The British Dressage Winter Championships make rich pickings for eventer Ruth Edge. A winner here last year, Ruth added another to her tally taking the evening’s gala class, the Magic prix st georges freestyle to music championships.

Ruth had to endure a punishing schedule to ensure that Shadowfax was presented at his best in the arena. “With Badminton coming up, I’m also focused on that, so at home (near Carlisle) yesterday I rode all 12 horses, then went to Cheshire to teach two lessons. This morning we left at 3.45am with all three horses to get here in time for the 6.30am arena walk.”

Though a consistent competitor, Shadowfax doesn’t have experience of an atmosphere as spooky as the Hartpury arena with its abundant flowers and spectators: “This is way the most exciting thing he’s ever done,” said Ruth. “He was nervous today. I can normally show him off but tonight I had to look after him and give him a happy experience.”

20-year-old Dominic Wolfendale won his first national title with his own Danish-bred Lantinus, capturing the British Horse Feeds advanced medium restricted championship. Having headed the South-West regionals, Dominic was confident coming into the championships: “I said to myself that we’d win,” said Devon-based Dominic, who trains with Sarah Cheetham. “I’ve had a rough time with him though; we had trouble finding the right trainer but Sarah’s delicate and nurturing methods suit us.”

The Blue Chip novice open went to the new combination of Claire Abel and her own Rowan Magic. “I’ve only had him six months, but he’s amazing,” she explained. “I went to Holland to buy a prix st georges horse but came back with a six-year-old instead.

“He’s like a Labarador – he’d come in and watch TV with us if he could,” said Claire, who trains regularly with Stephen Moore and also goes to stay at Adam Kemp and Matt Frost’s yard for training.

The Equissage elementrary restricted music – the only freestyle to music class of the day – went to Donna Charisma and Mary-Anne Hart.

“She warmed up like a nutter,” said Mary-Anne of Lorna Davis’s Don Cardinale mare. “But when she went under the arch she seemed to take a deep breath.”

Lorna puts down the mare’s transformation from an unruly youngster to classical training. “Charisma used to get test sheets covered in twos and eights,” she said. “She’s now more settled and sparkles at a party.”

The floorplan, which was accompanied by a mix of jazz and funk music, was only finalised at the last minute. “Mary-Anne’s only ridden through this test once before,” she said. “We couldn’t practice it at home as we don’t have a long arena.”

adv med rest (H Bradley, A Darken, F Scott). 1, Lantinus (D Wolfendale) 68.51; 2, Furst Diamantino (E Corbett) 68.16; 3eq, Mr Mercury (A Schiessel) & Radboud (H Leighton) 67.89. elem rest fsm (G Leverett, A Bennie, S Lidsey). 1, Donna Charisma (M-A Hart) 76.39; 2, Richamans Manta (G Davis) 75.28; 3, Donnerdoni (J Milton) 72.29. nov open (A Fransen Iacobaeus, K Mepham, K Myhre). 1, Rowan Magic (C Abel) 71.43; 2, Sanantonio (K Cunningham) 70.24; 3, Donnergrollen (J Johnston) 70.24. psg fsm (K Myhre, A Fransen Iacobaeus, S Lidsey). 1, Shadowfax (R Edge) 69.75; 2, Washington 103 (E Harris) 69.25; 3, First Way (V Thompson-Winfield) 68.08.

Don’t miss H&H’s full report from the NAF Five Star Winter Championships, on sale Thursday 21 April, 2011