“I’ve been here over half an hour and there hasn’t been a single horse!” The poor Scottish lady sitting at Badminton Horse Trials’ Lake hadn’t heard about the cross-country running on Sunday this year. But photographer Kit Houghton, to whom she had complained, was at least able to put her out of her misery, and direct her to the main arena for the dressage.
And the dressage hasn’t been without drama. No actual falls, admittedly, but there was a bit of a spat when the judge at C (rather sensibly) dispatched her writer after Alex Hua Tian’s test today to ask some lunatic mother to remove her hysterical infant from the edge of the arena.
The mid-afternoon arrival of torrential — and predicted — rain may render a cross-country course which some riders had quietly branded “a bit dull” (though not, interestingly, the ever-astute Andrew Nicholson) rather more challenging.
Despite his dark good looks, I find myself hoping this may work against dressage leader Kai Rüder of Germany, in favour of the Brits.
I’d love to see Tina Cook (third after dressage) win her first Badminton, and William Fox-Pitt, last to go today, rode a brilliant test in the worst of the conditions on Seacookie to slot into sixth place.
With some bravado, riders have said the well-prepared ground “can take some rain” but if the 5cm forecast do actually arrive, it cannot fail to make the going — and time — tougher for horses starting later in the day. I sense it will turn into a really great competition tomorrow.
Bring your wellies, don’t wimp out and see you there.