Monday 10 May 2010

Badminton Horse Trials 2010 Winner, Paul Tapner: One Week on....

We visited Paul Tapner at his yard in Wickstead Equestrian Centre, Highworth nr. Swindon today to see how he was enjoying his first week as the  2010 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials Champion. Here's what Paul had to say about his slightly crazy week:

Monday 3 May 2010

Badminton Horse Trials 2010 Winner, Paul Tapner: "This win means so much"

Paul Tapner has won his first Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. He went into the showjumping arena with a fence in hand, but his ride, Inonothing, never looked like touching a fence.

Andreas Dibowski and Euroridings Butts Leon kept their clean sheet in the final phase to move up to second, while Daisy Berkeley and Spring Along enjoyed their best Badminton result to date to take third.

“As soon as I first started eventing, Badminton has been my aim. It doesn’t get much better than this,” he said.

Paul, who grew up in Sydney but who has been permanently based in the UK since 2003, admitted that Inonothing failed to impress him as a youngster.

“He had some very special behavioural problems back then – in fact his nickname is ‘Spinhead’. After I rode him in his first novice competition in 2003, it went so disastrously wrong that I almost phoned up his owner, Jenny Waaler, and told that I didn’t want to ride him anymore. But something held me back from making that phone call. And now look where we are.”

Mary King’s one rail down on Imperial Cavalier dropped her from second to fourth and allowed Germany’s Andreas Dibowski and Euroridings Butts Leon to rise up into second place.

This is a third consecutive runners-up position for this combination, who occupied the same spot in Luhmühlen and Pau last year.

“Normally if someone told me I would be second in a competition like this I would be very happy, but I think someday I would like to win a four-star,” said Andreas.

Daisy Berkeley (née Dick) and the irrepressible Spring Along jumped an immaculate clear to rise from sixth to third.

“He’s like fine wine – he gets better with age,” said Daisy of the 17-year-old.

Caroline Powell and Lenamore finished fifth with a double jumping clear, while vet James Robinson rolled just one pole to drop from fourth to sixth.




Watch Paul Tapner's Winning Show Jumping Round.

Watch Paul Tapner's Cross Country Round (on Stormhill Michael)

Looking back at yesterday's cross-country

Yesterday's cross-country test certainly provided the thrills and spills that the crowd came for.

Of the 81 starters that set off round Hugh Thomas's cross-country course at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, there were 57 finishers. Of these, 42 combinations jumped clear and four came home inside the time.

The final 20 have just started showjumping. There is less than a fence in hand between the top four, and just 8.4 penalties separating the top 10.

So near, yet so far

Sian Wynne Morris was only a hair’s breadth from enjoying a Badminton debut most riders can only dream of. She was one of only four riders to finish inside the time yesterday around a cross-country course that caused problems for even seasoned Badminton campaigners – like Andrew Nicholson, who had walked the course with Sian and advised her which lines she should take.

“Andrew told me to stick to my plan and ride positively, so that’s what I did,” said Sian, who has previously completed Burghley on two occasions and Pau CCI**** once before with the 14-year-old Just Appeal.

Nevertheless Sian admitted to being surprised at finishing inside the optimum.

“I set out hoping I’d be near it and he’s got a good gallop, but as I went round I kept looking down at my watch and thinking: ‘Wow, I’m well up there with my minute markers,’” she said.

Sadly, Just Appeal sustained an overreach yesterday that prevented him from showjumping.

“But we’ll be back for Burghley,” said Sian, who has just finished setting up her own yard in North Wales.

Seven horses withdrawn overnight, but leading contenders all pass horse inspection

The leading contenders all passed this morning’s final trot-up leaving Paul Tapner, Mary King and Simone Deitermann at the top of the leaderboard going into this afternoon’s final showjumping phase at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

Seven horses have been withdrawn overnight.

Sian Wynne Morris’s Just Appeal (31st), Sacha Pemble’s I’ve Been Dun (32nd), Geoff Curran’s Balladeer Alfred(pictured) (49th) and Selina Bodiliy (44th) were not presented, while Annabel Wigley’s Black Drum (18th), Sara Burdess’s Shiver St George (42nd) and Nicola Malcolm’s McFly (54th) were held and then withdrawn from the holding box.

Showjumping starts at 11am for the lower placed riders, followed by a parade of competitors at 1.45pm. Showjumping for the top 20 will begin at 2pm.

Sunday 2 May 2010

From the horse’s mouth – what did the riders think?

We caught up with the movers and shakers after their cross-country rounds:

Paul Tapner, the current leader with Inonothing: “I knew he was fit enough and experienced enough to come here and jump a clear round inside the time, but as I landed from the second-last fence and I kicked on, he said: ‘Actually Dad, I’m a little bit tired,’, so I just let him cruise on up the hill to the finish.”

Mary King, lying second on Imperial Cavalier: “He felt so much stronger than he did when he last came here in 2008. I should have won then, but we fell at the second last."
On Kings Mistress, who retired at the HS1 Corners [fence 15ab]: “We had a bad jump at the Countryside Complex [fence 14abcd] and knowing that the corners were so influential I should have taken the long route, but my competitive spirit got the better of me. That was the first cross-country fault she’s ever had.”

Simone Deitermann, third on Free Easy NRW: “The first 10 fences were not so good as he gets quite strong, but after that she settled down and jumped really well. I was very pleased.”

Andrew Nicholson, lying 15th on Nereo: “He’s a young horse doing his first four-star. I deliberately didn’t set out too fast as I wanted some petrol left in the tank at the end. I thought the course rode really well and the wet ground didn’t bother me.”

Carolyne Ryan-Bell, lying ninth on Rathmoyle King: “I didn’t like all the 90-degree turns into fences and I never want to jump an open corner with a short back rail again [like the HS1 Farmyard at 15], but he was great. After we jumped though the Lake I felt him turn into a real four-star horse.”

Annabel Wigley, who is lying 18th with Black Drum: “The course rode a lot tougher than I originally thought it would when I first walked it, but my horse was fantastic and he was so straight everywhere. He’s come back better after the winter.”

Tony Warr, currently 45th, whose horse Coolgrange Merger won many admirers with his accurate jumping: “I watched a couple of riders before I went, but wished I hadn’t because none of them completed. ‘Precious’ always locks on to his fences, but a couple of times he wasn’t sure where he was going, like at the Countryside Complex [14abcd], where he jumped the third element and couldn’t understand why I was pulling him left. Then he spotted the final part and locked on. ”

Sam Watson, lying eighth on Horseware Bushman: “The ground was exactly how I wanted it; I prayed for rain and nature helped me out. I think the leader board would have been very different without the overnight rain.”

Alex Hua-Tian, who fell on his first horse, Jeans, but later jumped clear with Magenta: “After the disappointment of this morning, Maggie [Magenta] absolutely tried her heart out and I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Old and new faces overnight in the Badminton top 10

Carolyne Ryan-Bell, currently lying ninth, is no stranger to Badminton, but this is something of a comeback for her. She won an Armada dish for completing Badminton five times in the Nineties and her old campainger, Hooray Henry was a Badminton stalwart in his day.  But today it was Rathmoyle King who made his mark and really rose to the challenge.

"I felt that the course was harder than last year," said Carolyne. "But he [Rathmoyle King] really turned into a four-star horse out there, especially on the second part of the course."

The pair added just 6 time penalties to a dressage score of 47.0.

A new face in the top 10 at Badminton is Sam Watson. He is currently the highest placed Irish rider on the leaderboard and also the youngest. He will go into the final phase tomorrow lying in eighth place, having had a fantastic ride across the country on Horseware Bushman. This is his second time at Badminton and he has risen from 42nd place after the dressage.

"The ground was exactly how I wanted it," said 24-year-old Sam, who is based in Worcestershire. "My horse prefers wetter going, so I was praying for rain."

Sam made his debut on the Irish team at the European Championships last year. "The World Games in Kentucky is my main aim now, but I'd like to start with a clear round here tomorrow first," added Sam, who thought that today's track was a "typical Badminton course".

Paul Tapner leads after a dramatic cross-country day

What a day of ups and downs – European medallists on the floor, first-timers in the top three. Not a minute went by without a surprise of some sort lurking around the corner.

Paul Tapner, who has been on scintillating form on the one-day circuit this spring, but who was largely overlooked by pundits for this competition, now heads the field on Inonothing after a brilliant cross-country performance that left him with just 0.4 of a time penalty.

Paul, who had already been round the course once on Stormhill Michael, admitted that he didn’t watch anyone ride the course in between.

“I knew that it was causing carnage, but I slept a bit and tried to keep away as much as possible,” he said.

Mary King and Imperial Cavalier are lying second, less than a showjump behind Paul, on 47.2.

Mary, who was held up on course when Alex Hua Tian’s first ride, Jeans, demolished the second of the corners at the HS1 Farmyard at 15, admitted that it took a while for her to get back into her stride following the hold-up.

“I was talking to the crowd while I was waiting and got a bit distracted. I rode the next fence – the

Countryside Complex [fence 14abcd] – pretty poorly and that shook me up a bit,” she said.

Badminton first-timer Simone Deitermann celebrated her birthday in fine style with a superb round that elevated her into third place with the flamboyant Free Easy NRW.

“I was surprised to do so well as although he is a very good jumper he sometimes goes a little too much forward.”

Pre-event favourites and current European Champions Tina Cook and Miners Frolic endured a dunking in the Lake when the gelding left a leg over the narrow first element, while silver medallist Piggy French’s day was no better – she fell from Some Day Soon when he screwed awkwardly over the first part of the Countryside Complex at 14abcd.


A room with a (lakeside) view and plenty of liquid refreshment

Keen to sample all that Badminton has to offer, bloggers Ellie Hughes and Emma Sewell dropped into the new lakeside bar – The Outside Chance – to check out this year's must-visit watering hole.
It is being run by events organiser Freddie Tulloch and Howard Spooner, who owns The Outside Chance pub near Marlborough and the Chelsea nightclub, Crazy Larrys. Both boys are passionate about making this work for the horse trials and have been working in collaboration with Badminton director Hugh Thomas.

“There is something for everyone,” said Freddie. And he is not wrong. The bar, complete with plasma screens, a cocktail bar, DJs and a generous sized outdoor area, serves food and drink of varying descriptions all day. When we arrived it was a hive of activity with young and old enjoying the thrills and spills that The Lake (fences 12 a, b, c and d) had to offer.

“We have been really pleased with the support that we have had from people over the weekend. We presented the idea to Hugh [Thomas] and he has been great,” said Freddie.
Howard acquired his Marlborough pub on the back of a 100-1 bet which enabled him to make the purchase. Hence the name – The Outside Chance.
Tonight The Outside Chance will play host to the much anticipated “Mane Event”, which kicks off at 6pm. Ticket holders (tickets cost £20 in advance) will be able to enjoy all the urban trimmings but in the fabulous surroundings of Badminton. We will certainly be dropping in for a drink and dance.

Toddy enjoys dream comeback ride

It has been 10 years since Mark Todd last competed at Badminton, but the Kiwi maestro returned in fine style with NZB Grass Valley, making up for a mediocre dressage score of 55.8 with an exhibition round across the country that left him with 8.8 time penalties.

“He’s not a speed machine, but he keeps up a good gallop and I couldn’t be more delighted with him,” said Mark, whose broad grin when he crossed the line said it all. “He would be the least experienced horse I have ever ridden here, but each time I asked him to go on and pick up, he responded.”

Grass Valley looked to relish the softer ground and Mark is confident that the experience will have brought the 10-year-old on enormously.

“He’s capable of a dressage mark in the 40s, but he felt a little stiff yesterday and perhaps didn’t do his best test,” said Mark, who has nevertheless earmarked the gelding for the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.

View his Video Diary following Cross Country

Horse fatality at The Mitsuibishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials

It is with great sadness we announce that Desert Island, ridden by Louisa Lockwood and owned by Donald Birts was put down following a fall at fence 9 (The corner at Huntsmans Close).

A detailed investigation of the circumstances is currently taking place and a further statement with be made as soon as any more information is available.

The rider Louisa Lockwood, is currently being attended by the Red Cross, however is believed not to have sustained any serious injury.

Julian Seaman
Press Officer

Mary King currently leading the field

Mary King currently heads the leaderboard after her cross-country round at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. She survived a few hairy moments, but came back with just 2.4pen with Imperial Cavalier. Paul Tapner and Stormhil Michael are currently lying in second and Andrew Nicholson and Nereo third.

Andrew said: “The course rode well. I deliberately started a bit carefully to keep some petrol in the tank, but I’m really pleased with him.”

Sian Wynne Morris has just posted the first clear inside the time with Just Appeal.

A few fences have been taken out of the course due to the wet ground: fences 5 and 6 in the quarry, plus fence 30, the second part of the double of angled logs at the penultimate, have been removed.

Weather brightening up - but cross-country day may favour the mud larks

Riders with an early draw may be thanking their lucky stars as the predicted heavy rain that arrived at Badminton yesterday has continued to fall throughout the night and into this morning. Cross-country day should certainly favour proven mud larks as the wet weather shows little sign of relenting with just an hour to go before the first combination is due to leave the start box.

The last paricularly wet cross-country day at Badminton was in 2004, where experienced combinations came to the fore. That year, William Fox-Pitt secured his first Badminton win with Tamarillo.

Andrew Nicholson, who is bidding to add his name to the Mitsubishi Motors trophy for the first time, sets off at 11.24am on the first of his two rides, Nereo, who won at Bramham last year. Andrew admitted yesterday that we would look favourably on a wet cross-country day.

He said: “It should work in my favour if it rains all night.”

The damp conditions certainly don’t seem to have deterred the crowds. There were already queues forming as early as 7.45am to get into the car parks.

Pack your wellies, but with the rain easing off and a forecast of Sunny spells for the start of cross country, get set for a great day and a rollercoaster ride.

BBC Politics West will go live from Badminton

BBC Politics West will be broadcast live from The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials later this morning.
The live TV debate will be shown at 11.55am, after The Politics Show, on BBC One. Chaired by David Garmston, three local candidates - a representative from each party - will be quizzed by 15 locally selected guests.

Mark Harper is the Conservative candidate, and is standing for The Forest of Dean. David Drew, who is standing for Stroud, will be the Labour representative, while the third candidate is Liberal Democrat Martin Horwood, who will be standing for Cheltenham.
“We have decided to broadcast the programme from Badminton as it sits in the heart of the West Country,” says Dickon Hooper, a member of the BBC production team. “It is a beautiful location and the horse trials is a great event to be at.”

Saturday 1 May 2010

Badminton 2010 Post Dressage Press Conference

Here's a short video of the post Dressage Press Conference with Ruth Edge, Kai Ruder and Tina Cook.

Kai Rüder maintains pole position going into Sunday's Cross Country

Kai Rüder has maintained his pole position at the end of the dressage phase at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. The German rider and his stallion, Le Prince Des Bois, hold a 5.2-penalty lead over Ruth Edge and Two Thyme.

Ruth may well be thanking her lucky stars for an early draw tomorrow as rain has been pelting down on Badminton park since lunchtime today.

But Ruth said: “The ground has been so well prepared that it will take more rain. Even so, I’m glad to be going early on.”

Kai Ruder revealed that he won’t be playing safe because of the weather; he has his sights very much focused on taking home the Mitsubishi Motors trophy despite this being his first attempt.

“My horse is strong so he shouldn’t be affected by the rain. My plan at the moment is to take all the straight routes,” he said.

Le Prince Des Bois is certainly bred in the purple for the job. He is by Yarlands Summersong, the ride of Marie Christine Duroy, who was eighth here in 1985.

Tina Cook and Miners Frolic lay poised in third on a score of 41.7. Tina blamed herself for a few lapses in concentration which prevented her from breaking the 40-barrier.

She said: “To get in the 30s I have to press all the right buttons and I missed a beat with the first flying change, which I’m cross with myself about.”

Tina thinks that tomorrow’s proceedings could be dictated by the weather.

She said: “If it keeps raining like it is now then I think that the ground in front of some of the narrow fences could get quite cut up". Tina earmarked the Quarry (fences 3 to 6) as a potential problem area on the course. “I’ve never jumped a fence like the log at the bottom of the quarry before. It’s a real old-fashioned test and I don’t know how it will ride.”

The first combination, Dan Jocelyn and Special Attorney are due out on course at 11am.

Keep up to date with the action on twitter:

Short Video Message from Kai (auf Deutsch)

Looking forward to Badminton Horse Trials Cross Country Day

We have been catching up with first-timers in the collecting ring after their dressage performances, finding out how they fared and how they are feeling about the cross-country test tomorrow.

Duarte Seabra, the first Portugese rider ever to compete at Badminton Horse Trials was very pleased with Brave Heart’s dressage score of 52.0.
“This is not his best phase, so it was a good mark for him,” said Duarte, who is currently based in Lambourn with Kate Honey. This is a first four-star for this combination.
“For me, the cross-country course is very big, I cannot afford to make any mistakes,” said Duarte, who is lying in 41st position overnight. “Coming to Badminton is a dream for riders. This is a big thing for me, especially coming from Portugal,” he added.
Another foreign rider who will be looking for a good ride around tomorrow’s cross-country course is the Italian Gianluca Gardini.
When asked about future plans for this horse, he said, “I would first like to go clear tomorrow.” He has produced Lion Dancer, who is owned by his wife, from the beginning and felt that everything came together in the dressage. “The horse usually loses concentration half way through,” said Gianluca, who was ninth at Pau and 12th at Luhmuhlen last year.
This is also a first Badminton attempt for British rider Daniel Sibley and Tarmac Adam.
“I was hoping for a dressage score in the 50s, so I just got there with 59,” said Devon-based Daniel, who believes that the horse is improving all the time in this phase. “The course is quite straight, which I am hoping will suit us.” Daniel, who has produced Tarmac Adam from BE100 level, finished 7th in the CCI*** at Bramham last year.
We are keeping everything crossed that the heavy rain currently soaking Badminton is going to move elsewhere overnight, leaving us with sunshine and showers tomorrow (preferably more sunshine).

For all the latest Badminton gossip follow us on Twitter...

Bloggers at large – and hitting the shops

Keen to take a break from the serious business of dressage, Badminton bloggers Ellie Hughes and Emma Sewell decided to take to the shops in search of some stories – and bargains.
Here is our pick of the bunch:

For the outrageous country bumpkins and town trotters alike, we thoroughly recommend a visit to Where The Fox Hat. Located in the Country Living tent you can hardly miss the vast array of fluffy foe that have been reincarnated as super cool headwear. Owner Jonny Beardsall assures us that these furry gems are the height of fashion – from the London streets to the slopes of Val d’Isere.

From foxes to hounds; we just couldn’t walk past The Labrador Company stand in the Country Living tent without taking a closer look. There is nothing but Labrador print here – from cushion covers and armchairs to handbags and clocks complete with wagging tails – we know what we’ll be hanging on our kitchen walls after Badminton. The company, set up in November last year, is owned by Vicky Eaton, who designs all the prints herself. Apparently terriers will be getting the same treatment next.

Tweed is very definitely in; in fact it has never really been out. Up until now we bloggers have been window shopping, but that all changed when we paid a visit to GiliNix. Tucked away in the Country Collection marquee, Gillian Painter’s collection of tweeds, woven in Scotland and made in England, have been have been a hit with everyone. We even spied the owners of William Fox-Pitt’s ride, Macchiato, browsing the shelves donning their GiliNix tweed, bought last year.

If silver jewellery is your thing, check out Silver Experience in the Country Living tent. First-time exhibitors Lesley and Helen have made the trip from Edinburgh with their unique collection of hand-crafted sterling silver. We were left drooling over the silver bracelets, which are contemporary and would look great with everything. We will be back there before the end of the week.

We love belts; everyone loves belts. Estribos’ colourful wall will stop you in your tracks as you approach the Country Collection marquee. Not only are they stylish, but they work for waists of all dimensions. Made from the same leather as stirrups - estribos is Spanish for stirrup – they offer belts in 80 different designs. This company is no one-hit wonder, it has been selling hats for 120 years and leatherwork for 30 years. Seriously guys, belt up, you can never have too many, can you?

Kai Rüder storms into the lead

Rather rashly, we predicted that there might not be much change at the top of the leaderboard during this morning’s dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. How wrong could we be?

Germany’s Kai Rüder and Le Prince Des Bois stormed into the lead with a score of 33.8.

Kai said: “I could feel that he was going well in the warm up; once I got into the arena I just had to sit there and let it happen.”

The pair finished 10th at Burghley last year, but this is their first visit to Badminton.

Francis Whittington has made a miraculous recovery from a meningitis scare at the beginning of April which rendered him hospital-bound until the 16th of this month. His test on Sir Percival III was good enough to go into third place on 42.8.

“I have my sister, Bryony, and my support team at home to thank for keeping Percy fit,” said Francis, who will need to have his wits about him tomorrow to keep Percy focused on the job.

“I’ll need to concentrate from fence 1 to fence 31 as you never quite know what surprise he’s going to throw at you,” said Francis, in reference to the gelding’s faux pas at Burghley last year when Percy jammed on the anchors at a relatively innocuous fence.

There were smiles all round when Piggy French managed to contain an exuberant Some Day Soon to post a score of 44.7, which puts her currently in equal seventh with Mary King and Imperial Cavalier.

“We have been working him since 5am this morning,” said Piggy.

Among those congratulating Piggy was Oliver Townend, who looks to have made a good recovery from his horrific fall at last week’s Rolex Kentucky three-day event, which left him with a broken shoulder, collarbone and two cracked ribs.

“Obviously I would have preferred to be riding here, but I’ve got a 21-day ban and I’m in no rush to get back in the saddle,” he said. “I’ve got two good boys at home – Waylon Roberts and Steven Smith – who will do a very good job keeping the horses fit.”

Meanwhile, all eyes will be on current European Champion Tina Cook and Miners Frolic when they perform their test at 2pm.

Listen to the Audio Interview with Kai.

Keep up to date with all the latest gossip on twitter:

The Leaderboard at Badminton 2010 has been shaken up this morning

Wow, there have been some smart dressage tests this morning on the second day of Dressage at Badminton Horse Trials, starting with James Robinson and Comanche, who were first into the arena. James is no stranger to Badminton – this will be his eighth visit – and he has started this year on a great note, with an accurate test to slot into second on 43.5.

Then, several horses later, Germany’s Andreas Dibowski and Euroridings Butts Leon performed a smooth, calm test to score 43.7 and take third.

Standing in the collecting ring, it has been interesting watching the horses working this morning. Tina Cook has been schooling Miners Frolic around the warm-up area. Even though he looks ready to run for his life tomorrow he was being very calm and collected. Tina will be in the arena straight after lunch today at 2pm.

Matthew Wright’s Well Spotted was also working well. Matthew’s not had the best of luck at Badminton in the last few years – he was eliminated here last time on If You Want II – so he will be hoping for a good run tomorrow.

Zara Phillips had her hands full with an exuberant Glenbuck, who didn’t give her an easy ride. They scored 59.3.

She said: “The longer he works before his test the more uptight he gets. The movements still happen, but his brain goes a bit.”

We’re off out now to watch Piggy French and Some Day Soon – let’s keep fingers crossed she can coax as good a test out of him as she did in Fontainebleau last year.

Kai Ruder now in the lead on 33.8

Badminton Has Gone Cyber Social and Twitterific

The social networking phenomenon that is Twitter has reached the Deer Park at Badminton Horse Trials and for the thousands of fans out there who just can't wait to get the very latest scoops on what is happening down on the event (whether you're here or not), there are now loads of way to stay tuned in.

Twitter: We have a small army of tweeters around the event getting the latest news from the media Centre, The Collecting Ring, The Stables, and every other corner of show ground. To follow all of this Subscribe to out Badminton Crew List.

Facebook: In place of our hugely popular chat room we now have a newly launched Badminton Facebook Page  with an ever growing fan base. and here's where you'll find a whole host of news snippets, photos, and chat from the event and the fan base.

YouTube: Badminton has recently launched its own You Tube Channel and you'll find plenty of short video clips, Video Diaries, and Reviews here.

The Badminton Blog: The newly launched blog also provides news, views and interviews throughout the event and the rest of the year.

Our Main Site: And of course the main site has everything you could ever need; Up to the minute Results (including Dressage Score Sheets & XC Fence Analysis), Audio Interviews, News, and our ever popular Photo Galleries.

Now you really can be in the loop as it as it happens!