An emotional leader, a Badminton stalwart on his future, and why funky nails are all the rage: catch up with day one at Badminton

  • What a contrast from 2023! The sun shone down on the first day of the Mars Badminton Horse Trials dressage phase, and spectators were treated not only to blue skies but hot competition.

    At the end of day one, scores are tightly bunched, with the top 10 covered by just over six penalties. There were only three scores under 30, with a Brit and two Americans in this trio.

    Bubby Upton holds the lead after the first 35 riders, on Cola – a remarkable achievement given Bubby’s career-threatening injury last year.

    US raider Boyd Martin is lying second on the 17-year-old Tsetserleg TSF, as he bids for his first Badminton completion.

    Another American, Tiana Coudray, produced a fantastic performance from her mare Cancaras Girl to take third place at this stage.

    There was a disappointment for two-time Badminton winner Pippa Funnell, when her experienced partner Majas Hope found the whole occasion far too exciting.

    William Fox-Pitt slotted into fourth on Grafennacht. The rider is bidding for his 25th completion at Badminton and third win.

    This time last year Aussie rider Sammi Birch was pregnant; today her baby daughter was watching on as she performed her dressage.

    If Boyd Martin completes Badminton, he will join Tim Price in holding the full set of the world’s seven five-stars

    Irish rider Sarah Ennis was relieved to get the dressage done and dusted on her cross-country specialist.

    It wasn’t only about the dressage today – sartorial details also had their place.

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