Nicky Barrett and Giorgio S win FEI CDIO Grand Prix Special at Hickstead’s international meeting

Nicky Barrett made her grand prix special debut at Hickstead’s international meeting a winning one with Stephen Butts eye-catching 12-year-old chesnut gelding Giorgio S.

Nicky beat some tough competition to score a good mark of 68.50% with a smooth, consistent test, ahead of Wilfried Bechtolsheimer and his 11-year-old German-bred mare Winniza on a score of 67.67%. Germany’s Susanne Lebek was placed third with her 13-year-old stallion Acolito on a score of 67.44%.

Nicky, a dressage rider/trainer from Winchfield, Hants, who was also reserve for the Europeans and a winner here last month, was particularly delighted with Giorgio’s performance. She paid tribute to her trainer Henk van Bergen who was on hand to help in the warm up.

“Giorgio came to me having been ridden by Isabell Werth two years ago and it’s taken us longer than I originally thought to become a partnership in the arena. I thought it would take up to a year, as he can be difficult and naughty but I refused to give up because he had cost his owners so much money in the first place!

“This was hisfirst ever special and he was a real pleasure to ride, with better balance and more control. Now, we need to go out to lots more shows like this with audience and atmosphere so he becomes more and more consistent in an international arena atmosphere.”

Judge at C, Dr Volker Moritz described the combination as “worthy winners”.

“I have judged them many times before, but today I was surprised and impressed by them. Nicky Barrett had a good ride and the test was the best I have ever seen them perform.”

CDI Grand Prix

Germany’s Marcus Gribbe enjoyed his second win of the meeting in the CDI Grand Prix, this time with Plasir D’Amour, a 13-year-old breeding stallion, previously ridden by Nicole Uphoff.

Marcus has owned Plasir D’Amour for two years and said that it had taken him more than a year to form a good working relationship.

“You can’t push him too much in training,” said Marcus, “When the pressure gets too much we just take a couple of days off and go hacking in the woods together – this system seems to suit him well.

“Today, was the best result to date for us [67.72%] ndash; he was much more settled in the arena and I felt we showed some good transitions between piaffe/passage and everything felt easy.”

Dr Bechtolsheimer and his Donnerhall gelding Douglas Dorsey were runners up on a score of 66.24% – the combination will now go on to compete at Wiesbaden rather than the nationals.

Susanne Lebeck and her 14-year-old mare Rue Pyrosch were third with 64.52%.