Ruth Edge (pictured) has established an 6.9 penalty lead at lunchtime on the second day of dressage at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.
Ruth was first into the arena this morning — before the worst of the now persistent and heavy rain set in — and produced a consistent, expressive test with Mr Dumbledore. Her marks only dropped below a 7 on rare occasions, with many 8s and several 9s.
“He’s such a fab horse in the arena — he grows as he trots in,” said Ruth, who has been riding the 12-year-old since the end of last year. “I’ve been working on getting more movement and expression at home and that’s starting to come out in the test.
“I was hoping for a score in the 30s, but I didn’t really know what to expect as it’s the first time I’ve ridden him at this level.”
In fact, Ruth far exceeded her aim of breaking the 40 barrier, scoring 33.7.
She admitted tomorrow’s cross-country course will be the gelding’s biggest test to date. He started at Kentucky with former rider William Fox-Pitt in 2006, but was pulled up part of the way round, so is looking for his first four-star completion.
Belgian rider Karin Donckers is now in second place on a score of 40.6 with the 12-year-old bay Rose’s Merlin, who completed Luhmühlen last year.
Australian Andrew Hoy scored 41.9 to take third at this point on Moon Fleet, but he was unhappy with his score and the discrepancies between judges’ marks which were shown on the live scoreboard — he was awarded a 4 and a 7 for the same movement, and a 5 and an 8 for another.
“In relation to the tests he’s done today and in the past, and the marks he’s got today and in the past, I find it difficult to find a correlation,” he said.
Andrew is not the only rider to have received widely varying marks from the ground jury, which consists of America’s Brian Ross (president at C), Britain’s Jane Tolley (at E) and Ireland’s Jean Mitchell (at M).
RESULTS AT FRIDAY LUNCHTIME
1. Mr Dumbledore (Ruth Edge, GB) 33.7
2. Rose’s Merlin (Karin Donckers, BEL) 40.6
3. Moon Fleet (Andrew Hoy, AUS) 41.9
4. Bonza Puzzle (Matt Ryan, AUS) 44.3
5. Flint Curtis (Oliver Townend, GB) 45.4
6. Ballincoola (William Fox-Pitt, GB) 48.3
Keep logging onto www.horseandhound.co.uk/burghley08 for updates, blogs and video from Burghley.
Don’t forget to buy Horse & Hound next Thursday (11 September) for a 12-page special report, colour photographs and William Fox-Pitt’s comment.