Rise and shine ENers! We’re back with the competition at the 2023 Badminton Horse Trials!
We’ll be kicking off with the first competitor – Aaron Millar and KEC Deakon – at around 8am BST / 3am EDT / Midnight PDT.
The second US competitor here this weekend – Lillian Heard Wood with LCC Barnaby will be second into the arena – so heads up crazy American eventing superfans if you’re up and watching!
It’s a funny, fractured sort of schedule today, due to the late morning break for the coronation of King Charles. Canadian Mike Winters with El Mundo will be last to go before the break for the Coronation – he’s up at 10:07am BST / 5:07am EDT / 2:07am PDT.
We’ll resume proceedings at 1:00pm BST / 8:00am EDT / 5:00am PDT with Emily King and Valmy Biats, before closing play after the final test – that of Maryland 5* winners Tim Price and Coup de Couer Dudevin, at 3.26pm BST / 10:06am EDT / 7:06am PDT.
Who will be leading the field as we go into cross country tomorrow? We can’t wait to see! 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.
Here’s a look at how the leaderboard stands as we break for lunch, and the Coronation:
10:36 What a day! What a two days! Wow!
After the dressage at Badminton 2023, top of the leaderboard going into the cross country we have Ros Canter and Lordships Graffalo on a score of 22.1. Kitty King is in 2nd with Vendredi Biats on 22.3. And Oliver Townend hangs on in 3rd with Swallow Springs on 23.2. Gemma Stevens is just 0.1 behind with Jalapeno on a score of 23.3, and Tom McEwen and Toldeo de Kerser round off the top 5 on 23.6.
Will they stay there? How much shuffling will take place? Will it stop raining?
It’s all to play for at Badminton!
Thanks to everyone who’s followed along – it’s been a blast!
If you’re reading this after the event, scroll to the bottom and read up!
We’ll be back with live updates from the cross country tomorrow at around 11:30am BST / 6:30am EDT / 3:30am PDT. Keep it locked onto EN for the full dressage report – coming soon!
10:35 And that’s a wrap! (For the first phase at least!)
10:34 Tim Price and Coup de Coeur Dudevin score 26 and go into the top 10.
10:33 And we have the final halt of the dressage at Badminton – a 9 sums things up nicely.
10:32 Another difficult change and Joker looks a bit muddled. Tim’s got him working nicely again for him though and the scores are back up to 7s and 8s.
10:31 Another 9 for the half circle in walk, although a sticky change sees them score 4, 5 and 6.
10:29 Their halt at X gets three 9s. That’s a bit of a marker of the quality we’re seeing here.
10:29 Lots more 8s coming in as Joker works fluently and shows off his suppleness.
10:28 A very smart entrance and super square halt gets them off to a great start – 8s across the board.
10:27 They scored a 27.4 in the first phase at Maryland 5*, which they went on to win. Will they improve on that today?
10:26 Rounding off our two days of dressage is World No.1, New Zealand’s Tim Price and Coup de Coeur Dudevin.
A former Chris Burton and then Jonelle Price ride, ‘Joker’ and Tim have only been together a year and have already got a 5* win under their girth.
Tim’s aiming for his sixth 5* win here this week – and his first Badminton victory.
Will this be his year? It all starts here!
10:25 Pippa Funnell and Billy Walk On score 27.1. He looks very happy with himself and so he should. Lots of nice work on show there.
10:24 Billy Walk On doesn’t want to stretch in the stretch circle and their scores dip a bit.
10:23 It’s 8s across the board for the first flying change – super!
10:22 Pippa’s sitting quiet in the walk and Billy Walk On shows purpose in his medium work. They score two 8s in the half circle.
10:21 Billy Walk On looks supple and happy in the early part of the test. The trot work shows off some of his elegance and Pippa’s riding positively.
10:20 Pippa shushes the crowd as she canters under the arch. Her fans listen and are waiting with baited breath to see this test.
10:19 We can surely look forward to a dressage in the 20s, potentially the low 20s – watch this space!
10:18 Our penultimate combination is Pippa Funnell with her homebred Billy Walk On.
Billy Walk On returns to Badminton to put right his previous two outings – he was retired on the cross country after picking up a 20 both last year and in 2019.
Billy Walk On is a big, long horse who’s a lot to keep together.
This pair have had 24 top 10 results from 37 FEI starts.
Billy Walk On looked beautifully bouncy in the Horse Inspection yesterday.
10:17 It’s 30.3 for Dan Jocelyn and Blackthorn Cruise.
10:15 The canter continues in the same kind of way. The horse is listening and performing the movements but there’s a little bit of tension in the neck which is keeping their scores to around 7 or so.
10:14 Blackthorn Cruise looks to be working well for Dan. He’s obedient and steady and their marks are trending around 7.
10:12 Dan’s right on the time as he enters the arena – goodness, he cut that fine! Blackthorn Cruise had a spook by the judges on his way there which slowed him down a bit. But he’s in and they’re performing their trot work very nicely.
10:11 We’re expecting a mid to low-30s mark here, although they have been known to sneak into the 20s.
10:10 New Zealand’s Dan Jocelyn returns to the ring with his second ride this year, Blackthorn Cruise.
Dan has brought Blackthorn Cruise all the way through the levels – from BE100 to their first 5* at Burghley in 2021.
The pair were part of the silver medal winning Nations Cup team at Boekelo in 2021.
10:09 Fiona Kashel and Creevagh Silver De Haar score 34.1.
10:07 The gelding is showing what he thinks of the mud by swishing his tail round as he goes. He really is trying hard for Fiona and their relationship with one another is clear. They’re doing a good job in tough conditions.
10:05 Silver De Haar looks to not be enjoying the ground conditions. He’s trying for Fiona and performing everything asked of him, but he’s not really settled in and showing off what it looks like he could do.
10:04 Another one to slip slightly into the halt on the very muddy center line. A bit of a wobble scores them 7s and a 6 to start their test.
10:03 They’re generally pretty consistent in this phase, trending around the low to mid-30s.
10:02 Our second rider to go yesterday, Fiona Kashel is back with Creevagh Silver De Haar.
Like her first ride, Fiona has brought Creevagh Silver De Haar through the levels from 1*.
Their first 5* came at Badminton last year. They’ve also completed at Pau.
10:01 Izzy Taylor and Graf Cavalier score 31.5. Izzy’s got to be pleased with that for this mare. Good work.
10:00 Ah, the change didn’t really happen when it was meant to and they score 2s. But Izzy doesn’t let it bother her and they continue in the positive way that they’ve approached the test as a whole.
9:59 Graf Cavalier is ready for the canter to start, although she worked nicely in the walk for Izzy. This test is looking very steady and positive.
9:58 It’s 8s across the board for an expressive extended trot.
9:57 Once she gets settled, Graf Cavalier is relaxing nicely into her work. They look positive and are delivering a solid test so far.
9:55 Expect mid to high-30s here, although the mare did produce some sub-30s at earlier on in her career.
9:54 Izzy Taylor joins us once more, with her second ride Graf Cavalier.
Did you know? Graf Cavalier is a former Piggy March ride.
This is one of the least experienced horses in the field – despite being 13. In 2020 and 2021 she had just one FEI run per year, and in 2022 she only ran two internationals.
9:53 Laura Collett and Decapo are in the mix! They score 25.2 and go into 7th.
9:52 There’s lots of pats for Cal and a big round of applause from a very wet looking crowd. It was a really smart test.
9:51 More 8s are popping up in their canter work now. Cal is really trying hard and it’s nice to see such a lovely partnership working together.
9:50 So far everything’s happening as it should for this pair and they’re pulling in 7s and a few 8s. There’s a 9 for their collected canter which is elegant and flowing.
9:49 Cal looks a picture this afternoon – he’s bouncy and soft and he looks like he’s working very hard for Laura.
9:48 This pair are capable of a very low-20s score in this first phase – they creep higher sometimes though so we’ll have to see how they get on today!
9:47 Next up we have reigning champion Laura Collett who comes forward with Decapo, who’s known as ‘Cal’ at home.
This is Cal’s second attempt at 5* and Laura’ll be hoping for their first completion.
They’ve had a strong lead up, with a win in the 4*-S at Burnham Market and not finishing outside the top 5 at any event they’ve completed since September 2021.
9:46 It’s 24.7 and 6th place for Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class. Oliver looks a little disappointed, but this is not going to be a dressage test, that’s for sure!
9:45 A couple of bobbles, but overall, a smart test in difficult ground conditions.
9:44 After a sticky first change, he nails the second one for yet more 8s.
9:42 There’s real purpose in their walk work – they average around 8 for those movements. They set off meaning business in the canter – more 8s and 8.5s coming in.
9:41 So far this is a steady, accurate test. They’re perhaps not showing off all of their sparkle just yet, but Thomas looks very happy in his work.
9:40 The mud splashed up Thomas’ legs says it all about the ground conditions. He opts to halt just off the track and gets a 9 and an 8 for a very square halt.
9:39 We’re expecting sub-25 here – he’s had a 20.8 and 21.1 here before. How low will he be this time?
9:38 Next into the arena is Oliver Townend with Olympic team gold medal winning horse Ballaghmor Class.
This is the second of Oliver’s rides here this week. He was third to go yesterday and sits in 3rd – how will he do today?
‘Thomas’ has an impressive record on his form card – seven 5* completions, two wins, never out of the top 5, as well as Olympic and World Championships call-ups.
As a combination they’ve won at Burghley and Kentucky, can they add Badminton to the list?
He may look easy when he’s floating round the arena with Oliver, but he’s very sharp and has had everyone on the floor at home. Oliver’s always liked him though and their relationship is evident in the success they’ve had together.
9:37 It’s 26.9 for Harry Meade and Tenareze, who go into 7th.
9:36 There’s a bit of a bunny hop on the changes but overall the canter is as nice as the rest of their work. Tenareze stretches right down in the stretch circle and gets a 9 and an 8.
9:34 The excellent quality continues into their walk work. More 8s for them. What a lovely picture they’re showing of a horse and rider working as one.
9:33 Everything’s looking harmonious and effortless and they’re being rewarded with lots of 7.5s and 8s – there’s an 8.5 for the extended trot.
9:32 Harry and Tenareze get their test underway was a beautiful square halt for an 8.5 and an 8. A great start for the pair.
9:31 They are capable of a sub-30 score in this phase – his 5* debut at Pau saw them on a 29.3. Will they better that here?
9:30 Getting us back underway is Harry Meade with his second ride, Tenareze.
Tenareze won the World Championship for Young Horses at Le Lion D’Angers as both a 6 and 7-year-old with previous rider, Tom Carlile.
The horse was a bit ‘ditchy’, so Harry walked 1000 ditches a month with him to build his confidence and prove to him that there were no trolls lurking in the depths.
8:56 We’re off for the final break break now.
As we go into the break, we have new leaders – Ros Canter and Lordships Graffalo lead the pack, Kitty King and Vendredi Biats are 2nd and Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs are 3rd.
We’ll be back at 2:30pm BST / 9:30am EDT / 6:30am PDT for the final session. Then we’ll know who our leaders will be going into tomorrow’s cross country! See you soon!
8:55 What a test! It’s 9, 8.5 and 8 for the collectives and into the lead for Ros Canter and Lordships Graffalo – 22.1 for them!
8:53 There’s a little bit of tension in the changes, but everything else is spot on. What an exciting young horse this is.
8:52 Some lovely relaxed walk brings in more lovely scores. And it continues into the canter – a 9 and two 8s for the medium.
8:51 Lots of 8s coming in, also 8.5s and 9s. Serious scores are coming in here!
8:49 Walter looks an absolute picture as he canters down the center line. They look relaxed and confident and score a 9, 8.5 and 8 for the halt. What a start!
8:48 We can expect to see this pair near the top of the leaderboard after dressage, and they’re very capable of staying there.
8:47 Next into the ring we have last year’s runners up – current World No. 3 Ros Canter and Lordships Graffalo.
As a 5* debutant last year, Walter loved his first Badminton – Will he go one better this year?
This pair were 4th individually at the World Championships in Pratoni.
Walter’s known for being the yard clown and a bit of an entertainer – something which helps him shine in this phase.
Breeding info! Walter is half-brother the Ros’ other ride, Pencos Crown Jewel.
8:46 They walk out looking very relaxed. Luc looks happy with his horse. It’s 37 for Luc Chateau and Arklow Puissance.
8:45 The tension is showing in the changes now. Luc is sitting quiet but can’t really let the reins go in the stretch circle. They’re nearly at the end now. It started off as a very relaxed test but the tension’s mounted as they’ve gone on.
8:44 Viens du Mont looks a bit tense in the walk and Luc rides very tactically to keep him from jogging. He’ll be glad to get into canter.
8:42 It’s a nice relaxed picture so far for this pair. Everything’s accurate and they look like a happy partnership.
8:41 We’re expecting a score in the 30s here, but it’s hard to predict whereabouts as they swing a bit from one end to the other.
They’ll be climbing the leaderboard come Sunday though, with no cross country penalties in their 18 FEI runs.
8:40 French rider Luc Chateau is next up with Viens du Mont for the horse’s second 5* start.
Luc and his wife run a breeding program at home in France and have just welcomed a foal out of Michael Jung’s superstar mare, FischerRocana.
8:39 Wills Oakden and Arklow Puissance score 34.
8:39 Oh no! After so much lovely work, Arklow gets upset in the final change. Wills has to work very hard to keep him together, but he manages it and they pull it all back for an 8 for the halt at the end. Such a shame in what was overall a very nice performance.
8:38 The scores have crept up a bit as they do their canter work. Lots of 7.5s coming in.
8:36 Arklow shows what he thinks of standing in the mud as he side steps off the track in the halt. He did it in the first halt too. It didn’t affect his scores though. He continues looking relaxed in the walk.
8:35 Arklow Puissance is in a very nice frame as he trots round the arena. He looks soft and supple and very rideable and happy.
8:34 This pairing have scored everything from 32.1 to 42.6 in this phase – let’s see how they get on this time out.
8:33 He was out first yesterday and now he’s back for another go – next up it’s Wills Oakden and Arklow Puissance.
Arklow Puissance is a former Oliver Townend ride.
Wills brings him to Badminton for the horse’s first 5*.
Family connection! Wills’ dad and aunt both competed at Badminton.
Fun fact! Wills’ loves to do the laundry and won’t let his wife near the washing machine at home!
8:32 Helen Martin and Andreas score 32.8.
8:31 Helen finishes with the same big grin she started. There are huge cheers in the crowd and massive pats for Alfie, who’s sure everyone has shown up just to watch him.
8:30 The scores are a bit lower for the canter work than for the trot, but it’s all accurate enough and horse and rider look like a great team.
8:29 In the commentary box they’ve spotted the crown quarter marks! Alfie’s walk is very, very good – two 8s for the half circle.
8:28 Alfie’s showing off all his elegance and lift in the trot work. He’s showing a lot of ability and is pulling in lots of 7s.
8:27 Helen looks thrilled to be riding at Badminton. She’s got a huge smile on her face and it’s great to see!
8:26 They’re aiming for a solid dressage – low-30s if possible.
8:25 First time 5* alert! Helen Martin and Andreas come forward for their first 5* together.
Based just 30 minutes down the road, ‘Alfie’ can smell the turf on the Badminton cross country course when the wind’s blowing the right way.
Family connection! Helen’s farrier husband has done Alfie’s shoes for the occasion, etching them with ‘Badminton’.
Alfie was spotted sporting some very smart home-crafted crown shaped quarter marks in the Horse Inspection – which sadly got washed off in the downpour. He got big cheers from the crowd.
Fun fact! Alfie’s known as the King at home so it’s fitting he’s making his 5* debut on Coronation day.
8:24 Bubby Upton and Cola score 31.4.
8:23 8s across the board to wrap up an overall, very nice test.
8:21 Cola got his tension out in time for the walk – they score an 8 and 9 for the half circle. It’s back for the first change though. There are lots of highlights happening, and a couple of wobbles.
8:20 Bubby is working on the inside track to avoid the mud. Lots of clever riding happening here. Cola shows the tension Bubby’s trying to keep at bay in the rein back, which scores 4s.
8:18 Cola looks a little bit on his toes as they canter up the center line. Bubby’s sitting quiet and encouraging him to relax – it works – they get a 9 and an 8 for the halt and salute.
8:17 They’ve scored everything from mid-20s to low-30s. Can they put down a competitive score here? Let’s see.
8:16 Next we have Bubby Upton and Cola.
Bubby’s back at Badminton for another go after a heartbreaking run out at the final fence on cross country day last year.
They were 14th at Burghley last year.
Bubby is a former British under-25 champion.
8:15 Georgia Bartlett and Spano de Nazca score 31.2.
8:14 Overall there have been some excellent moments in this test and it’s great to see a horse and rider pair working so well together.
8:13 There’s another 8 for the half circle in walk. This is a very impressive performance for such a young rider – she’s 22.
8:12 Nono looks very relaxed and happy to be in the Main Arena at Badminton. He’s working really well for Georgia and does a beautiful rein back for an 8.
8:11 Nono shows off a very nice floaty medium trot and they’re pulling in lots of 7.5s in the early part of their test.
8:10 Their scores in this phase tend to vary from the high-20s to the mid-30s but with a wealth of experience coming up the levels together, a clear on Sunday is possible, and with it a jump up the leaderboard.
8:09 First-time 5* alert! 22-year-old Georgia Bartlett and her ‘best friend’ Spano de Nazca are next into the ring.
This partnership has been together for seven years and Nono has been with Georgia from BE100 all the way to 5*.
8:08 It’s 31.3 for Emily King and Valmy Biats.
8:07 Gemma Stevens in the commentary box is commenting on the ground in the arena, which is really quite squelchy now after a full morning of rain. Emily ends with two 8s in the halt in what has been a lovely test with some very good moments.
8:06 It’s more of the same in the canter work – lovely and rhythmical, accurately ridden by Emily and a nice picture overall.
8:04 Valmy Biats looks very relaxed and rideable and is really working with Emily. The stretch circle is lovely and scores 7s across the board.
8:03 It’s a great start for Emily with an 8 and 8.5 in the halt.
8:02 There’s news of changes to the cross country course due to the weather – we’ll bring you more info on that as we know it.
8:01 This pair could potentially give us another dressage in the 20s. Let’s see how they show up today.
8:00 Welcome back! We have a King at the top of the leaderboard and now it’s time for another one. Getting us back underway this afternoon is, appropriately, Emily King and Valmy Biats.
They come here fresh off a win at Thoresby Park in the 4*-S.
Emily had a fall here last year so she’ll be hoping to put that right this year.
Fun fact! Valmy Biats is part owned by the Event Horse Owners Syndicate – You can buy a tiny part of him for £95!
Behind the scenes! Last weekend Emily King ran the London Marathon so she’s certainly fit enough for a ride round the cross country here.
5:17 And now we’ll be taking a break for the Coronation. If you’re celebrating – enjoy! If you’re going for a long lunch – enjoy! If you’re in the US and sleeping through all the royal shenanigans – enjoy!
We’ll be back at 1pm BST / 8am EDT / 5am PDT to continue with the dressage.
There are changes at the top of the leaderboard after this morning’s action:
Kitty King is in 1st on 22.3 with Oliver Townend in 2nd on Swallow Springs on 23.2.
Snapping at Oliver’s heels in 3rd is Gemma Stevens and Jalapeno on 23.3.
Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser have gone into 4th this morning with a score of 23.6.
And William Fox-Pitt rounds off the top five with Grafennacht on 25.8.
5:16 It’s 32.2 for Mike Winter and El Mundo.
5:15 Well Mike did a great job keeping that together to finish their test on a positive note. He looks so upset with himself. Roberto decides to have some grass to try and make Mike smile.
5:13 Oh no! Mike’s forgotten the stretch circle. What a total shame. Everything was going so well for them. He’s goes back to complete the movement.
5:12 Roberto’s being very obedient and is trying hard for Mike. They look like a happy pair as they deliver a clean test.
5:11 Everything is clean and solid in the first part of this test. Lots of 7s, some 7.5s coming in for them.
5:10 They get off to a solid start with 7s across the board for their halt.
5:09 We can probably expect a mid to low 30s score here, although they have been as low as 29.6 – at Roberto’s first 5* at Bicton in 2021.
5:08 Last up before the long break will be double Olympic and World Championship rider, Canada’s Mike Winter with El Mundo. This pair are back for another spin round Badminton.
The original plan was for Mike to produce ‘Roberto’ and sell him on, but when a major injury put the gelding on box rest and Mike took care of him round-the-clock, the bond they formed meant that selling him was not an option.
Mike is an outspoken advocate for diversity and anti-racism in the sport, as well as a range of equality issues.
Fun fact! Mike is a keen snowboarder.
5:07 William Fox-Pitt and Grafennacht score 25.8 – they’re into 5th.
5:06 A very relaxed stretch circle gets them an 8 and an 8.5.
5:04 Lillie does a great change even whilst going to the toilet!
5:03 Lots of 7.5s and some 8s coming in for this pair. William’s making it look easy, and we all know it’s not!
5:02 William elects to halt just slightly off the side to the soft spot that’s developed in the middle of the arena due to the rain. Lillie is relaxed and fluent in her movements – she looks happy to be out there this morning.
5:01 Lillie is well capable of a mid-20s dressage score so let’s see how she fares in her first 5* test.
5:00 Well, this will be a familiar figure to eventing fans – Here comes multi Olympic, Worlds and European medalist William Fox-Pitt with Grafennacht.
William already has four Armada dishes to his name, and he’s lifted the Badminton trophy twice before – Will he make it a third time this year?
William describes ‘Lillie’ as a ‘tough old wench’! Safe to say, that’s 100% a compliment when you’re talking about a Badminton horse.
4:59 It’s 46.4 for Lauren Innes and Flobal Fision M.
4:58 Not at all what Lauren would have hoped for, but a great display of compassionate riding. There’s lots of pats for Flipper as he’s still very upset as he leaves the ring.
4:56 Flipper’s a bit wibbily wobbily as they canter round the corners. Lauren is doing remarkably well in a difficult situation.
4:54 Lauren is doing a great job of just trying to ride the floor plan on a horse that is totally on his toes. She’s rubbing his withers to let him know that everything’s OK.
4:54 A nightmare start for Lauren – Flipper won’t go forwards and instead goes sideways and backwards. Lauren gets him going but then tracks the wrong way at C. They’re back on track now. What a shame.
4:53 Flipper can get incredibly hot in this phase – potential fireworks alert! Let’s hope he keeps it all under wraps and the atmosphere doesn’t get to him. Fingers crossed.
4:52 Next up it’s New Zealand rider Lauren Innes and Global Fision M.
Fun fact! Lauren is a full-time accountant.
‘Flipper’ is Lauren’s only upper-level horse.
This is Lauren and Flipper’s second visit to Badminton together.
She’s swapped the crown she was wearing for the Horse Inspection for her riding helmet today.
4:51 They’re sub-30! It’s 29.7 for Selina Milnes and Iron.
4:50 A very straight halt on the center line ends a test that had lots of nice highlights. It’s 8 across the board for the halt.
4:49 There’s some tail swishing going on as they set off in canter, but that could be because of the rain. Iron’s not looking quite as soft as he was and there are a couple of sticky changes.
4:48 They score a 10 for the halt and an 8 for the rein back. Very nice work.
4:47 Iron avoids the boggy patch where he’s meant to halt but goes on to show really nice expression in the trot work. It’s open and flowing and really quite lovely.
4:46 Their 5* scores in this phase hover between 30 and 31. Will they squeak into the 20s this time around?
4:44 Selina Milnes and Iron are our next to go.
This combination are looking for their second Badminton completion.
‘Bently’ brought Selina back up to the 5* level after a 10 year hiatus with an 8th place finish at Pau in 2021.
Family connection! Selina is married to an equine vet and her brother is farrier to Team GB.
4:43 It’s 38 for Arthur Duffort and Toronto D’Aurois, who is still looking around as he makes his way out of the arena.
4:42 It’s pouring with rain as they complete their final halt. Arthur’s done a great job on a horse that was a bit looky. Some lovely moments – and an 8 for the halt at the end – for them.
4:40 The walk is relaxed enough but Toronto’s still upset in the top corner of the ring and it affects his canter transition. They get going though and squelch their way through the canter work.
4:38 Toronto’s showing a really lovely rhythmical trot – he’s balanced and expressive and they’re a picture to watch together.
4:37 Toronto is another horse taking a wary look at the camera operator’s raincoat. He’s still looking over there as he halts in the arena.
4:36 Their scores are generally around the mid to high-30s in this phase, with their 5* tests trending towards the top of the scale.
4:35 Next up the center line will be British-based French combination Arthur Duffort and Toronto D’Aurois.
It’s a second Badminton for this pair who have four 5* starts under their girths already.
The original plan for ‘Toronto’ was for him to be sold on, but he had other plans – he was so difficult no one wanted him!
Toronto’s groom, Leonore Gignoux, told me she wishes she could turn off the giant screen in the dressage arena for Toronto’s test because he’s so shy.
4:34 It’s 36 for Tom Crisp and Liberty and Glory.
4:33 Lori nods to the judges in the final halt. That was well ridden by Tom – she’s been quite delicate in the ring this morning and he got some nice moments out of her in that test.
4:31 Lori’s not as happy in the walk but she’s picked up a nice rhythm in the canter.
4:30 There’s lots of solid work happening for this pair – lots of 7s coming in for them.
4:29 Lori takes a look round as she halts for the salute but she’s working happily in trot and looks to be lovely and rideable at the beginning of their test.
4:28 Expect high-30s here for this tempestuous mare – and a mammoth climb hereafter.
4:27 Next up we have Tom Crisp and Liberty and Glory.
At Pau in 2018, this feisty mare climbed 54 places on the leaderboard to finish 6th.
The pair were 9th at Burghley last year.
Family connection! ‘Lori’ is out of a Thoroughbred mare who Tom’s wife, Sophie, competed. She was bred by Sophie’s parents.
Fun fact! ‘Lori’ was born on the 4th of July – hence her name – Liberty and Glory.
4:26 A great job for Kristina Hall-Jackson and CMS Google – it’s 30.9 for them.
4:25 Everything’s looking even and rhythmical in the canter work and Google’s relaxation in the stretch circle awards her two 8s. There’s some really lovely work happening here.
4:23 The first change comes a bit early but it’s good and clean.
4:22 The arena’s looking – and sounding – a bit squelchy as the rain continues to fall at Badminton. Google doesn’t look too bothered by it though – she’s working really nicely for Kristina and everything is very neat, tidy and careful.
4:21 This combination have squeaked sub-30 a couple of times, but they’re more likely to hover around the mid-30s mark. Let’s see what they can do here.
4:20 Badminton rookie alert! Kristina Hall-Jackson is getting us back underway with her lovely mare CMS Google.
Did you know? Kristina has been riding since she was 18 months old!
This is Kristina and Google’s second 5* outing – their first was Burghley last year where they finished 35th.
Kristina describes Google as ‘the biggest chicken’ at home and ‘brave as a lion’ at events.
Fun fact! Google is scared of the dark!
3:56 At the break, Kitty King and Vendredi Biats lead the field, followed by Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs in 2nd. 3rd is Gemma Stevens and Jalapeno. We’re off for a short break now. We’ll be back at 9:19am BST / 4:19am EDT / 1:19am PDT. Back soon!
3:55 There’s been lots to like in this test, and a couple of wobbly moments. Bill Levett and Huberthus AC score 32.5.
3:53 More accurate work in the canter, until the counter canter upsets things and they get 3s and a 2 for the flying change.
3:51 Bill’s riding a really accurate test so far. Everything’s solid and they’re rewarded with 8s for a lovely square halt at C.
3:50 Bart’s scores can be a bit inconsistent in this phase – from the very low-30s to the very low-40s. Being his first 5*, it’ll all depend on how he enjoys the atmosphere at a big event like Badminton.
3:49 Here’s a name eventing fans will be familiar with – Australia’s Bill Levett brings forward Huberthus AC for the horse’s first 5*. They’re last to go before the break.
At 60, Bill’s one of the most experienced riders in the field.
Bill first competed at Badminton 23 years ago and represented Australia at the 2014 and 2018 World Championships.
3:48 Alex looks absolutely soaking after completing his test in the very soggy conditions. Diva’s checking out the crowd and looks excited to be at Badminton. It’s 34.3 for Alex Bragg and Quindiva.
3:45 Diva’s still not forgotten about that camera, but she’s listening to Alex and working nicely in the canter work.
3:44 Diva’s settling as she gets into her test. A very deliberate rein back is rewarded with 7.5s.
3:42 There’s a spook on the outside of the arena from Diva – she’s spotted the camera. Alex is taking his time to settle her before going in. They’re on the center line now and Diva’s keeping a bit of an eye on that camera.
3:41 This little mare trends sub-30 in the first phase – can she keep up that record here?
3:40 Next up we have Alex Bragg and Quindiver for the mare’s first 5*, and Alex’s ninth.
Alex started out as a farrier and shoes all of the Team Bragg horses.
3:39 A huge smile from Kitty as they halt at the end of their test. Kitty King and Vendredi Biats go into the lead! 22.3 for them.
3:38 It’s 8s and 8.5s for the change. Kitty’s really going for everything. They’ve now had a 9 for a flying change!
3:37 A very secure halt at C is rewarded with a 10!
3:36 Well they’ve started off in the right way – 8s and 8.5s for the first halt. Froggy looks supple and rideable and, despite the mud, beautifully turned out this morning. Great job by the grooms!
3:35 John Kyle in the commentary box says we could be looking at our winner with this pair. I hope so – they’re in my Eventing Manager team!
3:34 At Burghley last year they delivered a 21.2 in this phase. They’re consistently mid-20s or below. What will it be here?
3:33 Kitty King and Vendredi Biats will be next down the center line.
Fun fact! Vendredi Biats is known as ‘Froggy’ at home!
Last year they were 7th here, with a 6th place at Burghley later in the season. Can they get closer to the top of the leaderboard here? I think so – they’re in my Eventing Manager team!
Froggy has the best 5* dressage average in the field.
3:32 It’s into 3rd for Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser – 23.6 for them.
3:31 8s across the board for the final halt. Nicola’s clapping in the commentary box. Toledo looks pleased with himself.
3:29 It really does look very wet at Badminton right now. Toledo’s canter work isn’t necessarily happening as easily as we’re perhaps used to seeing it, but it’s all happening as it’s meant to.
3:28 Lots of 8s coming in for this pair. There’s super harmony between horse and rider, it’s accurate and relaxed and they make a gorgeous picture.
3:27 A very expressive medium trot gets them an 8.5 and 9 from the judges.
3:26 Tom’s come in looking extremely confident and positive. Nicola Wilson in the commentary box says there’s an air of ‘Look at me’ about them.
3:25 Consistent and flashy, they reliably score mid-20s – or better. Watch this space.
3:24 Next into the arena will be Olympic team gold and individual silver medalists Tom McEwen and Toledo De Kerser.
Tom came here last year fired up after their Olympic success but it wasn’t to be. Will this year be their year?
The pair have been to two World Championships (winning team gold in Tryon) as well as the Tokyo Olympics.
Tom comes here fresh off the plane from Kentucky, where he came 2nd on JL Dublin.
Behind the scenes! Toledo is a bit of a quirky character and doesn’t do any jumping at home.
3:23 It’s big pats and a bite of arena grass for Church’lle – Arthur Marx and Church’lle score 34.7.
3:22 They’re picking up some nice marks now – 7s across the board for their flying change.
3:20 Arthur’s riding the test really accurately to make sure he gets all the marks he can. Church’lle seems to have settled during the walk and they set off into canter looking a lot more relaxed.
3:19 Church’lle looks like he thinks it should be cross country day. Arthur’s doing really well to keep him settled.
3:18 This pair typically score in the mid to high-30s in this phase.
3:17 Next we have French rider Arthur Marx and Church’lle.
This is their second 5* together.
Family connection! Church’lle is a family homebred – Arthur’s dad rode both his dam and grand-dam.
More family ties! He’s one of five horses in the field by Grafenstolz – so it’s a bit of a family reunion for the half-siblings here, who include Ros Canter’s Lordships Graffalo and William Fox-Pitt’s Grafennacht.
3:15 They finish a very safe test. It’s 39.5 for Lillian Heard Wood and LCC Barnaby.
3:13 The canter work is steady, but it’s in a nice rhythm. It’s all a bit conservative and contained – so no big scores.
3:12 A little stumble doesn’t bother this experienced campaigner – Barnaby keeps going and seems to be doing his best for Lillian right now.
3:10 Lots of reassuring pats for Barnaby as they trot round the outside of the arena. They’re up the center line and looking steady and solid so far.
3:09 We’re hoping for low-30s for Barnaby between the boards today. Let’s see how this long-time partnership get on.
3:08 Now it’s the turn of our second US pairing – Lillian Heard Wood and LCC Barnaby.
Barnaby is the most experienced horse in the field with 12 5* starts under his girth. He’s one of five 17-year-olds in the field.
This is their second Badminton. They didn’t complete last year, so here’s hoping this time they’ll add another 5* completion to their record.
Barnaby started out as a bit of a rogue gelding who no one enjoyed riding – and then he met Lillian and they’ve become familiar faces at the top events all over the world.
3:07 It’s 28.8 for Aaron Millar and KEC Deakon – what a fabulous start for them – into 6th.
3:06 A couple of sticky changes in there but Aaron’s got to be pleased with Deakon this morning – lots of lovely quality work on show.
3:05 They’re showing more of the same quality through the canter work – overall a lovely picture of horse and rider working together.
3:04 It looks to be a wet start to the day at Badminton but it’s not bothering Deakon who’s working nicely despite the early start we’ve had this morning. Everything’s sound and clean and he’s just done a lovely halt at C for a 9.
3:03 We can expect the combination to sit in the low-30s after the first phase. Let’s see how they do.
3:02 First up the center line this morning will be Aaron Millar and KEC Deakon.
This is Aaron’s first trip to Badminton since 2009.
Fun fact! At home, Aaron also rides Tomatillo, who is a clone of William Fox-Pitt’s 2004 Badminton winner Tamarillo.
3:01 Aaaannnnd we’re back!!! Does anyone else feel like we never went away?! It’s day two of dressage, which is weird, because it’s Saturday, and we all know what Saturday is. But not today. We’ve got that to look forward to tomorrow!
Let’s get to it!