Germany’s Bettina Hoy has swept into a commanding lead after the first day of dressage at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.
Her test aboard the flashy 12-year-old Westfalian gelding Designer 10 was a cut above the rest and leaves her nearly eight penalties in command at the head of the field on a score of 34.5.
“He has had to work hard as he’s not really built for dressage,” explained Bettina. “But with the help of my trainer, Sebastian Langehanenberg, we’ve developed a warm-up system that helps keep him soft and relaxed. Every time I feel him becoming a little tense I go into rising trot and that settles him. I have also changed bits from a snaffle to a double bridle; not because he needs a double, but because he is happier and seems more relaxed with two bits in his mouth.”
Bill Levett (AUS) produced a polished performance from his ride, Improvise, to bag a score of 42.5 and second place overnight.
“It’s been a year of ‘nearlys’ for this horse – we so nearly went well at Badminton, then we nearly had a top placing at Luhmuhlen [where they incurred one run-out], then we just missed out on going to Rio [they were reserves] – so the focus has turned to Burghley,” explained Bill. “Having finished sixth here two years ago I know the course suits him and that he is capable of a good result.”
This is a third Land Rover Burghley appearance for Paul Sims, who has twice finished in the top 25, but the Cheshire-based 31-year-old put in his best performance to date between the white boards and scored 46.6 with Glengarnock, which leaves him third.
“To be sitting here [at the press conference] is more than I’d ever thought,” he confessed. “I always knew he was capable of a good test, but to do it here is wonderful.”
Tomorrow’s dressage kicks off with first-timer Kirsty Johnston and Opposition Detective first into the arena at 9.30am.
For today’s full results click here.