Well Bramham has finally come around and in typical Yorkshire fashion its raining . Today was day one of the dressage phase and only featured the early drawn of the Senior CCI*** section and the CIC*** sections in total 86 horses strutted their stuff, some good, some bad but non ugly proving that the competition is going to be ripe throughout.
For me the first challenge was going to be getting Colin the trusty Corsa onto the fields. When I bought him I was thinking more about being esuriently and not really thinking he needs to be horse-trials mud and all friendly. Luckily Colin got us on without a call out for the cavalry although I must say there was a fair bit of leaning forward and clicking the boy on to help us up one of the banks- well horse power is horse power and if it works for the four legged type why can’t t work for the 4 wheeled kind!
But more seriously onto the dressage. Now because Bramham runs a CCI and a CIC there’s two arenas next to each other. For most of the tests riders were running in sync and finishing within seconds of each other although occasionally due to rider errors or due to one arena having more riders in that session, the time in which combinations finished sometimes differed which resulted in a mid test applause which sadly caused a few horses to spook/ tense. During the day two notable combinations seemed to suffer (both actually local riders) Jolyse Clancey and the aptly On Springs appeared to be doing a nice test when On springs went airborne and plainly refused to go past one corner for a short period. Jolyse rode very sympathetically after this moment and managed to salvage the test to score 62.1 but the damage was obviously done. Georgie Morrison and Ditch Digger were probably more fortunate, in that Ditch Digger reacted to the applause after he had finished his test and left the arena via showing off his high kicking powers. However, credit must be given to Georgie for her stick ability as Ditch Digger appeared to take this opportunity a little further via continuing to buck whilst heading towards the warm up arenas which did cause some interesting gasps from the crowd watching.
Some horses were also noticeably not enjoying the Yorkshire weather. Alexander Peternell and Asih were probably the most noticeable casualties and are taking up the rear spot in the Senor CCI*** class. The horse appeared to be scowling the whole way through and having a “Why on earth have you brought me here?!?” look on his face as the rain came down on him – but to be fair I can’t blame him! The grey Moores Stream ridden by Sarra Mayberry also appeared to have a lack of interest for the dressage phase however, he certainly appeared to spot the cross country fences in the distance when walking back to the stables.
A few riders also seemed to suffer from memory loss Brazilian Marcio Jorge and British rider Mary Lofthouse both herd the bell, I personally felt for Mary who looked visually upset at letting her horse down and appeared to be doing a bit of mental beating to herself when leaving the arena, so I’ll personally be willing her on to have a cracking cross country ride to make up for it after all I think we’re all our worse critics and the horse certainly appeared to be enjoying the day.
There also seemed to be a pattern emerging in more riders showing their personal tastes, colours or sponsor colours through their clothing. Lucy Wiegersma looked very striking in her pastel blue collared tail coat which obviously did her no harm after scoring 46.6 with Granntevka Prince to lye in 3rd over night. Although Holland’s Madeleine Brugman may be taking it a tad too far for me with her pink and black tail coat, bling boots and pink ribbon on her top hat (and I’m closet bling and pink lover!)
The CIC*** may be an Olympic selection trial for some riders but for two Swedish riders the class provides a setting for a much bigger competition…… who will be named the top Svennerstal? As Ellen and Ludwig Svennerstal are in fact brother and sister. Currently Ludwig is in equal 6th with Shamwari 4 and Ellen is just 9 penalties behind with the lovely liver chestnut Southway so all is still to play for although maybe for this particular battle we should deduct points from Ludwig as he has a second horse at Bramham due to do dressage tomorrow. Either that or perhaps we could find a second ride for Ellen…. I hear there’s this little grey called Lenamore stabled perhaps he would be a good choice?
HJU live chat contributor Nina Ligon riding Butts Leon for Thailand may have suffered the curse of going first and lye in equal 26th overnight but again with the competition already proving tight n the CIC*** anything could happen with a quick double clear.
Some of my personal faves of the day were mainly due to selfish or vein reasons rather than their actual tests. France’s Julie Bordenave and Mexico De Canta give me hope that my gangly thoroughbred may get somewhere one day as Mexico definitely didn’t have the best conformation or top line but appeared to cope well enough for 55.8 in the CIC***. Holland’s Jan Van Beek and Bridget are true candidates for the new twitter favourite hash tag go home or go orange and looked stunning in their national colours. Mr Stick-ability aka Andrew Nicholson was riding the stunning TriStar II who I’d quite happily take home he really s a picture post-card horse that every little girl dreams of.
And then there was Caroline Edwards and Apapa who bless his cotton socks looked more like a FEI pony, I’m really hoping he’s going to prove to be a pocket rocket across country!
New Zealander Lucy Jackson not only looked very elegant in a taller top hat that is not normally donned by the ladies, but she’s also proving that her elegant style can be backed up with some elegant dressage results! Lucy is off to a flying start after Willy Do did a cracking test to provisionally take the lead in the CCI*** but eventually finished in 2nd place over night on 45.6. Not to be out done though, Lucy took the lead in the CIC*** with The Animator II only this time she managed secure it and leads the section over night all be it with just .3 of a penalty separating herself from Belgium Karin Donckers and the cheeky Extebaria Van Het Varahof who was not afraid to say hello to the spectators in voice half way through their test.
A number of horses appeared to struggle with the rein back movement in the test, Tim Cheffings and the striking (and slightly unusual for this level) appaloosa Colby II were one of the notable combinations to do so.
However, despite having to face the worst of the days weather with the heaviest rain, (I did wonder if other riders had been doing a rain dance in order to try and prevent the often inevitable) William Fox Pitt and Avoca Alibi still managed to do a master class not only on this one movement; but throughout the test to take the overnight lead in the Senior CCI*** class.
Sadly I’m unable to go tomorrow due to an exam – I’ve already told them how inconsiderate they are – don’t they know Bramham Horse Trials are on! But looking forward to reporting some jumping action during the weekend fingers crossed its not going to be a muddy ski slope as I understand one more event due to run this weekend within the UK has already been called off due to the rain – nothing like a British Summer Right!?!