Equestrianism: Dixon in control: Get Smart settles

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The Independent Online
KAREN DIXON held the lead on Too Smart at the end of a full day of dressage for the British Open Championship, the major section of the Calor Gas Horse Trials. Dixon, who won team gold and individual bronze medals at last month's World Equestrian Games in The Hague, had driven here from County Durham yesterday morning. Too Smart, her reserve horse at the Games, was in a state of such wild excitement when he was unloaded from the lorry that she expected his dressage to be a disaster. But the little horse, who won the Punchestown three-day event in Ireland this year, settled down after being ridden for an hour by Dixon's mother, Elaine Straker.

'He's become more cadenced and balanced, that's the best test he's ever done,' Dixon said, after taking the lead from Matt Ryan, the Australian Olympic champion.

Ryan broke his pelvis and dislocated his shoulder in a fall at Althorp in the beginning of July, which meant that he had to miss the World Games. He is still in 'a bit of pain' but is nevertheless riding three horses in the British Open: Kibah Tic Toc (his Olympic champion), Regal Style (with whom he had his ill-timed fall last month) and Alater Pedis (his mount when he fell and broke his wrist here last year).

Ginny Elliot, who is defending her national title, will ride both the dressage and showjumping phases this morning.

CALOR GAS BRITISH HORSE TRIALS CHAMPIONSHIP (Gatcombe Park): British Open (standings after one day of dressage): 1 Too Smart (K Dixon, GB) 29 penalties; 2 Kibah Tic Toc (M Ryan, Aus) 31; 3= Haig (L Law, GB); Metronome (P Funnell, GB); and Tempo (B Tait, NZ) 33.

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