A solid and accurate test by Olympic, world and European champion La Biosthetique–Sam FBW scored 36pen to lead the field. In a rare expression of emotion, Michael punched the air after his test, although he later admitted he wasn’t sure if he had done enough to take the lead.
“My horse did a fabulous dressage in a difficult atmosphere here at Badminton. He was really relaxed. I didn’t know the result, but I know I had a good feeling.”
The German is 0.8pen ahead of Italy’s Stefano Brecciaroli, who produced an extravagant performance on Apollo Van De Wendi Kurt Hoeve, marred only by a little tension in the rein-back and a mistake in the first flying change.
Stefano has been based with Andrew Nicholson in the run-up to the event and credited the New Zealander for helping him. “Andrew has been helping me to prepare in the best way for this competition – one of the best in the world.”
Dirk Schrade (Germany) is currently third with the elegant and athletic King Artus on 39.2pen. Dirk started brightly earning one of just a handful of 10s for his entry and his tactful riding ensured the quality remained throughout, despite the challenging atmosphere.
Dirk said: “The conditions were more difficult today. It was much more windy and the crowds were here. It was quite busy in the arena and I could feel it with King Artus.”
Jock Paget sits fourth with Clifton Promise on 39.7pen, while Rolex Grand Slam title contenders William Fox-Pitt and Andrew Nicholson are separated by just 0.2pen on their second rides, Parklane Hawk (40) (pictured right) and Nereo (40.2).
Last to go, Pippa Funnell (Redesigned) slotted into equal seventh with Germany’s Sandra Auffarth (Opgun Louvo) on 41.2. Seven penalties separate the top nine riders going into cross-country tomorrow.
Looking ahead, Dirk Schrade praised Hugh Thomas’ cross-country course.
“I think it’s a very modern course with all the technical questions a course-designer can ask,” he said. “I think it will be a good cross-country day tomorrow with faults spread all over the course.”
Michael Jung agreed: “I think it is a wonderful four-star course. I think the middle part is more difficult with the fences coming closer together, but riders will have to concentrate from beginning to end.”
Badminton Horse Trials 2013 leader board after dressage
1. La Biosthetique-Sam FBW (Michael Jung) GER 36
2. Apollo Van De Wendi Kurt Hoeve (Stefano Brecciaroli) ITA 36.8
3. King Artus (Dirk Schrade) GER 39.2
4. Clifton Promise (Jock Paget) NZL 39.7
5. Parklane Hawk (William Fox-Pitt) GBR 40
6. Nereo (Andrew Nicholson) NZL 40.2
=7. Opgun Louvo (Sandra Auffarth) GER 41.3
=7. Redesigned (Pippa Funnell) GBR 41.3
9. Holstein Park Leilani (Christopher Burton) AUS 43
=10. Happy Times (Sam Griffiths) AUS 43.3
=10. Ringwood Magister (Tiana Coudray) USA 43.