Piggy March was first into the ring on the second day of the CCI4*-S in the Blenheim Horse Trials dressage, riding Cooley Lancer. The Lancer Stud’s gelding won the six-year-old world young horse championships at Le Lion in 2019, and showed his mettle here in front of the Blenheim Palace to score 30.1 and go into seventh.
This elegant chestnut with a white blaze and three white socks looked active and accurate but Piggy was perhaps holding a little back to help him handle the atmosphere. This is a first attempt at four-star for the gelding by Coeur De Nobless.
“He is gorgeous but he is still a massive big baby, and this is such a big test for him this week,” said Piggy. “This is basically his first advanced, first time trying to string it all together.”
His walk was a little conservative but he scored a nine for his extended canter, Piggy showcasing her own skill and style in bringing out the best in this eight-year-old at this stage in his career. He had time off with a complicated splint after his Le Lion victory, and is still very low-mileage. Piggy said that were it not for his “bravery and scope” she wouldn’t have considered this challenge.
“He’s such an enthusiastic horse, he’s really hot, but where he is physically doesn’t match where he is mentally,” she added. “He wants to do loads of work because he’s excited but then he gets tired, so it’s finding the balance of getting him there ready to show off. I’m so proud of him, it’s such a learning week, a good stepping stone.
“For me that’s what it’s all about, even more than winning, because in my world I’ve won my own little event. He’s made me proud and he’s done the best he can.”
Piggy wasn’t the only rider to shine in the late-morning session. Dani Evans followed Piggy into the ring on nine-year-old Hollywood Dancer and moved into fourth with 28.4.
Blenheim Horse Trials dressage: another eight-year-old impresses in young horse class
France’s Gaspard Maksud’s ride Zaragoza II, winners at Wellington a couple of weeks previously, was another eight-year-old to catch the eye during the Blenheim Horse Trials dressage . They were 20th with a double clear on their first start at this level at Bicton in June. The pirouettes weren’t perfect and a chink in the flying changes, but there were many lovely moments. They scored 33.4 and moved into 12th.
“It’s a big atmosphere for young horses,” said Gaspard. “I had a couple of mistakes where I messed up, but she gives a lovely picture and is very promising for the future.”
The scores are tightly bunched at the top, with four penalties covering the top eight. Ros Canter held the overnight lead with Izilot DHI on 26.6, a penalty ahead of Tom Jackson and HH Moonwalk.
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