‘Unestablished’ horse takes early Pau five-star lead – while Brits sit in second and third

  • New Zealand’s Tim Price and Viscount Viktor lead the way after the first day of the Pau Horse Trials dressage.

    Tim and nine-year-old Viscount Viktor, owned by Barbara Cooper, Glyn Norcutt, and Ginny Rusher, scored 28 for their smooth, flowing test. The pair’s performance was consistent throughout, with a number of eights being awarded for the extended trot, extended canter, and half passes.

    Pau is Viscount Viktor’s first five-star and Tim was pleased with the up-and-coming gelding.

    “He’s coming along, he’s a young horse and unestablished at all this stuff. But the end of the year is hopefully when you’re going to get a bit more relaxation, and he’s going to understand the movements a bit more,” he said.

    “He does actually find the work quite easy. If he’s chilled, then he just goes through the motions and for me it was a little bit of an under-ridden test; I was just going for a nice test that didn’t have too many mistakes. And then we can build on that over the coming years.”

    Tim said Viscount Victor has continued to progress with age and he can now ask for a bit more in tests.

    “Not that long ago I used to sort of have to introduce the half pass, and then go into it, because otherwise he might pop into canter or lose balance. But now I can sit him up on the corner and say ‘Let’s go sideways’,” he said.

    “And the same with the medium canter; I can come around the corner and say, ‘Let’s go’ and he goes into a good medium canter. Those moments are really fun in terms of training a horse, and building it up through the grades, so I was happy with him for those things. He showed a nice extended walk which shows a bit of relaxation.

    “And then the places he finds difficult; coming back from a medium and extended canter – he likes to keep his body nice and long. He knows to come back and it will get better over the next couple of years – but he doesn’t have a big whoopsie moment now, he just tries a bit harder and comes back. It’s those little places that are showing progress in his training that makes it rewarding.”

    Pau Horse Trials dressage: British riders in second and third

    Piggy March is currently the best of the Brits in second with Coolparks Sarco following the first day of five-star dressage action. The pair sit just 0.1 of a penalty behind Tim and Viscount Viktor. The Lamberts’ 11-year-old gelding, a former ride of Nicola Wilson, was another horse making his five-star debut at Pau.

    “He felt very nice,” said Piggy. “Maybe I needed to go up one gear to get a little bit more, but I was conscious not to feel like I was chasing when he felt so nicely in front of my leg and under me.

    “In the last change I felt him a little bit concerned about the camera, and in the 8m circle he was a bit scared of it, but other than that he felt nice. I might look back and be questioning myself for not being a bit braver, but I don’t know. I didn’t ever go ‘Oh dear’. It all felt consistent. I’m delighted with his brain, he went in there and was really rideable and relaxed.”

    Ros Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel, owned by Kate James and Annie Makin, lie in third overnight after the first day of the Pau Horse Trials dressage on 28.3.

    Ros said she was “absolutely delighted” with the 14-year-old mare’s test, but thought it was “a bit harshly marked”.

    “There might have been things I could have done a bit better, but I was really delighted with how she went,” she said.

    “The day before a competition she sometimes looks a bit spicy, but she needs to look spicy in order to be upbeat enough in there for changes and things. I’m really happy with the way she settled, you just have to persuade yourself 20 minutes is plenty in the warm-up – and most of that is spent in walk; I do two minutes work then have a walk, two minutes then have a walk – she just needs to feel good in her body.”

    The second day of Pau Horse Trials dressage begins tomorrow (27 October) with home-side rider Cedric Lyard with Unum De’Or at 10am local time (9am British time). The first Brit is Helen Bates and Carpe Diem at 10.07am local time (9.07am British time).

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