a score of 39 – the only sub-40 mark of the day.
Two Thyme, who is now 16, has been carefully prepared for Badminton this year.
Ruth said: “He’s had a few soundness issues since Luhmuhlen [where he won in 2008], which ruled him out of the Hong Kong Olympics, but by giving him little holidays in between competitions he has stayed fit and well. Badminton has been his specific target for this season and he is on great form.”
Kitty King (née Boggis), who was the last rider of the day into the arena, inched her way into second place by virtue of an energetic and uphill test with the 14-year-old black gelding, Boondoggle, with a score of 44.3.
“When I first started riding him two years ago he was quite green on the flat, but now he’s more relaxed and his paces are starting to swing.”
Mary King and Imperial Cavalier are lying third on a score of 44.8.
“Unfortunately the loud speakers crackled and banged just as we came into the arena, so his test was a little bit tense to start with,” said Mary, for whom this is a 19th visit to Badminton.
“I’m just as excited now as I was back then,” she said.
Tomorrow’s dressage gets underway at 9.20am, when vet James Robinson will be first into the arena with Comanche.