The Ollie Show. Lowest Ever Score for Dressage at Badminton Horse Trials

Ollie Townend.

Over the past two days, the seventieth anniversary saw the first element of the event (the dressage)  a record broken. Oliver Townend riding  Cillnabradden Evo the fourth combination to come in for their  dressage test broke the record for any combination in a dressage test at Badminton with the highest score for the test. Perfect 10s given by the three judges for several of the elements in the test. Judged by Nick Burton (GBR) president of the judges, at C and Jane Hamlin (US) at M and Christian Steiner (AUT) at E gave the Ollie Townend 79.82% which gave a penalty point value of  19.7.

Tom McEwen in seond after the dressage riding Toledo de Kerser

It was some way through the afternoon before anyone came near to Ollie’s incredible score. Piggy French riding Vanir Kamira came the closest with 26.0 penalties. She ended the day in third position. Tom McEwen riding Toledo de Kerser who was one of the last runners of the day overtook Piggy by finishing on a score of 24.7 penalties; thus putting him in second position at the end of day one.

Understandably, in the press conference at the end of the day, Ollie Townend was thrilled and said  “I tortured myself a lot last night, lying in bed and riding the test over and over in my mind. I knew he was capable of a performance like that, but you never want to get too complacent.”

Oliver Townend on his second ride, Ballaghmore Class

Day two of the dressage element of competition saw the next forty combinations coming forward. To be honest, after what was seen on day one, the scores and performances were generally good but certainly unexceptional. It was not until near the end of the start list did we see another really good score from, guess who: Oliver Townend, this time riding Ballahmor Class, who scored more 10s and ended with a score of 74.62% and a penalty value of 21.1. This put second of yesterday Tom McEwen to third and Piggy French from third to fourth. Several of today’s riders were first time riders at the iconic event at Badminton, and the emotion shown on their faces after their dressage showed what they felt. Some were still looking  very concerned while the others were all smiles as the relief of completing the dressage sack in. One first timer Billy Walk On, but ridden by the experienced Pippa Funnel took 5th spot with a penalty score of 26.5.

Piggy French riding Vamir Kamira

Clearly day three, the Cross Country Day, course built by Willis Brothers and designed by Eric Winter will sort the ‘men from the boys’ and no doubt the top few places will see significant changes, but Ollie Townend has it all to loose being in such a commanding position.

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