My day at Stoneleigh: Charlie Hutton and Don Dino

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Hi, Charlie Hutton here. I’ve been a competition dressage rider for eight years, competing at international grand prix and teaching dressage all over the world.

Don Dino is an eight-year-old 17.1hh Hanovarian chestnut gelding. He is working up through the levels and I’m hoping he will be one of my top horses at grand prix. He qualified for Sunday’s advanced medium open class at Stoneleigh.

There was a much bigger crowd this year at the Espayo National Dressage Championships in comparison to previous years — it really is fantastic to see the sport grow.

The atmosphere was great and there were a lot of strong classes, especially in my advanced medium open class on Sunday, which was filled with top combinations — only 1 score dropped below 64%.

Dino settled in well to his new temporary home and was very eager to go. He’s a horse that’s always full of enthusiasm. On the day he warmed up great with some help from Carl Hester, but going into the test was unfamiliar for us as he has little experience at championship level.

Despite having warmed up beautifully we had three costly mistakes. Riding Dino in the test felt like being stuck in a traffic jam in a Bugatti — he just wanted to show so much more, which resulted in some obvious tension.

Our mark was disappointing (65%) but I am not disheartened. The judges made lovely comments about his paces and what a powerhouse he is, so I know that in the long run I have a fantastic horse that will flourish in a more difficult test.

Charlie

Read H&H’s full 12-page report on all the action from the Espayo British Dressage National Championships in Thursday’s magazine (on sale 20 September, 2012)