Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding are the only Kiwi combination in the top 10 at the end of the dressage at the Badminton Horse Trials, but all riders are buoyed about the performances of their horses.
Amanda and Just Kidding, in their first-ever Badminton, sit in eighth equal spot on 25.9 with the top of the leaderboard a Brit-fest. Laura Collett (GBR) and London 52 have stolen the march on the rest of the field with their 21 penalty point effort with Tom McEwen (GBR) and Toledo De Kerser now in second on 23.4, and Kitty King (GBR) aboard Vendredi Biats third on 24.8.
Overnight Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy scored 29.1 penalty points to sit in 19th spot with Jonelle Price and Classic Moet on 31.4 penalty points, Bundy Philpott and Tresca NZPH picking up 33.8 for their test, and Lauren Innes and Global Fision sitting on 41.4.
Amanda was over the moon with the efforts of her New Zealand thoroughbred. “It is way above my expectations,” she said. “I was hoping for a sub 30 though. I knew he had this test in him but I am just stoked to have finally been able to pull it off.”
She said thoroughbreds are bred for Saturday (cross country), and not generally dressage, but she’s been putting plenty of work into the dressage. “It was just a matter of working out what was the best way to get him to where he was happy and can do his job.”
Amanda had grown up watching Badminton on tv and was excited to be there on the other side of the screen. “It is amazing. This is what we do the sport for. I tried to block out everything around me and just concentrate on the job and then you finish and you are like ‘wow, we are at Badminton’.” The cross country is everything she expected. “It is very clear where you need to go and what you need to do.”
Tim Price was very pleased with Ringwood Sky Boy. “He’s not a dressage specialist but rather an all-round kind of master of none, jack of all kind of guy. There were probably three things that could have gone better . . . but 29 is a good hunting ground and that is the sort of guy he is, so I am happy with that.”
The horse always tried so hard and Tim was looking forward to getting out on the cross country tonight. “The course is tough and I think time will be tight so there is all to play for. The ones at the top are pretty dam good at everything so it will be one of those spectacular Badmintons I think.”
Jonelle Price says she too was “happy enough” with the efforts of her former Badminton winner Classic Moet. “We are never going to trouble the leaders in the first phase,” she said. “It is more a case of trying to stay in touch and hopefully we have done that.”
She felt the cross country looked big and bold with little margin for error but those on true 5* horses who rode a forward and attacking round should be rewarded. “The course doesn’t leave you guessing in too many places. I am happy with it.”
Bundy Philpott said Tresca NZPH had tried his heart out. “He was super,” she said. “It is not a natural phase for him. He went in and stayed with me the whole way so really happy as a place to start.”
ESNZ high performance general manager Jock Paget said the efforts of the Kiwi riders had shown strength and consistency. “There’s a long way to go though,” he said. “The cross country course has actually looked tougher with each walk but the good ones should make it look fun. It is a really strong field. Everybody has missed this event. The course is big but nice and the riders can attack it.”
NZ RIDERS XC START TIMES:
THE HORSE DETAILS:
Just Kidding – owned by The Pottinger Family
Ringwood Sky Boy – owned by Tim and Jonelle Price and Sophie Hearnden
Classic Moet – owned by Trisha and Sophie Rickards and Jonelle Price
Tresca NZPH – owned by Bryan and Bundy Philpott
Global Fision M – owned by Lauren Innes
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ