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Top horse retires after successfully defending gold at WEG: ‘He is an absolute warrior’
WEG vaulting results
Lambert Leclezio and Poivre Vert, lunged by Francois Athimon, take gold in the individual male vaulting at WEG 2018.
This top campaigner has won two world gold medals, as well as a European Championship gold, and will now retire from competition
Posted: 25/09/2018
Can British sports stars beat the world’s fastest racehorse?
CHANTILLY, FRANCE - OCTOBER 01: Jim Crowley riding Battaash win The Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp Longines during Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe meeting at Chantilly Racecourse on October 1, 2017 in Chantilly, France. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
What happens when British sports stars take on one of the world’s fastest racehorses?
Posted: 25/09/2018
New Forest pony walks into a pub
Staff at a New Forest pub couldn’t have been more surprised when their customers were joined in the bar by a pony
Posted: 25/09/2018
Why Olympia, The London International Horse Show is the perfect family day out this Christmas *Promotion*
Find out how you can claim a 30% discount on tickets to Olympia, the London International Horse Show
Posted: 25/09/2018
Four-years to four-star: your chance to learn from the new eventing world champion
Rosalind Canter riding ALLSTAR B in the CIC*** Section N during the Belton Horse Trials, in the grounds of Belton House near Grantham in Lincolnshire, UK on 17th April 2016
Ros Canter and Caroline Moore will be hosting a series of lecture demos this autumn
Posted: 25/09/2018
To trim or not to trim your horse’s whiskers? The jury’s out…
That show is coming up, you want your horse immaculately turned out, but do you shave his whiskers?
Posted: 25/09/2018
Coral Keen’s eventing blog: I’m so excited after a promising Blenheim
Credit William Carey
Coral has enjoyed a successful and educational week at Blenheim with one of her home-breds
Posted: 25/09/2018
Shearwater Young Dressage Horse Championships

The Shearwater Young Dressage Horse Championships are a highlight of many visiting the LeMieux National Dressage Championships and have seen many equine celebrities, both past and present, claim the titles through the years. This year’s series has without doubt been a wonderful showcase of British breeding, riding and training.

Shearwater Young Dressage Horse Championships – Four-year-olds

Gloucestershire-based breeder Judith Davis and her team have much to celebrate following a successful Sunday in the Shearwater Young Dressage Horse Championships for four-year-olds.

The ballerina-like mare Hawtins Lirica, presented by Lucinda Elliot, was named Champion in her age group with stable mate Hawtins Fianello moving up to the reserve position following the rider judging.

The Young Horse classes are a firm favourite with the Stoneleigh crowd and with star German rider/trainer Eva Möller returning to guest judge, today’s tests were a highlight once more. To add to the experience, FEI 5* judge Isobel Wessels provided a riveting commentary of the class via Radio Nationals. Isobel has many times judged the World Young Horses and next week will head to the Swedish Young Horse Championships to look at their four to seven year old horses.

Isobel started the class by commending the many horses, riders and breeders who take part in the Shearwater series year after year, “Hundreds of horses come forward for this Championships, 40 go to the Semi Finals and we see only 10 at each level here so well done to all of the finalists that made it here. It’s an amazing standard.”

The four finalists from Saturday’s pre-judging are each ridden by Eva Möller who adds her opinion to that of the judges panel on the ground, Ulf Möller and Maria Colliander.

The first horse to be put through the magic Möller system was yesterday’s top scorer Hawtins Lirica (Lemony’s Nicket x Hawtins Delizia). The light-footed mare behaved impeccably with both her home rider Lucinda and guest rider Eva. Over Radio Nationals Isobel commented, “It’s a really nice type of horse, it wants to move through the body. This mare can control her front leg and clearly there will be a talent for piaffe and passage in the future. I like this horse, she’s very elastic and her conformation her back is a bit low – she needs to be given a lot of time to develop musculature but her trainability and expression is all there.”

Finnish judge Maria Colliander provided an arena side summary of the dainty yet powerful mare, “She’s a lovely horse, very expressive and really taking the rider with her – clear paces and well balanced.”

Next up for judging was SJL Baks Zacco, a handsome son of Blue Hors Don Romantic owned by Sara Lucas. Isobel Wessels praised the horse’s conformation, stating that his compact frame and well-muscled back would be highly beneficial in the future. “He’s very well developed for a large horse,” she said, “I’d like him to stretch his frame a little longer and swing more over the back. He’s a very talented horse but very different to the first horse. Every horse has different talents and different levels of development.”

Maria Colliander added, “This is a very solid horse, he has a good contact, always listening with three clear paces. We’d like more freedom in the shoulders but this is something that can be improved with age, power and good riding.”

Judith Davis’s second horse to be presented in the final was the eye-catching chestnut gelding Hawtins Fianello (Floriscount x Hawtins Cardinal Virtue). “Now this is a very impressive looking horse,” Isobel Wessels remarked, “This is a horse who as his engine starts to work more and the contact is taken forward can make beautiful transitions with a good connection. It’s a wonderful type - very expressive and elastic. He looks like he wants to work, gives a nice picture and in his development is secure.”

The judges by the side of the arena were also duly impressed. “Here we saw a very energetic worker,” said Maria Colliander, “Ulf [Moller] says he’s a bit over motivated to be the best kid in the class – he loves his canter and that’s his pace. It’s a lovely powerful pace with good jump in the hind leg and activity.”

The fourth and final horse to be presented in the four-year-old age category was Matt Frost’s G Star, by Gandhi. “The horse is a little hurried and I’d like to see him take the rein forward, swing through the back and soften,” Isobel commented, “a slightly more suspended feeling would be great. This horse’s canter is his highlight and after the canter the trot improves.”

Maria concluded, “This horse is the baby of the group in comparison with the others, Eva put her finger on it that the horse needs development in the connection and the elasticity over the back. The trot needs more power but the walk is very good.”

After a final consultation between the judges the final order was confirmed, Hawtins Lirica, Hawtins Fianello, SJL Baks Zacco and G-Star.

Proud breeder Judith Davis can add now one more title to her vast collection from the National Dressage Championships – it was not too long ago that Carl Hester first spotted his WEG star Hawtins Delicato in the Shearwater five-year-old Championships in the same arena.

Speaking about her stars of today Judith said, “It’s an amazing achievement just to make it to Sunday’s final let alone win! To have first and second is amazing, Lirica is truly special and Fianello is a very very good horse too. We produce for the long term so these horses have come here off the back of a summer break. They’ve never done anything like this so I’m very impressed.

“Lirica is a very brave horse, she’s even been leading our older horses around the show ground. I was thrilled to bits with them yesterday, and today has been a dream. I’m really pleased for Bryony and Lucinda, they work so hard, they love the horses and they work very well together.”

Both Judith and stable jockey Lucinda Elliot credited Serena Pincus as a large part of their success. Serena has trained the stable for just over a year and both breeder and rider were keen to sing her praises.

Shearwater Young Dressage Horse Championships – Five-year-olds

The impressive young stallion Izonik, produced and presented by Kerry Mackin, was this afternoon crowned the 2018 Shearwater Young Dressage Horse Five-Year-Old Champion. The exciting young stallion, who is by Zonik and out of a Jazz mare, impressed ride judge Eva Möller to maintain his first place position after yesterday’s assessment and preliminary judging.

The ultimate winner – Izonik who is co-owned by his rider and Rowan Bryson - was the first in the arena for the final judging under Eva. “He’s a very impressive horse,” commented Isobel Wessels. Looking at him it’s difficult to believe he’s just five. He’s well-muscled with a lot of propulsive power, and he has gears. He creates a lovely picture of ease and elasticity, and has a lot of airtime in canter.

Co-commentator John Bowen said; “He’s a lovely horse, a super type. He presents a lovely picture and is very elegant. He’s maybe a little weak in the middle but he will develop into a super horse. He looks a little tired in the hind leg today, but he’s already competed in the Novice and Elementary classes here. Also, you cannot underestimate the pressure of staying away from home and how tiring it is for the horses.”

Maria Colliander, who judged the Shearwater Young Horse Championships alongside Eva and Ulf Möller, summarised; “We saw a horse with absolutely clear paces. The walk is a highlight, the trot absolutely in rhythm. He could maybe have been a little sharper behind, but the canter is big and nicely balanced. He could have a little more connection over the back, but he did respond well to Eva’s questions.

Next up was Nikki Barker with Sara Lucas’s Iwan, a gelding by Charmeur. “He’s a beautiful horse with a lot of expression,” said Isobel, “though he’s not always on the hind leg enough, yet. I like him - he’s a very good horse. Nikki is a good rider and she’ll have a super horse to ride and train!

“He’s not as smooth as Izonik, but he’s incredibly uphill. He manages the smaller circles very well and is ‘thinking’ about a flying change. He has a tendency to go away, rather than stay on the hind leg, but in a few years the extended canter will eat up the ground. He’s just looking a little for Eva to help him."

Maria Colliander commented; “That was very nice to watch. We saw a horse with a nice forward attitude. He likes his work and is willing to go. The trot is rhythmical, the canter has a lovely jump, and the walk is clear.

Third in was Kiss and Tell (by Kardinal), presented by Matthew Baker and owned by Roland Tong, on only the horse’s third show. Isobel said; “He certainly has the x-factor. He has a huge engine. He’s a bit behind the others due to a year out, but he’s a lovely horse. He has a very nice knee action, is very active with the qualities for Grand Prix. He throws himself away a little in the canter transition, but once she [Eva] has him, it’s a powerful canter with lots of airtime. You need quickness with power, and this horse has it. He now just needs a bit more suspension which will come with self-carriage. It’s a lovely picture and he looks like a treasure of a horse to me. In my case, I call it the ‘teddy bear factor’!"

Maria commented; “He was a positive chap. He wanted to do what Eva wanted him to do. He has a big canter. I’d like to see a slightly sharper hind leg in canter but he has clear paces with a good relaxed walk.”

The final horse forward was Sean Anderson's Imperioso (by Charmeur) ridden by Amy Woodhead. “This is another huge horse,” said Isobel. “The natural balance is not quite as good as the others, the nodding in canter is indicative of that and he could be more ‘through’ in the body.”

Maria commented; “He’s five-years-old and a little like a teenager. He has quality in all his paces but could by nature have a bit more go, be more in front of the rider.”

So the final order was announced: 1st Izonik, 2nd Iwan, 3rd Kiss and Tell, 4th Hero.

“It’s been such an amazing journey,” beamed Kerry Mackin who has produced the horse from the very start. “He’s been an absolute perfect gentleman, the whole way through our journey.”

“It’s quite emotional for me as it’s my last ride on him,” said Kerry who relinquishes the ride and ownership to his current co-owner Rowan Bryson. “He’s an incredible horse with an incredible brain and I just couldn’t be happier today.

“I’m so happy that the judges thought he’d come on so much since last year [when reserve four-year-old champion], as I haven’t had any training on him. I’ve done it all myself and not even had one lesson on him,” said Kerry.

“He’s a lovely horse. At home he’s dead chilled. The only thing we all cringe at is that when you put him in the stable, he rolls like mad!” she laughed. “So he’s a bit of a dinosaur in the stable, but apart from that he’s easy. With his training he never says no, he tries everything and he gave everything yesterday in that test, probably one of the best extensions he’s ever done. He’s a big boy and it’s taken him time to gain strength, but he’s incredible. I’m ecstatic.”

Shearwater Young Dressage Horse Championships – Six-year-olds

A competitive six-year-old Championship saw Charlotte Dujardin take on two mares who’ve visited the World Breeding Championships for Young Horses plus an impressive rising star from the Headmore Stud.

An intense battle resulted in a win for Charlotte with her own and Carl Hester’s Hawtins San Floriana, who displayed the same quality today that gifted her both the four and the five year old titles previously to complete her set in style.

In front of a knowledge crowd, Amy Woodhead’s ride MSJ Zonetta went first under the expert guidance of Eva Moller. “The canter needs to jump through more and show a little more ground cover and uphill tendency,” Isobel said over Radio Nationals. “The expression is getting better and better, Eva gave the horse plenty of time to get going in order to find out more. The hind leg reaches more and more under the body and she is improving through her core.”

Maria Colliander delivered the judges verdict: “Here we see another Zonik offspring with a very big and good walk. I think that at the beginning the horse lacked a little bit of enthusiasm to listen to the rider but she responded well and Eva mad a big difference. The walk is big and clear, the trot has perhaps a small tendency to hurry at the start but is in rhythm, the canter could perhaps be a bit more under from behind with more shoulder freedom but the horse shows a clear ability to collect.”

“Next we see a really classy horse, but she’s not always perfect – she can be a little short in the next and too hot to handle,” Isobel said of Hawtins San Floriana, Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin’s outstanding daughter of San Amour. “The croup can also come a little high at times, that said she oozes class and character, combined with endless energy and elasticity. The mare wants to go, she doesn’t want to hang about! Eager to go and eager to please.” The mare, another bred by Judith Davis of Hawtins Stud, is a descendent of foundation mare State Premium World Finest who is also the grandmother of Hawtins Delicato… talent clearly runs in the family!

Reiterating Isobel’s points, the judges said “Well, I have to say we liked watching this! It’s an impressive looking mare with a lot of stage presence, all three paces are absolutely clear. If the walk in the first qualifier was tense, today it was clear and nicely relaxed in the end. The trot has a wide range to come and go and the canter shows underlined clear ability to collect! She’s really willing and ambitious, at times this takes over with a little tension but it’s a very nice horse.”

“This mare looks nice with little Eva on board!” Isobel commented on Sara Gallop’s BKS Fantasia, the third horse to be assessed in the six-year-old category. “The picture is really nice, Eva will try to get the horse more over the top line and ask to be allowed in a bit more. The trot can be a bit edgy but the horse accepts the aids willingly.” BKS Fantasia is a delightful black mare by Furstenball standing at 15.3hh, “this little lady’s got big presence and big movement” the commentary team at Radio Nationals cooed.

Maria Colliander contributed, “We see here a really very pretty, feminine, light-footed horse. She’s energetic with an active hind leg, listening to the rider her energy can take over a bit! The rhythm can get a bit hectic, but it’s a nice horse with three workable paces.”

Belissimo M is renowned for producing nice horses with nice character, Alice Oppenheimer’s mare Headmore Bella Ruby certainly lives up to the reputation. “Headmore stud have bred some wonderful wonderful horses, Bella Ruby looks a little tired today but we’ve got to remember that the weather and staying away in temporary stables does have an effect on these young horses.” Isobel continued, “The back can tighten a little and she could carry herself up and out a bit more with the neck, but she’s a beautiful horse.”

Commenting on the final horse of the Shearwater Young Horse Championships Maria Colliander said, “She’s a nice horse with three clear paces, we’d like her to work more from behind with a more supple connection to bring the forehand up in trot. The canter has a strong jump, the trot was in a nice rhythm with ability to collect and extend. She could show more freedom in walk. It’s a horse willing to work with the rider, but otherwise she did listen and she did work for Eva.”

With the class complete, the prestigious title was awarded to Charlotte Dujardin and Hawtins San Floriana, BKS Fantasia moved up a spot from the pre-judging assessment to take the reserve spoils whilst MSJ Zonetta claimed third. In her prize-giving interview Charlotte expressed just how much she thinks of her brilliant horse, “She’s a Rolls Royce! She’s so smooth and elastic, and she’s got so much character. I can’t ask for much more than this horses, she is amazing.”

The win saw the curtains close on an immense week for Charlotte, speaking about how valuable the LeMieux National Championships experience is she said “I don’t think there’s another show in the world that’s as electric as this show. There’s a lot happening here, you’ve got flags, you’ve got tents flapping, you’ve got horses moving around you all the time, you’ve got applause in your tests. We don’t get to go anywhere else where you have that. The horses have to learn to deal with the pressure of this sort of environment so being here with the young ones is great.”

Charlotte thanked Sadie Smith and Katie Bailey once more for keeping the horses running throughout the World Equestrian Games, as well as all the team behind the scenes for their support. “I had two days to prepare and as the week’s gone on the horses have got better and better – I’m a perfectionist so whilst my preparation wasn’t ideal I’ve been so pleased with the horses and the results.”

British Dressage thanks official insurance partners Shearwater for their continued support of this prestigious series.

Posted: 25/09/2018
Simon Hart MP: Hunting is at a crossroads *H&H VIP*


Horse & Hound's guest hunting columnist calls for hunting to modernise before it’s too late
Posted: 25/09/2018
Heading to HOYS: jockey gets first HOYS ticket after losing pony of a lifetime earlier this year
Best of luck to HOYS debutantes Rebecca and Percy!
Posted: 25/09/2018
Loyal police horse who braved fires and missiles during London riots retires
The police horse had received an honour for his courage under fire while being deployed during riots in London
Posted: 25/09/2018
FEI Athletes’ Committee announced following online vote

Three Olympians and one Paralympian have been elected to join the FEI Athletes’ Committee, voted in by their peers through an online vote.

Posted: 24/09/2018
Olympia, The London International Horse Show, Young Lions Under 25 years British Championship

Posted: 24/09/2018
Dodson & Horrell 85cm and 1.05m National Amateur Second Rounds at the Ian Stark Equestrian Centre

Posted: 24/09/2018
Dodson & Horrell 95cm and 1.10m National Amateur Second Rounds at The Cabin Equestrian Centre

Posted: 24/09/2018
FEI Athletes’ Committee announced following online vote

Three Olympians and one Paralympian have been elected to join the FEI Athletes’ Committee, voted in by their peers through an online vote.

Jumping athlete Cian O’Connor (IRL), Dressage rider Beatriz Ferrer-Salat (ESP) and Eventing athlete William Fox-Pitt (GBR) join German Paralympian Angelika Trabert on the Athletes’ Committee, together with newly crowned FEI World Equestrian Games™ Vaulting champion Kristina Boe (GER), Endurance athlete Taker Taher (KSA) and Reining athlete Francesca Sternberg (GBR).

Posted: 24/09/2018
Nettex RoR Thoroughbred Associated Championships

The 2018 Nettex Associated Championships series continued with the turn of the Nettex RoR Thoroughbreds on Sunday 16 September 2018 at Vale View Equestrian.

British Dressage was once again proud to offer this dedicated championship in association with Retraining of Racehorses. It showcases the versatility and talent of this nimble breed, best known for their speed on the racetrack, and it just goes to show what good dressage partners Thoroughbreds can make with correct and sympathetic training.

55 Weatherbys registered horses rode down the centre line at the Leicestershire venue and a new quintet of 2018 champions were crowned. Fiona Jopling from the New Forest in Hampshire achieved the highest score of the day with Alyson Hall’s Medburn Singer (by Superior Premium). The pair won the Medium title with an excellent score of 73.18% - the highest of the day.

The Thoroughbred gelding, now eight, has developed into a competitive dressage horse over the past three years, following a switch to dressage due to an injury early on in his racing career. Last year he shone at the inaugural Thoroughbred Associated Championship doing the Elementary-Medium double and was also seventh in the Elementary Silver at the Nationals. Continuing this success into 2018, he and Fiona were also fourth in the TopSpec Medium Silver at the Keysoe Summer Regionals.

Young Cheshire rider Emily Entwistle enjoyed a day to remember as she took not one, but two titles with the French bred gelding Tarass D’Alben (Policy Maker x Kaldoun). Emily (15) won the Preliminary with a score of 72.93% and the Novice with 67.13%. The pair have been competing in British Dressage competitions since June 2017, achieving good results in both Quest and mainstream competitions up to Novice level.

Following her victory 48 hours earlier in the Nettex Thoroughbred Associated Championship, Pat Clayton once again showed her supremacy at the level by taking the RoR Intro title with Budsson on a strong score of 71.74%. And at Elementary it was Gina Scheissl and King of Arnor who had the winning edge. Gina, from Jersey, whose daughter Amy represented Great Britain at the 2016 FEI Young Rider Europeans, was awarded a score of 66.29% with the 10-year-old son of Monsun.

British Dressage thanks the team at Vale View for a successful Championship event as well as title sponsor Nettex for their generous support of the Associated Championship series.

Roll of Honour:

Pat Clayton with Budsson, 71.74%

Emily Entwistle with Tarass D’Alben, 72.93%

Emily Entwistle with Tarass D’Alben, 67.13%

Gina Schiessl with King of Arnor, 66.29%

Fiona Jopling with Medburn Singer, 73.18%

Photo: Fiona Jopling and Medburn Singer flanked by Donna Boyd with Rinus Star (left) and Jenny Bulman with Jimmy Hay (right).

For full results click here

Posted: 24/09/2018
Catch up: LeMieux National Championships

Posted: 24/09/2018
Nettex Thoroughbred Championships

The second running of the Thoroughbred Associated Championships, sponsored by Nettex, took place last Sunday (14 - 15 September) at Vale View Equestrian in Leicestershire.

The Championships, which are designed for all Thoroughbred horses including those who’ve never raced, saw dozens of representatives forward to vie for the five national titles on offer, at levels from Intro to Medium.

Event rider Emma Beresford took home the Elementary title with her 15-year-old gelding, Prince Keel (pictured). Emma (27) who has evented successfully up to 2* level, and interestingly in 2015 had a spell riding Andalusian horses in a travelling circus, scored 69.83%.

“Prince Keel, 2018 Nettex Thoroughbred Championships Elementary Champion,” said Emma on Facebook. “Thank you to class sponsors Nettex for a great champs and lovely goodie bags of prizes.

“[I] Love this horse so much, after a mystery field injury three weeks ago we were only sure he was sound and going to make it to the champs on Monday and after hurting my back yesterday we nearly didn't! Sitting trot was torturous!

“Thank you so much to my wonderful vet Tim Beauregard and physio Rachael. He made it and I'm so glad he did! He also went on to take third in the Medium. I'm so lucky to have a fantastic support team.”

The Intro title went to Pat Clayton (64) from Spalding in Lincolnshire with her 12-year-old gelding Budsson. The pair earned a score of 70.87%. Trained by BD’s para director Julie Frizzell, of Dressage Coaching UK, who took to Facebook to say; “[I’m] Bursting with pride. Pat Clayton, who I’ve had the absolute pleasure to coach for several years now, with her amazing Buddy, [their] first affiliated ever and this happens. No greater honour than to be entrusted with coaching and developing talent - no matter what our age or challenges.

“A huge told you so moment and this really could not have happened to a nicer, more deserving, humble and giving person.”

The Prelim title was won by Janine Robertson (34) from Reading and Bijou Lucy. Janine and her six-year-old mare scored 68.65%. The pair has been competing affiliated for less than a year, with just eight competition starts so far.

Leicestershire rider Katy Ferrari (40) and her 10-year-old gelding Sirius Chesnut triumphed at Novice, scoring 69.17%. The combination started competing at Novice last year, achieving scores of up to 73% whilst Steph Cason (29) from Newmarket in Suffolk took Medium honours with the 14-year-old gelding Harland on 66.22%. The pair has been competing together for four years now and was placed second at Medium in the Petplan Equine Area Festival at Brook Farm in Essex earlier this year.

British Dressage thanks the team at Vale View for a successful Championship event as well as title sponsor Nettex for their generous support of the Associated Championship series.

Nettex Thoroughbred Associated Championships Roll of Honour
Pat Clayton with Budsson, 70.87%

Janine Robertson with Bijou Lucy, 68.65%

Katy Ferrari with Sirius Chestnut, 69.17%

Emma Beresford with Prince Keel, 69.83%

Steph Cason with Harland, 66.22%

For full results click here

Photo © Kayleigh Taylor Photography

Posted: 24/09/2018
First time lucky for Amy at the BE80(T) Championships

Amy Dixon and Goodluck II were crowned 2018 Airowear BE80(T) Champions after an impressive performance in all three phases at Kelsall Hill Horse Trials.

Posted: 23/09/2018
Dodson & Horrell 85cm and 1.05m National Amateur Second Rounds at Maelor Equestrian Centre

Posted: 23/09/2018
Extraordinary Exell wins Individual gold as Team USA’s golden victory thrills the home crowd

By Luke Norman

On a day when the home nation USA, secured a stunning victory in the Polaris Ranger driving team title to round off a triumphant FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon (WEG), Australian driver Boyd Exell proved he remains in a league of his own by securing a third successive individual WEG gold medal. 

Posted: 23/09/2018
Germany’s Blum breezes into the Jumping history books when clinching Bank of America individual title at Tryon

by Louise Parkes


Germany’s Simone Blum (29) etched her name into the record books when becoming the first woman in the 28-year history of the FEI World Equestrian Games™, and only the second female athlete in the 65-year history of the World Jumping Championships, to take the individual title when coming out on top in the Bank of America Championship at Tryon, USA today.


Posted: 23/09/2018
Day four: LeMieux National Championships

It’s been four days of extremely high standard sport at Stoneleigh Park and with over 1600 tests ridden, the LeMieux National Dressage Championships continue to be the pinnacle of the BD calendar.

British Dressage congratulates all who took part in this year’s Championships. Thanks go to the generous sponsors of this event, to Kelvin and Kate Bywater plus all the team at Show Direct, to the vast team of judges, scorers, stewards, test sheet runners and to the many more who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make the week an event for all to enjoy.

Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold

It was a Charlotte Dujardin whitewash in the Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold on the final day. Four rides, four top five placings, quite the strike rate. The victor of the quartet was her final ride in the class, the Vivaldi sired seven year old mare Mount St John VIP, owned by Emma Blundell with an astonishing score of 81.21%.

She set the early pace with Gio, her Apache x Tango seven year old with a 79.34% and Michael Eilberg gave it a good shot with another of Mount St John Stud’s talented seven year olds, Valencia with 75.5%. However the third of Charlotte’s rides, then slotted into third, Brioso II, owned by Carl Hester while River Rise Nisa, whom Charlotte owns jointly with Sarah Tyler Evans who also bred the mare, finished fifth behind Michael.

VIP certainly impressed the judge at B, Debbie Jones who awarded 13 marks more than any of her fellow panel.

Charlotte said; “I’m really pleased with her. I think she got a similar score at Somerford Regionals. This level for her at seven is pretty easy, she just went in there and did it; everything felt so smooth and easy. Her extensions are amazing, her canter work has improved from last year, the flying changes are super; she’s just a feisty, go-ey little number! I just love her and she shows incredible talent for Grand Prix. I was very happy when I came out as I couldn’t have asked for any more.”

She was also full of praise for her runner up, Gio; “I love my little pumpkin pie! Warming him up, he just puts a smile on my face. Everyone that sees him says that horse is so amazing and I just say ‘yup!’ He probably would have won if his medium and extended trot was better. There’s more to come there. He has so much more power there and he’s so talented for the Grand Prix work. The piaffe and passage is just out of this world and he’s brave as an ox. His little ears are always forward and he feels so happy when you ride him; I just love him to bits.”

Childéric Saddles Elementary Gold

It was an extremely close affair in the Childéric Saddles Elementary Gold Championships with all of the top twelve competitors finishing on 70% plus scores but it was East Lothian rider Jo Barry who took the spoils. Jo had two chances at the title having qualified Hidalgo II whom she jointly owns with Lady Hope and Gordon Grainger’s Goofy La Perle.

71% with Hidalgo gave Jo a ninth place rosette but stable mate Goofy La Perle (Belissimo M x Jazz) claimed his second title of the year with a fabulous 73.5%.

Local rider Rebecca Hughes was a very close second with Alison Croft’s Tantoni Dallaglio on 73.12% with Ashley Jenkins completing the podium on 72.81% with His Highness, owned by Jamie Reynolds and Cherry Elvin.

Goofy La Perle was acquired for Jo to ride by Gordon Grainger whose wife went to her for help with her showing Connemara ponies. “We’ve had Goofy just over one year. The Graingers were inspired to buy a dressage horse for me, having seen my determination after the accident [Jo sustained a serious head injury in a riding accident in December 2014]. They wanted to help me on my way and kindly offered to buy a horse for me.”

“And it’s been quite a fairy tale with Goofy,” reflected Jo. “We won the PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Gold at Hartpury and now he has won here. That’s his Elementary career finished now. It’s been a fantastic introduction for them [the Graingers] to dressage.”

“I was pleased as punch with Hidalgo’s test too,” said Jo. “He was a bit scared in his Novice test due to the weather so for him to come back with more confidence for the Elementary was very pleasing. I’m so happy with them both!”

Horse Health Grand Prix Freestyle

The Horse Health Grand Prix Freestyle – arguably the jewel in the LeMieux National Championships crown – played out under sunny skies at Stoneleigh Park on the final day of competition.

Nine top quality combinations stepped forward to contest the Championship, with seven of those scoring over the magic 70% barrier. The event wasn’t without it’s surprises as title favourite Gareth Hughes unfortunately had to retire Rebecca Hughes’ and Julia Hornig’s Classic Briolinca as the talented mare struggled to cope with the atmosphere in an electric Horse Health arena. Although a sad outcome for the team, the decision was undoubtedly a demonstration of true horsemanship at it’s finest.

WEG team reserve Lara Butler capitalised on her time in the ring and rode a supreme test on board Dr Wilfried Bechtolsheimer’s Rubin Al Asad. Their thrilling freestyle earned them a total score of 77.07%, giving them the Horse Health Grand Prix Freestyle Champion title and the overall LeMieux Grand Prix National Champion title to boot.

In a test full of highlights, Lara and ‘Rufus’ truly showed their quality. Set to a routine including tracks from Dire Straits, the duo showed flowing trot half passes, punchy extended trots and neat double pirouettes.

“It’s been a long time coming!” Lara commented in her prize giving interview, “I’ve tried three or four times and been reserve a couple of times too! It was really unfortunate for Gareth today, I feel really sorry for him - it must have been very tough. But, I produced a good test so I’m pleased the judges were happy and rewarded me with a good mark. I feel like we earnt it as well!”

The sixteen-year-old gelding by Rubin Royal will now enjoy a break before perhaps heading to Olympia in December, “It’s so nice to finish off the outdoor season here and to prove that we’re such a strong partnership is great, I couldn’t ask for any more. We’ll have another shot at the team next year, he feels so fit and fresh and he keeps getting better.”

Second place went to last year’s overall champion Hayley Watson-Greaves with the spritely Rubins Nite. The experience combination showed their characteristic extended trots alongside some other super high quality work to be awarded with 75.15% for a lovely routine.

Sonnar Murray-Brown and Erlentanz showed huge potential for the future in today’s test, using none other than Valegro’s emotive How to train your dragon programme to great effect they scored 73.92% for third place.

For full results, click here

Posted: 23/09/2018
Notes from the 2018 AGM

The Annual General Meeting of British Dressage was held on Thursday 20 September at the Oak Tree, Stoneleigh Park.  The results of the formal business are as follows;

The following were proposed as Ordinary Resolutions:

1. To elect the Judges Director. There were no objections so Peter Storr is duly elected.

2. To elect the Para Director. There were no objections so Julie Frizzell is duly elected.

3. To elect the Finance Director. The election was managed independently by MiVoice who reported the following; there were 1576 votes. Caroline Godfrey 844 votes and David Fawcus 732 votes. Caroline is duly elected.

4. To receive the Financial Statements of British Dressage for the year ended 31 December 2017 and the Directors’ and Auditors’ Reports thereon. KPMG reported no significant audit issues and that in their opinion the accounts were a true and fair account of 2017.

5. To appoint KPMG as the auditors of British Dressage and to authorise the Board to fix their remuneration. One vote was received against the motion was carried in line with due process.

Special Business

The following resolutions were proposed as Special Resolutions:

6. To elect Linda Whetstone, recommended by the Board, as the Chairman to hold office until the date of the 2019 AGM. Unanimously carried.

7. That the draft articles of association submitted to the meeting and for the purpose of identification signed by the Chairman thereof be and the same are hereby approved and adopted as the articles of association in substitution for and to the exclusion of all the existing articles of association of British Dressage. Unanimously carried.

Click here for a pdf of the Directors' presentations.

Full minutes will be released in due course. 

Posted: 23/09/2018
Wells makes does the Grade V double at WEG

Sophie Wells brought her FEI World Equestrian Games campaign to a close on a high by completing the para grade V golden double with and her ride, C Fatal Attraction, owned by Charlotte Hogg with a huge performance which earned a world record score of 80.755%. It was her career fourth Individual world gold.

Speaking after her test, a delighted Sophie said; “He was a little bit tense today and on edge but he’s come out this week and given me everything.

“I was a little bit stressed last night as I thought it may be too difficult and we have only done it once at Hartpury but he’s come out today made me very proud.

“When you miss out on an Individual Gold [WEG 2014] after training everyday it’s hard, but to achieve this after a big gap like I’ve had is amazing; that’s why Rio [Olympic Games 2016] was so special because I missed out on the gold in London [Olympic Games 2012] too.”

Commenting on Great Britain’s success, she added; “The British team are amazing and it’s so hard to get on the team and selection is a massive hurdle that you have to overcome. We have a lot of good riders with a lot of horse power and we’re seeing that more across the world – yesterday [the team competition] proved that. The standard of the riders, the training and the horses is amazing for the sport and it makes proud to be a part of it - but that means you have to fight.”

The Grade III class brought the para competition to a close and after a Canadian horse didn’t pass this morning’s horse inspection, Erin Orford was promoted up the order and gained a place to compete alongside Natasha Baker.

Drawn second to go Erin looked brimming with confidence with Annabel Whittet’s Dior to produce a test worthy of 71.073%. It was then the turn of Natasha Baker with Mount St John Equestrian’s nine year old Mount St John Diva Dannebrog who, after a silver in the individual test and topping the team test, were amongst the favourites for a medal.

The test started brightly but then on a turn up the centreline away from the judge at C, ‘Diva’ took fright and put in a huge buck and leap which, having no strength in her legs, deposited poor Tash on the floor, resulting in elimination. Fortunately it was only her pride which was hurt as she left the arena on her trusty scooter, waving to the crowd.

So it wasn’t to be for Natasha on the final day but Erin finished in a very credible fifth spot in the Freestyle on her World Championship debut.  Afterwards, Erin said; “I was so pleased with her today, she felt amazing. She’s grown in confidence this week and today she went in there and said ‘OK I’m ready, what do you want me to do’. I had a new freestyle music made for here and a technical issue meant we didn’t get to ride to it which was a massive shame. To finish within 0.8% of bronze and 2% of silver despite this, just proves her quality and how close we are to the best in the world.”

After leaving the arena Natasha said; “My ego is bruised and my bum is bruised but I feel fine and at least I hit the centre line! I don’t know what got into her today but it was out of character for her. We untacked her and cooled her down and we’re going to go and sit back on and see how she feels and give her some confidence back.”

That brings the para dressage to an end and it’s four medals for Britain to bring home after days of competition which witnessed courageous riding, epic determination and plenty of inspirational performances. Safe trip home everyone!

For full freestyle results – click here


Posted: 23/09/2018
Vaulting championships come to an epic conclusion

by Hannah Eccles

In a breathtaking finale to Vaulting at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, USA today, Team Germany, their individual female star Kristina Boe and Lambert Leclezio from France all took gold under supreme pressure in the Christie's International Real Estate arena.

Boe, a formidable competitor and ambassador for the sport, now holds the European, World Cup and World Championship titles.  

Posted: 22/09/2018
Stunning day of Freestyle rounds off Para Dressage Championships

by Rob Howell

Posted: 22/09/2018
Winning Waregem for Great Britain in the penultimate Nations Cup

It was a win for Great Britain at the penultimate leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup series in Waregem, Belgium, this weekend; collecting the maximum 100 points, GB are now just 10 points behind the current series leaders France with just one competition left in the 2018 series.

Posted: 22/09/2018
Germany take Individual Gold as WEG draws to a close

Posted: 22/09/2018

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