The weather and Eric Winter’s cross country course at the 2023 Badminton Horse Trials combined to create the perfect storm for more than half the field in the prestigious CCI5* event. Just 30 of the original 64 starters crossed the finish flags. Overnight leader Ros Canter, the 2018 world champ, and Lordships Graffalo were all class, holding on to the top spot after adding 11.6 time penalties to sit on 33.7 penalty points. From the 30 who did finish, there were very few jump (three) or pin (two) faults with no-one making the time allowed and while the rain held off, the going was soft and holding.

Tim Price is the best of the Kiwis, sitting in fourth place aboard Vitali having added 24 time penalties to his tally to end the day on 51.1. He was very pleased with the efforts of the German-bred gelding, with whom he placed third at Burghley in 2022. “He was super,” said the world no.1. “He just gave me the best trip ever really. I am hoping I will have plenty of horse to have a jump tomorrow and am looking forward to that.” He opted to withdraw Coup de Coeur Dudevin saying the horse just “wasn’t quite right” to go. “I am looking after him for another day.”

Dan Jocelyn is in rich company as one of only two riders to get their two mounts home – the other being leader Ros Canter. He added an 11 and 40 aboard Cooley One To Many to sit on 85.2 in 21st place, with Blackthorn Cruise picking up 56.8 time to finish the day in 22nd spot on 87.1.

Dan couldn’t be happier with both horses. “Cooley One To Many really had to dig deep,” he said. “That was a big course to get around in those conditions so I am absolutely thrilled with the effort he put in.” Their hold on course proved fortuitous. “I was thankful to be held on course for 10 minutes. That did help me get home because he was tiring. All I all it was a big effort all round. He jumped all the technical questions very well and I couldn’t have asked for more in his carefulness in the way he bowled into those bigger questions too – especially the waters.” Dan said it was unfortunate they had the pin but the horse was starting to tire by then. “He came home after his hold and finished jumping really well.”

The rider had learnt a lot in that first round and he put it to good use with Blackthorn Cruise. “I decided with all the withdrawals and the things going wrong for a lot of my fellow riders that I was going to take it easy with him, so we started a bit quitter and finished a bit quieter, but he jumped a fantastic round.” He was incredibly proud of the horse. “He showed all his mileage and experience, and coming from a year off and building back up to this has just been a dream come true for me.” He and his team were now looking forward to the showjumping.

Lauren Innes and Global Fision M bounced back from a challenging dressage test to come home clear with 40.8 time to sit on 87.2 penalty points in 23rd place. “I am absolutely over the moon today,” she said. “He galloped and jumped all the way home and I am so proud of him. I was nervous as so many horses were looking so tired but he finished full of running. I know next time there is enough in the tank to go faster.”

Hollie Swain and Solo, who drew some very encouraging compliments from Badminton great Lucinda Green, were hugely relieved to cross the finish flags, adding 11 for a pin and 52.4 time for a tally of 108.3. “It was definitely a relief to get through those finish flags,” said Hollie. “We just sort of had the plan of jumping each fence as it came and listing to him while being respectful of the fences, taking consideration to the ground and being able to jump each fence confidently and safely.” Hollie said her giant chestnut was “just incredible”.

Caroline Powell and Greenacres Special Cavalier had two stops but completed with a score of 126.6. Muzi Pottinger said it just wasn’t their day. She and Just Kidding parted company early in the course for elimination. “My gut feeling was that I shouldn’t have left the start box and it turns out I definitely shouldn’t have,” she said.  Both horse and rider are fine and will now re-route to Luhmuhlen 5* next month. “We will live to fight another day.”

For full results, head to

The horse details;
Vitali – owned by Joe and Alexander Giannamore and Tim Price
Coup de Coeur Dudevin – owned by Jean-Louis Stauffer
Solo – owned by John and Janette Bodenham and Emily Botsaris
Global Fision M – owned by the Innes Family Syndicate
Greenacres Special Cavalier – owned by Chris Mann
Cooley One to Many – owned by Lucy and Sophie Allison, Franki Clapham and Carole King
Blackthorne Cruise – owned by Panda Christie and Dan Jocelyn
Just Kidding – owned by the Pottinger Family

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By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law ESNZ