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Hoy Takes the Lead at Badminton
Badminton, Glos., England
by Amber Heintzberger
Andrew Hoy (AUS) and Moonfleet
It looked as if Ingrid Klimke might hang on to her overnight lead at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR), but Andrew Hoy and Moonfleet rocketed into the lead by 4.1 points in the early afternoon. Hoy is still riding high after his victory at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** presented by Farnam last weekend with Master Monarch. Yesterday he rode Mr. Pracatan to a competitive score of 49.1, which currently puts him in seventh place, but today he proved that his win last weekend, in which he moved up from seventeenth to first place, was not due to luck alone.

Klimke now stands in second place, followed by Ruth Edge on Two Thyme (40.6) and Terry Boon on Foreign Exchange. Also entering the top ten is Klimke's teammate, Andreas Dibowski of Egestorf, Germany riding FRH Little Lemon (44.8) in sixth place.  A regular on the German team for the past ten years, Dibowski placed fourth at Badminton in 2002 riding Ginger; he and Little Lemon placed 13th at the Athens Olympic Games. Little Lemon has a strong competition record, with many CIC wins to his name, and placed second at Boekelo (NED) last year.

Hoy's wife Bettina, also a German event rider, is here to watch the competition. She has been schooling Moonfleet since winter, and according to Andrew has a great deal to do with his current success in the dressage phase.

"Bettina and I work so closely as a couple with all our horses," he said. "We do ride one another's because what you see and feel can be different. We talk about the way each other's horses go. I had nine horses in work in the winter and she had five so she worked Moonfleet and I was quite impressed. So I said to her why don't you take him in a couple competitions, since she's only got Cockatoo at the four-star level. She's only taking Cockatoo to Luhmuehlen, so riding Moonfleet keeps her going too. She rode him at Fountainbleau and that was a big course too. We'll wait and see [about the future]."

Hoy is the first to give credit where it's due, and said that he and Bettina happily share each other's horses. "I have to say it's really due to my support team and staff and especially Bettina, who is not staff, but Bettina's been riding Moonfleet all season," said Andrew. "I haven't actually been riding him this year – but the way he's going now in the dressage is just magnificent. I said to Bettina before the test that I was really going to be quite nervous in there because I know Bettina does such a magnificent job with dressage, I didn't want to let her down. I had Bettina's voice going through my head saying don't overcorrect him and I also thought I had better ride him forward because he's such a magnificent horse."

Hoy barely had time to catch his breath between Rolex and Badminton. He said that he arrived home on Monday morning after catching his flight out of Cincinnati and had great plans to ride that day, but in the end didn't feel up to it. On Tuesday he jumped Moonfleet and took Mr. Pracatan cross-country schooling and then brought the horses to Badminton on Tuesday afternoon.

"I schooled Moonfleet cross-country at the beginning of the year and not since then, but I've ridden him so much it's not something I need to do very much," he said.

Commenting on Klimke, who is still just 0.1 point under a show jumping rail behind him, Hoy said, "Ingrid's a very good rider and she'll go out there – she's a true winner – and she'll try to jump clear and inside the time. She may not have the experience I have cross-country, particularly here at Badminton, but she'll be going for it as I'm sure you saw at Athens."

Badminton is being run as a short format event this year, but Hoy said that his horses' fitness program has stayed the same. "I'll warm up with a walk, trot and canter and bit of a pipe opener in the morning like they do in the racing industry, and then later get on about half an hour before our start time," he explained.

Regarding tomorrow's cross-country test, Hoy said, "Hugh Thomas has designed a course that the fences look magnificent on, but there's a lot of jumping out there to do. It won't just be a canter around Badminton Park."

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