Stefano Brecciaroli Cracks the 30s at Badminton

Stefano Brecciaroli and Apollo VD Wendi Kurt Hoeve have taken the lead at Badminton.

Stefano Brecciaroli is the first rider to crack the 30s in dressage here at Badminton, scoring 36.8 with Apollo VD Wendi Kurt Hoeve to move into first place. This horse placed second in the dressage at the London Olympics and certainly didn’t disappoint today, with Stefano had some of the best geometry we’ve seen yet. The judges have been incredibly picky about accuracy, and Stefano is one of a handful of riders so far who hasn’t been crushed on the 10-meter circles. Apollo is also a really stunning mover, and the judges definitely rewarded their trot work nicely. In addition to a new leader, we also have another new pair in the top three this morning, with London individual bronze medalists Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo scoring 41.3 to move into second. Sandra had an unfortunate bobble when the horse bumped into the rope that serves as the arena gate, spooking himself and breaking his concentration. The test suffered a bit after that, with Opgun Louvo never coming to a steady halt before the reinback. But this was still a very lovely performance from Sandra.

Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo move into second place.

We also saw the first of the Americans to go here at Badminton this morning, with Clark Montgomery and Universe riding fifth in the order. Universe was a bit up and never quite settled for Clark, who has been getting beautiful work from him this spring. But this was still a lovely showing for Buzzy, who looked brilliant and was moving very well today. Clark and Universe scored a 54.3 to sit in 27th place. Colleen Rutledge and Shiraz also rode in the first group this morning, and I thought Luke looked very relaxed and responsive. Colleen and Luke had some really lovely moments, and I think Colleen should be pleased with this performance. Luke was snorting softly throughout the test, as if to say, “Can we go cross country yet?” They’ll be in fine form tomorrow. Colleen and Luke scored 63.2 to sit in 43rd. Also, big props to Colleen for wearing a helmet. Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master ride in the second group before the lunch break, and Tiana Coudray and Ringwood Magister will go after the lunch break.

Clark Montgomery and Universe

We also saw a really lovely test from Bettina Hoy and Lanfranco TSF in the morning group. Aside from a slight bobble in the walk transition when the horse came to a full halt, this was a very steady, accurate test. Bettina and Lanfranco scored 46.3 to move into eighth place. Our good luck with the weather has unfortunately run out, with rain falling on and off this morning and heavy winds making the horses quite spooky. The weather forecast predicts that this storm will blow over, so hopefully we will have better conditions for the afternoon. I’m heading back out to shoot video of Rebecca and Rupert’s test and will upload that quickly before the lunch break. I apologize in advance for bringing you a shorter lunchtime update than usual, as I’m going on a tour of the cross-country course during the lunch break that leaves promptly at noon local time. Videos are a bit slow to upload, so I will add in the footage of Clark and Colleen’s tests once I get back for the lunch break.

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Colleen Rutledge and Shiraz

Dressage Videos:

Video: Stefano Brecciaroli and Apollo VD Wendi Kurt Hoeve

Video: Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo

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