Day One at Badminton: Live Updates from Between the Boards

Laura Collett punches the air as her score comes in to lead Badminton in 2022. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Welcome to day one of competition at the 2023 Badminton Horse Trials!

We’ll be kicking off with the first competitor – Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley – at around 9am BST / 4am EDT / 1am PDT.

EquiRatings’ field favorite for the win – Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs – will be third into the arena this morning.

We’ll see US rider Katherine Coleman with Monbeg Senna later on this afternoon – at around 4:13pm BST / 11:13am EDT / 8:13am PDT. The second American pair Lillian Heard Wood – with LCC Barnaby – and Canadian Mike Winters – with El Mundo – will be between the white boards tomorrow.

Who will be at the top of the leaderboard at the end of day one? Will they stay there? Keep this live thread bookmarked and refreshed, and watch this space!

Let’s go eventing!

Want to follow along with the form of all the horses and riders cantering down the center line at Badminton? Check out EN’s Form Guide for all the inside info.

Badminton Horse Trials: [Website] [Entries] [Schedule] [Form Guide] [Live Stream – Badminton TV] [Radio Badminton] [Tickets] [EN’s Coverage]

11:40 That brings us to the end of day 1 at Badminton Horse Trials. What a day!

Top of the leaderboard after the first day of dressage is Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs on 23.2, but clipping at his heels is Gemma Stevens and Jalapeno on 23.3 in second. Tim Price and Vitali are in 3rd on 27.1. 4th place is Caroline Powell and Greenacres Special Cavalier on 27.4, and rounding off the top 5 is Tom Jackson and Capels Hollow Drift on 28.

Things kick of an hour earlier tomorrow – 8am BST / 3am EDT / Midnight PDT.

Thanks for tuning in to our live updates – I’m off to rest my weary digits before we do it all again tomorrow! Keep it locked onto EN for the full report – coming soon!

If you’re reading this after the event, scroll to the bottom and read up.

Go Eventing!

11:36 Alexander Whewall and Ellfield Voyager score 38.5.

11:35 There’s a bit of a wobble as they cross the arena for the final change but they’ve halted nicely and Jilly can take a few deep breaths. Alex too.

11:34 For a horse who can get tense in this phase, Jilly manages the walk really well. She kind of misses the first flying change though and does a few trot steps – 2s and a 3 for that unfortunately.

11:33 Alex has opted not to wear spurs which gives us a clue to how sensitive this mare can be.

11:32 So far so good for Jilly. She doesn’t look the most relaxed horse but she’s staying with Alex nicely.

11:31 This pair typically land in the mid-30s to mid-40s depending on the day. What kind of day will it be for them today?

11:30 The last combination to go today will be Alexander Whewall and Ellfield Voyager, who’s known as ‘Jilly’ at home.

Rookie alert! This is Jilly’s first 5*. Alex has been here once before – in 2018 – and he’s looking for his first finish this year.

Jilly has a bit of a history of being difficult to manage in this phase – so watch this space!

11:28 Aisprit stops for a little snack on the way out of the arena – that Badminton grass must taste good! Gireg Le Coz and Aisprit de La Loge score 29.7.

11:27 More of the same kind of scores for the canter work really show just how consistent this pair are in their work. Everything’s accurate and clean.

11:26 Aisprit’s fussing a little bit in his mouth in the walk – you can hear him griding his teeth. It doesn’t translate into the movements though which continue to score very nicely in the 7s.

11:25 All of the trot work looks very positive and active.

11:24 A bit unbalanced at the beginning but a very elegant medium trot earns them an 8.

11:23 This combination generally score in the 28 to 32 range in this phase, although they did put down a 26.7 here last year.

11:22 The penultimate combination of the day is French rider Gireg Le Coz with Aisprit de La Loge.

Last year, this pair were 18th at the gelding’s first time at the level.

Gireg give massive credit to his horse’s extraordinary honesty, a wonderful quality to have in any horse, particularly a 5* partner.

11:20 Katherine Coleman and Monbeg Senna score 31. The support team are over the moon – jumping up and down and cheering. What a great sight!

11:19 Katherine’s had to work quite hard for it in this test but she looks extremely pleased with Senna who gets an enormous pat.

11:18 There are some moments of unsteadiness but Katherine keeps bringing Senna back. A brave extended canter is rewarded with 8s and 7.5s.

11:16 Senna really looks a picture shining in the sun. The walk’s going well so far – they’re pulling in 7s on the whole.

11:16 The sun’s come out for Senna and Katherine. Senna’s a bit distracted by the crowds at the end of the arena but is quickly back and working nicely for Katherine.

11:15 We’re expecting a score in the 30s from this pair, although it’s hard to predict whereabouts it will be. We’ll have to wait and see!

11:14 Here comes our first of two riders for the USA – Katherine Coleman and Monbeg Senna.

This is Monbeg Senna’s first 5*. Katherine last rode here in 2017.

Katherine has produced the gelding throughout his international career.

11:13 Caroline Powell and Greenacres Special Cavalier go into 4th on 27.4. A new PB for them!

11:12 They finish up with a 9 in the final halt. Caroline looks really pleased with Cav and so she should be. A lovely test.

11:11 Caroline’s hard work at home is really paying off in the ring today. The mare looks so happy in her work and very comfortable with everything that’s being asked of her.

11:10 Cav manages to stay calm and focused in the walk work and is now happily showing off a lovely balanced canter.

11:09 There are 8s creeping into their trot work. This is looking like a very good test for the young mare. A 9 and and 8 for the halt at X won’t do their scores any harm!

11:08 It’s a positive start for Caroline and Cav – an 8 in their halt and then lots of 7.5s for the trot work. They’re creating a lovely picture. The mare looks very happy in her work.

11:07 They posted a 27.7 on their 5* debut – what can they do this time around?

11:06 New Zealand’s Caroline Powell will go next with Greenacres Special Cavalier.

Did you know? ‘Cav’ is a relative youngster at the level at 10-years-old. She’s the youngest in the field this year.

This combination were 5th at the mare’s first 5* at Pau last year.

Fun fact! Cav absolutely loves a crowd, so she’ll be very happy here at Badminton!

She certainly enjoyed the attention at the Horse Inspection yesterday where she was quite lit up – perhaps she was spooking at all the umbrellas popping up as the rain came down.

11:04 Murphy looks very pleased with himself at the end of his test. He’s very relaxed – Badminton obviously suits him! He appreciates his applause as he walks out of the ring. It’s 31.6 for Greta Mason and Cooley For Sure – a PB at the level for them at their first Badminton. Great work!

11:03 It’s 7s across the board in the extended canter but a bit of a sticky change after it. They get things back together quickly though.

11:02 Murphy’s really working for Greta – there’s a lot of promise being shown in this test.

11:01 It’s a very strong start for Greta and Murphy – lots of solid scores coming in for some very balanced and clean work.

11:00 They trend in the low-30s in this phase before their favorite phase – cross country, of course – sees them with a bit of wiggle room up the rankings.

10:59 Next between the white boards will be national under-25 champion Greta Mason and Cooley For Sure.

Badminton rookie alert! It’s their first Badminton but not their first 5* – they were 14th at Pau last year.

Greta describes ‘Mason’ as being part of the family.

Family connection! Murphy was originally bought for Greta’s twin brother.

Greta is coached by former Badminton winner Rodney Powell.

10:58 It’s into the 20s for the first time for them at the level – Kylie Roddy and Carden Earl Grey score 29.9 – into the top 10 for them!

10:57 Kylie looks incredibly happy. Three of four flying changes were excellent and the final halt earns more 8s across the board.

10:55 Wow! 8s across the board for a beautiful flying change.

10:54 There’s a kick of the boards in the halt at X which upsets the gelding for a hot moment – but he’s quickly back with Kylie and settles.

10:53 Everything looks really balanced and rhythmical in the trot work. Nicola Wilson in the commentary box quite rightfully gives a shout out to the grooms who’ve turned out all of the horses beautifully. Early Whirly looks an absolute picture.

10:52 Kylie’s smiling as she canters up the center line and so she should be – a lovely positive start with 7s and 7.5s in the halt.

10:51 Their dressage scores tend to hover around the 30 mark, but they’ve been as low as 26.9 in the 4*-L at Strzegom in 2019, where they finished 8th. What will it be today?

10:50 Next to come forward is Kylie Roddy and Carden Earl Grey.

This is Kylie’s second trip to Badminton – she didn’t complete on her first attempt last year with SRF Kan Do, so she’ll be looking to put that right this time around with ‘Early Whirly’.

This is the gelding’s second 5* – they completed at Pau last year.

Fun fact! When Kylie’s not busy with horses, she’s making them – saddle horses, that is, which she created from upcycled furniture.

10:49 Hollie Swain and Solo score 44.9.

10:48 And Hollie – and Solo – can take a breath. They halt for a second before Solo’s off jogging again. He’s ready to run. Sunday, Solo, you can show your stuff on Sunday.

10:47 Hollie’s having to ride conservatively in the extended canter. She’s being very tactful and is doing really well to keep a lid on this very fit horse.

10:46 Hollie gives Solo a little scratch on the withers in the early part of the walk. Solo doesn’t want to walk – he wants to jog. Or gallop if he’s allowed to.

10:45 Everything’s looking a bit tense – Hollie’s doing a great job of staying calm. Solo’s producing some lovely movements despite the tension.

10:43 Solo competed in the Badminton grassroots – and now here he is in the 5*! He shows his excitement about the whole situation in the halt – or sideways walk as Solo decided it should be.

10:43 Hollie will be thrilled with a mid-30s score here today – but will Freddie keep all his excitement contained? Let’s see!

10:42 Kicking off the last session of the day is New Zealand’s Hollie Swain and Solo – AKA ‘Freddie’.

Badminton rookie alert! This is Hollie and Freddie’s first Badminton, but not their first 5* – they completed at both Pau and Badminton last year.

Fun fact! Freddie is pretty enormous! At 17.3hh he’s the tallest horse in the field – Hollie describes him as a ‘gentle giant’.

The gelding is apt to boiling over in the dressage – so watch this space!

He was certainly lit up at the Horse Inspection yesterday and was showing off his fancy toe flicks.

10:25 These are the combinations we’ve got to look forward to in the last session of the day:

10:12 We’re off for a short break now. There’s no change to the top of the leaderboard – it’s still Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs on 23.2, Gemma Stevens is right on his heels with Jalapeno on 23.3 and Tim Price and Vitali are in 3rd with 27.1. We’ll be back at 3:40pm BST / 10:40am EDT / 7:40am PDT. See you soon!

10:11 It’s 32.8 for Richard Jones and Alfie’s Clover.

10:10 Things are looking a bit tight as they get towards the end of he test but they’re trotting towards the final halt now. Richard’s ridden a very clever test here.

10:08 They seem to have put the blip behind them in the walk and now Alfie’s back to being a good boy and getting on with everything Richard asks of him.

10:06 Alfie delivers a really accurate test early on but he gets ahead of himself when Richard pushes for the extended trot. What a shame.

10:05 Their first phase scores are across the spectrum of the 30s – where will they land this time?

10:04 Last to canter up the center line before the break will be Richard Jones and Alfies Clover.

This pair were 10th at Badminton and 7th at Burghley last year.

Did you know? Richard lost his finger when he slipped in his lorry and caught his wedding ring. He was on track to deliver a career best finish when it happened.

Three months after that, he was 22nd at Burghley.

10:04 It’s not as good as their score last year, but with Fern’s favorite phase to come they’re sure to be on the rise on Sunday. Muzi Pottinger and Just Kidding score 31.1.

10:03 They finish up with two 8s and a 7 for the final halt – so a nice end to their test.

10:01 The stretch circle works out well for them and Fern really shows some stretch – there’s an 8 in the scores.

9:59 The scores coming in are mostly 6.5s and 7s – everything’s looking clean and accurate.

9:57 After a great start Fern has a bit of a moment and sticks his head up in the air in the half pass. He looks much happier in the extended trot though.

9:56 This pair are capable of a very good first phase score – they posted a 25.9 here last year.

9:55 Next up it’s Muzi Pottinger and Just Kidding for New Zealand.

Muzi’s back for another spin round Badminton with the diminutive ‘Fern’.

Fun fact! Fern is 15.2hh when he’s standing on his tippy toes! He’s the smallest horse in the field.

Fern is an ex-racehorse – Muzi bought him off the track as a 5-year-old.

Family connection! Muzi’s mom is Olympic bronze medalist Tinks Pottinger.

9:54 It’s a bit of a mixed bag overall, but there was lots of lovely work to be enjoyed in this test. Susie Berry and Ringwood LB score 31.9.

9:52 And of course as I was typing that things go a bit awry. Albie took a dislike to being asked for a flying change but Susie soon gets him back onside.

9:51 There are 8s coming in for the walk work too. This test is a real picture so far.

9:50 A super halt at X gives the two 8s and a 7.5.

9:50 Albie has come out in a lovely uphill frame and is being rewarded for his work with scores in the 7s and 7.5s in the early part of the trot work.

9:49 At his last four FEI events Albie has scored around the 29 mark. What will he do here?

9:48 And now for Ireland we have Susie Berry and Ringwood LB.

Susie’s back for another go at Badminton after making her debut last year with John the Bull.

‘Albie’ used to be campaigned by fellow Irish rider Jonty Evans – Susie took on the ride in 2018.

This is Albie’s second 5* and he’s looking for his first completion – fingers crossed for them!

9:47 Caroline Clarke and Touch Too Much score 34.

9:46 Caroline looks very pleased and there are big pats for Possum who looks to be smiling! 8s across the boards for the final halt.

9:44 Everything’s looking sound and solid in the canter work. It’s all accurate and clean. Possum’s doing a lovely job in the ring.

9:43 They’re a bit sticky in the rein back but the walk is lovely and relaxed.

9:42 Possum shows some lovely relaxation in the trot work early on. He looks happy and rideable so far.

9:41 We’re expecting a high-30s score in this phase. Let’s see how they get on.

9:40 Next into the arena is Dr Caroline Clarke with Touch Too Much.

Amateur rider Caroline is hoping that third times a charm after sending in her entry twice before but having to wait ‘til this year to trot down the center line.

Family fun! Caroline’s mum is grooming for ‘Possum’ this week with the help of Caroline’s brother.

Caroline has had Possum since she was sixteen and they’ve climbed up the levels to 5* together. She also has Possum’s brother in her stable.

Fun fact! Caroline is a dentist – for humans, not horses.

9:39 It’s 33.1 for Felix Vogg and Cartania.

9:37 Cartania looks very relaxed as she walks out of the arena on a long rein.

9:36 There’s a blip in the first flying change score – Cartania’s being a bit sticky – but her second change was much better.

9:35 The mare looks very settled in the walk, before anticipating the canter slightly.

9:34 Everything’s looking accurate enough for this pair. There are some 7s coming in for them.

9:33 Cartania has a tendency to squeak up into the 30s in this phase – let’s see what she produces here.

9:32 Next, for Switzerland, it’s Olympian Felix Vogg and Cartania.

This pairing were placed 8th at the European Championships and 14th at the Worlds.

Felix was actually born in Germany. His main mentor is Michael Jung, but he also works closely with Bettina Hoy on his dressage – so we’ll be watching for some of that German brilliance shining through in this phase.

Fun fact! Felix won a 5* on his 32nd birthday – what a great gift that must have been!

The first foreign winner of Badminton was a Swiss rider – will Felix follow in his footsteps?

9:31 It’s 34.4 for Felicity Collins and RSH Contend Or. A solid start with their favorite phases to come.

9:29 Whoops! A blip in the final change gets them 2s and a 3, but they finish with a nice halt and overall Felicity will be pleased with their test.

9:28 They’re back on the same page now and Contend Or’s got his ears pricked and looks to be enjoying himself.

9:27 Felicity does a great job of keeping Contend Or quiet in the walk. But the tension was creeping in and it’s come out at the beginning of their canter work.

9:26 RSH Contend Or can be quite feisty but he’s looking relaxed and happy so far – Felicity’s been working hard on this phase and it’s really showing. Lots of 7s and 7.5s and a couple of 8s coming in.

9:24 We’re expecting low to mid-30s here, it just depends how RSH Contend Or feels in the big atmosphere of Badminton.

9:23 Next it’s the turn of Felicity Collins and the stallion RSH Contend OR.

It’s a second trip to Badminton for this pair who finished 21st here last year.

RSH Contend OR is notoriously spooky and Felicity describes him as like ‘riding an eel’.

He certainly showed some of that character yesterday at the Horse Inspection when he all but ran away with Felicity.

Family connection! Felicity’s mom competed to 5* in the 1990s.

9:22 It’s into the top 10 with a score of 30 for Tom Rowland and Possible Mission – a 5* PB for them.

9:21 There are more clean changes and scores to match. A strong start to Badminton for Tom and Hunter.

9:20 A lovely ground covering canter scores an 8 and two 7s. More nice work from Hunter.

9:19 It’s a 10 for his halt at X!

9:18 It’s a strong start for Tom – 8s coming in for some of the trot work. Hunter’s looking happy and obedient and they’re painting a lovely picture. It’s all punchy and strong – so far so good!

9:17 We’re expecting a mid to low-30s score here today. Let’s see how they fit with their form.

9:17 First into the ring after the break we have local rider Tom Rowland and Possible Mission.

Fun fact! ‘Hunter’ was bought from a hunting yard in Ireland.

This is Tom and Hunter’s third time at Badminton – will it be third time lucky?

He was looking swish in a red three-piece suit at the Horse Inspection yesterday – will he make the same impact today between the white boards?

9:16 Here’s a look at the horses and riders coming up when we get back underway after the lunch break:

7:49 The live leaderboard shows Gemma Stevens and Jalapeno have gone into 2nd on 23.3 – just 0.1 behind Oliver and Swallow Springs. Tim Price and Vitali are now 3rd on 27.1, Tom Jackson and Capels Hollow Drift are 4th with 28 and Harry Meade and Away Cruising are in 5th on a score of 29.

7:43 We’re off for lunch now. We’ll be back with the afternoon action at 2:15pm BST / 9:15am EDT / 6:15am PDT. See you then!

7:42 There are two 8s and a 7.5 for their collectives. We haven’t got a score in for Gemma yet, the graphics went down and the feed needs to go to the dressage presentation. I’ll let you know as soon as I do. For now the top five remains the same, but I suspect Gemma will slot into there once her score is confirmed.

7:37 Gemma looks thrilled!

7:36 Jala’s looking very comfortable in all of the movements – everything looks easy and they’re pulling in some excellent marks.

7.34 And there’s a 9 for their halt at X! Some lovely scores showing what a lovely test this is.

7:33 There’s already 7.5s and 8s coming in for Gemma and Jala. A very solid start. Two 8s and a 7.5 for their extended trot which is one of this horse’s highlights.

7:31 We’re expecting them to be in the mix after the first phase – mid-20s or so. Let’s see!

7:30 Last before lunch we have Gemma Stevens and Jalapeno.

Breeding info! ‘Jala’ is sired by William Fox-Pitt’s famous mount, Chilli Morning – the only stallion to win here.

We’re excited to see Jala here this week after a series of niggles kept her out of competition for a couple of seasons.

This is the mare’s second 5* and first Badminton.

7:28 It’s 35.8 for Alice Casburn and Topspin – a solid enough start to their Badminton campaign.

7:27 Their canter work is better and they get 7s and 7.5 for one of the changes, which is great!

7:26 There’s tension creeping into the walk which sees their scores dip a bit.

7:25 So far, Topspin is getting on with his job. Everything’s happening where it’s meant to and he seems happy enough to do some dressage this morning.

7:24 This would be their weakest phase – the can score from the mid to high-30s, although they did dip to a 33.6 as Burghley last year.

7:23 The youngest rider here this year is up next – Alice Casburn with her homebred gelding Topspin.

Alice and Topspin finished in the top 20 here last year and was the highest-placed under-25 and made the biggest climb up the leaderboard. They were 5th at Burghley last year.

Family connection! This is a second generation homebred and Alice’s mom competed Topspin’s grandmother.

In the barn info! Topspin lives in the same stable he was born in.

7:22 It’s a 41 for Francis Whittington and DHI Purple Rain.

7:20 Prince is starting to fight a little bit with his head. He’s had enough of dressage and wants to go for a run by the looks of it. They’re nearly there now though. Francis is showing all of his experience in managing this test.

7:19 There are some good scores coming in the for walk – 7.5s and an 8 for the half circle.

7:17 Prince is looking beautiful with the Badminton sun shining on him. He’s looking bouncy but so far he’s working nicely enough.

7:16 We’re expecting low to mid-30s here, depending on Prince’s mood.

7:15 We’ll see Francis Whittington and DHI Purple Rain next.

Of course DHI Purple Rain’s stable name is ‘Prince’”!

This is Prince’s first Badminton but not his first time at the level.

The gelding can get quite anxious, so we’ll hope that he’s feeling calm and collected as he gets his Badminton underway.

He was extremely prancy at the Horse Inspection yesterday. Will he keep a lid on it here?

7:13 Hector Payne and Dynasty score 30.7 – a great start for a pair who’ll be competitive come the jumping phases.

7:12 Oh! Raffles comes to a halt on the center line, but it’s not quite time for that. Things are looking a bit more difficult now. Keep going Raffles – you’re nearly there!

7:11 Raffles is a bit cheeky in the first change – he wanted to show off how good his knees look when he jumps.

7:10 There are 8s coming in for some of the early work. Raffles looks really rideable and Hector looks to be having a great ride.

7:09 Their most recent form suggests a low-30s dressage is likely, but they have sneaked into the 20s at the 4*-S level.

7:08 Our next combination to go is Hector Payne and Dynasty.

This is their fifth 5* together.

Hector took over the ride on ‘Raffles’ from William Fox-Pitt.

They were 3rd at Pau last year so there’s no doubt Hector’s coming here hoping to be competitive.

Fun/painful fact! Raffles has gifted Hector with a new set of teeth courtesy of one of his ‘little moments’.

Truly fun fact! Hector’s number one talent is shimmying up a rope.

7:07 Andrew James and Celtic Morning Star score 36.6 – a job well done for them. It’s the same score they got at Burghley last fall.

7:05 Whatever their final score, Andrew’s got to be happy with his horse this morning.

7:04 Celtic Morning Star isn’t letting the Badminton atmosphere get to him at all – he’s lovely and relaxed and trying his best.

7:03 Celtic Morning Star’s trying really hard to do everything Andrew’s asking of him. This is a very pleasant test to watch so far. They’re not the flashiest, but they look happy together.

7:02 They get off to a great start with 7, 7.5 and 8 for the halt.

7:01 Realistically we’re not expecting them to be competitive in this phase – expect high-30s, perhaps into the 40s – but their cross country record certainly suggests they’ll be on the rise come Sunday.

7:00 Next into the ring will be Welshman Andrew James with Celtic Morning Star.

He’s ridden the gelding from his first 1* competition all the way to 5*.

This is their second outing at the level – they were 23rd at Burghley last year.

Family connection! Andrew previously rode Celtic Morning Star’s dam.

Breeding info! This horse is sired by William Fox-Pitt’s famous ride Chilli Morning.

6:59 It’s 31.9 for Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue – a PB at the level. Great work!

6:57 Austin’s really shown how to ride a test here – go for the stuff you’re really good at and ride what you have in the movements that you don’t find so easy.

6:56 They show off a really bold extended canter with an 8 from one judge, but then have a bit of a spook bothers the change and they get 4s across the board.

6:56 This might be Salty’s chance to break into the 20s at 5* here – the trending score is looking very positive.

6:54 Salty’s working nicely for Austin – lots of 7s and 7.5s coming in. He looks rideable and happy in his work.

6:53 Generally speaking, they’re a low to mid-30s pair who can occasionally sneak into the 20s.

6:52 And now we have Ireland’s Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue.

‘Salty’ competed at the Tokyo Olympics after stepping up when Cathal Daniels had to withdraw. He finished 13th overall.

This is his second Badminton – he was 8th last year after finishing on his dressage of 35.9.

He also went to the World Championships in Pratoni where he finished in the top 20.

6:50 Aistis is still smiling and gives his horse a pat. I think his expression is best described as pragmatic. The collectives say it all really – 5.5s and a 5. Aistis Vitkauskas and Commander VG score is 48.1.

6:49 The tension continues, poor Aistis is having a hard time as Commander VG waves to the judges. They’ll both be glad to get this phase over with.

6:48 Oh dear! There’s a mistake in the extended canter as Commander VG’s anticipating what’s next. He gets really quite upset and there are some difficult moments for Aistis.

6:47 Commander VG is definitely anticipating the canter work while he’s still supposed to be focusing on the walk.

6:45 We seem to have joined Aistis partway through his test. From what I’ve seen, it’s all nice and sold so far.

6:44 This combo are not averse to dipping a toe into the 40s in this first phase, although their scores have been trending downwards. How will he do here?

6:42 Getting us back underway is Lithuanian rider Aistis Vitkauskas with his sweetheart gelding Commander VG.

This is Commander VG’s fifth 5* and first time at Badminton.

Cuteness alert! This lovely horse can be spotted at events giving Aistis’ young daughter pony rides.

6:30 Here’s a look at the combinations that are coming up before the lunch break:

6:16 Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs still lead on 23.2, with Tim Price and Vitali in second on 27.1. We have a new combination in 3rd – Tom Jackson and Capels Hollow Drift on 28.
We’re off for a short break now. We’ll be back at 11:40am BST / 6:40am EDT / 3:40am PDT. See you soon!

6:15 It’s 34.6 for Rose Nesbitt and EG Michealangelo.

6:13 Jack really does look like a powerhouse of a horse – I can’t wait to see him go cross country! There’s a blip in the flying change when Jack objects slightly but they’re back together now and the scores are back up to 6s.

6:12 Everything is solid and accurate so far, lots of scores in the 7s coming in and an 8 for the extended trot.

6:11 Jack is looking really expressive in the early part of his test – they really look a picture together.

6:10 Realistically, Rose will be aiming for the low-30s today, but they have gone sub-30 before – they can also creep into the mid-30s too sometimes. Watch this space!

6:09 Joining us next in the Main Arena is Rose Nesbitt with EG Michealangelo. After this combination we’ll be taking a short break.

They come forward for their second 5* and second Badminton.

Rose says ‘Jack’ is a special lad who just loves the big events where he can show off.

6:08 Anna-Katharina Vogel and DSP Quintana P go into the top 10 for now with a score of 33.2. A solid start to their competition.

6:07 Alex Bragg explains that the scores are reflective of the horse’s general way of going in this phase. Everything’s correct but it’s not flashy. Wait ’til we see them go cross country though!

6:05 The sun’s come out at Badminton and with it a few more 7s creep into the scores.

6:03 Lots of solid scores coming in for this pair – mainly 6s, some 7s. They look nicely together and a happy couple.

6:02 We’re expecting a mid-30s mark here today – but with that kind of cross country form they’ll be climbing the leaderboard for sure.

6:01 Sole German rider in the field, Anna-Katharina Vogel is next up with DSP Quintana P.

This mare made her 5* debut last year at Pau where she finished 11th.

Did you know? Anna-Katharina is a state-certified structural draughtsman for an engineering firm.

When this combination made their European Championships debut in 2019, they delivered the quickest clear of the day on the cross country course – beating Michi Jung and Chipmunk, Ingrid and Hale Bob and Laura and London 52 in that phase!

6:00 James Rushbrook and Milchem Eclipse score 37.9.

5:58 The tension continues into the canter – its 1s and 2s for the flying change but they’ve got going again now and are looking more on the same page.

5:57 Milchem Eclipse was ready to get going into canter. 4s across the board for the extended walk as the horse showed quite a bit of tension.

5:56 Everything’s looking steady for this combination – they’re accurate and clean. They manage an 8 for the halt and another for the rein back.

5:55 This pair’s dressage fluctuates between the low and high-30s, so he won’t be in the hunt early on. He’s likely to be a leaderboard climber come Sunday though.

5:54 It’s the turn of James Rushbrooke and Milchem Eclipse next.

James describes this horse as ‘slightly weird’ – which makes me like him all the more! (The horse, also James, but mostly the horse.)

Fun fact! James moonlights as a Master for the Badsworth and Bramham Moor Hunt.

That hunting background will be of huge benefit as they tackle Eric Winter’s course on Sunday.

5:53 It’s 28 and into 3rd for Tom Jackson and Capels Hollow Drift. They’re definitely ones to watch as the competition progresses!

5:52 There have been quite a few 8s in this test – their halt brings them two more. All in all a pleasing test, just the changes were a bit costly this time.

5:51 A blip in the first change drops them down from the 8s they had been pulling in for the canter work. The second one is much better – 8, 7 and 7.5 for that one.

5:50 The scores jump to 8s and 8.5s in the walk! Impressive!

5:49 Lots of nice scores coming in for Tom – everything’s looking rhythmical and easy. Lots of scores in the 7s for their efforts.

5:48 Tom’s been working hard on his dressage and Alex Bragg in the commentary box says he’s seen them warming up looking fabulous. Let’s see if it all comes to fruition.

5:47 Their dressage scores tend to hover around the 30 mark, but with only one cross country jumping fault in five seasons together, they’re sure to be leaderboard climbers on Sunday.

5:46 Next up the center line will be last year’s Burghley runners up, Tom Jackson and Capels Hollow Drift.

Did you know? Capels Hollow Drift is a stallion.

This is their second Badminton together – they finished 16th here last year in their first 5*.

5:55 Another into the 20s! It’s 29.3 for Kirsty Chabert and Opposition Loire.

5:44 A difficult last change drops them down a bit but two 8s for the final halt really rounds this test off nicely.

5:43 There are some 8s creeping into the canter work – an 8.5 for the extended and an 8 for the flying change. There is so much to like about this test.

5:41 Lots of good work happening for Kirsty and Daisy. Kirsty’s getting the marks where she can and being as accurate as possible. 7s and 7.5s are coming in for their walk work.

5:40 Daisy looks fit and well this morning – they’re making a lovely picture as they trot round the ring.

5:39 We’re expecting high-20s to low-30s here today. Let’s see how it pans out.

5:38 Next up we have Kirsty Chabert and Opposition Loire, AKA ‘Daisy’.

Kirsty’s fresh off a flight from Kentucky where she finished just outside the top 20 with Classic VI.

This is Daisy’s first 5* but she’s shown her mettle at the 4*-L level, coming 3rd at Bramham where they added only a few time penalties to their 28.1 dressage score.

Family connection! Daisy is a product of Kirsty’s dad’s breeding program – she used to compete Daisy’s sire.

5:37 It’s 29.6 for Izzy Taylor and Happy Days – it could have been more mid-20s but not to be today. A solid score nonetheless.

5:36 They finish with an 8 for the halt, so a fitting end to a test that showed a lot of promise.

5:35 Oh no! Happy was definitely not happy about the counter canter and change after it – 2s and 3s. What a shame in an otherwise excellent test.

5:34 The scores continue to reflect the very nice work that this pair are producing. Lovely walk work and the quality continues into the canter. This is a very consistent test so far.

5:33 Lots of positive riding from Izzy and Happy’s looking attentive and well, happy. Lots of 7s and 7.5s and a couple of 8s coming in.

5:32 A super start for Izzy and Happy – 8 and 8.5 for the halt.

5:31 Happy Days is a low-30s kind of horse, though he’s been into the 20s a couple of times and posted a 25.9 at Burgham in the 4*-S last year.

5:30 Coming forward on the first of her two rides next is Izzy Taylor with Happy Days.

Well this is a horse whose name just makes you smile 🙂 Will it be happy days for Happy Days at Badminton? We hope so!

This gelding made his 5* debut at Pau last season where he finished 21st.

Their most recent form is 4th place in the 4*-S at Burnham Market – his best 4* result yet.

5:29 It’s a 29 for Harry Meade and Away Cruising. Harry will be pleased with that. Into 3rd for them

5:28 There’s an 8 and 9 for a super square halt at the end. This is looking to be a very strong start for Harry and Spot.

5:27 The stretch circle is lovely and happy and gets 7.5s across the board.

5:26 They’re pulling in 7s for their canter work and produce a very clean change for 7 and 7.5.

5:25 Spot is looking very relaxed and is really allowing Harry to ride him. It’s all very accurate so far and there are some 8s creeping into the scores.

5:24 Did you know? Harry was the youngest rider to pick up an Armada Dish”

5:22 Although capable of going sub-20, the pair haven’t quite cracked that threshold in the last year – Will they manage it here?

5:20 Getting us underway in this session is Harry Meade with Away Cruising.

This gorgeous gray – known at home as ‘Spot’ – brings forward a wealth of experience, having completed here twice before.

He was sidelined for a while but came back to the top level last spring.

Behind the scenes! At home, Away Cruising loves hacking with Harry’s young sons and their ponies.

Harry brought a splash of color to the Horse Inspection yesterday with some snazzy cerise pants – I see he’s gone down the more traditional route with white breeches for his dressage – shame.

5:10 These are the horses and riders we’ll see in the next session:

4:56 It’s 29.5 for Ros and Pencos Crown Jewel. That puts them in 3rd. In the lead we have Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs, 2nd Tim Price and Vitali.

We’re off for a short break now. We’ll be back at 10:20am BST / 5:20am EDT / 2:20am PDT. See you soon!

4:55 And they finish with a lovely square halt – job well done for Ros and Jasmine.

4:54 Lots of lovely marks coming in for Ros and Jasmine – a mix of 7.5s and 8s. The flying changes drop a bit but it’s the only chink in their armor so far.

4:52 There’s so much expression and rhythm happening in this test. They look happy to be together. Another 9 for the halt at C.

4:51 It’s a 9 and an 8 for the halt to begin – a fabulous start to their Badminton!

4:50 They tend to score in the high-20s in this first phase, but we all know that this isn’t a dressage competition and there’s every chance that they’ll be right up there when all’s said and done on Monday.

4:49 Last up before the break we have World No. 3 Ros Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel,

Family connection! ‘Jasmine’ is half-sister to Lordships Graffalo, Ros’ other ride.

This is their third start at the level – they were 5th at Bicton in 2021 and 11th at Burghley last year. How will they fare at their first Badminton?

4:48 27.1 for Tim and Vitali, into 2nd for now.

4:47 There’s some tension coming in with the canter work – the scores are down into the 6s here but Tim’s riding with all his experience and things look to be feeling a bit better for the pair as the canter progresses.

4:45 Ooo Vitali’s extended trot is gorgeous! Two 9s and an 8.5.

4:43 Starting off with 8s for the halt isn’t a bad way to kick off your Badminton campaign. Lots more 8s coming in for what is so far a fluent and elegant performance.

4:42 Their score has rarely dipped outside of the 20s and has been dropping lower and lower – they posted a 21.3 at Burghley last year leaving them in 2nd after the first phase – can they go even lower and one better here? We’ve got a long wait to see where they eventually end up!

4:41 World No.1, New Zealand’s Tim Price, comes forward next with the first of his two rides Vitali.

Tim will be seeing us out tomorrow afternoon as he closes the two days of dressage, but there’s a long way to go before then!

Tim’s ride at the Tokyo Olympics, Vitali was 3rd at Burghley last year and 10th on his 5* debut at Luhmuhlen.

Hot tip! EquiRatings have this pair as most likely to be leading after the dressage – will the stats hold up?

At the Horse Inspection Vitali certainly looked fit and ready – he even managed to get some rein back practice in!

4:39 Pippa gives a big sigh as they halt at the end of their test. She worked hard there. It’s 32.5 for them, a bit below what they’d have hoped for but Majas Hope looks excited for all the good stuff to come.

4:37 Pippa’s sitting quietly in the walk to keep Majas Hope on track and it comes bubbling out a bit as they set off into canter. He’s looking a little spooky but Pippa knows him well and is riding with all her experience and brilliance.

4:36 There’s lots of 7s and some 8s coming in – lovely marks for a lovely test so far.

4:35 Majas Hope is looking ready for his competition to start. He looks absolutely gorgeous this morning and gets an 8 and 9 for the halt.

4:34 We can likely expect sub-30 here this morning. Go Pippa!

4:33 Now it’s the turn of Pippa Funnell MBE and Majas Hope.

Pippa is a multiple Olympic, European and World medalist and the first (and only in the long format) winner of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing.

She’s a Wesko Equestrian Foundation mentor, video game star and children’s author – she’ll be signing her books here this weekend in between riding and course walking.

Majas Hope has five 5* completions under his belt.

4:32 It’s 34.2 for Dan and Cooley One To Many.

4:30 The final changes are a bit sticky but overall, for a first time at the level, Jack’s done a lovely job.

4:27 Jack’s very settled in the walk and is rewarded for that in the scores. All solid so far for this pair.

4:27 Dan’s riding a correct and accurate test. Everything looks very safe so far.

4:26 This pair have scored in the 20s, but their average is around the 30 mark.

4:25 Next up the center line will be New Zealand rider Dan Jocelyn and 5* first-timer Cooley One To Many.

Safe to say that ‘Jack’ is a bit quirky! When a horse comes with extensive instructions – as Jack did when he moved to Dan’s yard from Daisy Berkley’s – it’s kind of a giveaway!

4:24 Oliver looks very pleased as he leaves the ring, and so he should. It’s 23.1 for Oliver and Swallow Springs.

4:23 They’ll be comfortably in the lead – how long will they stay there?

4:21 As we expect from Oliver, this test is being ridden so accurately. Nicola Wilson in the commentary box says Oliver’s riding for gold.

4:20 Lots of 8s coming in for Oliver and a 10 in the halt!

4:19 They start off with 8s and a 9 in the halt! They are focused and ready for this by the looks of things.

4:18 Their scores in this phase generally hover around the mid-20s but they dip below that too. This is one to watch!

4:17 Our third to go this morning is Oliver Townend. Oliver had no fewer than five horses entered for Badminton this year. He’s had to choose just two to compete – he comes forward first with the former Andrew Nicholson ride Swallow Springs.

Top tip! This is EquiRatings favorite for the win.

This lovely gelding has been 3rd at Burghley and 5th here with Andrew Nicholson – he was 3rd here last year with Oliver. How will things shape up this year?

4:17 It’s 32.2 for Fiona and Carthago, a very nice start to their competition.

4:16 This pair are happy and harmonious together and are being rewarded for that in the scores – lots of 7s and 7.5s coming through.

4:15 Everything’s looking very accurate so far in the changes – they’ve had a 7 and a 7.5

4:13 Carthago’s looking a bit fussy in the walk. Fiona will be glad to get into canter.

4:11 There’s a little canter stride after the halt after a positive, confident entry. They’re back together now and are scoring some 7s and 7.5s for their trot work.

4:12 The duo consistently delivers dressage scores in the low to mid-30s. Let’s see what they come up with today.

4:11 Next to join us in the main arena at Badminton is Fiona Kashel with her the first of her two rides here this week, WSF Carthago.

Fiona and WSF Carthago come forward for their third time at the level.

They had a successful start to their 5* campaign with a top 10 finish at Luhmuhlen and a Pau completion.

Fiona has brought WSF Carthago through the levels from 1* to 5*.

4:10 It’s 34.6 for Wills and Rich. We think the 1 for the halt was an error.

4:08 And the first rider of the event have done their test. Score to follow. The trending scores were a bit of a mixed bag – some difficult moments but some truly lovely work too.

4:06 The scores were 1s and 2s for the rein back. So disappointing when everything was looking so happy. They’re back together now and have just had two 8s and a 7.5 for the change.

4:05 Oh dear! Rich has taken a bit of offence about being asked to halt when he was enjoying his trot work. It’s a 1 from the judge at B for the halt.

4:05 It’s a lovely start to the test, a few little wobbles but a lovely overall picture of horse and rider working together.

4:02 And we’re off down the center line!

4:02 They scored 32.4 in the first phase at Burghley – the horse’s first 5* – their best dressage score at any level. How will today’s test compare? We’re about to see! He’s just waiting for the signal. Rich is looking relaxed and happy as they canter round the outside of the ring, so that’s a good sign.

3:59 Our pathfinders for the event are Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley.

‘Rich’ made his 5* debut last year at Burghley, where he finished 13th.

Breeding info! Rich has the same sire and dam sire as Wills’ other ride – making them half-brother-cousins, kind of!

3:53 Here’s a look at who we’ve got coming forward in the first session:

3:52 What’s up ENers?!!! It’s day one of dressage and we couldn’t be more excited to see what unfolds!

Before we get into the nitty gritty of it all, I’d just like us to think about the HUGE achievement it is for all of the horses and riders who canter up the center line over the next couple of days.

No matter what twists and turns their competition takes, just being here is awesome and we salute them all.

Shout out to any American friends who are following this live in the very early hours of your morning. All hail the eventing superfans!

Let’s do this thing!

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