The reinstated Windsor International Horse Trials has attracted such huge entries after a ‘year-out’ last year that the first dressage phase spilled over into Wednesday afternoon.
There were some impressive performances early on, notably by Cressida Clague Reading with James. Third to go, she set a competitive standard on a score of 46.6, but Patricia Polson with Peppershill Oscar beat her to the top of the leader board at the end of Wednesday with a decent three-point lead.
However, it was on Thursday that the competition hotted up. Terry Boon rode a neat test on the extravagant-moving Drive Time, soaring into the top spot with 36.6. Polly Williamson cut an impressive figure on the nine-year-old Wicked Time to move into second place on 42.8. Polly was also in ninth place on her second ride, Applemoss.
Leicestershire-based Terry, took the ride on Drive Time almost a year ago. The eight-year-old was show jumping with Keith Doyle before then, but it didn’t seem as if he would quite make the grade as a show jumper and present owner Sue Wilkinson bought him as an eventer.
“The horse is a lovely mover,”says Terry, “although I have faint doubts about him only because he is just so careful, so I don’t know if he can keep galloping and jumping big. Still, we have been working hard on his fitness, and his eventing record sheet is impeccable, so fingers crossed!”
After several very successful years as a Young Rider, and subsequently an impressive career on the international circuit, Terry decided to take a year out from eventing in 1999.
“It got to the point where financially it was a bit of a struggle, so I just decided to take some time out” he said.
He spent the year teaching, “by the end of which I was getting seriously itchy feet, and the offer of a job firstly in Ireland, and then, fortunately in this country, lured me back into competition riding.”
He suffered a disappointing end to last season, when he “bust” his left foot riding Irish Gunner at Henbury Hall. He won the Athens test event in August on Air Cruise, and had been due to compete Foreign Exchange in a CCI*** at the end of last season, with the aim of taking the horse to Badminton this spring.
But it was not to be, and after a few frustrating months of endless hospital visits, Terry is now making do with a successful spring season. He was delighted to be included in the World Class Potential Squad, with “significant benefits, not least because it encourages you to get the training you need, which you can otherwise become a little complacent about.”
Then he notched up wins in both the intermediate and advanced classes at Withington Manor, and wins at Belton Park (advanced) and Great Witchingham (intermediate).
Young Rider Louise Brassey, who is tucked in behind Isabelle Taylor in close seventh on Plantagenet of Rushall, cruised to victory on the 14-year-old gelding in the Young Event Riders Show Jumping Final.
Results after Thursday’s Dressage
1. Drivetime (Terry Boon) 36.6
2. Wicked Time (Polly Williamson) 42.8
3. Peppershill Oscar (Patricia Polson) 43.6
4. James (Cressida Clague Reading) 46.6.
5. Ensign (Pippa Funnell) 49.8
6. Flurry Knox V (Isabelle Taylor) 50.0