Equestrianism: Collett enjoys dream debut at Badminton

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The Independent Online

Laura Collett came of age at the Badminton Horse Trials yesterday with a memorable debut performance on board Rayef.

The 21-year-old dominated day one of British eventing's most prestigious competition, setting a world-class dressage standard that left her leading an 84-strong field.

Collett enjoyed a glittering junior and young rider career, winning European titles in both age groups with the 12-year-old Rayef.

But after a top-30 finish with Ginger May Killinghurst on her four-star eventing debut at Burghley last year, she moved up another level to thrive in Badminton's pressure-cooker atmosphere just 15 months out from London 2012. "Badminton is everything for me," she said. "I have wanted to ride here since I can remember, and to finally get here with such an amazing horse, I am very lucky."