Dressage Day 1 Rider Reactions

Wednesday 7th - 11th May 2025

Dressage Day 1 Rider Reactions

Bubby Upton swept into the lead (Cola, 27.3) and remains there at the close of day one: ‘He was amazing. Just being here is a dream come true – if anyone had told me seven months ago that I would be, I don’t think I would have believed them.’

The early leader was Boyd Martin (Tsetserleg TSF, USA, 29): ‘I am thrilled with the horse – he looked like a champion. We’re in with a chance. I am feeling sick to my stomach about the cross-country though; I’ve only been here once and didn’t finish. But I’m not here just to complete; I want get in and get stuck in.’

Tom Jackson (Farndon, 33.0): ‘I don’t mind being first to go – sometimes you’re better off getting out there. Badminton is big and bold and you’ve just got to get stuck in, and Farndon might just have the advantage with the ground. Although he hasn’t been to Badminton before, he’s got five-star experience and he’s a super-chilled and talented horse. I’m super pleased with his dressage test – it’s the best he’s done.’

Caroline Powell (CBI Aldo, NZ,  35.6): ‘I’m chuffed. It’s always a bit of a gamble bringing a nine-year-old [the youngest horse in the field] but it’s a good step for him. It’s a good experience and he’s a trier. I thought that if I got in the 30s I would be thrilled.’

Tom Rowland (Dreamliner, 34.9): ‘Honestly, I’m gutted. Dreamliner always takes a lot of motivation. But, hey, it’s not going to be a dressage competition and we’ve just got to give it our best on Saturday.’

Wills Oakden (Arklow Puissance, 39.4): ‘He’s not an easy horse in the dressage but we hope to make up ground on Saturday. At one stage I was even enjoying it, but some of the rest of the test was a case of damage limitation. But he’s a great horse for me to learn on and it’s better to be here than sitting on the sofa at home.’

Pippa Funnell (Majas Hope, 40.8): ‘That was not the best I was hoping for, very disappointing and not my normal standard. But Majas Hope has been here three times and to Burghley three times and he’s an old horse who has seen it all before and so he’s been wired up ever since he’s been here.’

Felix Vogg (Cartania, SUI, 32.6): ‘Last year, the mare made it really clear that she was suitable for Badminton which is why I have brought her here. She is very honest and genuine.’

India Wishart (Diamond Sundance, 38.8): ‘I am competitive so there are aspects I will go away and think about. The flying changes used to be my nemesis, but they were really lovely – I am pretty sure I nailed three of them anyway! I don’t normally get nervous about dressage, but it was quite an electric atmosphere. Badminton is iconic and a level up from anything I’ve done before.’

Zara Tindall (Class Affair, 37.2): ‘I’m not pleased with the mark, but, for Class Affair, he was quite calm – he hates people! The team here has done a great job on the cross-country. Hopefully I can keep him on a straight line and make it smooth.’

Kylie Roddy (SRS Kan Do, 34.0): ‘He did a clear round! He didn’t do anything wrong and was really with me. I can’t ask for any more.’

Alice Casburn (Topspin, 35.3): ‘I’m really pleased with him. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you can! He didn’t do any flying changes last year and now he has nailed them. Topspin feels really good this year. It’s his sixth five-star, so hopefully he knows what he’s doing, but horses are horses and you never know.’

Rosie Bradley-Hole (nee Fry) (Romantic, 38): ‘I knew I wouldn’t be in the low 30s, but I didn’t want to be in the 40s either, so this is fine. She’s a big girl and not made for dressage – she’s not a dressage horse, I’m not a dressage rider, but hopefully we’ll do our stuff on Saturday. I’m very grateful to the owner, Sarah Wild, who has made it possible for me to keep riding Romantic. This was our aim and now we’re here.’

Bill Levett (Huberthus AC, AUS , 35.8): ‘He’s a hard horse to settle and was tricky in the changes and canter but his trot work was solid. I think this year’s XC  is a  bit softer, allowing us to get our lines better. It’s good that the long lines tend to be very long.’

Gaspard Maksud (Kan-Do 2, FRA 38.1): ‘Going under the archway for the first time is very auspicious; it’s a good atmosphere in there. He’s a little horse with a big heart – dressage is a hard phase for him, cross-country is what he likes better.’

Sarah Ennis (Grantsdown Jackson, IRL, 36.4): ‘Dressage isn’t his best phase but he is getting better. We missed one change today, I’m very happy with him.’

Jessica Phoenix (Wabbit, CAN, 40.3): ‘He showed a lot of composure in that ring. He’s the fittest he’s ever been, which I think will be good having seen the cross country course.’

Florian Ganneval (Blue Bird de Beaufour, FRA, 34.7): ‘I think the test was good for me. The cross country is big but I think the lines are clear.’

Will Rawlin (Ballycoog Breaker Boy, 36.1): ‘I am disappointed – the horse has felt fantastic in training and was phenomenal when he cantered in. He’s never broken in the extended and so I was shocked by that and then when I couldn’t get him back, I thought “Oh God!” I didn’t exactly notice the crowd, but I felt it and so did the horse. Eric [Winter, course-designer] has done an unbelievable job and the ground will be amazing.’

William Fox-Pitt (Graffenacht, 30.6): ‘I am very happy with that test. The mare was in a great outline. I’ve already done two course walks, one with Yogi [Briesner] and there are some good ideas out there and it’s a decent track. It’s going to be exciting.’

Tiana Coudray (Cancaras Girl, USA, 29.8): ‘We were melting down out there, but she was so brave. I bought her from a Facebook advert from Hollie Miller. I’ve been round Badminton twice but that was 10 years ago – it’s really exciting to be back and we’ve made a good start.’

Helen Martin (Andreas, 38.2): ‘It was disappointing [that the horse blew up at first] but the crowd got to him and I thought “oh no”. He is chestnut and quite sensitive. We had a fall last year at fence 18, so hopefully I’ve learnt and put that behind me.’

Cosby Green (Copper Beach, USA 33.7): ‘The cross-country is stunning and I can’t wait to get out there. It’s massive! I came as a spectator last year and I’m glad I did or I’d have been in shock. In fact, I was really nervous at the trot-up|!’

Kristina Hall-Jackson (CMS Google, 36.2): ‘I am really pleased. My mare is not a dressage queen, she’s a jumping machine and, hopefully, it’s not going to be a dressage competition.’

Harry Meade (Away Cruising, 34.6): ‘I was thrilled. I thought that was the nicest five-star test he’s done. He’s a really old friend; I’ve ridden him since he was four.’