Young British rider Bella Innes Ker leads the dressage in the CCI3* at Boekelo after two days of action.
The Dutch CCI3* is always popular and this year 94 horses came before the ground jury. Bella, 22, performed her test yesterday morning with Carolyn, but the pair’s mark of 42 could not be bettered. Their closest challenge came from the very last competitor when the USA’s Lauren Kieffer (Marie Le Menestrel’s Meadowbrook’s Scarlett) wound up her test just 0.1 of a penalty behind Bella.
“I feel like I’m in a dream and have to wake up soon,” said Bella earlier today. “Carolyn didn’t put a foot wrong. I’m really pleased — normally she has a few quirky moments when she gets distracted.”
The rider was given some advice by British eventing team dressage trainer Tracie Robinson before her test.
“I’ve never had a lessson with Tracie, but she gave me a couple of tips about the arena and also said the judge at H [Ciska van Meggelen-Peek] was marking quite harshly so to concentrate on straightness and not give any marks away,” said Bella.
The 12-year-old bay mare Carolyn belongs to Bella’s mother, the Duchess of Roxburghe, and has been with the rider five years. The pair were on the British gold medal-winning young rider team last year.
Aussies lead Nations Cup
Australia have the upper hand in the Nations Cup, the final leg of the 2016 series. Paul Tapner leads the way in third individually on a mark of 42.2 riding Angela Scott, Jenny Waller and his own Bonza King Of Rouges. He is backed up by Emma Dougall in fifth on Fernhill Tabasco and Sam Griffiths, who holds sixth on Beaurepaire Nemo.
Emma said: “I’m really pleased — he’s been going really well, but I expected him to light up more in the atmosphere. He kept his head down and stayed focused.”
Australia has all her team riders in the top 12 as Sammi Birch is 11th with her Rio travelling reserve Hunter Valley II.
Britain sits in third place in the team competition, 3.5 penalties behind Germany in second but just 0.2 of a mark ahead of the fourth-placed Kiwis — led by Mark Todd, third individually on Niki Ryan and Dr Elizabeth Donald’s Kiltubrid Rhapsody.
Oliver Townend heads the charge for the British team in individual ninth on Angela Hislop’s Cooley SRS. Team GBR’s other riders are Flora Harris (Bayano, 12th), Izzy Taylor (Trevidden, 22nd), Laura Collett (Mr Bass, 33rd).
Oliver also holds eighth place individually on MHS King Joules, as well as 36th on Ballaghmor Class.
“I’m excited about the future of all three of these horses — they are not by any means established, but talent-wise they are as good as I’ve had for a long time,” said Oliver.
Full report from Boekelo in H&H next week, out Thursday, 13 October.