Ruth Edge leads after first day of dressage at Burghley Horse Trials

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Ruth Edge tops the leader board at the end of the first day of dressage at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

Ruth rode Susan Kerfoot’s home-bred 10-year-old Rogersdale with her customary professionalism and polish to pick up every possible mark, just losing points in the flying changes. She scored 45.5.

“I’m really pleased,” she said. “It was a shame he got a bit tired towards the end and couldn’t keep it together for the flying changes, but with strength and maturity that will change. He has a lovely rhythm and cadence, which makes my job easier.

“He’s a really kind horse, very genuine and generous. He’s easy to prepare and I trust him not to get lit up in the atmosphere. He doesn’t take long to warm-up, which makes my trainer Judy Harvey’s job easy too.”

The Welton Ambassador gelding was seventh in the CCI*** at Tattersalls in June and makes his four-star debut here.

Jock Paget is just 0.7 of a penalty behind on Lucy Allison and Frances Stead’s Clifton Lush, fifth here last year.

The horse was prepared for London as a reserve to Jock’s team bronze medallist Clifton Promise and has been kept ticking over by his stable jockey Hollie Swain and dressage rider Andrew Gould while Jock was away in New Zealand for the Olympic celebrations.

“I’m really happy with him today – he did what I thought was his best test yet,” said Jock.

Six-times Burghley winner William Fox-Pitt lies third on 46.5 with Catherine Witt’s Seacookie, who was second here in 2010 but was off for most of last year with an injury.

“We got him ready for Badminton in the spring, then when it was cancelled we decided not to take him to Luhm ¼hlen in view of having an autumn campaign,” said William.

“He’s managed to have some runs [despite the bad weather] and is in a good frame of mind. He was very controlled in the dressage and wasn’t spooky. That was probably the most settled he’s been.”

William said that the early part of Mark Phillips’ cross-country course from Discovery Valley (fences 6 and 7) to the Land Rover Dairy Farm (fence 19) is particularly testing.

“Once you’ve jumped the Dairy Farm there is a little less to think about apart from how your horse is feeling and how he’s going to come home [in terms of whether he is tiring],” said William.

“I think the cross-country will be demanding. The ground is superb at present, but it could get a bit soft.”

Today at Burghley was punctuated by sporadic rain showers, including a heavy one during the lunchbreak.

First-timer Emily Parker – who is keeping a daily diary from Burghley on the H&H website – excelled herself today to take fourth place on her former young rider European champion Treefers.

Another pair who have won individual young rider gold, Emily Llewellyn and Pardon Me II, are sixth, while Oliver Townend is fifth on ODT Sonas Rovatio.

The dressage kicks off again at 9.30am tomorrow with stars scattered throughout the day.

Follow every phase of Burghley as it happens using H&H Live, our interactive written commentary supported by Baileys Horse Feeds. Review today and join in tomorrow at www.horseandhound.co.uk/burghley2012live.

Make sure you buy H&H next week (6 September) for our 10-page special Burghley report, with full analysis of every phase, comments from dressage expert Sally O’Connor and former winner Ginny Elliot and more.

H&H website editor’s blog about the day

LAND ROVER BURGHLEY RESULTS AFTER FIRST DAY OF DRESSAGE

1. Ruth Edge on Rogersdale (GBR) 45.5
2. Jock Paget on Clifton Lush (NZL) 46.2
3. William Fox-Pitt on Seacookie (GBR) 46.5
4. Emily Parker on Treefers (GBR) 48.2
5. Oliver Townend on ODT Sonas Rovatio (GBR) 48.3
6. Emily Llewellyn on Pardon Me II (GBR) 49