Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High, the 15-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding owned by John and Judy Rumble, had a benchmark dressage test and a personal best score of 26.4 at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
“I’m really pleased,” Selena remarked in an interview after her test, which left her in current 4th place prior to the Thursday afternoon tea break. “Woody has been getting really fit on Mark Todd’s gallop – he’s been here since the beginning of April with me. He was feeling it when he got here with the weather and the atmosphere. He does have a lot of experience, but he kind of went back to ‘younger Woody,’ where he was a little bit wind-up-his-kilt in the jog. I’m really glad the sun came out and the wind settled down a bit ; I think it helped a lot. I made sure I took him out and lunged him in the lovely indoor they have here to get his mind a little more focussed. He hacked up here with Kiltubrid Rhapsody, who’s his galloping buddy. He was totally relaxed and when I got up here and in the ring, the atmosphere gave him a little bit of an edge. But in the walk I was able to push him and in the halt he was relaxed.
“I just wanted to break into the 20s. I don’t worry too much about my placing after dressage, because it’s all subjective, it’s only the first day, and we all know it’s not a dressage show. So now I look forward to the cross-country.”
Selena commented about the course, which has been subjected to extremely wet and cold spring weather. “It looks super! I’m glad I’m in the beginning and hope that the footing is good for Woody. He does have a bit of experience in the mud – at the World Equestrian Games the mud was up to his eyeballs – but I’m really counting on his fitness to help me make the time, and I really want a clear round.”