An unassailable lead?
Leading British riders dominated the first day of dressage at their home 5*, with British riders occupying the top 5 places on the leader board at the half way point.
Double Land Rover Kentucky Horse Trials Champion Oliver Townend provided the early wow factor on Dressage Day 1, with Cillnabraden Evo. Setting a new Badminton record of 19.7 the pair took an early, and commanding, lead over the rest of the field.
With a flourish of 10s the former World Number 1 topped the leaderboard by some considerable margin.
World Equestrian Games gold medallist Tom McEwen sits in 2nd place with Toledo De Kerser following a very well executed test, for 24.7. With the 12-year-old’s work now much more established Tom is able to ride for the higher marks, and Toledo certainly delivered. Only 5 penalties away from Oliver, this could be Tom’s year with a phenomenal jumping record to their name.
Fellow WEG team mate, Piggy French completed the podium at the end of day one with Trevor Dicken’s Vanir Kamira. An elated French paid tribute to sister Nini French on helping produce Vanir Kamira for the event, whilst he was competing in Kentucky.
Kitty King is no stranger to 5* level however for Vendredi Biats it was a first-time affair. A 27.3 leaves them just outside of the top 3, but with Eric Winter’s thought-provoking cross-country challenge still ahead of them there is everything still to play for.
26-year-old, Badminton first-timer Millie Dumas and Artistiek produced a test of a lifetime to sit in 5thon 27.3, the same score as Kitty King. A horse renowned for being a bit spooky, Millie managed to keep it all together to ride a beautiful test.