Gareth Hughes and Charlotte Dujardin dominated the first two days of the Blue Waters National Dressage Championships (13-16 September) at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.
Gareth rode his own and wife Rebecca Patmore’s Korenbloem Sandman to victory in both the Stellar Wealth Prix St Georges and Bates Intermediaire I. The striking son of Jazz only came off box rest eight months ago after damaging a tendon sheath.
“For Sandman to come back and do this after the preparation he has had is very, very special,” said Gareth. “I really don’t think he could have gone any better today. He feels amazing.”
Judy Harvey was second to Gareth in the intermediaire I having won the TRM Intermediaire II on Richard Heley’s Fitzcerraldo.
“My ambition this year was to come here and get this title,” admitted Judy.
Charlotte took the Dodson & Horrell Novice Open and Shearwater Championship on her trainer Carl Hester’s five-year-old Valegro.
“We’ve developed a much better partnership now,” said Charlotte. He tries so hard in the arena, you really wouldn’t think he was only five — I’m so grateful to Carl for letting me ride him.”
In the young horse championship judge Stephen Clarke praised Valegro’s elasticity and suppleness, saying: “His canter came close to the ultimate, it’s very rare to see a young horse showing this kind of ability and potential.”
Having watched his five-year-old collect two titles with Charlotte, Carl went on to win the Saracen Horse Feeds Advanced Medium riding Sarah Tyler-Evans’ seven-year-old stallion Movistar.
Another of Carl’s pupils, Jo Barry, won the NEW Equine Wear Open Elementary riding Lady Hope’s Vivaldi V.
“I’ve waited 15 years for this horse to come along — I’ve never ridden anything like him,” said Jo.
Daniel Henson took the restricted equivalent with Land-Vision, who “couldn’t have given any more” according to Daniel.
Grade 1b triple Paralympic gold medallist Lee Pearson headed the KBIS British Equestrian Insurance Para Championship riding his own Romance In Dark — a former broodmare. The pair picked up 74.6%.
World medallist Simon Laurens was second overall, taking the grade III championship on his partner John Gamlin’s Ocean Diamond.
Natasha Baker won the grade II riding Waldminor, who previously competed up to intermediaire level with Ulrik Molgaard.
All three of these riders contested the World Paradressage championships at Hartpury in July, but a new face, that of Alan Clements, led the grade IV championship with Jane Howells’ MJ Fine Art.
For the full report, plus pictures from the national dressage championships, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine 20 September issue