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Badminton Dressage Day 1
Badminton, Gloucestershire, UK
by Kathy Culpin

The first day of dressage at the Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials drew to a close earlier this evening here in Gloucestershire.

The former winner William Fox Pitt put in his usual polished test to start the day off riding Macchiato an Argentine Thoroughbred and scoring 51.8 ending the day in 8th place. He was followed by some relatively new names to the Badminton arena one of whom, Emily Baldwin, currently leads the field scoring 42.3 on the horse Drivetime. Emily completed Badminton in 2008 after a refusal at the Lake. Hot on Emily's heels is the experienced rider Ruth Edge, scoring 43.8 on the Mayhill son, Mayhem III. Jo May on Faere Vision, a son of the great Ben Faerie rounds out the top three sitting on a score of 46.7.

The dressage test is new for 2009 and has only been previously used in Kentucky so the riders are still feeling their way through it. It's an interesting test, written by former winner Chris Bartle and has two serpentines in it, one of 3 loops and one of 5, they carry a lot of marks and, as is perhaps to be expected at this level, require a great deal of accuracy and suppleness. Badminton is never about dressage and it's anyone's guess as to who will prevail and win the trophy on Sunday.

Tomorrow a number of riders have their second horses in the dressage arena, the forecast is for a blustery but dry day.

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