There are new names in the top six at the end of the first day of dressage at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, although no-one has come close to Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam’s sub-40 score from this morning.
“When [Sam] was younger it wasn’t always easy for him with the atmosphere, but we have learnt together and I now know how to prepare him and can enjoy it. It’s the little things that are important,” Michael explained. “He travels in a big box because he finds that more relaxing, and we make sure he is happy in his stable. Having the vet check in the main arena is also good, so he feels the atmosphere.”
A delighted Gemma Tattersall now sits in the runner up spot following a personal best at Four Star level with her British Open Championship partner Arctic Soul. “I’m chuffed to bits, he did everything I asked of him in there.
“He’s very shy, so the key is him feeling confident, rideable and relaxed. [Today] he allowed me to place him so that all of his movements were correct. I spent ages on the arena walk yesterday, reasurring him and patting him, and he has been out of his stable, walking around most of the day.”
Looking forwards to cross country day Gemma added, “He’s a very fast horse and he’s fit. It’s just getting the jumps jumped – there’s no horse I’d rather be sat on. It will be a case of buckle in, hold on to the neckstrap and go on Saturday.” Gemma and Arctic Soul posted a score of 43.0.
Burghley first timer, Mackenna Shea (USA), also swept in to the top three, pipping Paul Tapner by just 0.1 of a penalty. Twenty-four year old Mackenna made her Four Star debut with Landioso at Lexington in 2015, gaining their first completion last year. She arrived in the UK at the end of June and whilst it hasn’t all been plain sailing – Landioso suffered from shipping fever on the journey over – she feels that her preparation has been good.
“I was really happy with most of my trotwork. The canter was pretty good, but it was more consistent in the later work. We aren’t really fans of the changes! [Despite the shipping fever] I still got to do three events building up to Burghley.
“I didn’t know what a big step beyond Kentucky Burghley would be. Just walking the course takes so long! I’ve had Landioso since he was four, and he’s now 15 – we have a great partnership and he takes his work very seriously.”
Paul Tapner now lies in fourth place, while Georgie Spence and Wii Limbo have slipped ahead of Tim Price by 0.1 of a penalty, Price completing the top six.
Dressage kicks off again tomorrow morning at 10am, with Louise Harwood and Mr Potts first in front of the Ground Jury. All the action will be livestreamed.