Belgian rider Karin Donckers got the second day of dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials off to a good start, storming into first place.
Second into the main arena riding the 12-year-old Fletcha van ‘t Verahof, the pair posted a score of 37.3.
“‘Fletcha’ felt very good and relaxed,” said Karin, who hasn’t competed at Badminton since 2010. “Everything felt easy and I’m excited to be back here. He has improved a lot since last year and the new four-star test we’re riding helped him as he is particularly good at the 20m canter circle where the horse has to stretch forward and down.”
There is a real international feel at the top of the leader board, with eight different nations holding the top 10 spots.
Yesterday’s leader Thibaut Vallette and Qing Du Briot Ene HN were relegated into second with their score of 38.7.
Other notable performances in the morning session of dressage today (5 May), include Japanese rider Yoshiaki Oiwa, who scored 42.6 on The Duke Of Cavan, to slot into sixth at the moment, and Paul Tapner who rode into eighth place riding Bonza King Of Rouges.
Yoshi said: “I was expecting my horse to be more tense, but he was calm and relaxed and I am very happy.”
Paul scored 43.9 and he was pleased given the circumstances.
“My horse is a headshaker, so this sunny weather is the worst type of weather we could have wanted,” explained the Australian. “Damp, cloudy weather would have been much better as it means he won’t headshake as much. Therefore I wasn’t able to go for the winning marks, but that was good for him today.”
Canadian rider Kathryn Robinson and Let It Bee produced some wow-factor trot work, but his flying-changes let him down. Still they scored a respectable 44.4 to go into ninth place at the moment, ahead of the two best Brits, Alex Bragg and Tom McEwen who are in equal 10th.
Find out who holds the top few spots
Find out what some of the world's top
British hopeful Gemma Tattersall did her best to keep a lid on her faithful four-star campaigner Arctic Soul, who was unable to produce his best in the atmosphere of the main arena.
“He’s been twitchy and tricky all day,” explained a disappointed Gemma. “I’m gutted, but he’s an awesome horse and he owes me nothing. Unfortunately he knows where he is — he’s a bit too wise!”
The pair scored 55.8 to go into 49th place at the moment.
Don’t miss this week’s H&H (on sale now), including a 16-page Badminton pull-out with full form guide, dressage test, judge’s analysis, course map and more.