Bettina and Seigneur Medicott are on a remarkable streak, having won four three-star competitions in a row and they are looking to make it five this weekend.
“He felt quite lively in the warm-up and reacted to the applause for the competitor before, but he’s so reliable in the arena and always gives 150%,” said Bettina, whose score of 31.4 was not quite enough to set a new ERM dressage record as Tom Carlile and Upsilon scored 30.8 last weekend at Barbury.
Bettina herself scored 26.3 at Luhmühlen with Gerd-Hermann Horst’s 11-year-old, but said she agreed with the judges that her test here was not quite as good.
Bettina’s ex-husband, Australia’s Andrew Hoy, holds second on 34.4 with his own and Christiane Classen’s Cheeky Calimbo.
“We’ve been together since one-star and had some interesting moments, but he’s very secure now,” said Andrew.
The crowd had the opportunity to contribute their thoughts on the judging through the spectator judging app, and perhaps unsurprisingly placed the home side’s Thibaut Vallette first. He actually finished the day in third with his Rio team gold medallist and European double bronze medallist Qing Du Briot ENE HN.
The high-quality of the field at this leg of the ERM — the high prize money series which started last year in Britain and has extended into Europe this season — was reflected in the fact 10 riders scored in the 30s. These included three Brits.
Gemma Tattersall holds sixth on Chico Bella P, who belongs to ERM chief executive Chris Stone.
“She’s a lovely horse to ride and moves beautifully — the highlights were her extended trot and canter,” said Gemma.
Will Furlong, who is in his first year in seniors after a successful under-21 career, holds seventh on his former young rider European champion Livingstone.
“This is a personal best at the level and to break the 40-barrier is fantastic,” said Will, whose mark was 38.6.
One mistake in the extended canter dropped Oliver Townend’s final marks down with Cooley Master Class and he sits 10th with 39.1.
Britain’s fourth rider, Sarah Cohen, also had an error in this movement when Wiesbaden ERM winner Treason changed legs, which was disappointing and left her 16th after the first phase.
“I didn’t quite have him where I wanted him coming in and then I must have shifted my weight or something in the extended canter as it’s not like him to make that mistake — we usually hope to get eight or nine for that movement,” she said.
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Another rider to be disappointed was Alex Hua Tian, the winner of last year’s Bramham leg of the ERM. Don Geniro, who was also in the top 10 at the Olympics, was not on his side today.
“I’m pretty mad, pretty cross and very disappointed,” he admitted. “He’s 10 years old now and and has been to enough shows — going in there and dropping me is not on.”
Tomorrow riders will tackle the showjumping and then the cross-country course, designed by Pierre Michelet, which is expected to be influential.