The Asphalt Jungle, a.k.a. Badminton Horse Trials

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Photo: The Queen may be headed to Kentucky but her grand-daughter, Zara Phillips, is on top of the world at home as she trots up her horse for the vets on Wednesday. She will ride dressage tomorrow; this is her first attempt at the Badminton Horse Trials in abnormally-sunny Gloucestershire, England. Many thanks for the photo to our friend Kit Houghton, courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors.


Things were a little tense in England today at the world-famous Badminton Horse Trials. It was the first day of dressage, and lovely Headley Brittanica, ridden by Australia's Lucinda Fredericks, is in the lead.

(Lucinda's husband, Clayton, won the Rolex Three Day Event in Kentucky a few days ago, and will compete at Badminton as well.)

As usual, the riders are staring with concern at the ground. For once, it's not underwater. The audience is not clad in Barbour splendor. The sun is beating down, the crowd is mysterious behind the latest sunglass fashions...and the cross-country course is hard as a rock.

It remains to be seen what will transpire on Saturday; there is still a full day of dressage tomorrow, including the anticipated great ride by American Kim Severson and her Winsome Adante.

Apparently the forecast is for more warm, dry weather. As a result, William Fox-Pitt has withdrawn his horse, and the rumor is that reigning World and European champion Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Anne and US coach Mark Phillips, may withdraw as well. That would send half the media corps--and all the papparazzi--back to London.