Four-time Badminton champion Mark Todd reserved a tongue-in-cheek comment for the judges after completing his dressage test at the Mitsubishi Motors Horse Trials with Leonidas II.
Early marking on the opening morning appeared to be a touch on the harsh side, with no combination breaking the 40-mark until Todd’s fellow New Zealander posted a brilliant score of 37.8 aboard Nereo.
Todd, who famously won his fourth Badminton title at the age of 55 four years ago, had to settle for a score of 45.8.
“I think it was one of the best tests he has done,” Todd said. “The judges are a bit like the weather today – they are a bit down!”
The judges are a bit like the weather today – they are a bit down
Todd, who has a second ride on Friday aboard Oloa, is bidding for another Badminton crown that would leave him just behind all-time record winner Lucinda Green who has won the event X times.
“This year, a lot of the best horses are drawn in the first quarter of the field, so it will be interesting to see what the later starters do tomorrow,” he added.
“The atmosphere in the arena was very quiet today – there are not many people in the stands – but my horse was very relaxed.
“In terms of the cross-country, Leonidas is a very good jumper, so hopefully I can have a good plan.
“It’s Badminton, it has got to be a proper four-star course.
“From what I have heard, he (course designer Giuseppe della Chiesa) has softened it off a little bit this year, which I think is a good thing. It was a little bit too intense in the middle stage last year.”