 10 cross country time penalties to his dressage of 34.2. He was also runner-up in the 4*-L at Ballindenisk, in Ireland.
In the genes 👖 Wills’ dad and aunt have both completed Badminton.
Eventing idol 🤩 As a teenager, Wills worked for Ian Stark, one of his sporting heroes.
Wills doesn’t just enjoy equestrian sport, he also enjoys golf and pickleball (sounds delicious) 🥒
Another fun fact about Wills – he loves to do the laundry and is in total charge of the washing machine at home.
Dressage form 🕺 At 4* we’re looking at first-phase scores in the low- to mid-30s – his best this season is 30.6.
🥒 Wills not playing pickleball:
I’m sorry to have missed the first part of Wills’ test, there was a technical glitch with the feed.
But we’re with him and Felix now and their trot work seems to be going well.
Felix looks to be happy in the arena and is very relaxed in the walk. It’s quiet, and not super expressive, but it’s accurate.
Felix resists the rein back slightly but he gets clean steps and scores well enough. The canter gets off to a good start and there’s an 8 in the scores.
They continue on quietly and Felix seems very comfortable in his work. There’s an 8, 7.5 and 7 for the extended canter as Wills really rides forward bravely. Felix is really listening to Wills and is obviously trying his best.
They make a lovely picture together and finish up with a nice halt. Wills gives Felix a bit pat at the end and the horse walks out looking very relaxed.
Wills Oakden and A Class Cooley score 31.9.
3:12pm We’re heading into a short break now. No change to the top of the leaderboard after this session. Back in around 10 minutes – at 3:22pm local time / 9:22am EST / 2:22pm BST.
3:05pm Last up before a short break we have French rider Arthur Marx who’s here for another trip ‘round Pau with Church’ile.
Family connection 🔗 Church’ile is a family homebred – Arthur’s dad rode both his dam and grand-dam.
The pair come forward for their second time at Pau, and third 5* start. They were 23rd here last year before heading to Badminton in the spring, where they unfortunately parted company on the cross country. They’ll be looking to put that right with a second 5* completion this week.
Breeding info 🧬 Church’ile’s by Grafenstolz – the sire of William Fox-Pitt’s Maryland ride Grafennacht and Ros Canter’s Badminton winner Lordships Graffalo.
Dressage form 📋 They scored 37.7 in the first phase here last year; at Badminton they put down a 34.7. They are generally mid- to high-30s, although they do sometimes have a toe in the 40s.
💭 I’d love a thought cloud above Arthur and Church’ile’s heads here:
Church’ile canters up the center line and stops in a good square halt. He’s very bouncy in the medium trot and seems to be enjoying his chance to show off in the ring at Pau. It scores 7s across the board.
Oh, he goes to canter when Arthur asks for the half pass. He comes back quickly but that really affected their score. A shame early on in their test.
Church’ile’s really trying for Arthur though, the mistake was almost because he was trying too hard. He’s relaxed in the walk at first, although he starts to shake his head a little, almost like he’s got an itchy ear.
The halt is good and scores a 7.5 and the rein back is very good for an 8. They get a good strike off into canter and do a very good first change, and another one. He comes off the contact a little in the lateral work, and shows a bit of tension. He anticipates the next flying change and it’s not quite as good as the others.
The final change is good and scores a 7.
They finish up with a lovely square halt and get a big round of applause from the home crowd. Lots to like in this test and Churchi’le looks to be very pleased with himself as he walks out of the ring on a long rein.
Arthur Marx and Church’ile score 35.7.
2:58pm French amateur rider Florian Ganneval brings Selle Français gelding Blue Bird de Beaufour to Pau for the third time.
In real life – Florian’s a full-time farrier.
They made their 5* debut together at Pau in 2021, finishing in 25th. They returned last year but were eliminated on the cross country, so they’ll be looking to put that right this time around.
They had their first 5* start outside France this season at Luhmuhlen, where they finished 26th.
Dressage form 🕺 They posted a 33.4 at Pau on their top-level debut, following that up with a 36.1 here last year. At Luhmuhlen it was 36.3 in the first phase – so they’re consistently mid-30s at the level.
Ready to roll:
There’s a flourish to Florian’s salute, which is a great way to start his test. The partnership between this two is just so obvious as they make their way round the ring. Blue Bird’s working really nicely for Florian and clearly trying his best.
They’re bringing in some 7s and 7.5s for their trot work, which shows just how happy Blue Bird is in his work. He’s very relaxed in the walk and takes the contact forward in the extended. He’s stepping out nicely for Florian and seems to be enjoying his time in the arena this afternoon.
This really does look like a sweet horse to ride. He gets two 7.5s for the rein back. The first change is very good and scores 7s across the board.
The second change doesn’t come off as Florian would have hoped and scores 4s across the board. Blue Bird seems to find them easier on the other rein. He stretches down in the circle and really shows his trust in Florian.
Overall this has been a happy test – the horse seems happy, Florian seems happy, all’s well. Very nice.
Florian Ganneval and Blue Bird de Beaufour score 33.7.
2:51pm Irish Olympian Sarah Ennis brings Grantstown Jackson forward for the gelding’s first time at the top level.
Grantstown Jackson had a good shake to clear off the rain before jogging up the strip at the Horse Inspection – these Irish horses know how to deal with a ‘little shower’ (it was pouring) ☔
Team rider – Sarah has represented Ireland at the Olympics, European Championships and World Championships, winning a team silver medal in Tryon 🥈 and coming 5th individually.
She was part of the Irish team with Grantstown Jackon at the recent Nations Cup in Haras du Pin, where they finished 14th individually.
Keeping it in the family – Sarah has four sisters, three of which are competitive equestrians.
As a Junior rider Sarah competed in pure dressage, switching to eventing when she was 18.
Water jumps won’t phase Sarah – when she’s not on horseback she loves to sail and is a qualified Dive Master ⛵🤿
Dressage form 📈 Grantstown Jackson is a high-30s kind of guy, but he’s not averse to dipping a toe or two into the 40s on occasion.
Flying the flag for Ireland:
Sarah and Grantstown Jackson get their test underway and are impressive early on in the medium trot. Sarah can really push for it and it scores two 7.5s and a 7.
The extended is similar, brave and forward and that gets two 7.5s.
Grantstown Jackson is relaxed in the walk, but he’s playing with the contact a little. He shows a good change of paces but isn’t very expressive. It’s all accurate though.
The halt scores an 8 and the rein back two 7s and a 7.5.
He puts his head in the air for the change and it scores 4s across the board. There’s tension coming in now and he’s a little resistant to Sarah. He looks very fit and ready for the cross country.
It’s a good test overall though, and there have been some very good moments. The final change isn’t great though and scores a 2, 3 and 4. Coming up the center line is difficult too. A test of two halves really, it started off very nicely, but Grantstown Jackson got a bit tense as things went on. It’s a case of fitness and excitement though, which we can’t really complain too much about when cross country’s coming up tomorrow. He gets a big pat at the end from Sarah.
Sarah Ennis and Grantstown Jackson score 36.9.
2:44pm British rider Isabella Innes Ker comes forward with Highway for the gelding’s first 5*.
In the club… Bella started out in the Pony Club and competing in Working Hunter Pony classes.
Eventing idol 🤩 She spent two seasons with William Fox-Pitt before setting up her own yard.
In the genes 👖 Equestrianism is in Bella’s blood – her dad runs Floors Stud, a commercial Thoroughbred breeding operation, and her mom organized Floors Castle International Horse Trials.
Bella was selected for the World Class Podium Potential Pathway squad between 2019 and 2021.
Dressage form 📈 At 4* they tend to trend in the mid-30s – in their last run at Little Downham they posted a 35.2 in the first phase.
🛩️ Highway flying high:
Highway looks great as he canters into the arena, he’s in a lovely frame. His trot is fluid and bouncy and they’re making a very nice picture together.
The extended trot is good and scores 7s. There could be a little more bend in the lateral work, but it scores well on the whole, and Highway seems very confident and happy to work for Bella.
The rhythm in the walk is very good and Highway is relaxed. They score 7s for the extended.
The halt and rein back are quiet, and they get a good strike off into canter. The change is a bit tricky though and scores 4s across the board.
There’s tension creeping in as this test goes on. The next change scores 4s across the board also.
Everything else has been sound though, and they score an 8 for the extended canter. The final change shows up the same mistake as the others, it kind of comes twice. More 4s across the board for that one.
Highway gets a big pat as he finishes up. He’s worked hard for Bella and was nicely relaxed in the ring on the whole. Overall there was some good work on show and they’ve clearly got a lovely partnership.
Isabella Innes Ker and Highway score 36.7.
2:37pm British eventer India Wishart brings Diamond Sundance to Pau for her first 5* and the gelding’s second.
In the barn, Diamond Sundance is known as ‘Sunny’ 🌞 There’s some irony in that considering the decidedly rainy time they’re having at Pau.
Sunny has had a few pilots at he’s moved up through the levels, including Great Britain’s Emily Orpwood and Rosa Onslow, China’s Alex Hua Tian and Australian Lissa Green. India took over the irons for the 2022 season.
Pau form – Sunny competed at Pau with Rosa Onslow in 2020 – when he finished 30th.
🎓 India studied for a degree in Geography before basing herself with Pippa Funnell at The Billy Stud in 2020 and pursing a career as a full-time eventer.
She was part of the Wesko Equestrian Foundation program in 2020/2021.
Dressage form 📋 At his only other 5* run, he posted 32.2 in the first phase. His more recent 4* form has been mid- high-30s.
Well Sunny’s going to bring a little sun back to Pau, and actually, the sun does come back out as they canter up the center line.
India’s riding bravely in the medium and Sunny looks happy in the movement. They look like a real partnership. The movements aren’t super expressive, but they’re clean and accurate and Sunny’s trying his best for India.
Sunny looks like a really sweet ride, he’s listening and really seems to trust India. He’s not quite as relaxed in the walk as he was in the trot. India’s sitting quietly though and helping him along.
The halt isn’t quite square and the rein back is a bit sticky, but India pushes for the extended canter. The change comes cleanly and there are some 7s coming into their scores for the canter work.
Another clean change scores a 7. Ah, Sunny goes into trot when India collects him up after the extended canter, but it’s just a stride or two and India gets him back going.
India looks disappointed when she finishes, but overall this has been a nice test and their lovely partnership was clearly on show. There was lots to like. Sunny looks happy as he leaves the ring.
India Wishart and Diamond Sundance score 35.1.
2:30pm We’re back with Great Britain’s Harry Meade who brings Red Kite forward for the gelding’s first time at the top-level.
I’m always keen to see what color pants Harry will wear for the First Horse Inspection – he always brings a splash of color with a snazzy offering, however he chose to match the rainy landscape here at Pau with restrained gray. I see he’s gone with the traditional white breeches for the dressage also – shame. One day we’ll see a splash of cerise in the ring, I hope.
Red Kite comes to Pau after Harry was in the enviable position of having to choose just three to start from his four Badminton entries, and decided to save Red Kite to make his debut here.
The horse, and Harry, proved they’re game for any going when they took second in the 4*-S at a particularly wet edition of Thoresby Park in the spring, but Harry’s a believer in taking his event horses hunting and point-to-pointing as part of their education, so they get a feel for different conditions and ground.
Hot form 🔥 Harry is currently sitting in second place on the British Eventing leaderboard for cross country jump clears – 115 out of 127 runs this year. He’s also in third for show jumping clears.
🏹 A man with a number of strings to his bow, Harry has a degree in Art History as well as being a familiar voice in the commentary box and writing for Horse & Hound.
Not just an event rider… Harry delivered his son at home when baby Charlie refused to wait for the ambulance to arrive. If he decides to hang up his riding boots, perhaps there’s a career as a midwife waiting for him! 🍼
Dressage form 👀 In the first phase, Red Kite is proving to be a high-20s to low-30s kind of guy, as Harry himself says, “He’s got loads of ability, but he’s quite spunky – if he was a pupil in a class, you’d say that if he stopped mucking about, he could be a scholar! He’s got lots of capability”. Will he see the dressage ring at Pau as a place to show off or knuckle down? Only time will tell!
Who doesn’t love a moody pic?:
Now we’re full of croissants and tarte tatin, we can sit back and enjoy Harry’s test with Red Kite.
The sun’s gone in at Pau, but at least it’s not pouring with rain like it was yesterday.
Harry and Red Kite get off to a clean start with two 7s for their halt. Red Kite looks relaxed in the arena and is pulling in lots of 7s for the trot work.
There’s a little blip in the circle when they lose the rhythm a bit, but Harry squeezes on and the mistake’s over before it happened really.
Red Kite’s relaxed in the walk and takes the contact forward in the extended – he scores an 8, 7.5 and 5.5. He’s stepping out nicely for Harry and seems to be enjoying his first 5* test.
They strike off into canter and the first change is tricky – two 4s and a 5 for that. They’re a bit tentative and Red Kite shows some tension in his changes.
Harry’s really riding Red Kite within the horse’s comfort zone. They score 7s for the extended canter.
Everything’s been accurate and clean and overall Red Kite has done well for his debut at the level. He was obviously a bit starstruck, but he tried really hard for Harry.
Harry Meade and Red Kite score 32.6.
12:36pm So, that’s it for the morning sessions and it’s time for some lunch, or breakfast if you’re tuning in from the States. If you set your alarm to catch the American tests, respect. All hail the eventing superfans!
Here’s a look at how things stand:
In the lead is Tom McEwen with JL Dublin for Great Britain on a score of 23.1.
Second is Britain’s Oliver Townend with Tregilder on 27.2.
And rounding out the top three is Tim Price with Viscount Viktor for New Zealand on a score of 28.
The USA riders have now all completed their tests, here’s how they got on:
Phillip Dutton and Z are in 9th on a score of 29.9.
Boyd Martin and Fedarman B are in 12th on a score of 31.7.
Allie Knowles and Morswood are in 20th on a score of 33.3.
Cosby Green and Copper Beach are in 25th on a score of 35.1
The second half of today’s competitors will get their turn between the white boards this afternoon as we wrap up the first phase of the competition – don’t miss it!
We’ll be back at 2:30pm local time / 8:30am ET / 1:30pm BST. Until then… 🏇
12:29pm Last up before lunch, American rider Cosby Green makes her 5* debut with Copper Beach.
22-year-old Cosby Green is the youngest rider in the field here at Pau.
Eventing idols 🤩 Cosby made the trip from the US to the UK with three of her horses this season to be based with fellow Pau competitors Tim and Jonelle Price. She told EN Jonelle “has always been an inspiration to me. She makes things happen that may not seem possible otherwise. She’s a force of nature, and whenever I’m around her, she makes me want to be the best version of myself”.
Cosby’s also trained with another Pau competitor and fellow US rider, Allie Knowles.
Rising star 🌠 Cosby was the 3*-L National Young Rider Reserve Champion and Advanced Intercollegiate Champion and overall second-ranked USEF Advanced Young Adult in 2021, and was named on the Emerging Athletes Eventing 25 List for 2023.
Copper Beach is a former Buck Davidson ride, with whom he finished 10th at Kentucky in 2018. Cosby took over the reins in 2020.
They made their mark on British soil with an 8th place finish in the 4*-S at Little Downham last month, where they added just a handful of time penalties to their dressage of 33.3.
Dressage form 📈 At 4* they’re generally mid-30s in the first phase. How will they do at 5*?
On flying form:
Cosby canters into the arena looking like she means business. She smiles as she halts, what a lovely sight.
Copper Beach looks relaxed in the trot and they look to be in real harmony with one another. They’re bringing in lots of 7s for the work in the initial stages of their test.
Everything’s balanced and accurate and Cosby’s riding really well, no marks being thrown away here. Some 7.5s are creeping into their scores for the later stages of the trot.
The transition to walk could have been a little smoother, but Copper Beach steps out nicely in the walk and they get a 7 for the extended. He’s not totally relaxed and doesn’t always accept the contact. There are two 7s for the extended walk though.
He jumps through the change a little, but it’s where it should be – they score two 4s. The next change is better though.
Cosby’s really riding for everything, she’s not scared to take a risk in the extended canter and scores a 7. Copper Beach doesn’t look to be super easy in the ring this morning and Cosby’s doing a great job to make the best of what he’s giving her.
There’s a big smile at the end, she looks so pleased to be at her first 5* and so she should be. Copper Beach relaxes on the way out and gets a big pat from Cosby.
Cosby Green and Copper Beach score 35.1 and go into 25th as things stand.
12:22pm We’re back with the home team with French Olympian Maxime Livio who brings Carouzo Bois Marotin back to Pau after finishing 7th here last year.
Carouzo Bois Marotin had a good look at the cameras at the Horse Inspection to check that we’d all noticed how stunning he looked.
Hot 5* form 🌶️🌟 As well as earning 7th place at last year’s event, adding just one pole to their first-phase score of 35.1, this combo were 6th at Kentucky this season where they finished on their dressage of 35.5.
And their FOD form doesn’t end there – they managed it last time out in the Nations Cup in Arville, ending up 8th on a score of 32.5.
Pau winner 🏆 Maxime won Pau in 2016.
🥉 He won team bronze at the World Championships in Tryon, finishing 11th individually, and has recently topped the podium with Team France at the Nations Cup in Boekelo 🥇
Dressage form 📋 They’ve been mid-30s at both of their 5* outings, but it’s important we don’t forget their penchant for finishing on their first-phase score.
Allez la France! It was victory at Boekelo for the French team:
Maxime and Carouzo get their test underway and are pulling in plenty of 7s for the trot work. He doesn’t have the same expression as some of the other horses we’ve seen, but Maxime’s riding what he’s got to the best of the horse’s ability. Everything’s accurate and clean and the marks have started to pick up to 7.5s.
Carouzo’s not totally relaxed in the walk, he’s looking around and rushing a bit. He doesn’t look happy in the rein back either. Carouzo’s obviously very sensitive and Maxime’s riding really sympathetically to that.
The first change is very good and scores 7s across the board. Carouzo is clearly much happier in canter than walk.
Maxime rides the extended canter really well and they score a 7.5. Everything’s very comfortable in the canter work and the horse seems happy.
They finish to a round of applause and Maxime gives Carouzo a big stroke down the neck. Now he’s finished his test, Carouzo is very relaxed and incredibly pleased with himself.
Maxime Livio and Carouzo Bois Marotin score 34.1.
12:15pm US rider Allie Knowles bring Morswood to Pau for his fifth start at the level.
‘Ginge’ was originally produced by fellow Pau competitor Britain’s Piggy March, before Ireland’s Susie Berry took over the reins. He’s been with Allie since 2018 and she’s brought him up up from 2* to the top of his sport.
5* form 🌟 They finished just outside the top-10 at Maryland in 2021 and returned last year to better that with 8th place. They had a couple of unlucky falls on both their Kentucky attempts, so they’re looking for their third 5* completion here this week.
In the club – Allie is an A graduate of the Sierra Pony Club.
Dressage form 📋 At Kentucky in the spring they put down a 35.8 in the first phase; at Maryland last year it was sub-30 – 28.8. What kind of form will Ginge be on today?
Ginge is ears pricked and ready for his trip ‘round Pau:
Allie and Ginge canter up the center line and get their Pau underway. The halt’s not quite square but Allie’s come in meaning business. She pushes for the medium trot – very brave, and is rewarded with two 7.5s and a 7.
Ginge is so fluent in his trot work and Allie’s showing him of to the best of his ability. The extended trot is also brave and scores two 7.5s.
Lots of 7s coming in so far, a very good trending score. There’s an 8 for the half pass.
Ginge steps out nicely for Allie in the walk, he’s kind of looking around with his eyes, but he’s obviously trying to stay focused on Allie and do his best for her.
The halt isn’t square behind as Ginge stepped back a little, and the rein back is a little tentative.
They’re off into canter now though and you can see just how much Ginge is concentrating on Allie. The first change is very good, but he second one not so much as Ginge kicked out a little – there’s a 4 in the scores for that. A couple of mistakes are creeping in now, he changes in the extended and it scores two 4s.
The first half of this test was really very nice, but a few mistakes later on. Allie looks disappointed, but she waves at the US flag in the crowd and Ginge has a good scratch before he walks out of the arena. He looks pleased with himself.
Allie Knowles and Morswood score 33.3 and go into 20th place as things stand.
12:08pm New Zealand’s Samantha Lissington brings Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ to Pau for the gelding’s first 5*.
Hot form 🌶️ Samantha and Sooty come here off the back of a third place in the 4*-L At Kilguilkey House in Ireland, where they added just 3.6 time and a pole to their dressage score of 27.1.
World travelers 🛫 Samantha moved to the UK in 2019, bringing Sooty with her, and basing herself with Olympic medalist and fellow Kiwi Blyth Tait.
It’s not just air travel Samantha’s au fait with, she’s also taken to the seas ⛵ Although she rides for New Zealand, Samantha was actually born in Australia. She lived on a boat sailing around the South Pacific for two years with her parents before they settled in New Zealand.
Hers wasn’t a horsey family until they moved to a farm and got a pony – the rest, as they say, is history!
Samantha’s husband is a top-level sportsperson too – he’s played futsal (indoor football – more soccer than American football) for the New Zealand team.
Dressage form 🕺 At 4* their form is high-20s to low-30s. They put down a 27.1 last time out; in the 4*-S at Aachen it was 31 for them in the first phase. In their run prior to that, at Millstreet, it was 30.3.
Sooty flew through a clear round the 4*-S at Aachen this season despite throwing a shoe early on:
Sooty’s showing off a lovely medium trot on the outside of the arena, let’s hope it’s just as good once they get into the ring. They get off to a great start with two 8s and a 7 for the halt. The medium trot pulls in an 8 too – super work.
Sooty looks very relaxed and is really working for Samantha. They’re a real picture together. The extended trot is lovely, elevated and light and pushing for the marks, they get a 7 and a 7.5.
Samantha looks to be really riding with a lot of feel, which is showing what a lovely partnership this pair have. Sooty’s relaxed in the walk to begin with, but then he needs a toilet break which affects the rhythm slightly. Only a little bit though and there are still 7s coming in.
Sooty’s very happy in the canter and there are two 8s for the half circle. It’s an 8 and two 7.5s for the first change which was excellent.
This is a very good test, Samantha’s riding the horse that’s underneath her with lots of understanding and Sooty is responding to her with confidence. He’s very comfortable in his work. There’s an 8 and two 7.5s for the final change.
This has been a great test, very fluent and smooth. There’s another 8 for the final halt and a very big rub down the neck for Sooty.
Samantha Lissington and Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ score 28.8 and go into 6th place as things stand.
12:01pm Getting the last session before lunch underway is Irish Olympian Joseph Murphy who brings Barrichello to Pau for the gelding’s second 5* start.
Barichello is a relatively new ride for Joseph, who took over the reins from Ireland’s Cathal Daniels this season. He’s also been ridden by fellow Pau competitor Britain’s Alex Bragg, and was produced to 2* by Caroline March.
Barrichello made his 5* debut at Badminton with Cathal last year, but a fall on the cross country there means he’s looking for his first top-level completion here.
Team rider – Joseph has represented Ireland at the Olympics, World Championships and European Championships, as well as at Nations Cups.
👬 Joseph has an identical twin brother. When they were younger they were always on the lookout for a catch ride with their local hunt. One brother would set off on horseback, then the other would meet them halfway round and they’d switch places!
As well as eventing and hunting, Joseph has also been a winning point to point jockey.
In another life… he’s a qualified quantity surveyor.
Dressage form 🕺 At Badminton last year he put down a 32.7 in the first phase. At 4* he trends between the high-20s and the mid-30s – last time out it was 35.3, the time before that it was 28.9.
🌱 Barrichello loves munchies:
Joseph and Barrichello take their time before coming into the ring but they’re on their way up the center line now. There are a few trot steps into the halt but it’s square when it comes. Barichello shows nice elevation in the medium trot and scores an 8. There’s so much balance and rhythm to the trot, it’s clearly a very comfortable pace for the horse.
There’s a tiny break in the rhythm as they transition to walk but it scores 7s. Joseph’s really showing off everything Barrichello can do. The walk is relaxed and quiet.
Barichello really lifts his feet up as he does the rein back and it scores well.
The flying change is clean but it could be more relaxed, the scores drop to 5 and 6.5 for that. The second change scores a 7 and two 4s.
Joseph and Barrichello look to work very nicely together. They seem relaxed and happy in their work and Barrichello looks well within himself.
They score two 8s and a 7 for the stretch circle, proving just how relaxed Barrichello is.
Joseph looks pleased at the end and Barrichello really does take the whole situation in his stride. He walks out on a long rein looking very happy with his morning’s work.
Joseph Murphy and Barrichello score 34.1.
11:51am We’re heading into another short break now.
Another change to the leaderboard: Oliver Townend and Tregilder have gone into 2nd. Tom McEwen and JL Dublin hold onto the lead. Tim Price is still up there – he’s 3rd with Viscount Viktor.
When we come back, the remaining two US riders will be cantering up the center line – Allie Knowles goes at 6:15am ET and Cosby Green has her turn at 6:29am ET.
Back in around 10 minutes – at 12:01pm local time / 6:01am ET / 11:01am BST.
11:44am Last up before another short break, World No. 1 Oliver Townend brings Tregilder to Pau for the gelding’s fifth 5* start.
Tregilder’s known as ‘Gizmo’ at home – so Oliver would have been hoping for a dry few days then ☔ Unlucky! Hopefully Gizmo’s not on the turn… Remember people, no midnight snacks for Gizmo! And please can the photographers turn off all flashes?
5* form 🌟 Gizmo has two top-10 placings at 5*, and two unlucky Burghley non-completions. He fell at the penultimate fence last year, having had a superb round up to that point. This year, Oliver had a tack malfunction and a broken rein meant an early finish for the pair.
Royal approval 👑 Oliver was awarded an MBE for his services to equestrianism by the late Queen of England in 2022.
Fun fact! Oliver’s mom showed side-saddle.
Hot form! 🌶️ Oliver currently tops the British Eventing rankings for most wins this season. He’s second on the leaderboard for most cross country clears inside the time and has the highest number of show jumping clears.
Oliver’s one tough cookie 🍪 At Kentucky in 2010, he broke his collar bone, shoulder bones, sternum and four ribs – he was in hospital for one day!
📺 Did you know? Oliver has appeared on the UK TV show Question of Sport – where they asked him a bunch of horse racing questions (He knew the answers though.)
Dressage form 🕺 This is a pair that are capable of going sub-30 in this phase. At Burghley this year he put down a 30.5, at Luhmuhlen it was 29.9. His best at the level was at Burghley last year when he posted a 27.5.
Mr cute face:
Gizmo looks super relaxed as he walks ’round the arena waiting for the bell. They canter up the center line dead straight, and get a square halt after a slight fiddle. Oliver pushes off into trot and Gizmo responds. He’s so balanced and rhythmical and he’s pulling in lots of 7s and 7.5s in the early stages of his test.
They score an 8 and two 7s for the extended trot and the scores start to trend a little higher as they settle into their test. He’s very relaxed in the walk and steps out nicely for Oliver. They score a 9 for the extended.
Oliver is clearly riding for every single mark. He always rides such an accurate test. They score an 8 for the medium walk. It’s 7.5s across the board for the rein back.
Oliver pushes on bravely in the canter and they score an 8 for the first change. Oliver’s really riding with everything he’s got and Gizmo is responding. There’s an 8 for the next change too.
The extended canter is very nice – two 8s and an 8.5 for their efforts.
Oliver grins at the end of that test and Gizmo looks very happy with himself. He stands there for ages appreciating his applause. A very good morning’s work for them. Very good indeed.
Oliver Townend and Tregilder score 27.3 and go into 2nd.
11:37am Ireland’s Ian Cassells brings Master Point to Pau for the gelding’s first 5*.
It’s Ian’s first time at the level too, so we have a rookie pair in the ring!
It’s a first trip overseas for Master Point, who’s spent most of his career in Ireland with Ian. They’ve made a couple of trips to England to contest 4*s at Burgham and and Blenheim.
🎓 Ian has a degree in Agricultural Science. While he was studying, he was Captain and President of the equestrian club and a member of the Irish Universities Riding Clubs Association representing Europe and America.
Dressage form 📋 They’ve been 30 plus a decimal place in their last three runs at 4*.
This is what an ‘I finished on my dressage’ face looks like:
Ian and Master Point get their Pau underway with a decent halt which scores a 7.5. Master Point looks relaxed in the arena. He scores two 7s and a 7.5 for his medium trot.
This combination seem to be very happy together in their work. Master Point looks within himself and Ian’s showing him off to his best ability. There are lots of 7s and a few 7.5s coming in for their trot work.
Master Point continues to show how relaxed he is in the walk, he’s listening to Ian and obviously trying his best. He scores two 7s and a 7.5 for the extended.
Master Point’s very happy to stand and is rewarded with an 8 for the halt. He hollows a little in the rein back but scores 6s and a 6.5.
The flying change is a little difficult for Master Point, but he scores two 5s and a 6. The next one is very nice though and they score 6.5s across the board. There’s another mistake in the next change as Master Point just needed a toilet break, whoops. The last one is good and scores two 7s.
The canter work on the whole is nice and overall this has been a well executed test, and the general impression of the horse is very nice. He works well with Ian and they’ve shown off what a good partnership they have.
Ian Cassells and Master Point score 32.3.
11:30am US Olympian, Pan-Ams medalist and two-time 5* winner Boyd Martin has dusted himself off after a really unlucky tumble at Maryland to fly to France with Fedarman B for the gelding’s second start at the top-level.
In the barn… Fedarman B is known as ‘Bruno’.
5* form 🌟 Bruno finished 8th on his debut at the level at Luhmuhlen this season, adding just one show jumping pole to his dressage score of 32.4.
FOD alert! They contested the 4*-L Nations Cup at Boekelo last year and finished on their dressage of 29.8 in 7th place.
It’s no secret that Boyd is partial to a nippy dip, but have you ever wondered where his love of ice baths comes from? Perhaps it’s in the genes 👖 – Boyd’s parents met at the Winter Olympics – his mom competed in speed skating ⛸️ and his dad in cross-country skiing ⛷️- so that’s why he’s so speedy across the country!
He may be the ice man, but he’s on hot form! 🌶️ Boyd won the 2*-L, 3*-L and 4*-S all in one weekend at Bromont in June! He’s had 14 top 3 finishes this season, is currently the top rider on the USEA leaderboard and World No. 3.
Dressage form 🕺 This pair regularly go sub-30 at 4*. At Luhmuhlen it was 32.4. But Bruno’s a great jumper, and quick, so they’re ones to watch this week for sure.
Eventing’s self-appointed PR star, the perks of being a wallflower are not on Boyd’s radar:
Boyd and Bruno look a picture as they canter round the arena. Bruno looks super powerful and expressive, and that face! You’ve got to love that white face!
He shows his power in the medium for a 7.5 and two 7s – he could perhaps have pushed a little more, but everything’s accurate and balanced.
Again, there could have been more push in the extended for higher marks, but it scores well – two 7s and a 7.5. Bruno really is in a lovely rhythm. There are some 8s coming in for the lateral work.
Bruno looks very relaxed at the start of the walk and they score an 8.5, 8 and 7 for the extended.
The halt at A is brilliant, until Bruno takes a tiny step forward. It’s two 8s and an 8.5 though, and another 8 for the rein back.
Bruno’s really getting into his test now. He’s super relaxed and obviously happy in his work. The first change is good, but then the next one doesn’t happen. Boyd has to bring him back to walk. There’s a 1 in the scores – what a shame.
Boyd’s a total pro though and they get going again very quickly. They score an 8 for the extended canter.
That mistake is a real bummer, because the trending score for this test was very good up until then. Boyd gives him a pat at the end, but he must be a little disappointed. Bruno showed off some great work, just one big slip up and another little one in the last change. It’s frustrating how much that will have affected his mark.
Boyd Martin and Fedarman B score 31.7 and go into 10th place as things stand.
11:23am Austrian Olympians Lea Siegl and DSP Fighting Line are back for a second attempt at 5* after rerouting from Luhmuhlen where they retired on the cross country on their debut at the level.
Lea did not care one jot about the weather at the Horse Inspection ☔ She bounced down the strip with her trademark smile, wearing a mini skirt and opting to go sans coat.
Olympic result! Lea and ‘Fighty’ finished 15th individually at Tokyo, where she was the youngest competitor.
‘Fighty’ has also been to the World Championships – they finished 25th in Pratoni.
In the genes 👖 Lea’s dad also competed at the Olympics in eventing.
Hot form 🌶️ They started off this season in fabulous form, winning the 4*-S at Montelibretti adding just 0.4 cross country time to their dressage of 24.5. They come here off the back of a third place in the Nations Cup at Arville, where they added just 0.8 to their dressage of 28.9.
Dressage form 👀 At Luhmuhlen – their 5* debut – they posted a 39.9 in the first phase. At the World Championships in Pratoni they went sub-30 with a 29.4. They’re generally mid- to high-20s at 4*.
😁 This young rider has a lot to smile about as she makes her way to the top of her sport:
Lea and Fighty canter straight up the center line and stop in a great square halt for an 8 from the judge at B.
The trot is balanced and even and Lea’s riding really accurately, no marks being thrown away here.
She rides forward in the extended and Fighty responds. It’s not as expressive as some of the other horses we’ve seen but Lea’s riding bravely and really showing off the very best of Fighty’s paces.
The walk is a little tense and the halt isn’t quite square. The rein back is accurate though. Fighty seems happy to be in canter.
The first flying change is excellent for two 8s and a 7.5. So comfortable and easy. Lea’s partnership with Fighty is so obvious in their work. The next change scores a 9.
Lea’s presenting Fighty really well and is riding superbly – what a young talent she is.
The canter continues happily and they complete all the movements accurately.
She’s very happy as they halt and Fighty gets a lot of pats. He’s looking round and enjoying his applause. A great job from this combination. Sub-30? I think so!
Lea Siegl and DSP Fighting Line score 29.6 and go into 5th.
11:16amAnd it’s the first of the Americans 🇺🇲 Hot of a flight from Maryland and competing at two 5*s on a related distance, multiple time World Championship rider, seven-time Olympian and Pan-Ams medal winner, Phillip Dutton is here with USEA Horse of the Year 2019 Z.
Medals alert! Phillip has won Olympic team gold twice for Australia 🥇🥇 individual bronze for the US 🥉 two Pan-Ams team golds and individual silver 🥇🥇🥈
Hot form 🌶️ Z comes here off the back of a win in the 4*-S at Stable View, where he added just a handful of time penalties to his dressage score of 28.1. He’s also been 6th at Aachen this season and runner-up at Bromont.
5* form 🌟 Z was 5th at Kentucky this spring, where he very nearly finished on his dressage, adding just 0.4 cross country time to his first-phase score of 31.9. He was 4th at Maryland last year, that time managing the elusive FOD and ending up on a score of 30.5.
Olympic ride – Z represented the US in Tokyo, finishing just outside the top-20 individually.
All-around sportsman🎾⛳ As well as in the barn, you can catch Phillip on the tennis court and golf course.
Dressage form 👀 He’s been very low-30s numerous times at 5*, and with his experience, speed and jumping talent, Z will be one to watch this week.
🤠 Showing off his Dutton family skills:
There’s an American flag in the crowd, waving for Phillip and Z. Go USA! They canter up the center line and Z stands square like a true pro.
The medium trot is so impressive, Z flicks his toes out and motors across the ring. They pull in a 9 for their efforts.
Z looks very relaxed and happy to be in France. He’s bouncy and supple and really shows off his elevation in the extended for an 8, 7 and 7.5.
Z’s showing off lovely balance and suppleness in the trot work and there are lots of 8s coming in. He’s relaxed in the walk and they show a clear change of paces. There’s an 8 and two 7s for the extended.
The halt and rein back look very easy, and the canter strike off comes cleanly. They score an 8 for the rein back.
Ah, the first change is a bit jumpy and the scores drop to 4, 4.5 and 5. The second one is much, much better and scores a 7, 7.5 and 6.5.
Z’s working so nicely for Phillip, they’re a picture of experience and harmony.
Until the next change, which Z anticipates. The final change is very good though.
They halt at the end and Phillip gives Z a pat. He lets out a big breath. Good work from Phillip and Z – a great start to their Pau. They’re being tipped for a podium place on Sunday in the commentary box – let’s hope so!
Phillip Dutton and Z score 29.9 and go into 6th place as things stand.
11:09am 10amGetting us back underway is Belgian eventer Julien Despontin who’s making his 5* debut with fellow top-level debutant Honeyblue.
They got their first senior team call-up this season for the Nations Cup in Strzegom, where the Belgians finished in third place – on their way to Olympic qualification – with a PB in the dressage for Honeyblue.
Dressage form 📈 The scores in the first phase can be variable – at 4* this season they’ve had everything from 33.8 – their PB – to 40. How will they fare at 5*?
👍 Julien will be hoping for a thumbs up performance:
Julien and Honeyblue have a moment in the first halt, Honeyblue doesn’t want to stop. Julien gets him back, but the scores are 4s across the board. Once they get going in trot Honeyblue seems to settle, he must have thought it was Saturday and was looking for the first fence. He knows it’s dressage now.
Julien really has done a masterful job to settle Honeyblue and they score quite a few 7s for the trot work.
Honeyblue is relaxed in the walk and really takes the rein in the extended. The judge at B really likes it and gives it an 8, the other two judges not so much and stick with 6.5.
Honeyblue isn’t so balanced in the canter, he looks quite fresh and Julien’s just having to ride what’s there. When Honeyblue comes back to him the work is very nice, it’s just moments really where things go a bit wobbly.
Honeyblue is another horse who finds the changes a bit difficult. The first one is very sticky, but the second one is better.
This is a test that’s shown moments of really very good work, but there were moments of tension too. It’s a shrug from Julien at the end and Honeyblue walks out on a long rein looking very pleased with himself.
Julien Despontin and Honeyblue score 37.6.
10:49am We’re heading into a short break now.
We’ve had a change at the top of the leaderboard – Tom McEwen and JL Dublin have gone into the lead on a score of 23.1.
🇺🇲 When we come back the US representatives will get their Pau underway with Phillip Dutton and Z, who go at 5:16am ET. They’re quickly followed by Boyd Martin and Fedarman B.
Back in around 20 minutes – at 11:09am local time / 5:09am ET / 10:09am BST.
10:42am Last up before a short break, British rider Tom Jackson brings Farndon forward for the horse’s second time at the level.
5* form 🌟 Tom’s no stranger to the big time – he was 2nd at Burghley last year and 5th at Badminton this year on his other ride, Capels Hollow Drift. Farndon made his 5* debut at Luhmuhlen this season, finishing on his dressage score of 34.9 in 6th place.
The gelding was brought through 3* by fellow British eventer Francis Whittington before Tom took over the reins for the 2021 season.
Hot form 🌶️ As well as an excellent 5* result at Luhmuhlen, Farndon comes here off the back of a win in the 4*-S at Little Downham.
Dressage form 🕺With only one other 5* run under their girth, we only really have the 34.9 they posted at Luhmuhlen to go off. But their scores at 4* have been on a downwards trajectory this season, with mid-20s performances in the first phase in their last two runs at the level.
Farndon was jumping for joy at Little Downham on his way to the win:
They start off with a very good halt which scores a 9 from the judge at C. Tom pushes for the medium trot and shows some very nice steps, there’s an 8 in their scores for that.
Farndon shows good elevation in the extended and it’s clear that Tom’s really riding for every mark, pushing forward and showing off Farndon to his absolute best.
Tom’s position is being admired in the commentary box, they’re saying how like a pure dressage rider he looks – elegant and secure.
The walk isn’t quite as good as the trot work but they show a very good halt for two 8s. The rein back is a little tentative, but they get the strike off into canter straight from it.
The first change is clean and Farndon’s very uphill and showing good self-carriage in the canter work. The next change isn’t so good and scores two 3s and a 6. The next one is better, and the final one is very good.
This combination really look to have a great partnership, they’re very in tune with one another and present a harmonious picture.
The final halt scores an 8 and two 7s. Overall this has been a very nice test and Tom should be pleased with Farndon and himself. A great start for them.
Tom Jackson and Farndon score 32.5.
10:35am French rider Camille Lejeune brings 5* debutant Dame Decoeur Tardonne forward for the mare’s first attempt at the level.
We first saw Dame Decoeur Tardonne at Le Lion d’Angers as a seven-year-old, when she finished 5th in the world.
They come here on hot form 🌶️ This season they’ve been 9th at 4*-L, 6th at 4*-S and were runners-up in the Nations Cup at Jardy, where they added just 0.4 cross country time to their dressage score of 34.1.
The mare didn’t look too impressed with the rain at the Horse Inspection – she jogged up with her ears back and her tail pinned firmly down. The French riders really did get the very worst of the deluge ☔
Early equestrian start 👶 Camille started riding when he was just two years old!
He rode for France as a Junior and Young Rider, finishing 5th in the 2007 Young Rider European Championships on a horse he’d save from slaughter.
Outdoorsy hobbies ⛷️🧳🥾 When he’s not eventing, Camille loves to ski, travel and trek.
Dressage form 🩰 At 4* they trend in the low- to mid-30s, with a first-phase score of 31.4 last time out in the 4*-S at Lignières.
Ears pricked and ready for Pau:
We’re back with France as Camille canters up the center line. Dame Decoeur is super shiny in the sunlight, really beautiful.
They get off to a solid start with lots of 7s and 7.5s for the trot work. The mare is very relaxed and working in harmony with Camille.
There are some 8s coming in for the lateral work, which shows off the mare’s suppleness. She strides out in the walk and is relaxed. There’s a little fussiness in the contact, but she’s walking in a nice even rhythm.
The rein back is excellent and gets an 8 and two 7.5s. Camille is really riding the horse that’s underneath him and showing her off to her best.
The canter’s good, but the flying change not so much, and that then affects the next movements. Unfortunately, the upset in the changes is dropping the mark significantly because they’re not just losing the marks for the change, but for what comes next too. It’s a real shame. The extended canter doesn’t really happen and it’s 4s across the board for that.
This was a test of two halves – the first half was really lovely, the second half was more difficult. Lots of potential on show from the mare though, and lots to be pleased with overall.
Camille Lejeune and Dame Decoeur Tardonne score 35.2.
10:28am British Olympic team gold and individual silver medalist, and former Pau winner, Tom McEwen brings Kentucky runner-up JL Dublin forward at Pau.
There are two former rides of British eventer Nicola Wilson in the Pau field this year. ‘Dubs’ amassed an incredible roster of results with Nicola, including European Champion in 2021 as a ten-year-old, and his success has continued with Tom McEwen in the irons.
Most recently the pair have finished 2nd in the 4*-S at Little Downham, adding just 5.6 cross country time penalties to their first-phase score of 25.4.
🥈 They were runners up at Kentucky in the spring, they added just 5.2 time penalties to their dressage – it was a 22.6 that day.
Hot to trot 👟 Tom stays 5* fit by running (apparently he runs ‘round cross country courses, as well as putting in a more detailed walk, of course). He ran the London Marathon in support of Alzheimer’s Research UK last year.
Dressage form 👀 This guy is ONE TO WATCH. We’re not just talking sub-30 here, we’re talking low-20s.
Meanwhile, in the off-season from eventing…:
Dubs looks totally up for it as he trots ’round the arena before coming up the center line. He’s bouncy and beautiful, it must be a great feeling for Tom.
They kick off with a very square, stationary halt and get 7.5s. Tom pushes forward and really shows off Dubs’ stride in the medium trot and gets two 9s and an 8!
Wow! Dubs’ is elevated in his extended trot – just beautiful. It’s two 9s and an 8.5 for that.
So far this test has been the best we’ve seen. Dubs is willing and relaxed and of course, Tom’s riding brilliantly.
The walk doesn’t score as highly as the trot work, but they’re still up in the 7.5s with a smattering of 8s. The medium walk gets an 8.5 and an 8.
Dubs is so very happy in his work, well within himself and working totally with Tom. He’s so relaxed and confident in the ring, a real pleasure to watch.
We’re seeing similar marks for the canter as we did for the walk – lots of 7.5s and a few 8s. Tom is pushing for every single mark. It’s a 8 and an 9 for the extended.
We’re definitely looking at a leaderboard challenge here. Everything is such excellent quality, and consistently so. There’s a big round of applause at the end for what’s been a truly super test.
Tom McEwen and JL Dublin storm into the lead with a score of 23.1.
10:21am Britain’s Libby Seed and Heartbreaker Star Quality come forward for their second 5* start, after a top-30 finish at Badminton last year.
They come here off the back of three top-10 finishes.
Early start – Libby joined the Pony Club when she was just five years old and competed at Pau when she was 20.
Smart cookie 🍪 Libby studied Medical Sciences at University and works as a medical sales executive.
Future star alert! She has an embryo transfer out of Heartbreaker Star Quality.
Dressage form 💃 They scored 33.4 at Badminton last season. Their 4* form this season has been securely lower than that, but they haven’t quite managed sub-30.
✈️ Off the broken footbridge and on their way to a Badminton completion:
It’s a very good start for Libby and Heartbreaker Star Quality – they score an 8 for the halt. Libby pushes for the medium and is rewarded with a 7.5 and an 8. A great way to start their competition.
Heartbreaker Star Quality looks beautiful, so well turned out. There are 8s popping up throughout the trot work. They’re presenting a very harmonious picture.
Heartbreaker Star Quality is very relaxed in the walk at the beginning, but then starts to quicken up. It’s a shame after the lovely trot work. Libby’s done a great job keeping a lid on the mare’s excitement.
Heartbreaker Star Quality is happy now she’s in canter. She’s delivering very clean flying changes, losing a tiny bit of rhythm in the stride before them, but they’re accurate when they come.
The extended canter scores 7s and a 7.5. The quality of the work is very nice overall.
Libby’s got a massive smile on her face as she halts and Heartbreaker Star Quality looks very pleased with herself, as she should.
Libby Seed and Heartbreaker Star Quality score 33.
10:14am Zimbabwe’s international eventer Julia Norman brings Ardeo Berlin back to Pau after he made his 5* debut here last year.
Julia switched nationalities from British to Zimbabwean this season in honor of her late mom.
‘Bert’ made his 5* debut at Pau last year, finishing 34th. He went to Burghley but was eliminated on the cross country, so he’s here on a reroute and hopefully will add a second 5* completion to his record this week.
Career switch ⏩ Julia started out as a Quality Surveyor, then was a Rural Planning Consultant, before becoming a full-time eventer.
🐶 Julia also breeds Golden Retrievers!
Dressage form 🩰 We’re looking at the 40s here – Bert’s come here to jump. They scored a 41.7 at Burghley and 40.1 last time out at Ballindenisk; it was 42.1 for them at Pau last year.
Julia brought eventing to the mainstream whilst at Burghley, with interviews by the the BBC:
Julia and Bert get their competition underway with a square halt, but Bert’s a little fussy in the contact. They set off in trot and he seems to settle. They score two 7s for their medium trot.
Julia’s riding forward and really pushing for the marks. Bert is nicely uphill and they create a pleasing picture.
He’s still not completely taking the contact in the walk, but Julia’s riding forward and is being rewarded for that. It’s two 7s and a 6 for the extended.
Bert anticipates the halt and is fussing with his head as Julia asks for it, and continues to do so while he stands. It affects the rein back scores which are 4s and a 4.5.
He seems happier in the canter but the changes are a bit sticky and the marks drop off a bit.
Bert’s still fussing with his head and so the marks for the canter aren’t quite what they were for the trot work. Julia looks happy with him at the end of their test though, and he looks incredibly pleased with himself. He’s obviously been really concentrating and working hard for Julia. Overall, a good morning’s work.
Julia Norman and Ardeo Berlin score 40.1.
10:07am Britain’s Helen Bates and Carpe Diem come to Pau for their first 5*.
In the barn, Carpe Diem is affectionately known as ‘Diego’, although also ‘Demon’ as he tried to dump her not once but twice when she first sat on him as a four-year-old!
Diego is a jumping machine 🤖 In 20 FEI competitions he’s had cross country jumping penalties only once – in his first outing – and he’s never had a show jumping rail!
Helen’s brought the gelding up through the levels, spending two seasons securing experience at 4* before making the step up to 5* here at Pau.
Hot to trot 👟 Helen has competed at Blenheim sans horse! She did a triathlon there in 2021.
Dressage form 📈 They’re generally low- to mid-30s at 4* – their PB at the level is 31.3, which they achieved at Burgham last season.
Baby Diego’s come a long way through the levels to 5*:
The sun’s gleaming off the sand arena this morning, straight into the eyes of the judge at C – hope they’ve got their shades with them.
Helen canters up the center line and halts, but then Diego steps sideways slightly before setting off in trot. Diego looks a little starstruck but Helen’s really giving him confidence. He’s settling much better now he’s getting into his test.
Helen pushes for the extended trot and is rewarded with an 8, 7.5 and 7. Helen’s riding superbly. Diego still looks like he wants to have a look round, but he’s staying with her. They obviously have a really solid relationship, which is lovely to see.
The walk is very nice, particularly for a horse who’s feeling the atmosphere. They pull in 7s and a 7.5 for the medium.
The halt is better than the first and earns 7s across the board.
The canter gets off to a good start, but Diego seems to find the flying changes hard – it’s 4, 4.5 and 5 for the first, and the second is also tricky and scores two 2s.
The canter in between the changes is very nice though and Diego’s obviously trying for Helen.
They halt at the end and Helen gives Diego a pat. She looks kind of disappointed, but maybe it’s relief. Overall this test has really shown what a lovely relationship this pair have.
Helen Bates and Carpe Diem score 37.7.
10am We kick things off, appropriately, with a bit of French flair, as Cedric Lyard brings Anglo Arab Unum De’Or into the ring at Pau for the gelding’s fifth 5* start.
Medal alert! Cedric won a team silver medal at the World Championships in 2002 and was part of the Olympic gold medal winning French team in 2004 🥇🥈
5* veteran 🌟 As well as having competed at both of the European top-level offerings – Pau and Luhmuhlen – Unum De-Or has also had a shot at the two British 5*s.
5* form ✨ They were 9th here at Pau in 2021, and 18th at Burghley last year. This season they were 22nd at Luhmuhlen.
In another life… Cedric would love to have been a rock and roll singer 🧑🎤🤘🎸 Will he be on song here today?
Dressage form 📋 They put down a 35 in the first phase at Luhmuhlen, at Burghley last season it was slightly better – 33.6. On their way to their top-10 finish here in 2021, they scored 31.6 in the dressage, adding a smidge of cross country and show jumping time to finish on 35.6.
Like Britain’s Harry Meade, Cedric’s fond of a funky pant:
Well the sun’s shining at Pau this morning, which the riders will be very relieved about! Unum De’Or looks beautiful as he trots around the ring. They’re pulling in lots of 7s for their trot work. It could be more expressive for higher scores, but overall they’re creating a nice picture.
The walk looks nice and relaxed and it’s obvious that the horse is trying hard for Cedric. They lose the rhythm every now and then, but are pulling in 7s and 6.5s.
They score an 8 for a good halt and a 7 and 7.5 for the rein back.
Unum De’Or seems happier now he’s in canter. He’s slightly fussy in his mouth, only a tiny bit, but everything’s accurate and clean and there are 7s and 7.5s for the changes.
Cedric pushes for the extended and is rewarded with a 7 and 7.5.
They canter back up the center line and halt, not quite square but almost. It’s 7s across the board for that. Cedric gives Unum De’Or a big pat for a good test overall.
Cedric Lyard and Unum De’Or score 34.6.
EN’s coverage of Les 5 Etoiles de Pau is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products.