Equestrianism: Regal Style leads Ryan through rain: Poor British start

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The Independent Online
MATT RYAN, the 1992 Olympic champion from Australia, held the lead on Regal Style at the end of yesterday's first day of dressage in the senior section of the Blenheim Audi International Horse Trials.

Ryan was on this grey horse when he had a fall in early July, dislocating his shoulder and breaking his pelvis. These injuries prevented him from participating in the World Games at the end of July.

Regal Style was 'clear but wild' over the cross-country course at Gatcombe last month. Yesterday, his dressage was wonderful, despite having to perform in torrential rain.

Ryan now leads from Spain's Luis Alvarez Cervera on Commander, with Sweden's Anna Hermann on Micro Marco and Australia's Andrew Hoy on Limerick VII in joint third. The best of the Britons - Neil Fox on Colorado Springs and Tina Sederholm on Chinook II - are lying equal sixth.

British competitors in the Young Riders European Championships also had a mediocre start, with Sophie Allison the best of them in eighth place on Welton Boogie. Terry Boon, the national champion, seems certain to improve on that position when he rides his test on Vital Decision today.

Boon could be hard pressed to do a better dressage than the Irishman, Aaron Mannion, who now leads on Custom Made. Both horse and rider started their competitive careers in 'pure' dressage, before they took up eventing together two years ago.

Mannion, whose parents run a riding school near Athlone in Co Westmeath, spent two years in Denmark where he was trained by Kjeld Frederiksen. He was also one of six riders selected for a course in Ireland with Germany's 1984 Olympic champion, Reine Klimke.

Custom Made's victory in last year's novice championship at Thirlestane Castle suggests that the 20-year-old Mannion may be pretty good at cross-country and show jumping as well.

Results, page 39