Dressage Day 2 Rider Reactions

Wednesday 7th - 11th May 2025

Dressage Day 2 Rider Reactions

Post-test reactions from today’s competitors.

Ros Canter (Izilot DHI, 25.3): ‘I’m absolutely delighted with him. He’s been doing good work this week, but didn’t like a camera in the corner of the arena off the right rein, so had a spook – but now he comes back to me. He has less blood (thoroughbred) than Lordships Graffalo and won’t have seen a course like this  one, or as long as this one, so whilst I will set out competitively I will keep an open mind.

Louise Harwood (Native Spirit, 35.5): ‘Disappointing. I didn’t have him enough in front of the leg. I didn’t rev him up enough. The cross-country looks testing enough.’

Kirsty Chabert (Opposition Heraldik Girl, 32.4 – pictured): ‘I’m a bit speechless, to be honest [she scored a personal best score]. Her withers go up quite steeep so she’s not a pony but she might be pushing 15.1hh if you put her on a stilt. Her length of stride, her power, her heart and her brain; she’s one of those freaks that we are blessed with.’

Arthur Marx (Church’Ile, FRA, 43): ‘I’m not really happy because we can make a lovely test, but not today. Maybe we will be better tomorrow – he is a master for me (across country).’

Jonelle Price (Grappa Nera, NZL, 34.4): ‘I’m happy with the mare, she’s hot but she stayed with me the whole way through. Her (flying) changes weren’t the best in there, so a lot of it I’m delighted but other parts I’ll be ruing. It’s a true track tomorrow, and it will be interesting to see how holding the ground will be, and also the heat which I think will hit the horses quite hard. It will be interesting to see how they come home.’

Richard Jones (Alfies Clover, 36.7): ‘I’m happy enough, it’s definitely not going to be a dressage show. I think the ground is going to be slow, so big day tomorrow.’

Luc Chateau (Viens du Mont, FRA, 43.1): ‘He’s not very calm, and was very forward – he’s better tomorrow for cross-country. It’s better weather than last year, but I think it will be hard to finish with big jumps at the end.’

Lucy Latta (RCA Patron Saint, IRL, 36.8): ‘I’m happy with how he behaved, this is the biggest atmosphere he’s ever had to deal with. He will have come on from this. Tomorrow I just need to be mindful of what I’m sat on.’

Emma Thomas (Icarus, 51.2): ‘In the end I just decided to steer – he was on a knife edge. He was definitely more taken with the cross-country fences in the arena than with the boards.’

Felicity Collins (RSH Contend Or, 34.5): ‘I had a bit of a boot malfunction, but he tried so hard for me. To be honest, it’s hard to remember much when you come out.’

Grace Taylor (Game Changer, USA, 35.4): ‘I’m disappointed, but it is what it is. The cross-country is big and that’s what we come for.

Harry Mutch (HD Bronze, 32.6): ‘He was really good, and did what he could do at the moment. Overall he was super. The cross-country is all jumpable but we will have to care for our horses on the way round.’

Gubby Leech (Royal Harvest, 36.5): ‘I’m over the moon. We’ve put a lot of work in and he’s not the easiest on the flat. I couldn’t be happier with him.’

Alexandra Knowles (Morswood, USA, 35.6): ‘I’m relatively pleased with that. He could do better but there’s a lot of atmosphere in there, it’s a massive deal to be here. It was my childhood dream; this was the event I wanted to get to. I’m trying not to be disappointed with any part of the experience. Tomorrow’s track should suit him, he’s a cross-country machine.’

Emily King (Valmy Biats, 29.2): ‘Really pleased. He’s very sensitive, but was so rideable. It’s really about tuning him in and getting him to take a breath. He felt just the same in the arena as he did in the warm up. It’s probably one of the first times he’s felt that consistent. I was conscious of trying to do a mistake-free test which maybe took a bit of the flare out.’

Holly Richardson (Bally Louis, 37.7): ‘He was really good; probably a bit more lit up that he was at Burghley. I hope tomorrow’s track will suit him.’

Tim Price (Vitali, NZL, 27.7): ‘We all know he’s very capable so on one hand I’m disappointed; he never misses a (flying) change but he did today, but I’m happy enough.’

Daragh Byrne (Kilcannnon Ramiro, IRL, 34.8): ‘He coped really well in that atmosphere, and did his job. He’s relatively inexperienced at five-star, and hasn’t done a five-star test on grass before. I’m happy.’

Helen Bates (Carpe Diem, 38.5): ‘I’m really happy with him,  he finds this phase difficult, and the atmosphere in there is so intense. It’s quite different to when you are in there doing arena familiarisation. The fact that he held it together and didn’t lose his mind is  pretty special. He really doesn’t like the screen in the arena, and there was a camera at a corner – he’s always looking for something to spook at.’

Selina Milnes (Gelmer, 32.2): ‘That was a really solid start, I did not expect that. He didn’t spook and was with me all the way. Without Austin (O’Connor, who stood in to ride the horse earlier this season after Selina had a ski-ing injury) I wouldn’t be here now, so huge thanks to him.’

Lauren Innes (Global Fision M, NZL, 41.4): ’41 is nowhere near troubling the leaders, but given the day we arrived and came up to the collecting ring, he was “absolutely not” so I had absolutely no expectations. But, he started to breathe which was a massive breakthrough. After Burghley we had a complete re-think and I have used Jason Webb, an equine horse therapist, who has been here every day and I can’t thank him enough. Every cross-country course suits Flipper, hopefully if I keep showing him the fences he will keep jumping for me.’

Gemma Stevens (Chilli Knight, 31.7): ‘That little horse was exactly the same in the ring as he was out here. He went in 100% with me, couldn’t have done any more than he did today. He is what he is, he’s not Valegro or London 52, but he is so well trained and obedient so I was chuffed to bits. I’ll let the handbrake off tomorrow – it’s been on since he came back from injury, so he’ll be very happy when I let it off. Going later in the day is a benefit so I can see how the course is riding, but it does make it a long day and terrible for the nerves.’

Libby Seed (Heartbreaker Star Quality, 37.3): ‘I’m very frustrated. We’ve worked really hard on the flat but it didn’t come together today. Medium trots are her party piece and both had a falter today and I think I only got one out of four (flying) changes. I only have one horse and she was clearly enjoying herself. On to cross-country!’

Alexander Bragg (Quindiva, 37.6): ‘She’s not an amazing mover and she was lit up. I just tried to do the training, sit up and hope she’d come to me. Mares at this time of year are quite tricky, but we are looking forward to tomorrow and I’m not displeased with her tooday.’

Laura Collett (Hester, 34.1): ‘I’m over the moon with her; she really doesn’t enjoy dressage so I was a bit nervous with a Friday afternoon test. She stayed with me and listened. The (flying) changes are what they are at the moment but the rest of the work is improving – we can get the changes over the winter. She’s a lovely horse and is just starting to trust me.

Wills Oakden (Class Cooley, 36.2): ‘We sort of jumped into the arena and he spooked at a camera, after which we went into recovery mission. His changes went “spook, spook, spook” and I thought “not now!” If anything, though, it takes the pressure off a bit as it’s the horse’s first Badminton.’

Tom Rowland (KND Steel Pulse, 36.9): ‘The horse was for sale during the winter, but no one wanted him and so, as he was fit and ready, we thought we’d bring him here. He finds the dressage hard so, although I was gutted about my first horse (Dreamliner), I couldn’t be more pleased with this one as he is a shy horse and, if you’d seen him rearing in the field six years ago, you wouldn’t have believed he would be here. This is the first time I’ve had two horses at a five-star: I look at it that you’ve either got two to go wrong, or two chances!’

Caroline Powell (Greenacres Special Cavalier, 30.0, 7th): ‘I am really pleased – she gets better and better. I really wanted her to get a Friday afternoon draw because she loves the crowd. It’s good to get her into this situation and press the buttons.’

Tom Jackson (Capels Hollow Drift, 34.4): ‘It’s unlike him to be spooky, but horses will be horses. I’m definitely going to look forward – his jumping is his forte (and mine too) so hopefully we can finish on that score tomorrow.’