|Andrew Nicholson & Mr. Cruise Control | The Horse To Take Home From Pau|
The sun here in Pau is still shining as the dressage phase finally draws to a close. Two Aussies, Clayton Fredericks & Chris Burton, sit neck-a-neck on 43.7, with William Fox-Pitt and Oslo half a point behind.
Having overheard one or two riders comment on harsh judging, I thought I should make an effort to watch a little dressage today, and whilst I didn’t glue myself to a seat in the arena as Carl Hester might, I did make a point of watching a few go through, and honestly thought they were marked a bit harsher than I expected they would. A leading score of 43.7 does seem high considering the class of many of these animals, even if they aren’t all first in the pecking order of their riders strings.
Mary King’s second test on Imperial Cavalier, looked pretty good to me, as did Ruth Edge’s, and Andrew Nicholson’s Mr. Cruise Control was the epitome of poise, balance, control and acceptance, rarely have I seen such a relaxed test that still produces classy moments.
I remember watching Clayton’s horse, Bendigo, earlier in the day have a little work out and being impressed at how balanced this big framed horse was. In the press conference afterwards he was, as you’d expect, very pleased with the horse, and surprisingly cautious about how good this horse might be, but both he and Chris Burton were singing like canaries about how strong the Aussie team were, and the additional trip back to European that Prue Barrett made for Pau has been money well spent. I have to say I agree, and I’m also very pleased I came too, this really is a 4 star worth ticking off your list and one to repeat often.
The Top 20 has all the usual suspects in the frame. Both William and Andrew have their 3 rides a piece, Mary has both hers, Ruth Edge is in 6th, both Nicholas Touzaint & Frank Osholt make an appearance along with Paul Tapner, and it’s great to see Sarah Cohen there on her lovely horse Treason.
|Nick Of Thyme | Another Worth Taking Home|
For me the star of the show was Mr. Cruise Control, and not just because it’s a grey. I had the opportunity to see this horse close up at Andrew’s home before Badminton this year, and he really does ooze presence. In the dressage today you could see his ears flapping back and forth, as he went through every pace and movement – balanced, calm, accepting, yet powerful. He may not be the most desirable build for an eventer, but I can see this horse going from strength to strength based on what I’ve seen today and his form this year. He’s my “Horse To Take Home From Pau”.
Anyway, apologies to any dressage junkies, but I’m just not built for hard core dressage analysis, so I’ll leave that to the mainstream press, and horse ballet fans, and so on to Cross Country!
I found myself talked into a cross country preview for eventingnation.com, so check that out on the link below, along with more photos from today:
I’ll be back later with some more stuff including a quick chat with Andrew Nicholson, and hopefully a few others.