Five-star first-timer Will Rawlin has moved into second in the Chedington Bicton Horse Trials dressage, just 0.1 of a penalty behind leader Piggy March.
Will and his parents’ Andrew and Miranda’s VIP Vinnie scored eight, nine and 8.5 from the three judges for their first centreline, but the horse then broke in the medium trot that followed. Will produced excellent, expressive work for the rest of the test, though, and it looked like he would take the lead until he had some issues in the canter to trot transition on the final centreline.
“I’m over the moon with that – there were a few very obvious mistakes that I’m kicking myself about because it was me just probably asking a bit too much, particularly at the beginning. But it was early on in the test and you’ve just got to crack on and focus on the rest ahead,” said Will.
“To have two mistakes and still be in this position is unbelievable. I know the horse is more than capable of pulling out unbelievable tests, which he did, and I’m extremely proud of him.”
Will said his main trainer is John Bowen.
“He actually found this horse as a four-year-old and has trained me and my family, because we’re not horsey at all – he’s taught us everything,” said Will. “And Tracie Robinson is very good for getting me prepped in the ring and I had a lesson with her on the way up here on Wednesday. So I’ve got a very good team behind me and that’s what it’s all about.
“I was nervous but I’m enjoying it more because I’ve got horses that are good at it, and I feel I’ve improved a lot over the years, with my trainers’ help, to be more test accurate. There are little things that I wasn’t thinking about a couple of years ago, whereas now I’m thinking of certain points to aim for and things to do with the horse before the next movement and it’s starting pay off.”
Putting the Bicton Horse Trials dressage behind him and looking ahead to cross-country tomorrow, Will says he will take confidence from the fact VIP Vinnie went well at Bramham Horse Trials in 2019.
He said: “In the back of my mind, that is a nice thing to have – that I know he’s done some similar terrain before and coped with it well. The main thing was he came out the following day, on Sunday, absolutely bouncing, so hopefully I can do the same here. I’ve just got to make it happen. It’s not going to look pretty, but that’s cross-country for you.
“Tomorrow is another day, and there are a lot of questions plus the hills, the terrain. It’s a lot to ask for a first five-star for me. My main aim is to get a completion. So I’ll be as competitive as I can, but equally I want to get around and have my first five-star under my belt.”
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