Bubby Upton has gone into 17th place on Cola in the second session on day two of the Badminton Horse Trials dressage, at the event presented by Mars Equestrian. They scored 30.4 which evoked mixed emotions from the 23-year-old rider.
“I’m relatively pleased – I anticipated him going in and going ‘whoa’ at the atmosphere as most horses have been doing that, so I gave him five minutes extra than I normally would in the warm-up,” explained Bubby, who is completing a university degree while also competing at her first Badminton this week.
“In the end he went in there and thought it was the arena at home, which is great in so many ways because it shows that whatever the atmosphere is like, he doesn’t care, but it meant that he was a little bit hard work, flat and not really flowing with me like he would have been if I had five minutes less.
“We have a lot of improvements to go as I’m not satisfied until I’m in first after the dressage. I’m a happy and disappointed mix, but overall, he was as cool as a cucumber and tried hard for me.”
Bubby said that she’s tried not to pay any attention to the crowds since being at Badminton with the 12-year-old gelding, owned by her mother, Rachel.
“I didn’t really take it in until the end of the test. I just went in and was really focused on my plan and what I had to do with him,” explained Bubby.
“What a fantastic place and it’s just a privilege to be here to be honest – I’ve literally never been here before, bar when I was seven and I can’t remember it, but I’m really excited for the challenge ahead.”
Badminton Horse Trials dressage: young Irish rider impresses
Five-star debutante Susie Berry, 26, who rides for Ireland but is based in Britain, put in a polished performance on Helen Canton and Caroline Berry’s 11-year-old John The Bull. This combination scored 28.8 during the early morning session, which puts them into 14th at the current stage of competition.
“I’m over the moon – I would say he is fabulous on the flat, but we’ve been a little bit inconsistent since Blenheim last year so I’m just glad to come to a three-day and properly to pull it off in the ring,” said Susie, who was third in the CCI4*-L at Blenheim Horse Trials last September.
“It’s pretty exciting, but there’s a lot left to do the rest of the week. I just really want to do each phase as it comes and try and pull it off as best we can.”
Susie runs her own yard in Northamptonshire, having previously been based with 2019 Badminton winner Piggy March.
Read our full Badminton form guide in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound (issue dated 5 May 2022). Our bumper 20-page Badminton report will be in our 12 May issue and keep fully up-to-date with all the action during Badminton week via horseandhound.co.uk, where a host of features and reports will be published.
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