Though the dressage leaderboard changed considerably on day two of the dressage for the WEG eventing championship, in one respect it stayed the same: a German still topped it.
Bettina Hoy and Ringwood Cockatoo and set a new standard with an elastic test that comprehensively smashed the 40pen barrier, scoring 36.5pen. ‘I was really, really pleased,’ she said afterwards. ‘You never know if the atmosphere will get to him, but he wasn’t affected at all.’
The only rider to get close to her was her team mate, the European bronze medallist Ingrid Klimke on Sleep Late (39.10), a headshaker for whom the cool, overcast weather here at Aachen has been a bonus. But for a slightly anticipated flying change, and a brief wobble at the end of some half pass, the pair looked magnificent.
Complete German domination of the leaderboard was denied however by Kim Severson on her Olympic silver medallist Winsome Andante, who muscled on to it by tying with Andreas Dibowski, the overnight leader, on 40.9.
With some disappointing scores to redeem from her team mates the day before, Zara Phillips rode with great maturity. Having warmed up under the guidance of her step-mother Sandy rather than the team dressage coach Tracie Robinson, she scored 41.7pen with a fluid, glitch-free test. Her father Mark thought it was not the horse at his very best, and Zara agreed that he was ‘tense in the halt before the rein back, and could have been straighter at times,’ but she looked happy and relaxed.
William Fox-Pitt backed up Zara’s face-saving performance with a creditable 45pen on Tamarillo, moving the British team up to third (behind Germany and Australia) at the end of the first phase, and leaving him 8th individually. ‘He was very wired up, but that’s just him,’ said William. ‘He was much better than at Badminton, and ironically his canter work was better than his trot – that’s a first.’
Britain’s second individual, Oliver Townend, had a less happy time on Flint Curtis, a 10 year old who found the flags and big screen of the dressage arena rather discomfiting. He scored 62pen leaving him 51st. ‘’I’m disappointed but it’s a jumper’s course tomorrow,’ said Oliver philosophically.
Scores after the dressage 1st Germany (122.5pen), 2nd Australia (136.1pen), 3rd Great Britain (138.6pen), 4th USA (142pen), 5th New Zealand (149.8pen), 6th Australia (151,10pen)
Individually: 1st Bettina Hoy, Ringwood Cockatoo (36.5pen), 2nd Ingrid Klimke, Sleep Late (39.1pen), =3rd Andreas Dibowski, FRH Serve Well (40.9pen), =3rd Kim Severson, Winsome Andante (40.9pen), 5th Zara Phillips, Toy Town (41.7pen), 6th Megan Jones, Kirby Park Irish Jester (44.1pen).
8th William Fox-Pitt, Tamarillo (45pen), =13th Sharon Hunt, Tankers Town (47.4pen), 26th Mary King, Call Again Cavalier (51.9pen)
Don’t miss this week’s Horse & Hound for in-depth reports on all the action in Aachen