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Oliver Townend in sturdy place

  • Oliver Townend scored 29.9 in his Maryland 5 Star dressage today (14 October), putting himself into 10th, just 2.7 penalties behind the leader.

    Oliver’s ride this week is John Peace’s 11-year-old five-star debutant As Is, a new ride for him this year after the horse was produced to four-star long level by Andrew Nicholson.

    Oliver said: “I’m happy. Obviously he’s a very new horse to me, it’s a work in progression but the brain’s beautiful. He goes in, he does his job. We’re working on getting him stronger and a little more flash, but that’ll come and next year, he’ll be in the top few after dressage.”

    The pair’s marks only dropped down significantly when there was a mistake in the third flying change of their Maryland 5 Star dressage test.

    “He’s green in the canter, but again, he just needs to sit a little bit more. He’s had time off and he’s a new ride so I couldn’t be happier with the horse, that’s for sure,” said Oliver.

    Commenting on taking over the ride and building a partnership, the British rider said: “I’ve ridden plenty that have come from Andrew, and, like Andrew himself, he produces horses to be professional, and it’s always a pleasure getting on a proper professional’s horse.

    “With Andrew’s horses, whether they’re doing the trot-up or the dressage, whatever they’re doing they’re professionals at it, and they’ve been treated that way since they were four years old, so it makes my job a lot easier.”

    Oliver finished second here last year with Cooley Master Class, at the event’s inaugural running.

    Asked why he’d brought As Is over this year, he said: “Why not? It’s amazing. The prize money in Pau’s not good enough and the people here are fantastic, the organisers are great. The Ian Stark course is special and the American people are lovely to ride in front of so I’d be in America every week if there was a five-star on every week.”

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