Thursday 19 Apr 2018

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News

  1. Hayley plays starring role at FEI World Cup™ Final

    Hayley Watson-Greaves and Rubins Nite (pictured) were at the top of their game in Paris at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final (13 – 14 April 2018), hosted by the AccorHotels Arena in the French capital.

    Having narrowly missed out on qualifying from the Western European League, Hayley made the very most of a well-deserved place at the Final following the withdrawal of Australian rider Mary Hanna. With the wonderful Rubins Nite, Hayley has enjoyed a tremendous 2017/2018 World Cup season and last week she continued this run of success with two top drawer performances at her first ever FEI World Cup™ Final, against many of the world’s best in the City of Lights.

    In Friday’s Grand Prix, Hayley and Rubins Nite were awarded 69.82% to finish 11th and thus comfortably qualify through to the following day’s Freestyle. “He felt relaxed in the arena, and the atmosphere was buzzing. [There were] a couple of mistakes in the test but overall I was pleased with the way he was as some riders were struggling with their rides,” said Hayley on her Facebook blog.

    The class was won by the USA’s Laura Graves with the spectacular Verdades who put the pressure on defending champion Isabell Werth with Weihegold OLD for Germany who was forced to settle for second.

    The air was buzzing on Saturday as a knowledgeable, enthusiastic crowd packed the spectacular AccorHotels Arena for the much anticipated finale to the 2017/2018 World Cup season – the Freestyle. Hayley relished the occasion and rode a cracking test to score 75.34% despite a costly mistake in the two-time changes. The British combination finished an excellent 11th. “I was really pleased with our performance, just a shame about the expensive mistake. Still at our first World Cup final, scoring over 75% and coming 11th I was delighted.”

    Supreme competitor Werth, spurred on by her opponent’s victory the previous day, came back full of fire to ride an exemplary Freestyle for 90.65% and her fourth World Cup title. “This is life, a lot of people think it’s easy, you win and you win again, but it’s not like that. You have to think about it all the time and keep listening to your horse. Yesterday was not our day, but today we could solve it. And this is what I really like to do, and that’s the reason why I love to compete!” she said.

    “To have experience is an advantage if you use it in the right way, and I think we did that from yesterday to today,” she said. “After a lot of years in the sport you know how many things can happen, how things can change very quickly. It gives you the confidence to go in the ring and to try your best - you know what your horse can do and you know what you can do. This was just a great day today!” said the happy German star.


    Results
    Grand Prix
    1st – Laura Graves with Verdades, 81.413% (USA)
    2nd – Isabell Werth with Weihegold OLD, 78.261% (GER)
    3rd – Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl with Unee BB, 75.668% (GER)
    4th – Dorothee Schneider with Sammy Davis Jr, 75.311% (GER)
    5th – Patrik Kittel with Deja, 74.689% (SWE)
    6th – Daniel Bachmann Andersen with Blue Hors Zack, 74.130% (DEN)
    7th – Inessa Merkulova with Mister X, 74.115% (RUS)
    8th – Madeleine Witte-Vrees with Cennin, 73.975% (NED)
    9th – Edward Gal with Glock’s Zonik NOP, 73.758% (NED)
    10th – Belinda Weinbauer with Söhnlein Brilliant MJ, 70.357% (AUT)
    11th – Hayley-Watson-Greaves with Rubins Nite, 69.829% (GBR)
    12th – Ludovic Henry with After You, 69.224% (FRA)
    13th - Yvonne Losos De Muñiz with Foco Loco W, 69.177% (DOM)
    14th – Morgan Barbançon Mestre with Sir Donnerhall II OLD, 69.099% (ESP)
    15th – Patrick Van Der Meer with Zippo, 68.478% (NED)
    16th – Hanna Karasiova with Zodiak, 68.478% (BLR)
    17th – Shelly Francis with Danilo, 68.326% (USA)
    18th – Ellesse Tzinberg with Triviant 2, 58.292% (PHI)

    Results with judges’ breakdown.

    Grand Prix Freestyle
    1st – Isabell Werth with Weihegold OLD, 90.658% (GER)
    2nd – Laura Graves with Verdades, 89.083% (USA)
    3rd – Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl with Unee BB, 83.725% (GER)
    4th – Patrik Kittel with Deja, 83.146% (SWE)
    5th – Dorothee Schneider with Sammy Davis Jr, 81.843% (GER)
    6th – Madeleine Witte-Vrees with Cennin, 81.336% (NED)
    7th – Daniel Bachmann Andersen with Blue Hors Zack, 80.532% (DEN)
    8th – Edward Gal with Glock’s Zonik NOP, 79.654% (NED)
    9th – Inessa Merkulova with Mister X, 79.140% (RUS)
    10th – Morgan Barbançon Mestre with Sir Donnerhall II OLD, 76.208% (ESP)
    11th – Hayley Watson-Greaves with Rubins Nite, 75.347% (GBR)
    12th – Shelly Francis with Danilo, 74.190% (USA)
    13th – Belinda Weinbauer with Söhnlein Brilliant MJ, 74.050% (AUT)
    14th – Ludovic Henry with After You, 72.786% (FRA)
    15th – Yvonne Losos De Muñiz with Foco Loco W, 72.679% (DOM)
    16th – Patrick Van Der Meer with Zippo, 72.290% (NED)
    17th – Hanna Karasiova with Zodiak, 70.622% (BLR)

    Results with judges’ breakdown

    Photo c Jon Stroud

  2. NAF Five Star Winter Championships: day four

    Day four at the NAF Five Star Winter Championships was one of variety as we had winners right from the age of twelve through to the most decorated rider in British Dressage history. The day started with three simultaneous Preliminary classes with the two outdoor arenas bathed in welcome sunshine.

    A seven hour journey from Dumfries St Galloway was more than worthwhile for 15-year-old Carla Milne as she took the KBIS Preliminary Silver Championship in fine style with her own Hey Good Looking GK on a score of 70.46%.

    ‘I didn’t expect to hold on to the lead’ said a shocked Carla Milne who was first to trot down the centre line in the large class, ‘he felt really good, he’s only been in work for a couple of days because of a sore hoof. It was caused by a trapped stone, we managed to sort it on Tuesday and arrive here on Wednesday!

    ‘He trotted really nicely and he can overpower himself in the canter, but it went really well’ Carla added about her test.

    It was love at first sight for Carla and ‘Cookie’ ‘I’ve owned him for about two years, we found him on the BD website and he came to us from Dutch Sport Horses. He’s a lovely horse, when he’s at home he loves going out and playing with his friends in the field.’ The six-year-old Dutch gelding is by Chello III VDL and out of an Elcaro mare.

    It was a great morning for the Youth riders as 10-year-old Daisy Mansfield scored 70.23% to finish second whilst third place went to Ashlene Bagshaw and Alan Drane’s Dancier sired mare Danseuse.

    Petplan Equine Preliminary U18 Area Festival Championship 


    It was a first Championship win for 12-year-old Annabel Coller who triumphed in the Petplan Equine Preliminary U18 Area Festival Championship with her charming 13hh coloured mare, Haybell’s Cinderella. The diminutive duo scored 71.25% to top the class ahead of Olivia Walker with Hilary Janion’s QEG Lux and Daisy Davies with Amarda Dyffryncothi Bridget who completed a youthful podium.

    The Coller family gave lots of praise and credit to trainer Bobby Hayler who had an early start to work Annabel in for her U18 test. Annabel has attended several of Bobby’s training camps at her base in Chelmsford as well as receiving coaching from Jade Holleman.

    ‘Her trot work was nice and even, she didn’t rush anything’ Annabel said about her test, ‘She worked in really well and she’s so well behaved. I’ve had her for three years and she was my first dressage pony. I do lots of dressage and hacking at home, sometimes we’ll jump too.’ Commenting on her Championship experience she continued, ‘I arrived on Friday and it’s been a really good experience, I’ve enjoyed it!'

    ‘I’ve outgrown her now so I’ve unfortunately got to sell her,’ Annabel reflected. Haybell’s Cinderella was supposed to be sold in September 2017 but Annabel retained her with the Championships in mind, the super pony will now move on to her new home and Annabel will move on to a new horse.
     
    Petplan Equine Inter II Silver Area Festival Championship 

    The Saturday crowds gathered outside as the highest level of test to be ridden took place today at the Winter Championships and it was Leicestershire’s Ann Staines who claimed the top spot in the Petplan Equine Inter II Area Festival Championship aboard her own 15-year-old Rubin Royal gelding Royal Standard with a score of 64.74%.

    ‘Our test didn’t actually go very well,’ announced Ann. ‘Well it did but we had a bit of a mistake in the canter pirouette and the twos. He just mis-stepped into the pirouette and lost his balance, then in his ones he was slightly late behind in the first but the rest were fine. His way of going isn’t as good as when he does a PSG or Inter I but we’ve still got lots to learn, I’ve never trained a horse up to this level before and he’s just blown us away with how good he’s been.’

    The pair, who trains with Conrad Schumacher, has been together for seven years, however it wasn’t always plain sailing.
    ‘He was so naughty, he was just outrageous and a total shocker – but you’d never know it now. You couldn’t ride him down to the outdoor school, we went through the muck heap I don’t know how many times, we’d have to be led if ever we wanted to hack. We’re great now, it’s much, much better but it did take a while.’

    Competing in a snaffle; ‘I’ve been trying the double but he doesn’t go quite as well and I’m not the most confident. My trainer despairs but we both just go better with a snaffle,’ Ann explained, they’ve had a great first season at Big Tour having both Inter II and Grand Prix tests under their belt, and are hoping to hit the Premier Leagues at Big Tour later this year.

    Spillers Medium Gold Freestyle Championship 

    Charlie Sawyer and Chico Too can now boast the complete set of Spillers Medium Freestyle titles after today’s win in the Gold section with an impressive 74.67%. The awesome twosome claimed last year’s Spillers Medium Silver Freestyle Championship last year with an equally solid score (72.56%), proving that they’re quite the unstoppable combination.

    Overall I thought the test was very good, I always find he’s a lot better in the freestyle – I think it’s because I feel there’s less pressure and you can highlight their strong points, like his canter work he has very good simple changes so we do two of those each way. His trot has always his weakest pace but that’s really improving.'

    With this win marking their sixth, Charlie and Chico have fought hard to work their way to the top. Originally bought as a hack for Charlie’s mum Sarah, Chico has battled arthritis of the facet joint, kissing spine and shivers but a lengthy rehabilitation and great management programme has meant that he’s flourished with the Sawyers. ‘It took us two and a half years and even now he’s still on a permanent rehab programme, which is basically schooling once or twice a week, he’s got to jump and do lots of pole work, work in the Pessoa and lots of hacking – so he’s basically got the training programme of an eventer!’

    Next for Charlie and Chico is Advanced Medium and beyond, although his mum Sarah was quick to follow with ‘[Chico] will go as far as he wants to – there’s no pressure, he’ll tell us when to stop and we’ll always listen.’

    Charles Owen Advanced Medium Gold 


    It was always looking likely that Charlotte may walk away with the top three rosettes, but even the lady herself wasn’t too sure who would come out on top, “To be honest I never know how they’re gonna finish up!” Today, it was River Rise Nisa who took the honours with 75.83%, a seven-year-old Negro-sired mare known as Nancy at home, co-owned by Charlotte and breeder Sarah Tyler-Evans.

    “Nancy, bless her, she’s always been the one that’s second or third, always being the bridesmaid! I’ve been pleading that she has to have a win! She’s probably the greenest of them all, this morning I went to do the arena walk and she was a bit overwhelmed, so I wasn’t really sure how today was going to be, but she went back in there this afternoon and wasn’t even bothered so I was really happy with her test.”

    Charlotte’s top three are all relatively inexperienced at this level though it of course didn’t show in the arena, “She’s got better and better each time I compete her, last year she came here and did the Novice and now she’s moved up to Advanced Medium. She’s a horse I saw as a three-year-old and I loved her from the first time I saw her. It’s great to work with Sarah as she’s bred some fantastic horses, she’s gonna keep breeding and I’m going to keep riding!”

    Runner up today was the very popular Gio with 73.29%, “I was so happy with Pumpkin! That was the first time he will have gone in an arena and experienced anything like that, it was a mistake-free test, all he’s got to work on now is the extensions and he’ll catch up with the others.”

    In third with 73.16% was the eye-catching mare Mount St John VIP, “I felt like it was very smooth, she’s like clockwork when you take her in the arena, she’s so much fun to ride! She doesn’t feel like she’s seven, I ride her like an older horse because mentally she’s so there.”

    Excitingly this trio of gorgeous seven-year olds mean that Charlotte will potentially have three fantastic Grand Prix horses at the same time a few years down the line, “I honestly have the best string of horses I’ve ever had!”
     
    Petplan Equine Area Festival Elementary Under 18

    Thirteen-year-old Emilia Nelson, from Beenham in Berkshire, was thrilled to win the Petplan Equine Area Festival Elementary inaugural Under 18 section with Sarah Steggell’s WFS Top Red. They achieved the top score of 69.12% in a very competitive class, runners up, 11-year-old Myles Graham and Heavenly High Jinks, were only a mark behind on 69.02%.

    The combination had little preparation for the championships as Emilia has recently been in France with her school, Downe House in Berkshire, but this didn’t show in their accomplished test. “He was great, he was a really good boy, I’ve been in France for a term so I’ve ridden him for two weeks when I got back and then we came here, so there wasn’t much preparation! Our aim was to come here and get a clear round and see how it goes so we weren’t expecting anything, I’m so proud of him!”

    British-bred, Sports Pony Studbook Society (SPSS) passported, WFS Top Red (Top Yellow x Pilgrims Red) was a licensed stallion and Champion at the Young Dressage Pony Championships in 2012. However, the pony has since been gelded due to behavioural problems, “I was asked to ride him a year ago, he was a stallion but we cut him in the spring because he went bonkers! It took him ages to get over that so it’s only been about 5 months I’ve really been riding him.”

    The future now looks bright for the champions with another ride at the championships in the Petplan Equine Area Festival Medium Under 18 class, “I’m doing the medium tomorrow and I’m on the Progress Pony squad so we’ll be going out to some Premier Leagues and hopefully be picked for an international by the end of the year.” You can catch the combination tomorrow in Petplan Equine Arena 1 at 13:49 – they’re sure to be ones to watch for another title!

    Petplan Equine Preliminary Silver 

    Amy Daye enjoyed a royal win in the Petplan Equine Preliminary Silver Championship aboard her seven-year-old gelding Prince William MBS. Under sunny skies at Hartpury, Amy and the good-looking son of Wish Upon Star posted a fabulous winning score of 72.85%.

    “I’m over the moon with him,” beamed Amy after the presentation in the NAF Five Star Arena. “He was totally amazing and I was so happy with every part of our test. And the final centre line was our best ever!”

    “We competed in the KBIS Preliminary Silver Championship this morning too, but it didn’t go quite so well, so when I came out this afternoon for the Petplan class I rode every single step. I really can’t believe it and it’s been such a good experience,” she enthused.

    Amy bought William when he was three months old and has brought him on with the help of Vikki Pengilly. The road to success has not been plain sailing for the duo as William has suffered with allergies and hypersensitivity which has resulted in sinusitis and it can affect his lungs when he’s having an episode.

    “We’ve scraped together every penny to keep him fit and competing,” says Amy who gave up a well-paid job to focus on her riding. She now combines working as a distributor for Forever Living and working for trainer Vikki in return for lessons. “Vikki has helped me massively.”

    For full results with judges' breakdown click here.
    Photo c Kevin Sparrow.

  3. NAF Five Star Winter Championships: day five

    The curtain came down at the NAF Five Star Winter Championships with an emphatic win in the Albion Medium Gold for Charlotte Dujardin and River Rise Nisa (Negro x Amsterdam). Always a highly competitive class, and a real treat for Sunday spectators, this year’s Albion Medium Gold lived up to every expectation.

    Charlotte and the beautiful River Rise Nisa who is owned by Sarah Tyler-Evans were judged the unanimous winners by judges Sue McMahon (E), Penelope Lang (C) and Nick Burton (M), with a score average of 76.62%. Jayden Brown and Atterupgaards 02 took second (73.47%) with Alice Oppenheimer and Headmore Davina in third (72.25%).

    Charlotte was thrilled with ‘Nancy’ who’d already added Saturday’s Charles Owen Advanced Medium Gold to her CV. “She made no mistakes today and although she was a little tired from yesterday, I’m very happy,” said Charlotte.

    We’re so lucky in the UK to have an Olympic, World and European Champion so actively using the national competition system to develop young horses, and each test she rides is a master class in itself. Over the course of the five days Charlotte achieved a total six victories, including a one-two-three, with her incredible team of horses.

    “I’m delighted with all my horses this week. I really couldn’t ask any more from them at their stages of training, so yes, I’m very happy.”

    PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle

    Only 0.84% split the top four combinations in the PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Silver championship. Nicola Byam-Cook came out on top with her own Twyford Salamander, a Welsh C gelding known as Solo at home, on 71.99%. Alexis Ross finished close behind on 71.73% with Jane Pocock’s Quartz and Claire Ryder and Contado took third spot with 71.60%.

    Nicola and Solo, a former FEI pony with previous rider Bonnie Bourne, are still a new combination, “I got Solo in the August of last year from the Bournes, I just wanted something that I wouldn’t fall off but that I could be competitive on, which isn’t easy to find! I asked his owners if I could try him for a month, I didn’t want to buy something that I’m nervous of because when you do a lot of riding by yourself you need something that’s safe. I took him to a show ten days after I got him and he won the qualifier at Merrist Wood, I was like yep I’ll keep him!”

    They rode to music from the Disney film, Moana, a compilation put together by another champion from earlier in the week, Holly Colgate-Hardaway and selected by their biggest fans, “I’ve got two children who are five and six, so when we were putting the music together I wanted something that the children wouldn’t mind because we’d be playing it a lot, day in day out. They chose Moana, Jemima chose the trot music and Rupert chose the canter music, so they feel like they’re part of it! It’s a nice family occasion and they came to watch today.”

    Nicola hasn’t done much dressage before today’s win but was a showing rider, “The last time I rode to that prize-giving music, I was champion at the Royal International, I was a pony rider in 1991!” However, today’s performance has definitely given Nicola the dressage bug, “I’ve gone from just wanting something safe, to win the regionals, to win today and become a dressage diva! We’re hoping to be selected for the inter-regionals, he just seems to get better and better and we’re a real partnership now.”

    Petplan Equine Preliminary Bronze

    Youth triumphed in the Petplan Equine Preliminary Bronze Area Festival Championship with six-year-old Animo’s Boy topping the large class with Heather Wallace at the reins. The super duo scored 71.25% in the Championship judged by Anita Darken (E), John Robinson (C) and Nicky Du Plessis (M); their winning percentage was the only score to break to magic 70% barrier.

    Heather, from Tushingham in Shropshire, said about her win ‘I wasn’t expecting to win but I hoped I would, if you’re going to go to the show and you’re not trying to be competitive – why are you there! I knew we were capable of winning if I could keep a lid on him, but I didn’t think we would do it!

    Animo’s Boy improved on his winning Area Festival score of 70.5% to excel in the Petplan Arenas at Hartpury. ‘The trot work was better, I’ve just started training with Jess Dunn and she’s been helping us achieve more cadence, the canter was good but the free walk and the halts still need more work. It wasn’t a foot perfect test so there’s still room for improvement! I was made up with the score, I wasn’t expecting it!’

    Heather describes the jumping bred gelding as a ‘timebomb’, ‘I bought him as a just backed four year old to do everything with, he’s always been sharp and quite spooky I’ve taken him to loads of places to prepare, we’ve had lots of lessons and hired lots of venues! The more he sees the more normal it becomes.’ he’s done quite a bit of BD and he’s show jumping at 90cm and 95cm – next week we’ll do our first horse trials. I’m a strong believer in variety and education! We’ll aim for the Regionals and the Petplan Area Festivals and get cracking at Novice level hopefully!’

    The top three was completed by Suzanne Dickens with Jane Duncan’s Treworder (Grafenstolz x Welton Crackerjack) and Donna Fitzerald with her own Castlelawn Diva (Castlelawn Galloway x Welcome Flagmount).

    Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Gold

    It was an emotional afternoon for Alice Oppenheimer as she took first and second place in the Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Gold with the full siblings Headmore Davina and Headmore Dirubinio.

    It was big sister Headmore Davina to take the title on a score of 72.78%, ‘Weirdly they are nothing alike!’ Alice laughed, ‘Robin [Headmore Dirubinio] is pathetic, nervous and insecure I have to hold his hand! He’s got a phenomenal front leg but you have to work to get the push behind, Davina is the opposite her hind leg is amazing, they are surprisingly different but then I’m not too similar to my sister!

    ‘I did cry, I said to my team I felt like Charlotte! It was a bit emotional, I gave myself a slap and reminded myself I was a professional!’ said Alice about her first Championship win in three years. ‘I was just pleased to be at the Regionals, then that went well so now I’m just glad to be here. My horses have been fab all week, they’ve been really consistent. It’s been busy but amazing, I’ve had a lot of friends win too so it’s been a good one for the Hampshire riders… we’re challenging Charlotte! It might take a whole country but we’re taking her on music class by music class!’ she concluded.

    Alice completed no less than 11 tests across the duration of the show marking a brilliant return to the NAF Five Star Winter Championships having missed last years’ event due to a shattered finger.

    Third place in the Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Gold Championships went to Sara-Jane Lanning and Mi Amigo who earned a very credible 72.39%.

    Petplan Equine Medium U18 Area Festival

    A-level student Samantha Willson was victorious in the Petplan Equine Medium U18 Area Festival Championship with her mother Jackie’s beautiful homebred mare Delhurens Sunshine dancing in the rain to earn 68.28%.

    ‘We bred her and I backed her myself aged 13, I’m 17 now so it’s really special to win here,’ said a beaming Samantha, ‘She’s qualified for three Championships in a row now, last year I was third in the Novice Silver and took part in the Elementary. I’m really proud of her, to achieve this with a homebred is really special.’

    It was a great day all round for the duo who also placed fourth in the Petplan Equine Advanced Medium Bronze Area Festival Championships with their success joined by Samantha’s other ride, Paintball Picture Perfect, who placed sixth in the Medium U18s.

    Samantha and Delhurens Sunshine (by Deanes San Ciro Hit) have recently started training at Prix St Georges level and are hoping to contest the Premier League events this summer with a view to aiming for the Junior FEI squads and internationals in the near future. ‘She’s a very trainable mare but she’s a bit quirky, she’s got a very lovely, kind personality and we’ve been together for so long we know each other really well,’ she enthused about her lovely horse.

    Samantha trains with Claire Moir and credited some of her success to the BD Youth programmes, ‘BD Youth has really helped us, we’ve been to lots of different arenas and different places and shows to gain experience so it’s been very useful’

    Second and third spot went to Ronnie-Mae Morgan and BKS Brandini and Petplan Equine Elementary U18 Area Festival Champions Emilia Nelson and WFS Top Red.

    Petplan Equine Novice U18 Area Festival Championship

    Sixteen-year-old Chloe Baker piloted her own 15-year-old Diamond Hit gelding, Cold Diamond, to victory in the Petplan Equine Novice U18 Area Festival Championships being the only combination to score above the 70% barrier with an impressive 71.60%

    "It was really nice – and not too eventful, sometimes it can be!’ explained Chloe. ‘He went really nicely and was really listening, sometimes he can get a bit carried away in the mediums but he managed to keep it all under control today, so that’s always a bonus!"

    Although the pair won their Area Festival at Duchy College with a mega 73.96%, they qualified for the Championships from the Final on a wildcard with Chloe expecting nothing from today except wanting a clear round.

    "I always pick my tests apart afterwards, so I didn’t think anything about winning," she continued. "My mum told me to just wait for the score before I start criticising it, I waited until I’d untacked and put him away before finding out the score – I was really, really, really pleased with him, I wasn’t expecting it at all."

    The duo has been together for just under a year and are now starting to flourish after a bit of a bumpy start.

    Chloe explained: "He can be difficult sometimes, his trick is to rear when he doesn’t want to do something. We’ve been working on it and finding ways to avoid it, he doesn’t do it just to be naughty, I think it’s just his character. He’s a completely different horse in the stable as to what he’s like to ride, he’s like a big dog! My mum has quite a spectacular bond with him and he absolutely idolises her.

    Petplan Equine Advanced Medium Bronze

    Thea Millward (18) enjoyed a day to remember taking the final Petplan Equine Area Festival Championship, the Advanced Medium Bronze, with the chestnut Hanoverian Walentino 77. Thea and Walentino, a handsome nine-year-old Wolkentanz x Wanderbursch gelding were awarded a score of 68.21%.

    “It’s really exciting and I’m very happy,” said Thea, reflecting on her achievement. “He was really well behaved today. Normally he’d be quite spooky, but today, he settled well as the test went on and was listening to me throughout.”

    Talented young rider Thea bought the German-born chestnut as a seven-year-old and the two have since become a trusting team, “He can be quite insecure in big atmospheres like today so it was really positive that he listened to me and settled down.

    “His flying changes were a lot better in this test. A lot straighter than they have been and the second extended trot was very good.”

    Looking to the future Thea says, “My big aim for this year is to get to Prix St Georges as I’d love to do Young Riders.”

    Completing the top three were Scott McLellan with Lemiroff Is in second, and Christine Cockerton with Evaldo in third.

    For full results with judges' breakdown click here.
    Photo c Kevin Sparrow. 

  4. Catch up with the NAF Five Star Winter Championships

    With the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships and Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships over for another year, British Dressage would like to take this opportunity to thank Kelvin Bywater and all the team at Show Direct and Hartpury College as well as the dedicated group of judges, officials, volunteers and of course competitors who contributed to the success of this fantastic event.

    A special thank you goes out to Championship title sponsors NAF and Petplan Equine alongside the class sponsors KBIS, Blue Chip, Baileys Horse Feeds, Equi-Trek, PDS Saddles, Albion, Spillers, Charles Owen and Nupafeed.

    There's still time to get invovled with NAF Five Star Winter Championships fever, work your way through the links below to relive the week's action.

    Watch

    Magic Prix St Georges Freestyle Gold on demand click here

    Superflex Intermediate I Freestyle Gold on demand click here

    Read

    Show report day one click here

    Show report day two click here

    Show report day three click here

    Show report day four click here

    Show report day five click here

    Magic Prix St Georges Freestyle Gold report click here

    Superflex Intermediate I Freestyle Gold report click here

    Reports feature photos by Kevin Sparrow and words by Joanna Bowns, Jessica Gibbons, Camille Peters and Sarah Dixon.

    Listen

    Rider interviews hosted by Cre8 Media click here

    Social Media

    Visit the BD Social Media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too see a host of videos and photos from the week.

    Have your say! Throughout the week the team at BD have been asking for your stories and photos from the Championships; message the British Dressage Facebook page or tag BD in your posts to get involved.

    Results

    Click each day for full results and judges' breakdown.

    Day one - Featuring Blue Chip Novice Silver, Equi-Trek Elementary Silver, Spillers Medium Freestyle Silver, Baileys Horse Feeds Novice Freestyle Silver, PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Gold, Petplan Equine Medium Silver Area Festival, Petplan Equine Medium Bronze Area Festival, Petplan Equine Prix St Georges Bronze Area Festival and Petplan Equine Prix St Georges Silver Area Festival.

    Day two - Featuring Equi-Trek Elementary Gold, Magic Prix St Georges Gold, Charles Owen Advanced Medium Silver, Baileys Horse Feeds Novice Freestyle Gold, Petplan Equine Elementary Bronze Area Festival, Petplan Equine Inter I Bronze Area Festival, Petplan Equine Elementary Silver Area Festival and Petplan Equine Inter I Silver Area Festival.

    Day three - Featuring Blue Chip Novice Gold, Albion Medium Silver, Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Silver, Superflex Intermediate I Gold, Magic Prix St Georges Freestyle Gold, Petplan Equine Novice Bronze Area Festival, Petplan Equine Novice Silver Area Festival and Petplan Equine Advanced Medium Silver Area Festival.

    Day four - Featuring KBIS Preliminary Silver, Spillers Medium Freestyle Gold, Charles Owen Advanced Medium Gold, Superflex Intermediate I Freestyle Gold, Petplan Equine Prelim u18 Area Festival, Petplan Equine Preliminary Silver Area Festival, Petplan Equine Elementary u18 Area Festival and Petplan Equine Intermediate II Silver Area Festival.

    Day five - Featuring PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Silver, Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Gold, Albion Medium Gold, Petplan Equine Prelim Bronze Area Festival, Petplan Equine Novice u18 Area Festival, Petplan Equine Advanced Medium Bronze Area Festival and Petplan Equine Medium u18 Area Festival.

    Sponsors

    Click here to visit the British Dressage sponsor page where you can find website links and details of all BD sponsors including the prestigious brands behind the NAF Five Star Winter Championships. 

     

  5. Super Sadie wins Superflex Inter I Freestyle

    In front of a packed house last night in the NAF Five Star Arena, Sadie Smith and Keystone Dynamite (pictured) won the Superflex Intermediate I Freestyle in emphatic style. The stylish combination was awarded a total percentage score of 75.38% from judges Brenda Minor (E), Nick Burton (C) and Jo Graham (M).

    First to go was Emma Jablonski with her black gelding Cor IV Z. The pair performed an attention-grabbing routine to Earth, Wind and Fire, Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars, showing a nice frame and some lovely, expressive canter work to score 67.08%. Once again the evening feature class was accompanied by a synopsis of each performance by Grand Prix rider and FEI 5* Judge Isobel Wessels. Talking about Emma’s test she said; “The horse was a little nervous but Emma managed him well. The highlights were the flying changes. It was a nice routine in the canter and dividing up the pirouettes worked well.”

    Next up was Paul Friday and the good-looking stallion Romanno Rafiel. To their Phil Collins soundtrack they showed some intricate trot work including half circles moving seamlessly into half pass the opposite way and powerful extensions. The horse dropped behind the leg a little in the first pirouette but the canter showed much potential. They were awarded 68.88%. “It was an uplifting programme,” commented Isobel. “The music suited the horse and I particularly liked the music for the trot [Phil Collins’ Easy Lover]. The canter work was quite difficult but overall it was a very positive performance.”

    Helen Dutton and Valdorama D, her bay son of Flemmingh, presented some powerful work to emotive music. There was some loss of balance in the right pirouette, but some lovely highlights including well executed three-times on the centre, turning onto the diagonal. The earned a score of 65.17%. “I could see at the beginning that the horse was a little nervous but she sat quietly and did a good job,” said Isobel. “He looks an honest and genuine horse and was well ridden. And it was lovely music.”

    Shaun O’Sullivan followed partnered by Yuri Jinno’s good-looking 11-year-old Oldencraig Choice (Dayano x El Corona). The pair earned a percentage score of 62.29%. “He’s a beautiful horse and there was some very nice riding,” commented Isobel. “He rides very nicely…well done.”

    Entering next – Tania Grantham and Samarino. Starting in walk; walk pirouette left, then into canter accompanied by light, piano music, the pair performed an enthusiastic test though the horse showed some tension and made some expensive mistakes for 63.88%. “I thought it was really good music, that last note into halt was quite magical,” said Isobel. “Overall it was very interesting but the horse got quite nervous and made some mistakes. It was a shame about the mistake in the pirouette, but it was an unusual and good performance.”

    Nicola Buchanan and Half Moon Dark Magic, a good-looking liver chestnut son of Dimaggio, made an impression the moment they entered the arena. An instrumental adaptation of Rolling Stones’ Paint It Black accompanied powerful and easy half passes and extensions. The canter work was confident and secure with beautifully-centred pirouettes. Nicola and nine-year-old Dark Magic look an exciting combination. “Nicola’s one of our best riders and this test was super!” enthused Isobel. “The music fitted the horse, it was powerful and well prepared. The horse was a little nervous but Nicola handled it so well, and the horse shone!” The pair took the competition to a new level with a fantastic 73.58%.

    The elegant partnership of Ann Staines and Royal Standard, a 15-year-old son of Rubin Royal, delivered a stylish performance to music that perfectly suited the horse’s athletic movement and demeanour. They had a costly mistake in the three-times but Ann had really upped the ante with the degree of difficulty incorporating a final centre line of two-time changes to a canter pirouette left to finish. They scored 65.04%. “It was a very difficult programme but the music really suited the horse. There were some mistakes but that’s a risk you take. Well done Ann.”

    Last to go before the first break, Nikki Barker and Forever Young, provided an oriental feel performing expressive work to their Hans Zimmer Kung Fu Panda soundtrack to earn a score of 69.21%.The elegant pair’s tempi changes were uphill, their extensions super powerful. “That was really interesting,” said Isobel. “It reminded me of the music Nikki used with her mare [Pasoa]. The floorplan was interesting, the two-times and three-times very expressive and I particularly liked the extended trot.”

    Luis Principe and Le Docteur posted a solid score of 70.67% for their test to a powerful Dr Who themed routine. The pair delivered a technically demanding programme which featured extended canters to pirouettes. “It was really super music for this horse,” remarked Isobel. “A very nice freestyle with an interesting floorplan. I liked that he was brave and did extended canter to pirouette. This is something that’s often seen at Grand Prix.”

    Amy Woodhead and Branduardi followed. The Breitling W x Weltmeyer stallion performed a captivating freestyle. The trot work was powerful, yet beautifully light, the horse in a beautiful frame throughout. The canter work featured super changes, balance and expression, the test overall showing the qualities of top training. “I thought it was better than last night [the pair competed in the Magic Prix St Georges Freestyle]. One pirouette was large, but the performance was lovely. The flying changes and half passes were very good. He’s a lovely horse very nicely ridden. She did a great job.”

    The partnership of Nathalie Kayal and DHI Homerun rode to emotive music. Their complex floorplan included canter half passes to well-centred pirouettes, three-time and two-time changes on a turn, and extended canter from the diagonal onto the centre line to finish. “I thought that was a really super freestyle,” said Isobel. “It was very inventive and Nathalie is one of our up and coming stars. We’re waiting for her to break through to Grand Prix level.”

    The first off in the final group was Sadie Smith and her Dimaggio son Keystone Dynamite. Riding to music from Kingsman, the pair delivered an awesome test for 75.38%. The half passes were expressive covering much ground, and the powerful extended trots were breathtakingly off the floor. With all that energy, Sadie nonetheless has supreme control which was shown so well with beautifully uphill extended canters into pirouettes and three- and two-tempis on a curve. “It was a really superb test. Very on-point with the music, showing the extensions where the music came strong, with beautiful flying changes and half passes,” commented Isobel.

    Entering to the unmistakable sound of Tinie Tempah, Hannah Biggs and Don Caledonia rode a cracking test to earn 71.33%. It was an assured performance with exciting highlights, showing off the floor canter half passes and tempi changes on a turn. Fabulous to watch, the horse was good in the frame throughout and looked to be loving every minute. “It was very unusual, but so different it was special,” said Isobel. “Hannah did an amazing job! The only thing I would have done is show that amazing extended walk closer to the judges. It [the performance] was very untraditional. Let’s watch this space…!”

    The penultimate combination was Jayden Brown and Mount St John De La Beaute. A dramatic entry to Pirates of the Caribbean, preceded a performance that showed off the mare’s obvious potential. She is powerful and light footed, almost balletic in her movement. “Jayden is very competent at the higher levels, not just with the young horses. The horse is very elastic with a lot of power. Technically she could have been in more self-carriage and be a bit more under from behind. This is a mare and she has the body of a mare, so it could take her a bit longer, but there’s lots of expression and power.” They scored 71.50%.

    The last competitor was Charlie Hutton with the Stedinger-sired mare Seagry Sanay. Riding to an Annie Lennox compilation, the pair showed much potential but the mare is still a little green at the level. They posted a score of 67.67%. “It was a very inventive floorplan,” said Isobel. “The horse looked a little tired tonight and she’s very inexperienced, but she’s such an elegant horse. Charlie did a good job. The horse has a bright future.”

    And so, the final 1-2-3 was Sadie Smith, Nicola Buchanan and Jayden Brown. Sadie proudly led the trio in for the presentation in front of an enthusiastic crowd. The twenty-eight-year-old who’d won the previous day’s Superflex Intermediate I Gold was clearly exhilarated and moved to take the coveted Freestyle title. “I don’t know what to say,” said an emotional Sadie. “I’m so overwhelmed.”

    “Carl [Hester] said ‘make sure you do what you did yesterday’ so I did, and he was amazing. He got a bit hot in my twos but there were no mistakes and it fitted well to my music. He was proper going for it. He has an amazing extended trot – he just loves doing it, and I was really pleased with the changes and the pirouettes. He can be sharp but I thought I’d try to and make it as hard as I can.

    “I’ve had so much success on other horses but do this on him is very special. This means so much to me and he’s a different horse - he used to be nervous but he’s now so much more trusting."

    Sadie clearly thinks the world of ‘Mambo’, as he’s known; “He never would have coped with this before so it shows how much more trusting he is. He’s the first horse I’ve trained up towards Grand Prix and I’m so lucky to own him. He’s taught me to ride…and he’s taught me patience.”

    “I love this show,” she added. “The atmosphere here, as much as it’s sometimes too much for the horses, is amazing. And it’s a very social show – I love it.”

    Next stop for Sadie and Mambo will be a couple of internationals in the UK and continuation of their journey to Grand Prix.

    For full results incuding judges' breakdown click here.
    Photo c Kevin Sparrow.

  6. NAF Five Star Winter Championships: day two

    Equi-Trek Elementary Gold Championship

    It wouldn’t be a dressage championship without her and taking the first class of day two of the NAF Five Star Winter Championships was none other than Charlotte Dujardin with rising star Hawtins San Floriana. Judges Nick Burton (C), Gwyneth Lewis (E) and John Robinson (M) awarded the combination an impressive 78.54% leaving them ahead of Jayden Brown with Atterupgaards O2 and Katie Bailey with Hillgrounds Wolkenhall in second and third.

    Hawtins San Floriana (San Amour x Florestan) joined the Hester/Dujardin team in July last year and proved her talent at the LeMieux National Championships as she emerged victorious in the Shearwater Five Year Old Championships, this was a repeat success from the 2016 LeMieux National Championships where the lovely mare took the Four Year Old Championships with Bryony Goodwin in the saddle.

    Speaking about her ride Charlotte said, ‘I’m really pleased, she’s still quite new in the sense that I’ve not done many tests on her. She’s a real hot mare but hot in a really nice way, she just wants to work. I know that for Grand Prix it’s going to be just what I need; She’s a happy horse who enjoys working, completely keen and eager to do the job.’

    ‘She’s come on so much in a short period of time, I’m really looking forward to riding her as a Grand Prix horse.’

    Charlotte spotted Hawtins San Floriana as a four year old competing in the Shearwater Young Horse semi-finals at Hartpury, ‘I fell in love with her, I asked Judith for a year about selling her and we agreed in the end with breeding rights’ she enthused.

    This is the first horse that Carl and Charlotte have co-owned in their 11 year training partnership,  ‘we normally have such different taste but he says that as he slows down he’d rather sit and watch me ride,’ Charlotte laughed, ‘I feel quite honoured that he still wants to put more time into me. I always say that I came here working for him… and now he works for me!’

    Magic Prix St Georges Gold Championship
    The inaugural Magic Prix St Georges Gold class saw another emphatic win for Charlotte Dujardin, this time aboard the Lord Leatherdale sired River Rise Escarla. The winning score was 75.57% whilst 71.80% put Nikki Barker and Durable in the runner up spot.

    ‘She’s showing a bit of everything for Grand Prix now,’ Charlotte said about the super mare owned in partnership with Sarah Tyler-Evans, ‘I’m really happy with all the work she’s doing, that’s only the third time I’ve competed her so really we’re still learning a bit about each other. I was really pleased with the test, she got a bit hot in the walk but apart from that I was very happy.’

    ‘It feels amazing to watch her win,’ added proud owner and breeder Sarah, ‘As for the future, I’d really like to see her go to Grand Prix!’

    Charlotte took over River Rise Escarla’s reins from Sadie Smith two years ago but has spent time training the AES nine-year-old at home, ‘Sadie did a great job with her, I spent a year getting to know her and making her mine with the aim of getting to Prix St Georges level.’

    Under the revised system, Charlotte and ‘Maisie’ will appear in the Magic Prix St Georges Freestyle for tonight’s Gala Performance alongside the remaining combinations making up the top 15. With six scores over 70% in today’s qualifier the class is set to be an unmissable event.

    Petplan Equine Intermediate I Bronze
    Holly Browne (23) from Winchester in Hampshire took the first class on day two of the NAF Five Star Winter Championships. Partnered by her own Siguurd, a Danish-bred 12-year-old son of Richman, she claimed the Petplan Equine Intermediate I Bronze Area Championship with a score of 68.07%.

    “I was really happy with him,” said Holly, clearly delighted with their achievement. “He was a bit of a dragon in the arena walk this morning so I’m thrilled that he came out and performed a good, clean test. He [Siguurd] can find big shows a bit nerve-wracking, and when he does, he can go a bit quiet. Today though he was full confidence, yes I’m thrilled with him.”

    Holly bought ‘Smurf’, as he’s affectionately known, when he was five-year-old, training him up the levels with the help of trainers Natalie Hobday and Ruth Lovell. “He’s been quite straightforward, the main thing has been getting him used to the big shows. When he was a baby we took him out every week one summer to get him used to the show environment,” she explained. Several years on; “He’s done a couple of Inter IIs and we’re hoping to do an U25 Grand Prix at the end of the year. He’s got all the Grand Prix now.”

    Holly, who is on a Law Conversion GDL course at Exeter, with Smurf stabled 20 minutes away, says dressage is a ‘nice break from uni’.

    The family support team were also at Hartpury to celebrate the occasion. Holly’s dad Simon on hand as stand-in groom, with mum watching from the sidelines with a recently broken wrist. “Dad can groom again!” quipped Holly.

    Charles Owen Advanced Medium Silver Championship
    Oxfordshire’s Jodie Pharaon her own nine-year-old son of Belissimo M, Bear broke the 70% barrier to claim the Charles Owen Advanced Medium Silver Championship.

    ‘I was pleased, I thought our canter work was good and his changes were clean,’ explained Jodie. ‘We’re relatively new to the level so I was just hoping for a clear round, which I think I got although there’s always room for improvement.’

    Bought as a three year old, Jodie has trained Bear from the beginning starting their competition journey at Novice and working up the levels with help from trainers Tiggi Bentley and Emile Faurie.

    ‘He definitely enjoys his work; he’s a one in a million – a horse for the long term, not the short term,’ she continued. ‘I’m hoping we can try a Prix St Georges by the end of the year but we’ll see what he wants to do.’

    Cheering Jodie on was her nine month old daughter, Bailey who’s already developing a passion for horses, which is not too surprising as her mum rode right up until six weeks before her due date and was back on board three weeks later, she explained; ‘both of my horses are so well behaved, I wouldn’t have risked it if they were at all naughty, they definitely looked after me.’

    You can catch Jodie and Bear in tomorrow’s Albion Medium Silver Championship.

    Petplan Equine Elementary Silver Area Festival Championship
    Scoring an impressive 70.49%, Lancashire-based Paula Holden piloted Eberhard to victory in the Petplan Equine Elementary Silver Area Festival Championship. Owned by Jane Lock, the nine-year-old Dutch-bred gelding clearly impressed the three judges being the only combination to score over 70%.

    He stayed open in his frame and stayed, what I call, in my bubble with me the whole time,’ described Paula. ‘He was rideable – it was a great test, Jane was crying by the end of it! The end of the test has a halt rein back, which isn’t always his strong point, but his walk is his thing and where he can eat up the marks. So when I did the rein back and he hit the five strides brilliantly and went into extended walk, all I wanted to go was look over to the guys stood at the side of the arena and smile so wide but I still had the final centre line to do so had to concentrate – I’d have been really cross with myself if we dropped marks and lost out because I was distracted!’

    Paula, who runs a livery yard of six horses – with three of them competing this week, took over the ride four years ago due to Jane’s work commitments in clinical research.

    ‘It’s been fabulous to have Paula continue his education far beyond my wildest expectations,’ beamed Jane. ‘He is such a safe and kind horse who’s also very rideable, I can take him to the beach on my own, he’s so gentle and I absolutely adore him.’

    Placing tenth in their Area Festival at Myerscough, Paula and the talented bay just scraped through to the Finals, however the duo were soon back on winning form qualifying for the Championship with over 70%.

    ‘I think the new format is great instead of doing two tests in one day, most of the time we’re used to performing the one test and he could be flat in the second, whereas now there’s the opportunity to improve in your [Final and Championship] tests.’

    Petplan Equine Area Festival Elementary Bronze

    It was a close fought competition in the 31-strong class, with the top four combinations all sitting within a percent of one another, but it was Nicola Grainge and her own Eminence who were victorious despite being first in the arena. They scored 68.48% and had a long wait for the class to finish with Phillip Gover and Deutz, the last combination to enter the arena, posting the nearest score of 68.24% to go into second place.

    Nicola from East Sussex, had a far from ideal run up to the championships with her mother breaking her leg twice only the day before they were due to arrive at Hartpury and her lorry breaking down the week before, “I just had chance to find a hire lorry and book a bed and breakfast! Something was telling me to give up!”

    Due to this stressful preparation, the combination finished last in yesterday’s Equi-Trek Elementary Silver class, but undeterred they came out with a better frame of mind early this morning, “It [the test] was quite accurate as when you’re first in there’s no centre line, it was rhythmical, forward and mistake-free.”

    Eminence, also known as Ralph, was acquired from Ryan Shannon in the Netherlands, “I’ve had him since he was five and just broken, he’s got a lovely temperament, very willing. He’s just perfect!” Nicola juggles her dressage with a busy work life, “I’m a dentist full time and have my own practice in Robertsbridge. I have to try and fit it all in, in winter I have extra long lunch breaks so I can go home and ride while it’s still light and then go back.”

    Nicola has high hopes for her 9-year old gelding, “I would like to do medium next, but I’m aiming higher, I want a tailcoat!”

    Petplan Equine Area Festival Intermediate I Silver

    It was an emotional win for Catrina Leckie who drove a long way from Falkirk, in Central Scotland to ride her own 13 year old Adventure, who she has produced herself from a five year old, to victory with 65.61% in the Petplan Equine Area Festival Inter I Silver championship.

    Catrina (24) was pleased with their performance, “I was delighted in general with his way of going and his attitude, he’s now at the point where he knows when he comes to these shows that he’s got a job to do. He was third last year in the Area Festival Prix St Georges championship so I was hoping to come down and do the same. I was completely shocked, I was crying when I found out! It makes the 8.5 hour journey down so much more worthwhile!”

    The combination have overcome the poor winter weather conditions in preparation for Hartpury, “It’s been rubbish, home has had the most horrific snow so we’ve had a frozen arena, I’ve had one lesson before coming here, so really he’s probably done more hacking!

    Catrina, who rides and teaches full time, bought the gentle giant, 18hh Adventure, just over eight years ago from Holland, “I’d never ridden a dressage test when we got him so we’ve been on this journey together and we’ve had some good success along the way but this is the highest level championship that we’ve won.”

    Back in 2015, the Tuschinski-sired gelding had a career threatening injury resulting in stifle surgery, “We were told we might never ride him again, so every day I get to ride him is a good thing which makes this even more special! Now, I’d like to move up to Inter II and give an Under 25 Grand Prix a bash before I’m too old!”

    Baileys Horse Feeds Novice Gold Freestyle

    Sadie Smith had a fantastic ride on the stunning Nutbush to take the class with the highest score of the championships so far, 78.89%, over 5% ahead of second placed Jade Struthers on EV Amore Mia. Known at home as ‘Gus’, the Negro sired six-year-old is owned by the team behind Valegro - Carl Hester, Anne Barrott and Roly Luard – making him a very exciting prospect for the future.

    Despite his lack of experience Gus didn’t put a foot wrong in his eye-catching freestyle “He’s never been to a show like this before, he’s only been to a handful of shows, he’s so cool and calm, whatever you put in front of him he just does.” said a delighted Sadie. “He’s needed so much time to mature, he's so powerful, he’s a lot of horse for me because I’m so small but he’s got such a great attitude that it just makes it so lovely.”

    Sadie (28) has been a rider at Carl’s yard for the past eighteen months and is delighted to have the ride, “He’s ultimately going to be for Carl for ride, Carl absolutely adores him, he loves him to bits. It’s an amazing opportunity for me!”

    They rode to the same music Sadie used to win on River Rise Escarla at the Winter Championships a couple of years earlier – Escarla made headlines again today winning the Magic Prix St Georges Gold Championship with Charlotte Dujardin who looks set to storm the championships over the next few days.

    For full results with judges' breakdown click here.
    Photo c Kevin Sparrow.

  7. NAF Five Star Winter Championships: day three

    Friday the 13th may be unlucky for some, but not for many on day three at the NAF Five Star Winter Championships. 

    A repeat winner was Jodie Pharoan with the Belissimo M son, Bear, in the Albion Medium Silver Championship. Winners of yesterday’s Charles Owen Advanced Medium Silver, the handsome nine-year-old gelding and new mum, Jodie, were awarded a score of 72.07% to take the class ahead of Dylan Deutrom aboard Sarah Warry and Matt Hicks’ talented Sunlit Uplands who took second.

    “I’m so happy with him,” beamed Jodie after the prize-giving. “I came here thinking I might have been in with a chance today, but to win yesterday and then do this, it’s just amazing. I’m so happy.”

    “He has very good paces and is just so rideable. His half passes and mediums are very good and he’s such a good worker,” said Jodie who clearly dotes on the adorable horse.

    Jodie trains with Tiggi Bentley and Emile Faurie and found Bear in Germany as three-year-old. “We tried many horses but I loved Bear straightaway. He’s amazing under saddle, though he can be a little opinionated from the ground,” she smiled. “He’s a wonderful horse. He loves his work, he loves the attention and he loves competition.”

    Jodie and her mum, Laura, have clocked up more 400 miles over the course of the show travelling back and forth between Hartpury and home in Oxfordshire to take care of baby daughter, Bailey.

    Blue Chip Novice Gold

    Charlotte Dujardin and Hawtins San Floriana, a mare she co-owns with Carl Hester, were once again on winning form. The pair, who took Thursday’s Equi-Trek Elementary Gold came back today to claim the Blue Chip Novice Gold in convincing style.

    Charlotte and the San Amour x Florestan six-year-old scored 74.33% to take the class ahead of Bryony Goodwin and Hawtins Soave in the runners-up spot and Jessica Thompson with Soensmindes Sylvester in third.

    “Today she was hotter, maybe because she’d already done a prize-giving, but I’m so pleased with her,” enthused Charlotte. “Even though she was hot, she was still focused – I’m very happy.”

    “For me it’s great to bring my younger horses and give them this experience. It’s a big ask in this atmosphere; it’s a great preparation and a great education. In the warm up here it’s quiet, then in the main arena there’s so much going on - noise above you, and lots of atmosphere - it’s fantastic to expose them to this."

    Charlotte is a great advocate of competing horses during the earlier stages of their career. “I love doing the lower levels. It teaches me so much about the horses. They’ve all got different quirks that as a rider I have to work out and manage. And I really enjoy the stages of training. Enjoying this part of the training is what it’s all about.”

    Describing ‘Flo’, Charlotte said; “She’s a fantastic horse and I have really high hopes for her. She’s hot, she’s elastic, and a real pleasure. She has so much power, so much presence and is very clever. She does beautiful flying changes, she’s very adjustable and is very gifted. She’s so clever that at Novice level there’s not really enough for her to think about. The more there is to do, and the more I challenge her, the more she takes it on.”

    Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Silver

    Yesterday’s Charles Owen Advanced Medium runners-up Dannie Morgan and Southern Cross Braemar made today their day by taking an emphatic victory in the Nupafeed Advanced Medium Silver Championship. The talented pair earned a mark of 72.50%.

    Dannie and Southern Cross Braemar, an eight-year-old son of Breitling W, danced their way to victory accompanied by their Jackson Five soundtrack – an engaging compilation by music supremo Sara Green. Braemar, who is affectionately known as Barry, is described by Dannie as ‘an amazing horse’; “He always tries so hard for me. He was second here yesterday and he was second here last year, so he deserves to win this – to have his moment."

    As the horse is so secure in the work, Dannie was able to up the ante with the degree of difficulty, incorporating tricky moves including canter serpentines with flying changes into counter-canter. An effort which certainly paid off.

    “Erik Theilgaard helped work us in today. His knowledge is vast and he’s transformed my riding,” said Dannie who went into the competition ‘full of confidence’.

    “I was so thrilled,” he smiled, before admitting to being a touch emotional when he saw his score. “The horse so deserves this.”

    Dannie is the consummate horseman, excelling in both the disciplines of pure dressage and eventing. He is based half an hour from the Oppenheimer family's Headmore Stud where he plays a vital role as a rider.

    Petplan Equine Area Festival Novice Bronze Championship

    Ace by name and ace by nature, The Ace of Spades, as he’s more formally known, lived up to his name to win the Petplan Equine Area Festival Novice Bronze Championship with his rider and owner Deanne Courtnadge. They took the class on a score of 69.55%, closely
    followedby Joanne Blood on her own Felicia IV with 68.89%.

    Deanne, from Yately in Hampshire, had never even ridden a dressage test until she bought Ace 18 months earlier, “Before, I’d done a lot of showing, this is only my second proper year in dressage, I’d done breed shows, showing in hand and did a lot of county shows with my stallions but I’ve never done dressage. It’s totally new for me!”

    Instructor, Diane Peacock, who had owned and ridden Ace previously, recommended the ride, “I sold my last show pony and I didn’t ride for about eight years until Di said ‘ride my dressage horse’ - I rode him and that was it! He’s taught me everything in dressage.”

    Deanne was over the moon with their performance today, “It went so much better than I expected, it was very straight and there were no errors, it was a clear round. He’s got a really good medium trot and a cracking canter.” She’s now looking ahead to stepping up a level for their next Area Festival, “We’ve already qualified at Elementary level for this year, and once I’ve mastered sitting trot I might give medium a go, he’s quite bouncy!” 

    Petplan Equine Novice Silver Area Festival Championships

    Taking the highest score of the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships so far was Gemma Somers with William Shufflebottom’s stunning Hallucination. The talented duo scored 73.06% to top the Petplan Equine Novice Silver Area Festival despite being the first combination to trot down the centre line in the 32-strong class.

    ‘It’s amazing to win’, said Gemma, ‘It’s her first time here so it’s been quite daunting for her! She’s been perfect all day for the prize giving this evening she got a bit overwhelmed!’

    ‘I broke her in so I’ve been her only rider, we started at unaffiliated competitions, joined with BD and progressed from there. She’s just started the next level so I’d like to go as far as we can, I’ll aim for the Home International this year too.’

    Speaking about her test Gemma said, ‘She was really calm and relaxed – she can get quite tense and shoot off when she doesn’t like the look of something – but today she didn’t she was just with me the whole time, it was a lovely test and I’m really pleased with her.’

    Freelance rider Gemma will also be working with Hallucination’s half-brother in the future so watch this space for more success!

    Petplan Equine Advanced Medium Silver Area Festival Championship

    The final Area Festival title of the day was claimed by 22-year-old Kirsty Imm aboard her own 11-year-old son of Baroncelli, Barnebie who eased their way to the top with a solid score of 70%.

    ‘I was really happy with my test, although I wasn’t expecting the score I got at all, which was even nicer!’ exclaimed an ecstatic Kirsty. ‘My walk didn’t go particularly to plan, I think he was a little overwhelmed by the atmosphere, but he was really good and pulled it together for me.’

    Placing second in their Area Festival and then winning their Final, the dynamic duo, who’ve been together for two years, knew they were in with a chance of grabbing a top spot although things haven’t always been easy or straightforward.

    ‘When I first got him, I found him really difficult and struggled to ride him if I’m honest. It took a lot for me to gain his confidence, it’s all down to understanding each other, I didn’t compete him for the first year and now the trust is there he’s like a completely different horse.’

    The duo also celebrated success yesterday, placing sixth in the Charles Owen Advanced Medium Silver Championship with 67.54% after winning their first Regional Championships together earlier this year. Trained by Henry Boswell, Kirsty and Barnebie are aiming to contest the Premier Leagues this summer at PSG with the hope to eventually go international, judging on their performance this week they’re heading towards a bright future.

    Superflex Inter I Gold Championship

    After a five year break from the Winter Championships, Sadie Smith and Keystone Dynamite are back with a bang as they topped the leaderboard in the Superflex Inter I Gold Championship with 71.84%

    ‘The last time I rode here with him was five years ago at Novice and we couldn’t even get round,’ exclaimed a delighted Sadie. ‘Last year was my first year at Small Tour, we went to the Nationals and to be fair he was brilliant but he’s been the trickiest thing so to win this just means the world to me.’

    Last to go in the class today, Sadie and the ten-year-old Dimaggio gelding known as ‘Mambo’ at home pipped Jayden Brown and Mount St John De La Beaute to the post (69.21%) with a test that showed great maturity, which is not too surprising as she’s working for one of dressage’s ultimate test riders, Carl Hester.

    ‘I couldn’t have done this without Carl and Charlotte, since I’ve been working [at Carl’s] he’s just transformed into a completely different horse. He has to cope with Carl’s birds for one,’ she laughed.  ‘[Mambo] can be very nervous – we couldn’t even get down Carl’s drive when we first came but the routine has been brilliant as it’s so regimented. Carl and Charlotte have ridden him a couple of times now, it’s taken a while as neither of them would ride him to start with because he’s so naughty but they’ve been helping me with my one-time changes as I’m learning too.’

    With some internationals at Small Tour on the cards this year for Sadie and Mambo and an aim of Grand Prix in the not too distant future, it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing a lot more of this talented duo.

    For full results with judges' breakdown click here.
    Photo c Kevin Sparrow.

  8. Spellbinding Charlotte wins Magic PSG Freestyle

    The Magic Prix St Georges Freestyle is always a thrilling competition and last night’s class didn’t disappoint. In the end it was Charlotte Dujardin and Sarah Tyler-Evans' outstanding River Rise Escarla who took the prestigious title after earning a score of 74.04% from judges Peter Storr (C), Anita Andendorff (M) and Mary-Ann Horn (E).

    First into the arena was East Sussex based rider Luke Baber Davis and Tracy Cooper’s eye catching dark bay gelding Keystone Drummer Boy. In their test, dramatic film themed music matched powerful extended trots and flowing lateral work whilst in the canter work extended lines into half pirouettes followed by tempi changes contributed to a complex floorplan featuring lots of movement combinations. The gala evening feature class was accompanied by a commentary from Grand Prix rider and FEI 5* judge Isobel Wessels, speaking about Luke’s test she said ‘the music enhanced the way of going, it was a very dramatic start with a rather impressive, difficult floorplan!’

    The dainty strains of Mary Poppins accompanied Bridget Tate and Hawtin’s Werona’s charming routine. The elegant combination excelled in the trot lateral work and showed much potential in the canter despite the spirited chestnut mare showing her enthusiasm in the first extension! Isobel Wessels praised Bridget’s skills in the saddle as she settled her mare to complete her test.

    The lovely combination of Debbie Poynter and Keystone For Real showed their harmony in the NAF arena with a fabulous performance earning them 65.96%. The black gelding by Florencio impressed with his active extended trot and relaxed extended walk where he showed great over-track. Isobel commented, ‘the start of this test was good, Keystone For Real has really fabulous paces. She showed a particularly lovely walk and powerful trot with a nice ability to half pass. The horse was a little high in the neck and there were a few problems in canter but it’s a gorgeous British horse with huge potential and a very bright future.’

    Indiana Jones was the tune of choice for Paul Hayler and Lonswelt. The powerful stallion showed good elevation in his tempi changes and an interesting, symmetrical floorplan played to his strengths. Offering some positive feedback Isobel said, ‘Lonswelt perhaps needs a little more balance and relaxation, Paul rode a very positive, dynamic freestyle with great music that enhanced the performance – well done!’ 64.29% was their confirmed score.

    Sarah Williams and Bohingus W danced around the NAF arena to a tasteful Queen routine. Their performance landed them a credible twelfth and 63.46%. Georgina Howard’s Bohingus proved his talent with a very flowing, rhythmical trot tour. ‘Congratulations Sarah for putting together a routine that really suited her horse,’ Isobel added.

    Fifth rider in to the ring, Paul Friday, impressed with the talented Romanno Rafiel. Lovely pirouettes and three time changes on the centre line were highlights in the canter work, the walk was relaxed and ground covering and the trot work was balanced yet energetic. The combination finished in a deserved sixth place with a score of 68.50%. Isobel Wessels particularly enjoyed the floorplan, ‘what a super horse with three good natural gaits, it was a little deep in the neck at times but all round it was a really good routine. It was quite a difficult routine but showed off the horse’s suppleness, great work Paul!’

    ‘There were some really lovely moments, this a beautiful horse who shows great scope in his paces and Dan showed brilliant, brave riding. There were lots of very nice things, Dan is always a real pro and this is a partnership to watch for the future.’ Isobel said after a tricky start to Dan Greenwood’s test. Lukien Von Tespe, owned by Jo Handman, calmed his nerves to show lots of talent for the future. Instrumental Coldplay and Adele tracks suited his elegant paces, the pair finished on a score of 63.13%.

    Shoulder in right followed by shoulder in left on the centre line made for a bold entry for Sara-Jane Lanning and Mi Amigo, a 17.2hh son of Zardin Firfod. The well-matched duo maintained an uphill frame and steady contact throughout their challenging floorplan. Clean changes on a circle and huge extended canters wowed the crowd and contributed to a great score of 68.58%. ‘I loved the dynamic, difficult choreography and inventive floorplan as well as the powerful extensions. Overall Sara-Jane did a fantastic job with the lovely elegant horse’ Isobel enthused.

    The impressive silhouette of Carbo with Julie Giner in the saddle thrilled the audience at Hartpury as they performed their routine to pop themed music including Pharrell Williams’ chart topping tune Happy. Powerful trot extensions were a highlight with the nine-year-old showing great ground cover and freedom in his shoulder. Isobel said, ‘unfortunately there were some mistakes today but as a model the horse looks great for the future and I’m sure she will gain much experience from this.’ Julie and Carbo earned 65.83%.

    Riding to an instrumental version of One Republic’s Counting Stars, Charlie Hutton and Keith Taylor’s Seagry Sanay performed a test of sublime harmony to gain 69.21% and fourth place. The black gelding showed off his three impressive paces under the expert guidance of Charlie. The canter pirouettes were small and neat, all of the work was carried out with a light contact and the poll was always at the highest point. ‘Charlie did a super test, Seagry Sanay is a really elegant horse not being pushed out of his natural gaits. That was very well suited music and the choreography was interesting too. Overall the frame was very nice, Charlie showed us a great freestyle.’

    Nikki Barker and Viv Gleave’s imposing stallion Durable are always a popular combination with the crowds and tonight was no exception. A perfectly immobile first halt set precedence for their immaculate test ridden to funky pop music. Long, sweeping lines of lateral work dominated a canter tour that was only hampered by a small mistake in the four time changes. Isobel expected good marks for Nikki as she praised, ‘my goodness what a powerhouse of a horse! I was pleased to judge this as a four year old and now to see it as a power horse for the future is great, Nikki is such an experienced rider. The relaxation in the walk is impressive and overall he’s very elastic.’ Nikki and ‘Danny’ finished as eventual runner up with a brilliant 70.71%.

    Paired with exciting, filmic music, Victoria Peace’s Branduardi (Breitling W x Weltmeyer) and Amy Woodhead impressed the panel of judges to place third with a score 70.00%. High quality half passes in trot were mirrored in the canter work with the stallion showing his great potential. The tempi changes were neat and expressive ridden smartly by Amy on tricky curved lines. It is interesting to note that Amy chose to present in a simple snaffle bridle. ‘There were some real highlights in the canter - the half passes and the extended canter were beautifully shown. The pirouettes could’ve been slightly better but Amy rides beautifully and the horse is clearly very happy. He’s a super type, always out nicely to the bit with a great contact and connection. It was a lovely test with stirring music’ Isobel reflected.

    Charlotte Dujardin once again didn’t fail to impress with Sarah Tyler-Evans super mare River Rise Escarla. Despite admitting to not having a Prix St Georges freestyle programme and making it up as she went along the duo were on top form! A small mistake in the four tempi changes was the only major issue in their outstanding routine; the highlights were active extensions, tight and balanced half pirouettes and elastic lateral work. ‘Charlotte is always on the top of her game, she’s done it again tonight. There will be many high marks but it wasn’t quite a clear round. She showed great connection, expression and balance. Charlotte won’t be afraid to admit that she was making that up! It’s a wonderful combination, the horse has lots of energy and power – It may not be a world record but it will be a great result!’ predicted Isobel Wessels.

    Penultimate rider Emma Jablonski and her own Cor IV presented an enjoyable routine to pop themed music. Their floorplan was particularly interesting with the canter work split between the first and last minutes of the test. The elegant black gelding showed lovely trot and canter extensions highlighted by the music, Isobel said ‘The horse showed some very nice parts where good training was highlighted, he was a little tight in the topline but Emma rode through the difficult bits. The choreography was interesting and the music was nice too.’ Their score on this occasion was a respectable 65.33%.

    The final rider to go up the centre line was Sarah Rao with the 15-year-old Waldessarini. Sarah is aiming for the Asian Games at the end of this year. Their test started with extended canter from the first halt, unfortunately a communication issue put pay to one of the canter pirouettes but the trot work was truly a highlight. ‘Overall it’s a lovely horse and the partnership is very secure. The test tonight needed more energy, the trot work was beautiful.’

    With the top three confirmed as Charlotte Dujardin, Nikki Barker and Amy Woodhead it was on to another prize giving for the reigning Olympic champion. Speaking about her win Charlotte said, ‘I’m going to say it how it is… I just made that up as I went along! It was an Inter I music, Carl said I wouldn’t be able to make it work but I said I’ve got no choice I’m just going to have to improvise! The trot work stayed the same but I had to change the canter, I bluffed my way around there. I honestly cantered around the car park thinking about what I could do, people were looking at me thinking I was crazy! Every freestyle I do is unprepared, it’ the story of my life!’

    About River Rise Escarla Charlotte added, ‘I’m really happy with her, she’s only done three Prix St Georges tests so she’s super green at the level, it was a huge ask for her.’ A lot of the horses in the Magic Prix St Georges class were challenged by the electric atmosphere in the NAF arena but ‘Maisie’ wasn’t fazed, ‘there’s so much movement in the arena, I put an ear hood on her and it seemed to work’ Charlotte concluded.

    Tonight’s Gala Performance will see the Superflex Inter I Freestyle play out under the lights of Hartpury, tickets are available to buy on the door for only £16. Don’t miss the chance to watch some of Great Britain’s brightest future stars battle it out for the title.

    For full results with judges' breakdown click here
    Photo c Kevin Sparrow.

  9. New appointments on BD Technical Commitees

    We're proud to announce new additions to the British Dressage team under the BD Youth and Sports Operations Technical Committees

    BD Youth Committee
    Joining our BD Youth Committee as the Coaching Representative will be Jo Swain, a UKCC level 4 coach, organiser and also currently BD Youth rep for Central Region.  Jo will be looking to develop the senior coaches delivering to BD youth and also potential BD Youth members who wish to coach.

    Jo will be working alongside Stephen Arnett to develop coaches. Stephen will also be looking at career development including the Young Professional Programme.  Stephen is currently Regional Chair for BD Wales as well as being a  UKCC L3 coach, judge and BD Rider Test Assessor.

    Jo Lees, BD Youth Representative for the South West region, and Sioned Roberts BD Youth Representative for Wales, will be working together on the committee to look at recruitment, participation and fundraising.  Jo is also a UKCC L3 coach, a BD Youth Rider Test Assessor and has trained and ridden to PSG.  Sioned is also an organiser and her daughter has gone through BD Youth from U12 to International. 

    Nina Boex joins the committee as the link to liaising and developing with International teams,.  Nina has gone through BD Youth herself and is currently Chef d’Equipe for the British Dressage Junior, Young Rider and Children on Horses teams.  Nina is a BD Youth Rider Test Assessor and also a UKCC L2 coach.

    Briony Cutler will join the committee as the BD Youth Ambassador representative.  Once again Briony has gone through the BD Youth structure herself.  She is a BHSAI and works as an equine lecturer.  Briony is also a BD Judge and an organiser.

    Hannah Moody will be looking at competition development and tests, including rider squad tests and assessors.  Hannah has ridden from young horse level to Grand Prix and she is also a UKCC L3 coach.

    Alice Oppenheimer will become our “senior” ambassador for BD Youth, encouraging participation and obtaining feedback from our riders at competitions.  Alice has competed from grass roots to International Grand Prix and was also a member of the YR European Team.

    Finally, Anne Ratcliffe will be focussing on Education and Horse and Pony Management.    Anne has a degree in Equine Studies, BHS Stage 4 and 5 stable manger.  She is Pony Club B and AH assessor and has also written horse care qualifications which have been successfully approved through examinations boards such as BTEC/Ed Excel and City and Guilds.

    This is a very strong line-up that brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to support the development of our young riders, so we are excited to welcome all of these volunteers to the BD Youth Committee.


    Sport Operations Committee
    Four additional members will also be joining our Sport Operations Committee:

    Jenny Brown is a Bronze rider representative.  Jenny is a small animal vet and currently competes an ex racehorse at Bronze Elementary and Medium, including freestyle to music.

    Derek Pullem will be looking at our competition rules. Derek has very good knowledge of the competition rules and structures, with his wife having competed Area Festival, Young Horse, Music and Associated Championships and currently competing at Advanced Medium with the hope of moving up to PSG.

    Adrian Smith, the organiser for Allens Hill Equestrian College will become the organisers’ representative.  Adrian organises BD competitions including Area Festivals, Para and BD Youth and also has experience of working with the competition structure.

    Sue Price will be the list 4 judge representative.  As well as being a judge Sue has been involved for many years with Paralympic sport, travelling to Barcelona in 1992 as part of the medical team and helping to prepare for two further games.

    With such a range of knowledge and expertise we are looking forward to exciting times ahead for both our BD Youth and Sport Operations Committees.  The BD Board of Directors would like to thank everyone who applied for these roles, the overall standard was incredibly high and it was a difficult selection process.  Hopefully you will agree that BD is in very good hands with these volunteers going forward.  

  10. Starting positions decided for FEI World Cup™ Final

    The magnificent setting of City Hall in Paris played host last night to the draw for the FEI World Cup™ Dressage and Jumping Finals.

    Guests were greeted by the arresting music of the world-famous band from La Guarde Republicaine (The Republican Guard) and the atmosphere was electric as defending champion, Isabell Werth from Germany, and French show jumpiing rider Ludovic Henry matched the starting numbers and names for Friday’s first leg of the Dressage finale.

    A total of 18 riders from 13 nations will contest the Dressage title. The start time for British reprsentative Hayley Watson-Greaves with Rubins Nite is 16.24 UK time.

    “It’s been our dream for many years to bring these Finals back to Paris," said show organiser Sylvie Robert, “and now at last our dream has come true!” Both the Jumping and Dressage Finals have taken place at the Parisian venue before, but never together, and only once. British-based Finnish rider Kyra Kyrklund and Matador won the sixth FEI World Cup™ Dressage title which was held in the French capital in 1991.

    With the riders and their horses ready to go, and fans pouring into the city with great anticipation, the stage is set for a fantastic weekend of top sport.

    FEI President, Ingmar de Vos, said “it’s an honour to be here in Paris, home of the Olympic Games in 1900 and 1924, and of course 2024, but also the home of so many other great sporting moments. The world’s best partnerships have fought hard to be here and they are ready to claim their piece of history!”

    Starting order for tomorrow's FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2018 Final Grand Prix here.
    View the action live via FEI.TV.

Brahan Dressage

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