It is all change at the top of the #MMBHT leaderboard and what a day of eventing dressage it has been
First came the lady from Belgium - Karin Donckers and Fletcha Van 'T' Verahof to produce a sublime test to take the lead on score of 37.3. With previous great form and an expectation for a good test it was no surprise for many to see Karin take the early Friday lead.
Then came Jonty - one of the nicest men in eventing riding, the most sensational horse, Cooley Rorkes Drift. The highest placed Irish pair from Rio rode the tests of their lives, much to the jubilation of the on looking crowd. A confirmed score of 37.2 moved them .1 ahead of Karin Donckers to take the temporary lead. A fist pump to the air signalling the shear delight from this superstar pairing.
"I'm delighted with him and he tried so hard and its so good to do it in the right place. I saw 8, 8, 7 on the score board and thought that was reasonably good and it gets you going...He generally loves the cross country, he gallops and he jumps, we've really worked hard on that since Rio."
Ingrid Klimke - no stranger to being a dressage leader didn't disappoint either. She made
Jonty's lead very short lived and blew the judges away with a 36.4 from Horseware Hale Bob OLD. This pair were very much expected to take the lead into the jumping phases. however what happened next was a bit more of a shock.
"It's always a big dream and big hope, but im not the only one who wants to lift the trophy... I totally trust him and really look forward to tomorrow. Plan A is to go straight everywhere and get the time. Luckily im late to go so I can see how everything is riding. This is not a dressage competition for sure."
Chris Burton - the reigning Land Rover Burghley champion and Olympic Bronze medalist, aboard Graf Liberty produced the 3rd best Badminton test in history for 32.9, making it the best Badminton test of the decade! Renowned for being quick across the country and a phenomenal cross country rider, all eyes now firmly turn to the British based Aussie.
"He's done good tests before but, I knew it was in him but didn’t think it would be today at Badminton. At 4* the time is always tough. I think he's done a great job, I really do. It’s the sort of course where you are scared of every fence but I think you can see a way through every fence."