Young British rider Emily Baldwin (pictured) has taken the lead at the end of the first day of dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
Emily, 28, took to the main arena as the second rider after lunch and scored 42.3 with a smooth and expressive test on Lady Pauline Harris’s 13-year-old Drivetime.
“Overall I was thrilled with the way he went,” said Emily. “You have to just concentrate on the test and how the horse is going, and shut out everything else. He loves the crowds.”
Emily held a good position after dressage at Badminton last year with Drivetime, but had a run-out in The Lake. Today she explained that Drivetime knocked his curb chain off when he jumped into The Quarry — this meant she lost her steering, which led to the run-out.
“I’ve got it taped on now,” she said.
Emily leads a trio of Brits at the top. Dressage specialist Ruth Edge, 29, holds the runner-up spot with Mayhem III, who is 12 but has only been eventing since he was eight.
“He’s quite green at this level,” she said of the 2008 British open champion, who did his first four-star at Pau, France, last autumn.
“I was really pleased with him today as he hasn’t been in that sort of atmosphere. I made a mistake in the first flying change where I didn’t get him back enough after the extended canter, but he tried his hardest and I couldn’t ask for more.”
Jo May, 40, performed her customary smooth, consistent test with Faere Vision — the only horse she events at the top level — to take third.
Tonight Emily and Ruth said that Hugh Thomas’s cross-country course gives plenty of opportunities for slip-ups, particularly with the size and technicality of the fences towards the end of the track.
“You’ll have to be focused to keep the horse’s concentration all the way round,” said Emily.
Sweden’s Anna Hilton is the first rider to do dressage tomorrow, starting at 9.30am with Mr Dalby. Follow the dressage live tomorrow at www.horseandhound.co.uk/badmintonlive
RESULTS AFTER FIRST DAY OF DRESSAGE
1. Emily Baldwin on Drivetime (GBR) 42.3
2. Ruth Edge on Mayhem III (GBR) 43.8
3. Jo May on Faere Vision (GBR) 46.7
4. Rodney Powell on Zin Zan III (GBR) 48
5. Kitty Boggis on Boondoggle (GBR) 50.2
6. Susanna Bordone on Ava (ITA) 51
Don’t forget to buy H&H next week (14 May) — our 15-page Badminton report will include comments from Carl Hester, Mark Todd and Tina Cook, plus cross-country course analysis and plenty of colour photographs.