Clark Montgomery Talks Dressage at Badminton

Clark Montgomery and Chinch. Photo via EN Instagram. Clark Montgomery and Chinch. Photo via EN Instagram.

Clark Montgomery battled the wind and rain to find EN in the Badminton media center this afternoon to talk about his dressage test this morning with Universe. While Clark desperately wanted Buzz to get into the 40s today, you can’t fault the horse, especially since he came so close with a 50.8. He gets so excited about the atmosphere, which makes his neck disappear and marks on movements like lateral work suffer from the tension. BUT — it’s still the best dressage score little Buzz has managed in a four-star, so there’s certainly a silver lining here and definitely improvement to point to, which is encouraging for Team Montgomery.

As is EN tradition, my phone gave me a low memory notice during the interview, but I managed to salvage the second half of our chat below, which starts with Clark chatting about his thoughts on the new mound complex, the Swindon Designer Outlet at 18abc. It’s a brutal combination that walks much tighter than it appeared on the video Badminton premiered last month, and course designer Giuseppe Della Chiesa seemed thoroughly unconcerned about it when he spoke to the journalists this afternoon at the press lunch. Giuseppe did say later than he will be monitoring the footing carefully and will make adjustments to the mound — and other questions as needed — if the footing deteriorates badly.

At the rate the rain is falling now, things aren’t looking good for the footing come Saturday. Conditions are supposed to be improve a bit tomorrow, but we’re having a very traditional April week in England thus far. Unfortunately, Clark’s second horse, Loughan Glen, goes third from the last horse tomorrow, so he’ll be on roller skates if the footing does turn to slop. Glen is a bit the opposite of Buzz in that the atmosphere at events like this actually helps him, and best case scenario, he’ll rise to the occasion and put on a lively, lovely performance for the crowds, which always grow on Friday at this event. Go Clark. Go Buzz. Go Glen.

Badminton Horse Trials: [Website] [Times] [Scores]

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