New Zealand’s James Avery pulled off one of Mr Sneezy’s best dressage tests to move into second at the first break of the Chedington Bicton Horse Trials dressage for the five-star competition.
The pair scored 28.7, a significant improvement on their 38 on the horse’s five-star debut at Pau 2019. Since then, they have achieved some better marks at four-star, including a 26.9 at Burgham last year.
“I’m really pleased with him – he’s starting to become a lot more consistent in the space,” said James. “He can be a bit sharp, but that second to last change was my error, my timing and so it’s actually quite nice to come out of a test and go, well, I put my hand up for that one and the horse was really good. He’s improving, getting better with age.”
The 13-year-old Mr Sneezy belongs to his rider, Tiny Clapham and Ian and Heidi Woodhead, the father and stepmother of James’ fiancée Holly Woodhead.
Oliver Townend still holds the lead at this early stage in the Bicton Horse Trials dressage after scoring 28.1 with MHS King Joules as the second rider into the arena. James’s test is the only other to have scored in the 20s at this stage.
Louisa Lockwood sits third on 31.5 with Bronwen Jones and Iain Greer’s chestnut Diamond Ructions, a five-star first-timer. He was trending around 27 in the trot work but the mark was pulled down by some issues in the flying changes.
Pathfinder David Doel holds fourth on 32.2 with Gillian Jonas’s Galileo Nieuwmoed.
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