Thursday 21 Sep 2017

Seaforth Riding Centre

Livery Yard and Training Centre

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  1. BD Abroad: Waregem CDI3*/CDIJY

    The British contingent enjoyed success at Waregem CDI in Belgium last week (14 – 17 September 2017).

    Rebecca Bell did herself proud winning both the Junior Team test with 72.568% and the Junior Freestyle test with 75.875% aboard her mum Caroline’s Nibeley Union Hit (pictured), a ten-year-old daughter of Nibeley Union Jack. The pair’s emotive Freestyle was executed with precision and style for a super international personal best of 75.876%.

    Eighteen-year-old Rebecca, who was a member of the gold medal-winning British Pony team of 2015 where she also achieved Freestyle eighth, was thrilled with ‘Una’ on the mare’s first overseas CDI.

    “On the way back from Dressuur Waregem after an amazing week,” said Rebecca on Facebook. “The showground was great with good surfaces and facilities and the organising committee was so lovely and always wanting to help - thank you for making us so welcome! Una was such a pro on her first trip abroad, taking everything in in her lovely considered way, and our results were above and beyond my expectations- 3 +70 scores culminating in 75.875% to win the Kür today! Hearing the national anthem played for this mare after all we've worked through to get here did bring on the emotions - but I promise I didn't cry!”

    World Class Podium Potential rider Sarah Millis was happy with the performances of her two rides – the huge 11-year-old gelding Behroez (United x Gribaldi) and Hofjuwel, Katja Kuistila’s Hofrat-sired 12-year-old. Behroez, who’s affectionately known as ‘Boss’ was fourth in the PSG and second in the Inter I both with plus-71% scores, whilst Hofjuwel aka Hoff was sixth in the Grand Prix and third in the Special.

    “I’m delighted with Boss,” smiled Sarah. “After a good result at Hickstead CDI I’m thrilled with his consistency and positive attitude at Waregem. He's growing in confidence each time and we’re very excited about the future. His pirouettes were high quality and for a big horse this is impressive. I’m now able to harness the power more efficiently and put it to good use.

    “Hoff was very good In the Grand Prix but too many small errors were costly. The Grand Prix Special was a test of two parts, the trot work was very good but the canter programme was not so strong which was partly my fault. There’s some things to work on but overall I was very happy with him. When it all comes together it'll be great.”

    Big Tour

    Grand Prix
    1st Stephanie de Frel with Beach Boy, 69.100% (NED)
    6th Sarah Millis with Hofjuwel, 66.480% (GBR)
    9th Anna Ross with Wydny, 65.600% (GBR)

    Grand Prix Special
    1st Stephanie de Frel with Beach Boy, 69.196% (NED)
    3rd Sarah Millis with Hofjuwel, 65.529% (GBR)

    Grand Prix Freestyle
    1st Tosca Visser with Asther de Jeu, 73.865% (NED)
    5th Anna Ross with Wydny, 68.720% (GBR)

    Small Tour
    Prix St Georges
    1st Lynne Maas with Electra, 73.789% (NED)
    4th Sarah Millis with Behroez, 71.605% (GBR)
    11th Ellen McCarthy with Donna Summer, 67.316% (GBR)
    15th Stephanie Eardley with Pina Colada, 65.711% (GBR)
    16th Sally Bell with State Secret, 64.105% (GBR)

    Intermediate I
    1st Lynne Maas with Electra, 73.711% (NED)
    2nd Sarah Millis with Behroez, 71.684% (GBR)
    11th Ellen McCarthy with Donna Summer, 67.579% (GBR)
    17th Sally Bell with State Secret, 62.605% (GBR)

    Intermediate I Freestyle
    1st Lynne Maas with Electra, 77.100% (NED)
    11th Ellen McCarthy with Donna Summer, 69.330% (GBR)
    14th Sally Bell with State Secret, 64.720% (GBR)

    CDIY - Young Riders
    Young Rider Team Test
    1st Febe van Zwambagt with FS Las Vegas, 69.737% (NED)
    9th Anna Jesty with Aquiro, 64.781% (GBR)

    Young Rider Individual Test
    1st Febe van Zwambagt with FS Las Vegas, 74.474% (NED)
    3rd Anna Jesty with Aquiro, 68.816% (GBR)

    Young Rider Freestyle
    1st Febe van Zwambagt with FS Las Vegas, 77.642% (NED)
    6th Anna Jesty with Aquiro, 69.667% (GBR)

    CDIJ – Juniors
    Junior Team Test
    1st Rebecca Bell with Nibeley Union Hit, 72.568% (GBR)

    Junior Individual Test
    1st Milou Dees with Francesco, 71.447% (NED
    2nd Rebecca Bell with Nibeley Union Hit, 71.184% (GBR)

    Junior Freestyle
    1st Rebecca Bell with Nibeley Union Hit, 75.875% (GBR)

    For full results click here.

    Photo courtesy of Chris Coessens Photography.

  2. BD Abroad: Darmstadt-Kranichstein and Saumur

    The following riders have been selected to represent Great Britain at Darmstadt-Kranichstein CDI4* in Germany, 21 - 24 September 2017.

    Big Tour
    Emile Faurie (53) from Milton-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire with Elena Knyaginicheva’s Delatio (bay stallion, 13yrs, s. De Niro, ds. Rubinstein I).
    Emma Hindle (42) from Sale, Manchester with her own Romy Del Sol (brown mare, 17.3hh, 11yr, ds. Romanov Blue Hors).
    Spencer Wilton (44) from Brimpton, Berkshire with Jen Goodman’s Super Nova - pictured - (dark brown gelding, 16.3hh, 14yrs, s. De Niro, ds. Weltmeyer).

    For start lists and results click here.
    Watch the action on

    The following riders have been selected to represent Great Britain at Saumur CDI3*/CDI2* in France, 21 – 24 September 2017.

    Big Tour
    Louise Bell (46) from Banbury, Oxfordshire with her own Into the Blue (roan gelding, 16.2hh, s. Ublesco, ds. Calvaro Z).
    Steph Croxford (46) from Matlock, Derbyshire with her own Mr Hyde (bay gelding, 16.2hh, 12yrs).
    Michael Eilberg (30) from Beoley, Worcestershire with Ferdi Eilberg’s Marakov (bay gelding, 16.3hh, 17yrs, s. Rufus, ds. Mitjulands).
    Sara Gallop (31) from Gloucester, Gloucestershire with Richard Gallop’s Summerhouse Zelham (bay gelding, 16hh, 13yrs, s. Sir Sinclair, ds. Belisar).

    Middle Tour
    Maria Eilberg (33) from Beoley, Worcestershire with her own, Penny Pollard & Hermione Black’s Royal Concert (grey gelding, 16.3hh, 14yrs, s. Royal Diamond, ds. Continue).
    Michael Eilberg with Alison Ramseir’s Fuerst Sinclair (bay gelding, 17hh, 14yrs, s. Fürst Heinrich, ds. Lord Sinclair).
    Sara Gallop with Richard Gallop’s Bandreo (bay stallion, 16.2hh, 11yrs, s. Sandreo, ds. Bruin).
    Kirsty Mepham (48) from Isfield, East Sussex with Rebecca Vinter & Anne Baldock’s Minain (brown mare, 16.2hh, 14yrs, s. Idocus, ds. Michellino).

    Small Tour
    Sonia Baines (42) from Chesterfield, Derbyshire with Gemma Owen’s Sirius Black (black gelding, 17hh, 12yrs, s. Stedinger, ds. Rotspon).
    Maria Eilberg with Farah Al Khojai’s Sarotti 57 (bay gelding, 16.3hh, 10yrs, s. Sir Donnerhall, ds. Cagliostro XX).
    Natalie Kayal (34) from Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire with her own Bravo (grey gelding, 17hh, 11yrs, s. Sydney, ds. Casanova).
    Kate Smith (37) from Beech, Hampshire with her own De La Veiga (chestnut gelding, 16.2hh, 10yrs, s. Dimaggio, ds. Weltmeyer).

    For start lists and results click here

  3. Petplan Equine Area Festival Finals

    We're on final countdown for the start of our first ever Petplan Equine Area Festival Finals!  The new format is proving popular with participation up 13% in the Area Festivals so far and the Final venues reporting great entries.  In anticipation of the first Finals, here's the lowdown on qualification on to the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships at Hartpury next April.

    Numbers Qualifying from Petplan Equine Area Festival Finals
    1) The number qualifying from each Area Festival Final class will depend on the number of starters in that particular class, according to the conversion charts. The number of qualifications per level varies according to the total number of horses qualified for the Area Festival Finals and the number of spaces available at the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships.
    2) Combinations scoring below 63% will not be eligible for qualification for the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championship as stated in the British Dressage Rule Book, unless it's by a wild card.
    3) A ‘starter’ is a horse that actually enters the competition arena and goes down the centre line, even if it withdraws before finishing.
    4) The number of starters will not be known until the class is finished, after which the organiser will calculate how many have qualified and mark them on the scoreboard. The number of direct qualifications will be announced at the prize giving. Everyone who has qualified must collect a qualification certificate from the secretary before leaving the showground. 
    5) Official entry packs will be emailed / posted to the rider directly from the BD Office in plenty of time for entries to be made to the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championship in April 2018.
    6) The names of the combinations awarded wild cards will be put on the BD website. These spaces will be filled by the highest scoring unqualified combinations from all the Area Festival Finals. The rider will be notified by the office that they’ve been given a wild card and their qualification pack will be sent by post.
    Numbers to qualify
    Please note: scores must be 63% and above to qualify to the Championships
    PRELIM BRONZE: 1 in 8 qualify
    1 – 8 = 1 qualifies
    9– 16 = 2 qualify
    17 – 24 = 3 qualify
    25 – 32 = 4 qualify
    33 – 40 = 5 qualify
    PRELIM SILVER: 1 in 7 qualify
    1 -  7 = 1 qualifies
    8 -  14 = 2 qualify
    15 -21 = 3 qualify
    22 - 28 = 4 qualify
    29 – 35 = 5 qualify
    PRELIM UNDER 18: 1 in 5 qualify
    1 – 5 = 1 qualifies
    6 – 10 = 2 qualify
    11 – 15= 3 qualify
    16 – 20 = 4 qualify
    NOVICE BRONZE: 1 in 8 qualify
    1 – 8 = 1 qualifies
    9– 16 = 2 qualify
    17 – 24 = 3 qualify
    25 – 32 = 4 qualify
    33 – 40 = 5 qualify
    NOVICE SILVER: 1 in 11 qualify
    1 – 11 = 1 qualifies
    12– 22 = 2 qualify
    23 – 33 = 3 qualify
    34 – 44 = 4 qualify
    NOVICE UNDER 18: 1 in 5 qualify
    1 – 5 = 1 qualifies
    6– 10 = 2 qualify
    11 – 15 = 3 qualify
    16 – 20 = 4 qualify
    ELEMENTARY BRONZE: 1 in 10 qualify
    1 – 10 = 1 qualifies
    11 – 20 = 2 qualify
    21 – 30 = 3 qualify
    31 – 40 = 4 qualify
    ELEMENTARY SILVER:1 in 10 qualify
    1 – 10 = 1 qualifies
    11 – 20 = 2 qualify
    21 – 30 = 3 qualify
    31 – 40 = 4 qualify
    ELEMENTARY UNDER 18:1 in 3 qualify
    1 – 3 = 1 qualifies
    4– 6 = 2 qualify
    7 – 9 = 3 qualify
    10 – 12 = 4 qualify
    MEDIUM BRONZE:1 in 9 qualify
    1 – 9 = 1 qualifies
    10 – 18 = 2 qualify
    19 – 27 = 3 qualify
    28 – 36 = 4 qualify
    MEDIUM SILVER: 1 in 8 qualify
    1 – 8 = 1 qualifies
    9– 16 = 2 qualify
    17 – 24 = 3 qualify
    25 – 32 = 4 qualify
    MEDIUM UNDER 18: 1 in 3 qualify
    1 – 3 = 1 qualifies
    4– 6 = 2 qualify
    7 – 9 = 3 qualify
    10 – 12 = 4 qualify
    ADVANCED MEDIUM BRONZE:1 in 6 qualify
    1 – 6 = 1 qualifies
    7 – 12 = 2 qualify
    13 – 18 = 3 qualify
    19 – 24 = 4 qualify
    ADVANCED MEDIUM SILVER: 1 in 5 qualify
    1 – 5 = 1 qualifies
    6 – 10 = 2 qualify
    11 – 15 = 3 qualify
    16 – 20 = 4 qualify
    PRIX ST GEORGES BRONZE: 1 in 5 qualify
    1 – 5 = 1 qualifies
    6 – 10 = 2 qualify
    11 – 15 = 3 qualify
    PRIX ST GEORGES SILVER: 1 in 5 qualify
    1 – 5 = 1 qualifies
    6 – 10 = 2 qualify
    11 – 15 = 3 qualify
    INTERMEDIATE I BRONZE:  1 in 2 qualify
    1 – 2 = 1 qualifies
    3 – 4 = 2 qualify
    5 – 6 = 3 qualify
    INTERMEDIATE I SILVER: 1 in 3 qualify
    1 – 3 = 1 qualifies
    4 – 6 = 2 qualify
    7 – 9 = 3 qualify
    INTERMEDIATE II SILVER: winner only qualifies 
    Good luck to everyone competing!
  4. Day four: LeMieux National Championships

    There was a dramatic twist on the final day of this year’s LeMieux National Championships, with different combinations taking the Horse Health Grand Prix Freestyle and LeMieux National Champion titles.

    Heading into the Freestyle at the top of the leader board, Lara Butler and the Bechtolsheimer’s 15-year-old Rubin Royal gelding, Rubin Al Asad, pulled off a fantastic performance for a well-earned score of 77.40%. Radio Nationals' John Bowen commented that there was ‘so much quality, it was difficult to choose a highlight’.

    However it was Carl Hester who reigned supreme aboard his new partner, Katherine Bateson’s Alcazar. Dancing to music previously used by Uthopia, Carl and the 12-year-old Contango gelding scored a whopping 78.75% to steal the title and crown of Freestyle Champion once more.

    “I’m thrilled!” enthused Carl. “It was Uthopia’s music, it felt like riding Uthopia and he went like Uthopia. His extended trot was great and he gave me a really fun, happy feeling. He had lots of power in there and he did the technical things really well. Yesterday was my rehearsal and today I had a different ride; I had a happy horse and it was a great performance to end the Championships on. And….I’m one title further away from Charlotte!”

    Of course, it wouldn’t be the Nationals without some form of twist and today’s was a big one. Although Lara won yesterday’s Grand Prix and Carl claimed the Grand Prix Freestyle, their scores were not high enough to earn the top spot so we had a brand new LeMieux National Champion…step forward Hayley Watson-Greaves.

    Riding her long-term partner, her own 13-year-old Rubin Royal gelding WG Rubins Nite, Hayley attained her first ever National title after a fantastic and confidently ridden test with John Bowen commenting that ‘there was not one foot out of place, it was beat perfect. Hayley must be thrilled – there’s definitely a competitor inside her after that performance’.

    Earning a score of 78.43%, Hayley and ‘Squeak’ may have just been pipped to the post for the Freestyle title, however their brilliant performance in the Grand Prix gave them an average score of 76.18% - enough to win the title, an awesome achievement for the duo.

    “I can’t quite believe it, I’m a little bit speechless!” exclaimed an ecstatic Hayley after her prize giving. “He’s just absolutely awesome and tries his heart out every time. I love him [Squeak] to pieces, we have a great partnership and he’s got me where I am today.

    “I know my freestyle really well and I knew the pressure was on because it was so close with the competition, but I love riding him, I just went in there to enjoy it and have fun – which is what I always do with him.”

    With campaigning for the World Cup as their next step, Hayley announced that today is the last time the pair are riding to that music; “I’ve got bits and pieces of my new floor plan as I’d like to make it a little bit more difficult for the World Cup competitions – although I’ve been told that it’s already quite challenging! I’m hoping to run through my floor plan next week and then I’ll be getting Chris Lever, who does my music, to compose it in time for the end of October, hopefully.”

    Childéric Saddles Elementary Gold

    In the Childéric Saddles Elementary Gold, the penultimate competition of Charlotte Dujardin’s epic 2017 LeMieux Nationals campaign, she once again proved unbeatable. The class was awash with exciting combinations for the future, yet Charlotte still had the edge, taking the top two places with her rides.

    This time, it was the turn of the charming chestnut Gio (Apache x Tango) to take top spot on the podium. In yesterday’s TopSpec Medium Gold he lay third behind his stablemates but today was his time to rule, earning 76.91% from judges Penelope Lang (E), Kirsty Mepham (H), Jane Peberdy (C), Claire Ballantyne (M) and Sue McMahon (B). It was Sarah Tyler-Evans’ River Rise Nisa who impressed for second. The gorgeous six-year-old daughter of Negro, who at home is affectionately known as Nancy, was expertly piloted by Charlotte for 76.25% to sit just behind Gio.

    “I just love that horse!” smiled Charlotte after her lap of honour on Gio, the little horse still full of running after an action-packed day in which he also contested the Shearwater six-year-old final. “He’s like a Duracell bunny,” she laughed. “He’s Dutch – they go and go and go – and that’s why I love them.”

    With such a fabulous collection of horses under her charge, it would be impossible for Charlotte to choose a favourite, yet it’s clear that this little horse would be in the running for that label. “He puts a smile on your face every day, even just seeing his face over the stable door,” said Charlotte. “He’s so much fun to ride and just keeps on going, he’s like a little sports car.”

    Clearly excited for the horse’s future, Charlotte said, “He’s so clever and every time I ask a question, he answers. He has so much talent for the Grand Prix work; piaffe, passage, and he does up to one-tempis already.”

    Affectionately known as ‘Pumpkin’, Gio was noticed by Charlotte when she hosted a training clinic in California in the autumn of 2016. Charlotte was instantly taken with the diminutive chestnut and persuaded his owner to let her buy him. “When he arrived home Carl [Hester] said ‘What have you done?’ as Pumpkin was quite small, but now he regrets not having a share in him!”

    Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold Championship

    It was an early start for Charlotte Dujardin after a mammoth four days but the finishing line was in sight. First on her day’s packed agenda was the Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold Championship. Her first ride was the grey Vivaldi-sired seven-year-old Florentina VI who claimed the TopSpec Medium title here last year. She laid the gauntlet down with a score of 74.16%.

    Her second ride was in the shape of Ekitof, a leggy black gelding which Carl Hester bought as a two year old for himself from the Van Olsts. It was a similar situation to how he saw Valegro – just lunged in a pen, but Carl said he fell in love with his canter straight away.

    Six years on, Charlotte decided the Zucchero sired gelding needed to compete more so took him to Hartpury Premier League where he won the direct qualifying section to earn his spot at Stoneleigh. ‘Blackie’ has been a tricky youngster and ‘quite cheeky’ but some of his potential was realised today, on only his fifth competitive outing. It wasn’t perfect but the canter work was powerful and impressive and the judges just favoured him over Flora with a score of 74.79%.

    He’s not a horse that I’d naturally choose, he’s not hot enough for me, but Carl absolutely adores him and won’t say a bad word about him. He worships the ground the horse walks on! He said to me ‘you can take this one out’ thinking that I’d say no, but I didn’t. I was surprised how well he went at Hatpury and we won and qualified to come here. When he arrived on Friday, he didn’t want to go down the horse walk, in the arena walk he wiped out some of the boards and basically has said ‘no thank you’ all the time. So I was thinking ‘am I even going to get round’ but we went down the centre line and he just seemed to be on form. He surprised both me and Carl!

    “Although I have to say I’m not impressed about him beating my Flora!”

    Third place went to Jess Dunn and LG Alicante Valley.

    Shearwater British Dressage Young Horse Championships – four, five and six year olds

    Four year olds

    For another year the popular Shearwater Potential International Dressage Horse classes thrilled the fans who travelled to Stoneleigh for the final day of the LeMieux National Dressage Championships. The judges looked closely at the quality, way of going and future potential of all the finalists over a very exciting afternoon of competition.

    Whilst Kerry Makin and Rowan Bryson’s stallion Izonik impressed in the first round it was the combination of the Hanoverian Waverley Dante and Greg Sims to stand out in the final impressing the panel of judges Maria Colliander, Ulf Moller and foreign rider Eva Moller.

    Over Radio Nationals Paul Hayler and the team commented on how well trained and well produced Waverley Dante was, they also discussed his impressive quick hind leg and balance – two factors which without doubt affected the final decision.

    At the end of Eva Moller’s test ride Finnish judge Maria Colliander said ‘At first when he came into the arena I thought he was quite normal but then the more I watched I realised he is a true riding horse. I really liked him, he was well balanced and the more Eva rode him the more the top line developed.’

    British Bred Dante (Dimaggio x Fürst Heinrich) was bought from Waverley Stud by rider Greg Sims as a six-month-old foal; ‘I’ve produced him lightly, he’s done a few local shows and the Shearwater qualifiers so now we’re here. I had hoped to do well but I definitely didn’t expect to win!’

    Greg reaffirmed the judge’s comments stating that the horse’s rideability is one of his best attributes, ‘He’s always been a really chilled out guy and from day one he’s never really put a foot wrong. He’s a real trier - that’s one of his main strengths – his attitude is great and he’s got three fantastic paces. The canter in particular is brilliant and his balance is really quite special’

    2015 Young Professionals Award winner Greg has confirmed that he’s keeping the horse and hopes to train him through the levels towards Grand Prix.

    Five year olds

    It was the battle of the mares in the five year old division which saw four outstanding horses come forward from Saturday’s preliminary round.

    In the end it was another great result for British breeding with Judith Davis’s Hawtins San Floriana coming out on top to gift Charlotte Dujardin her eighth win of the Championships. The bright bay mare by San Amour and out of Hawtins Floriana (Florestan x Weltmeyer) showed her class and potential once again to mirror her winning performance in the four year old competition this time last year.

    ‘Wow that’s a good picture, it looks like an Advanced Medium horse,’ expressed Judy Harvey over Radio Nationals as Eva Moller started her test ride aboard the class winner. The judges were also impressed as Ulf Moller explained, ‘She has a really nice uphill, swinging trot with a nice natural cadence and a nice balance. There is a very nice jump from behind in canter but the rider will have to be careful in the future that there is enough ground cover,’ this was his only slight criticism of the superstar as he concluded, ‘In general I think you’ll all see that the conformation is good and the picture is nice, it’s no wonder she was a winner last year.’

    From the back of San Floriana in her prize giving Charlotte said, ‘I’m keeping her for the six-year-olds next year! She gives an amazing feeling and I have really high hopes for her.’ With ten horses to compete over four days it’s been no mean feat for the Olympic Champion to fit everything in, ‘It’s been a busy week but going down the centre line becomes a normal day of training when you do it so many times. I’ve tried my best and it’s been hard work but it’s a great experience for my horses coming through for the next few years.’

    Second place went to Mount St John Zonetta presented by Amy Woodhead whilst yesterday’s first round winner Helga moved into third place.

    Six year olds

    Jumping off San Floriana and onto Mount St John VIP, Charlotte entered the arena to eventually claim the six-year-old title. Having qualified both VIP and her own chestnut son of Apache, Gio, for the final, Charlotte elected to ride Emma Blundell’s beautiful Vivaldi mare with Sadie Smith piloting the gelding.

    Although a little tension crept in when ride judge Eva Möller first boarded VIP, she soon settled and displayed easy extensions with great balance in all three paces, ‘The training hasn’t been too bad’ laughed judge Maria Colliander as Eva continued to put the horse through its paces before giving the ride back to Charlotte.

    ‘I like the horse’s adjustability and its education, she feels like being at home’ announced Eva as she discussed her thoughts with the judges before heralding the talented mare as the winner.

    Having already earned the Medium Gold title yesterday, Charlotte and VIP are proving to be a real exciting partnership for the future.

    “VIP is slightly more experienced than Gio, which is why I chose to ride her in the Final. I’m very lucky to be working with Mount St John and able to ride such super horses. I’d also like to thank my team, without them it wouldn’t be possible to do what I have done this week.”

    And that’s a wrap for the 2017 LeMieux National Championships, a huge thank you goes out to all competitors and their teams, our sponsors, the Show Direct team, hosts NAEC Stoneleigh and everybody who attended over the past four days – see you next year!

    For full results, click here.

    For interviews with our winners, click here.

    Photos c Kevin Sparrow.

  5. Day three: LeMieux National Championships

    The heavens opened for many today on day three of the LeMieux National Championships in the Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I Freestyle, however a small thing like the weather didn’t stop superstar Charlotte Dujardin from achieving the highest score of the Championships so far, a whopping 81.50% in the Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I Freestyle.

    Riding the Mount St John stud’s eight-year-old Fidermark mare, Mount St John Freestyle, to a Simon and Garfunkel themed soundtrack, Charlotte was also crowned Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I Supreme Champion after her fantastic performance yesterday was combined with today’s score.

    “I’m absolutely thrilled,” announced Charlotte. “It’s my first ever freestyle with her, so I’m over the moon. I felt quite emotional at the end as she gave everything. We were both soaked from head to toe though! We’ve not even practiced the floorplan so I’m super happy with her. It’s music that Carl’s had for about 15 years and was Del’s (Hawtins Delicato) music, there’s a few in the yard who’ve started with it!”

    Speaking to the crowd who braved the weather to catch a glimpse of the Olympian and her exciting up-and-coming star, commentator Andrew Pollard asked how she’s managing to remember the eight different tests she has to ride over the course of this week;

    “I’ve been asking myself that same thing!” She exclaimed. “The hardest thing is getting off one and straight onto another to ride a different test – but somehow I managed to do it today, we’ll see if I can remember tomorrow!

    LeMieux Grand Prix Gold Championship

    Having finishing second in 2015, it was at last Lara Butler’s day in the LeMieux Grand Prix Gold Championship. After performing a sublime test in front of the crowds she earned a score of 73.78% to top the class aboard Dr Bechtolsheimer’s 15-year-old Rubin Al Asad.

    Speaking about her winning test Lara said “He flew in the trot extensions so they were a highlight and the passage was great too – that’s always something I can bank on. Even the half passes were good and they aren’t normally! He was just super, he was flying and he really took me around which was the best feeling.”

    A National Grand Prix title has been long in the pipe line for the elegant combination who’ve scored above 70% in all but two of their tests in 2017. Lara and the Rubin Royal sired gelding known as ‘Rufus’ were also the named reserve for this year’s FEI Longines European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden. About her superstar partner Lara enthused, “He’s just in such great form, he’s so pleased to be back out and proving to everyone how nice and how fit he is – he can still show the young horses how to do it!”

    Despite her good form Lara approached the show not necessarily thinking about the win, ‘I always come out with high hopes and the aim is to do the best I can possibly do, if that means I win then that’s great.”

    Tomorrow’s Horse Health Grand Prix Freestyle final will be an exciting watch as the pack behind Lara aim to catch her up. Hayley Watson Greaves and WG Rubins Nite were hot on her heels and finished a very close second today scoring 73.62% with Carl Hester and Katherine Bateson’s Alcazar taking third place with a solid 71.70%.

    “I love the freestyle it’s the fun bit, so I’m going to enjoy it and hopefully we can do the same as today!” Lara concluded.

    TopSpec Medium Gold Championship

    Another day…another one-two- three. Simple as that. Well, it is if you’re the double Olympic champion and have essentially made the 2017 Nationals your own show. Of course, it wasCharlotte Dujardin who headed the TopSpec Medium Gold Championship this morning.

    The first of her three rides was her own six year old Gio, or Pumpkin as Charlotte calls him. The Apache x Tango gelding scored 73.38% to give his rider an early lead in the class.

    It was then the turn of Mount St John VIP. The Vivaldi-sired six-year-old mare had just competed in the Shearwater Insurance Young Horse preliminary judging so was ‘ring ready’ and it clearly gave her the acclimatisation and confidence to perform to her potential as the judges were bowled over to award 77.73% and her ahead of Pumpkin.

    The final horse of the class was Sarah Tyler-Evans’ River Rise Nisa, or Nancy, another aged just six. It was a clean test for the Negro mare but just couldn’t match the power of VIP but the score of 74.95% put her to second.

    “A good day!” said Charlotte. “VIP was really good and very easy; she’s just like clockwork. I think she was better for doing the young horse test first, it really set her up well. I love how trainable she is and how easy she finds the work.

    “I’m also really pleased with Nancy. She was here last year as a five year old and was quite green so to come here a year on and be second in the Medium is great. She’s certainly one for the future, Grand Prix I think as she’s hot, but very willing.

    “And dear Pumpkin Pie. He’s like my little sports car; so much fun and really easy. His medium trot is still his weakness but once we’ve mastered that, we’ll be flying.”

    Shearwater Young Horse Championships

    The assessment and pre-judging took place today for the Shearwater Young Horse Championships with the top four from each section – four, five and six-year-old – going through to tomorrow’s finals. Leading the way in the four-year-olds is Rowan Bryson’s son of Glocks Zonik, Izonik, ridden and part-owned by Kerry Mackin, who scored an impressive 8.30 from the three judges, Ulf Möller, Eva Möller and Lars Andersen. Jessica Dunn piloted her own Chagall-sired mare, Helga to the top of the five-year-old section with their mark of 8.00, while it was a tie at the top spot in the six-year-olds for Charlotte Dujardin with her own son of Apache, Gio and Bryony Goodwin with 2015 four-year-old champion Hawtins Duchessa, sired by Decamerone and owned by Judith Davis, who both scored 8.00 also.

    For full results, click here


  6. Day two: LeMieux National Championships

    “It was a bit lonely in there!” exclaimed Charlotte Dujardin as she exited the main arena on day two of the LeMieux National Championships. Well, if one rider will take the first three places in the Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I Championship then what can you expect? The Gloucestershire rider improved on her positions yesterday to make it a one, two, three with her trio of rising stars. 

    It was a second victory in as many days with Mount St John Freestyle. The German-bred Fidermark mare owned by the Yorkshire Mount St John Stud arrived at Stoneleigh with high expectations…and rather large shoes to fill (those of Valegro) but the talented, super-calm mare impressed again today and if anything, rose to a new level to score 79.13%, a record score for the Inter I class at the Championships. Judges at H and C, Stephen Clarke and Lars Andersen, both awarded the duo over 80%.

    “I was so happy with her test today. She’s done very few Inter I competitions but just finds it all so easy. I just don’t have any worries with her as she’s so great with the atmosphere,” said Charlotte.

    So does the superstar German-bred mare have any faults? “No!” was the instant response. “She has a heart of gold and loves a crowd. She’s not mareish at all and loves a fuss - the only time she’s grumpy is when you walk away!”

    As yesterday, second was En Vogue whom Charlotte owns with Sandra Biddlecombe and with a personal best score of 76.13% at this level to boot. A huge smile appeared as the double Olympic champion began to talk about En Vogue. “I couldn’t be more proud of him. To think he started the year at Advanced Medium and has now finished third in the Inter I Championship is amazing. I’ve really taken my time with him as he’s a confidence horse. The feeling he gives is just incredible and when I can get him to give what he does at home in competition, it’ll be amazing. It was a massive ask for him yesterday but to get such a relaxed performance today has made me so happy.

    Third spot went to another Mount St John mare, Mount St John Kom Fairytale. Impeccably bred by Fuerst Heinrich out of a Weltmeyer mare, the liver chestnut is quite a firecracker and Charlotte had to adapt her riding style accordingly. But buoyed by the confidence of yesterday’s Prix St Georges experience, ‘Princess’ was more settled to score 73.87%.

    “That was much better than yesterday, she was much more rideable,” Charlotte explained. “She’s never seen anything like this arena so to go back in on day two and improve is as much as you can ask of them.

    “We’ve had her about two years and she was razor blade sharp when she arrived having not done much competing. She could do all the movements but I decided to take her back to go forward. I’m hoping she’ll be out at Grand Prix next year,” she said.

    With three horses destined for great things, does Charlotte have a favourite in the trio? “It's so hard to say. They’re three very different characters. Freestyle and Vogue are all my own work whereas Princess had been produced. But the way she’s come on is great to see but you can’t beat bringing on a young horse, there’s nothing better.”

    Charlotte has elected to ride just one in the Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I Freestyle on Sunday, Mount St John Freestyle.

    Para Gold Championships

    It may have been overcast at today’s LeMieux National Championships, however the para riders shone as five victors lined up to celebrate – with several claiming their first ever Para Gold National title.

    Overall winner, with a sterling mark of 72.07%, was Yorkshire’s Izzy Palmer aboard Nicola Wells’ 17-year-old Dutch-bred Jazz gelding Touchdown M. After her win at last year’s Championships with Jacqueline Walker’s Pinocchio, the grade IV rider successfully defended her title with her partner of two years – known as Touch at home.

    “He really went in there and tried his heart out, which is all I can ask for really,” announced Izzy. “I’m super happy, I felt like we improved from our last outing at Hartpury – which was my aim – so I’m really happy with today’s test. “For me, I was pleased with my walk work because sometimes I can just sit there and forget to ride it but today I felt that it was an improvement. We’ve had a lot of training in preparation and I think that gives you the confidence in the arena to be able to go in there and show your best. It’s a case of staying confident in there, not backing off and being able to ride each movement positively.”

    Twenty-one-year-old Georgia Wilson claimed her first Nationals title with her own German gelding by Chico’s Boy, Chico 3. “I was really pleased with it, he listened to me really well and I got my shapes right – which is always great.” Scoring a championship personal best of 71.57%, the pair – who train with Sophie Wells - earned their grade II title as they also broke the 70% barrier for the first time this year.

    Another to claim their first Nationals title was grade I rider Mari Durward-Akhurst. Scoring 71.49% aboard Glesni Owen’s 18-year-old son of Welt Hit II, Sky O’Hara, Mari topped the tables despite not having the best run up to the competition. “It’s almost a miracle that I’m here and able to compete.” Mari explained. “I had further deterioration of my condition and have been suffering a lot of pain so I haven’t been able to ride at all. We were just happy to take whatever we got, so I couldn’t believe we won! I was absolutely thrilled with my test, he went the best he’s ever gone and I absolutely nailed my halt.”

    Buckinghamshire’s Amanda Shirtcliffe went the extra mile to ensure that she and Jon McFarland’s ten year old mare, New Princess, were fully prepared for today. “We went to Blenheim Palace for a para dressage demo in preparation for today, she was a little spooky there but it helped as today she found it really easy and didn’t look at all – there were no jumps to be scared of!”

    Scoring an impressive 71.47%, Amanda and the Danish mare have celebrated much success in their short time together, adding today’s win to their long list. “My test was really good, for a change. My last halt was particularly good, I always have a problem with halts, they’re usually what I call ‘Hokey Cokey’ halts; there’s always a leg out.” The dynamic duo had two reasons to celebrate, as they also placed sixth in today’s Dodson & Horrell Novice Silver Championship.

    Para newbie Gillian Brown has burst onto the scene this year, claiming her first National Grade V title with her own 12-year-old Welsh section D, Meikle Rustler, on a solid score of 66.79%. “He was good today, he had a decent clear round in the arena and did everything I asked for, there’s lots more to come because he has a lot to learn – he can be quite quirky, section D style!

    “He loves atmosphere, he likes the occasion – noise, razzamatazz, the more the better as he thinks it’s all for him. I never expected to win, it’s my first year in paras and my first ever Nationals so I never expected to win - he’s done so well for a pony we found in the field having done nothing.”

    Dodson & Horrell Novice Championships

    Oxfordshire rider Ashley Jenkins added a fourth National Championship title to his CV today in the first of the Dodson & Horrell Novice Championships, the Gold section.

    Riding Jamie Reynolds and Cherry Elvin’s British-bred His Highness, he scored a two percent victory over his nearest rival with a score of 73.73%. A very happy Ashley commented; “He was really settled and in really good balance today. I could really ride him and he felt full of confidence. He’s a big character and I have really high hopes for him.”

    At just five, British-bred ‘Hugo’ looks set to be a star for the future. As a foal he claimed the 2012 KWPN Foal of the Year before Jamie purchased the Wynton-sired gelding as a three year old when Ashley, stable jockey for Dan Greenwood, duly broke him in. “We took him to a number of venues to get his confidence up and get him used to new places,” he explained.

    Hugo’s 2017 Nationals adventure isn’t quite over as he’s in action in Saturday’s first round of the Shearwater Insurance Five-Year-Old Young Horse Championship. They won their semi-final at Port Royal so must rank among the favorites for the title. Having been in the atmosphere of the LeMieux arena once and performed positively, he must have an edge over some others. “There’s always a chance he could be tired but I think it takes the pressure off,” Ashley said.

    Moving on to the Dodson & Horrell Novice Silver Championships Rob Barker proved untouchable not only winning the class but also taking the second and fourth place accolades as well.

    It was set to be a close competition for Rob’s rides as all three came to Stoneleigh Park following a win in their respective Novice Silver Regional Championship classes; in the end it was Andrew Fletcher’s outstanding day bay gelding Hamlet to emerge victorious despite having trotted down the centre line first in the 24-strong class. The five-year-old star scored 73.40% to win on collectives narrowly beating Chloe Walton’s Fidertanz son Fidelius by one mark with Alison Haste’s divine mare Woodlander Romance scoring 70.37% to just miss out on a top three takeover. 

    Judge at C Andrea Smith was impressed with Hamlet’s performance, speaking about his test she said, “The highlight for me was how soft the horse looked; he had lovely rhythm and harmony. They were a real partnership and so easy to find marks for.”

    About his winning ride Rob said, “He’s a quality horse with three really good paces, he’s been lovely to train and it’s like having half the job already done with the brain and paces he’s got. He did really well today with the atmosphere considering he’s only five and lacking a little bit of experience.”

    This is a first appearance at the LeMieux National Championships for former international event rider Rob who’s also in only his first year of dressage having stopped jumping to switch disciplines last year. ‘I’ve always done a bit of dressage and loved it more. I had to wind the jumping down when I had a change of horse power and started focusing mainly on the dressage so it all fell into place,’ explained Rob who suffered a rotational fall a few years ago during his career over fences which he refers to partially as a reason for his change. A future in dressage is certain now for the Upleadon-based rider as he hopes to train his fantastic string of horses to Grand Prix.

    ‘I’d really hoped to do well this week, it’s been an amazing first National Championships – I’m over the moon,’ he concluded. 

    Commenting on the success of the two classes Dodson & Horrell CEO Sam Horrell said, “It has been a great day here at the Dodson & Horrell Novice Silver and Gold Championships. Watching the tests by all horses and rider combinations. The winners of our Championships are duly deserved and I am grateful that Dodson & Horrell has played a role here. Congratulations to all the competitors taking part and we have two very worthy winners.”

    TopSpec Medium Silver

    Twelve-year-old Annabella Pidgley rode a first class test this afternoon to gain victory in the TopSpec Medium Silver at her first ever National Championships. Annabella, who hails from Berkshire, rode her German Riding Pony Farbenfroh (Farewell I x Rakt’s Rocky) to impress the judges for a score of 70.51%, the sole combination to break the 70% barrier.

    “It feels amazing, I’m so happy to be here let alone win,” smiled Annabella. “I am so shocked!”

    The 14-year-old gelding, who’s owned by Annabella’s mum Sarah, has formed a formidable partnership with his young rider, not finishing out of the top three since mid-January. A highlight in their career so far was when Annabella and ‘Farbi’ aced Hickstead CDI at the end of July scoring a hat-trick in the FEI Pony divisions.

    This afternoon, Annabella was wearing smart new boots which were earned by her Hickstead performance, “I told her [Annabella] that if she was placed in the top three at Hickstead I’d buy her new boots, and if she was in the top three here it would be a new hat! This is proving quite expensive,” quipped Sarah.

    Farbi first caught the eye of the Pidgley family at the Pony European Championships in Malmo, Sweden in 2015, where he was on the team for Denmark and won Freestyle Bronze. In a twist of fate, the gorgeous Farbi was acquired later by the family, when another pony they wanted had been sold. “We loved everything about him,” said Annabella.

    Next stop for the talented pair, who have an exciting Pony career ahead of them, is next month’s Le Mans CDI in France.

    For full results – click here

    For winners’ interviews – click here

    Photos c Kevin Sparrow

  7. LeMieux National Championships: DAY ONE

    The 2017 LeMieux National Championships got underway today at Stoneleigh Park. A blustery but bright September day at the Warwickshire venue set the scene for a day of exciting competition. 

    The first title of the Championships went to Buckinghamshire-based Jayne Turney in the Equine Construction Advanced Medium Silver. One of the last to go in the class, Jayne and Shirley Rixon’s seven-year-old German-bred son of Starnberg, Penhaligon’s Jupiter (pictured), scored 68.84% to pip second placed Lucy Norris to the post by just 0.1%. The pair have been on a roll, winning their Regional Championship at Bury Farm was an impressive 72.63%.

    “He’s such a good horse to ride in the arena and today he was super, he just went in there and was a really good boy. I felt the canter work I rode a lot better than the trot but overall I was pleased with the test.”

    Jayne and Jupiter, who train with Charlotte Dujardin, placed sixth in the Advanced Medium at this year’s NAF Five Star Winter Championships, so they arrived in good form to contest for the coveted title. “I thought I would have a good chance – you always like to hope, don’t you – I had an amazing session with Charlotte [Dujardin] yesterday and he was absolutely incredible. So although I was a little disappointed at first that he didn’t go as well today, it makes it even more exciting for what’s to come as he’s showing such promise.”

    The dynamic duo met two years ago when owner Shirley contacted Jayne to see if she was interested in having a sit on a five-year-old she had recently imported from Germany and it was love at first sight. “I feel privileged to ride him, every time I sit on him I feel absolutely privileged,” exclaimed Jayne. “He finds everything so easy – almost a bit too easy, we need to remind ourselves to concentrate on the basics sometimes. I’d like to think we’d be heading towards PSG next year, which will be new for the two of us as I’ve never competed above Advanced Medium but I couldn’t think of a better horse to be doing it with.”

    Back In Action Preliminary Silver

    Cheshire rider Abigail Unwin helped to write the perfect story when she led from start to finish in the Back In Action Prelim Silver Championships. Riding Alison Unwin’s Arleys Dun Deal, Abigail was in bright and early this morning but the judges were very awake and clearly impressed to score them 73.51%. The duo set that benchmark and no one could match it so the title was theirs.

    “He’s the kindest horse I’ve ever ridden. I decided that going first, I’d ride as boldly as I could and it really paid off. I thought ‘just go for it, you’ve nothing to lose’! He answered all the questions I threw at him. He’s a pleasure and I just love riding him,” said a delighted Abigail.

    Combining her hobby with her job as full time Marketing Manager for Zebra Products, Abigail shares ‘Drummer’ with her mum but has spent more time riding him recently as her mum Alison broke her arm earlier this year so has been side lined. Drummer, an eye-catching chocolate dun, is a real family horse. “We saw him advertised and we went to see him, tried him and bought him between us all,” explained Abigail. Eventing was his original career choice but the British-bred sport horse by Burnock Unique was none too keen on the cross country phase so dressage has been the focus.

    “We set out to qualify and got to the Regionals where we finished fourth. We then got a wild card to get here which was exciting. We feel a bit like amateurs in a professional world but we’ve really enjoyed every minute of it all!” said Abigail.

    Childéric Saddles Elementary Silver

    Twenty-five-year-old Holly Colgate-Hardaway from Hindhead in Surrey headed a large, high class field to make the Childéric Saddles Elementary Silver her own. Partnered by her mum, Zoe Colgate-Sopps’, Dalvangs Lorenzo (Bogegardens Laurino x Bogegardens Lantano), Holly achieved a super score of 71.20% in a class where the top four breached the 70% barrier.

    “This means so much to me,” smiled Holly after the prize-giving, clearly delighted with Lorenzo who was soon relaxing in the sun after his lap of honour.

    During their performance earlier this afternoon, conditions were blustery and the Danish gelding, who stands over 17 hands, gave Holly a heart-stopping moment as he spooked at A after a leg yield, “It’s really windy and he [Lorenzo] doesn’t like things around his legs. The flower pots were blowing, so he went to stop and spin.”

    However, the good-looking horse quickly regained his composure to produce some of his best ever work. “The medium trot after the spook was amazing! He’s always been good behind but he’s just recently learnt to reach in front. And our give-and-retake felt incredible!” said Holly.

    Holly and Lorenzo’s performance not only impressed the judges but the Radio Nationals team too who commented on the horse’s “well-oiled joints”.

    Ten-year-old Lorenzo was found by Holly’s grandad, Terry Colgate, who’s a driving force behind the family’s passion for dressage. Lorenzo was one of three horses imported by Steven Newton, “We chose Lorenzo because he’s just such a lovely boy,” said Holly’s mum Zoe. “He was backed at six as he was growing so fast, and has been competing for two years. He has so much movement and talent, yet is so laid back. He really is a gentle giant and thinks he’s a lead-rein pony!”

    Holly is trained by Zoe “and always will be” – a formula which clearly works. The whole family shares their passion for the sport, including Holly’s twelve-year-old twin brothers Jared and Jake Sopp dubbed “the super-grooms” and Holly’s boyfriend Sam Cooke who was tied up at work but came out of a meeting to hear the news.

    Monarch Equestrian Intermediate II

    This year it was Charlotte Dujardin and Hawtins Delicato to win the prestigious Monarch Equestrian Intermediate II Gold Championship. The famed class has proven to be a stepping stone to Grand Prix success; last year’s winner Carinsio (Becky Moody) enjoyed a successful season in 2017 at the top level whilst second placed horse Don Carissimo (Gareth Hughes) earned a place on this year’s GB team travelling out to Gothenburg for the European Championships.

    The future certainly looks bright for ‘Del’ who scored 72.03% after a fantastic test piloted as expertly as usual by Charlotte. This win continues an impressive run of form for the pair who were also victorious at the Hickstead CDI in July.

    ‘I was super happy with his changes, trot half passes and extensions,’ said Charlotte about her test, ‘he’s just a little green still so the transitions into the piaffe weren’t great today. It’s only his second Inter II so I can’t complain at all, he’s very talented.’

    Charlotte narrowly avoided disaster and showed her skills to regain Del’s attention after a blip just before her test, ‘He felt great in the warm up but he didn’t want to go into the arena.’

    The nine-year-old son of Diamond Hit will be aimed at Grand Prix next year with a view to Carl Hester taking over the ride. Carl has previously said that the ultimate goal will be the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo but for now all focus is on next year’s World Equestrian Games in Tryon.

    ‘I’ve done all the work!’ Charlotte explained, ‘I keep trying to persuade him to get on!’

    Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Gold Championships

    Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle once again showed their class and blew away the competition in the Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Gold Championships to add another title to their growing collection. The pair danced their way around the Horse Health Arena to earn an immense 78.03% from judges Gwyneth Lewis, Clive Halsall, Maria Colliander, David Trott and Jennie Loriston-Clarke.

    The eight-year-old mare by Fidermark is building up an impressive reputation at the advanced levels and looks set for international success when she makes her Grand Prix debut in 2018. ‘I’m really happy,’ Charlotte said about her win with Freestyle, ‘She’s completely amazing to ride and she just has everything ready to go. It’s just a matter now of keeping her on track as she’s still only eight.’

    The reigning Olympic Champion also managed to finish in second place with En Vogue – a horse who’s not been easy throughout the early stages of his career.

    Talking about her Reserve Champion she said, ‘I bought him as a wild three-year-old who we couldn’t even catch in the stable’ She continued, ‘He’s by Jazz and I’ve always wanted one; I love a challenge!’

    Discussing her day further Charlotte explained that she was particularly happy with the results considering the conditions, ‘The atmosphere was really electric and so windy, there were a lot of flapping flags. It was En Vogue’s worst nightmare.’

    The rest of the week is a busy one for Charlotte as she is set to compete in six more classes. About her exciting string she said, ‘I really enjoy them all and they are all completely different. The Nationals are great for getting all the inexperienced ones out, it’s a really good event for gaining exposure.’

    For full results click here.

    Photo credit: Kevin Sparrow.



  8. WIN the holiday of a lifetime

    British Dressage has teamed up with In The Saddle to offer an unbelievable opportunity for any dressage or equestrian fan to win the holiday of a lifetime.

    Make any purchase on the British Dressage website or trade stand and you’ll be entered into the prize draw to win a seven-night stay at Monte Velho in Portugal with up to 14 dressage lessons on their fantastic array Lusitano horses.

    Set amidst the stunning Alentejo countryside, Monte Velho is a dressage paradise set offering first class tuition on magnificent horses. In between your lessons or trail rides you have the opportunity to watch other lessons going on, or simply relax by the pool or in the rooftop jacuzzi.  This stunning prize is kindly donated by the worldwide riding holiday provider In the Saddle.

    Owner of the award-winning Monte Velho Stud Farm, Diogo Lima Mayer, is famous nationally and internationally as one of the best Lusitano breeders and his horses have continued their dressage careers throughout Europe and Brazil. You can choose a programme of lessons and trail riders or just enjoy the trail rides without lessons – it’s your choice!

    Whether it’s a membership, event ticket or something from the British Dressage shop, any purchase will automatically enter you into this brilliant prize draw. Not something for you? Don’t worry – just send an email with the subject line ‘PRIZE DRAW OPT OUT’ to remove yourself from contention.

    Entries for the prize draw open today and close on 14 December 2017.

    In The Saddle was founded on a passion for horse riding and travel. Their consultants are all horse people who combine equine knowledge with a wealth of travel experience. Each person specialises in just a few destinations, so they can give you the in depth, up to date information that enables you to choose the ride that matches your budget and riding experience. For more information on In The Saddle and their fantastic worldwide holidays, click here.

    For full terms and conditions, click here

  9. LeMieux National Dressage Championships 2017 Preview

    There’s only one sleep to go before the event we’ve all been waiting for – the LeMieux National Dressage Championships 2017! (14 – 17 September 2017). With four days of mouth-watering dressage to look forward to, this great national gathering of British dressage is a dream show for followers of the sport.

    The centrally situated Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire will welcome the country’s leading riders alongside talented amateurs who’ll provide us with great dressage competition at all levels, from Prelim through to the crowning of the LeMieux National Champion at the ultimate level of Grand Prix.

    Charlotte Dujardin, one the world’s all-time dressage greats, will be playing a bigger part than ever as the busiest rider of the four-day show. She has an astonishing total of 17 competition starts with her ten rides, and is riding every day. So whether you’re lucky enough to go during the week or have to wait until the weekend, you’ll have the chance to see her in action. Follow this link to get the lowdown on her Nationals campaign.

    Defending his LeMieux National Champion title, Carl Hester will be riding Katherine Bateson’s Alcazar in the LeMieux Grand Prix, starting at 11.40 on Saturday. This class promises to be an exciting affair with several combinations likely to give Carl a run for his money. As well as his teammate Emile Faurie with Bohemo Tinto, 2017 team reserves Lara Butler and Hayley Watson-Greaves, who are on flying form, will be amongst the favourites.

    Others to watch are Michael Eilberg and the Eilberg family-favourite Marakov, Louise Bell with former working hunter champion Into the Blue, Steph Croxford with the charismatic Mr Hyde and bringing a touch of Spanish flair will be Vicky Thompson Winfield with the PRE stallion Mango Jacaro.

    Charlotte may be dubbed ‘the busiest rider of the show’ but she’s not the only one faced with the challenge of memorising multiple tests!

    Yorkshire’s Becky Moody has an incredible six horses qualified including Carinsio who, if his form at this year’s Hickstead CDIO is anything to go by, is in with a shout in the Grand Prix. He’s only young, at the age of 10, but is really coming into his own this year. In Becky’s words, “It’s starting to get exciting now!”

    Jayden Brown, who rides for the Mount St John Stud, has four of the stud’s horses qualified and will feature in the Childéric Saddles Elementary Gold with Atterupgaards 02 and the TopSpec Medium Gold aboard MSJ Top Secret, as well as the Shearwater Young Horse Championships with the stud’s rising stars. Another British breeding operation making waves is the Headmore Stud which, with Sarah Oppenheimer and daughter Alice at the helm, is bringing some super British-bred dressage horses into the world. Alice will be representing Headmore with four horses, and Dannie Morgan joins her riding Headmore Davina in the TopSpec Medium Silver.

    The Shearwater British Young Horse Finals are always a feast for the eyes with the top young horses in Great Britain going head-to-head for the titles. All finalists will compete on Saturday performing their age-specific tests, then the top four from each age group will go through to Sunday’s final where Eva Möller, who returns as this year’s ride judge, will put the horses through their paces to claim the top prize. The quality in the start lists is incredible, the line-ups include Kerry Mackin with four-year-old Izonik who took top honours when qualifying at Hartpury, Ashley Jenkins with five-year-old His Highness bred by Cat Austin, Charlotte Dujardin and the mare Hawtins San Floriana bred by Judith Davis, whose Hawtins Stud also bred a number of runners over the four days, and Tom Goode with FEI World Breeding Championships contender, Saint Julian.

    On Saturday and Sunday, Olympic, World and European medallist Laura Tomlinson will be presenting the LeMieux Master Class in the main arena, at 15.57 on Saturday and 15.56 on Sunday. Also not to be missed, on Saturday afternoon, is the salute to the 2017 Para and Pony medallists parade and a fabulous display by the Young Rider Quadrille display team which takes place on both days at the weekend.

    Don’t forget there’s a huge range of trade stands for that much-needed retail therapy and food outlets for refreshments during your day out. If you haven’t yet got your tickets for the Nationals, don’t worry! Although advance ticket sales are now closed, tickets are still available on each day of the Championships at the gate. On arrival at the showground, get your show-essential Programme (available on the gate, at the Secretary’s Office, at the BD stand and from the roving programme sellers) for exclusive interviews, all the essential reading on the competitors as well as the all-important schedule. For the full Nationals experience, why not purchase a Radio Nationals headset? These pre-tuned headsets (available from the Secretary’s Office and the BD stand), give you detailed commentary on the classes and help keep you up to date with what’s happening and where, ensuring you don’t miss a thing.

    And, if you can’t make it to the Nationals, you can keep up-to-speed with all the goings-on, scores, results and more by visiting,, Twitter and Facebook.

    Click here to visit the Championships website for detailed information on the event, ticket prices and schedules.

    Thursday 14/09/2017
    7.47 3. Equine Construction Advanced Medium Silver Championship
    7.50 1. BackinAction Preliminary Silver Championship
    10.15 4. Childéric Saddles Elementary Silver Championship
    12.05 2. Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Gold Championships
    14.35 5. Monarch Equestrian Intermediate II Gold Championships

    Friday 15/09/2017
    7.50 Dodson & Horrell Novice Gold Championship
    7.58 8. Gold Para Dressage Championship
    10.10 9. Dodson & Horrell Novice Silver Championship
    13.15 7. Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Gold Championship
    14.10 10. TopSpec Medium Silver Championship

    Saturday 16/09/2017
    7.50 11a Assessment & Pre-Judging Shearwater 4yo Young Horse
    7.50 16. TopSpec Medium Gold Championship
    9.05 12a. Assessment & Pre-Judging Shearwater 5yo Young Horse
    10.25 13a. Assessment & Pre-Judging Shearwater 6yo Young Horse
    11.40 14. LeMieux Grand Prix Gold Championship
    14.59 15. Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Freestyle Gold Championship

    Sunday 17/09/2017
    7.50 19. Childéric Saddles Elementary Gold Championship
    7.50 17. Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold Championship
    11.55 11b. Final of the Shearwater 4yo Young Horse
    13.40 12b. Final of the Shearwater 5yo Young Horse
    14.25 13b. Final of the Shearwater 6yo Young Horse
    15.20 18. Horse Health Grand Prix Freestyle Gold Championship






  10. BEF vacancy: Chair of the Board of Directors

    The BEF is seeking a Chair of the Board of Directors as part of the process for compliance with UK Sport’s and Sport England’s Code for Sport Governance. Applicants should possess the commitment, drive and skills to make a tangible contribution to the long term success of the BEF, for the benefit of its members as a whole. Equally important will be influencing and negotiation skills, with the credibility to build trust and nurture strong relationships with key internal and external stakeholders at all levels.

    Candidates should be able to demonstrate significant board experience within a private sector company or sport entity. They should have excellent governance skills, as well as an appreciation for complex partnership and stakeholder relationships. Extensive experience of international equestrian sport would also be desirable.

    This position is voluntary, with reasonable expenses, and offers the opportunity for close involvement in an exciting phase in the development of equestrian sport. There are approximately 10 meetings of the Board held per year at Abbey Park, Stareton, Warwickshire.

    In line with our Equality and Diversity Policy we are keen to achieve a diverse Board of Directors and would welcome applications from those communities under-represented on the Board, in particular people from ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

    For a full Role Description, please visit our website at

    Interviews will be held on 4 October 2017. All Board Members are expected to meet the highest standards of integrity. A declaration of good conduct covering bankruptcy and identity check will be required. If you would like to join the Board and feel you have the relevant skills and experience please send a comprehensive CV with a covering letter by the closing date of 25 September 2017 at 4pm to: Maggie Moreton, Head of Secretariat, British Equestrian Federation, Abbey Park, Stareton, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2RH or by email to


Brahan Dressage

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For Sale and Wanted