The first day of competition commenced today at Bicton, Devon for the May International Horse Trials (23 – 26 May) with dressage in the Western Counties main arena where the first group of competitors from all four classes headed down the centre line.

In the Mitchell & Webber CCI2*-L, Olympic hopeful and FEI ranked World number two, Ros Canter and the chestnut mare Silvesters Finesse took the lead in the dressage with a 26.8. Owned by Deborah and Fergus Langstaff, Nessie, as she is fondly known at home, has had a good season so far with three top ten finishes out of three starts, including a win at Oasby in the Novice and second at the same level at Lincolnshire Horse Trials.

The lead was taken from last year’s winner Finn Healy late in the day in the Western Counties Equine Hospital CCI3*YR-L by Anna Price, by the tightest of margins – 0.1 penalties! Riding Tim and Tricia Price’s 9-year-old mare Keep Happy, the pair’s debut at this level saw them finish in the top ten at Osberton earlier this season.

The dressage action in the Symonds & Sampson CCI3*-L saw Gemma Stevens take the lead on Chilli King by 1.6 points, ahead of second placed Tom Jackson and Midnight Endeavour. Sired by Chilli Morning out of Kings Gem, this 9-year-old gelding is owned by breeder Christopher Stone as well as Chris and Clare Mathias.

It’s another overnight lead for Ros Canter in the TopSpec CCI4*-S on MHS Seventeen. With a score of 25.4, the 11-year-old Irish gelding out of MHS Dancing Queen impressed enough to be ahead of second placed Tim Price on Falco IV on 26. The pair are no strangers to success at this level with four top ten finishes at 4* in 2023, including third at Boekelo and fourth at Blair Castle.

Ros was delighted with her horses when we spoke to her after her tests, “I’m really happy with both horses today. MHS Seventeen produced a personal best, which we are delighted with. Silvesters Finess is a lovely young horse and really kept her cool. We are looking forward to more tests tomorrow and the cross country is looking like a really great challenge!”

Tomorrow sees the final dressage sessions take place for all four classes with some exciting combinations still to come – it’s still all to play for ahead of showjumping and cross country on Saturday and Sunday!

Join us at Bicton for all the action with tickets available to purchase here.

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