The 15-year-old Majas Hope, who is owned by Marek Sebestak and his rider, is “very difficult” on the flat, but his test today started well. He scored plenty of sevens and the odd 7.5 and eight in his trotwork.
But his walk looked a little fragile and he jogged in the final corner before the mid-test halt, before spooking and holding his head high in the halt, with his marks dropping to threes and fours. He never really regained his composure through the canter and finished on a score of 35.6.
“I thought I had him and some of the trotwork I was very happy with,” said Pippa. “I can’t make excuses but I don’t know if the siren that went off distracted him in the walk. Then I never got him round and through again after that.
“He finds dressage difficult – he’s built hollow and he goes a bit shy in the arena. I give him as much confidence as possible, but he gets stage fright.”
Majas Hope scored a personal best of 27.4 in the one-off five-star at Bicton Horse Trials last year, but Pippa acknowledged that the atmosphere there was nothing like the atmosphere in the big stadium for today’s Kentucky Three-Day Event dressage.
Pippa added: “It’s disappointing to come all this way and have that test, especially when the work he’s been doing at home and at the smaller events is so much better, but he gets nervous on the big stage. He can get very distracted and when that happens, it’s a challenge to ride him.
“But he’s not a horse we we were expecting to challenge the leaders in the first phase and that’s why he’s here rather than at Badminton. He is a lovely horse and I am very fond of him.”
Britain’s other representative in the five-star today was the US-based 2004 Olympic champion Leslie Law, who scored 40.7 for 17th at this stage with Tre’ Book’s Voltaire De Tre’.
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