Laura Collett and London 52 have taken the lead early on day two of the Badminton Horse Trials dressage, at the event presented by Mars Equestrian. The pair scored an impressive 21, which is a personal best for them at five-star level.
“It’s not often you go into an arena at Badminton and have a lovely time, but that horse is just so nice to ride and he was so with me – I can’t believe how emotional I am,” Laura said after her Badminton Horse Trials dressage. “This was what we all dream of – he just was so with me and I just knew anything going wrong was going to be my mistake, so I’m just so proud of him.”
Laura and her Tokyo Olympics team gold medal-winning ride were awarded no less than three 10s throughout their test. The first of those came from judge at C, Christian Landolt, for their extended trot. This was then followed up with another 10 from judge at H, Seppo Laine, for their halt prior to the rein back. The final 10 from their test came from the judge at B, Anne-Marie Taylor, for a medium canter, collected canter and half circle movement.
Laura said that there were a couple of mistakes in her test, despite her eye-watering score.
“On the first centre line, he tried to stop at X instead of I and there were little bits, but there’s always little bits until you get to zero in there,” she said. “The little blips were slightly my mistakes – not riding positively enough into the first halt. But he was totally onside and just a joy to ride.”
Laura explained that she has changed her routine with 13-year-old London 52, who she owns alongside Keith Scott and Karen Bartlett, in the days leading up to her dressage at Badminton.
“We’ve completely changed what we did – I hold my hands up, I messed up in Tokyo and you can only learn from your mistakes and I thought coming here, I had to be brave and stick to my plan,” explained Laura. “I haven’t gone once into a dressage arena this week and I’ve done a lot of hacking, a lot of polework and just keeping his brain because he knows all the moves and it’s just about keeping him with me – and he was with me in there.”
London 52 coped fantastically well with the electric atmosphere in the main arena this morning too, seemingly really relishing in crowds being there.
“It’s so quiet outside and to go in there, you just suddenly feel it – it hits you – but he didn’t react to the crowds clapping or anything, and I think he likes showing off,” she laughed. “He’s a funny horse to ride at one-days now because he just thinks it’s completely pointless and he bobbles around with his ears back, being very grumpy about the whole thing because he’s wondering where all the crowds and nice arenas are. So I think he was pretty happy to be in there today.”
Laura said that she tries to not let any external pressure affect her around her performances with London 52.
“I’m very conscious of the pressure, but at the end of the day, I said after Tokyo that I wouldn’t read into things and this horse owes me absolutely nothing. He won me my first five-star and he won me an Olympic gold medal. So everything now is just about enjoying a phenomenal horse.”
Read our full Badminton form guide in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound (issue dated 5 May 2022). Our bumper 20-page Badminton report will be in our 12 May issue and keep fully up-to-date with all the action during Badminton week via horseandhound.co.uk, where a host of features and reports will be published.
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