A 14.3hh Welsh cob proved you don’t have to be big to be the best when winning a grand prix dressage championship in America at the weekend.

North Forks Cardi, a bay Welsh cob breeding stallion, won the open grand prix freestyle championship at the US Dressage Finals in Kentucky, USA on Saturday (8 November) under rider Jessica Wisdom.

The pair out-performed nine other combinations to claim the class with 71.375% — and his test was ridden in a snaffle bridle and included a piaffe pirouette.

“Freestyle is where he really shines — he hears that music and he becomes a big horse. Nobody told him that he’s only 14.3hh!” said Jessica, whose Celtic freestyle was created by Karen Robinson.

“All he has to do is go out there and be the rock star that he knows he is. He has an ego the size of Texas. He seemingly becomes three hands taller and says, ‘watch this’.”

By Canterbrook Llwynog Du x Bayford True Patriot, the America-bred 13-year-old is co-owned by his rider and Cynthia Miller. He is already a CDI winner since starting his international grand prix career last year.

It took Cardi four days to travel to the show from his home in Washington. Jessica has been riding the horse since he was three after she was asked to handle him at a youngstock show and was impressed by his attitude and outlook.

Jessica identifies fitness as key to Cardi’s performances and to keep him in peak condition he has a very varied routine, including rides on the beach, jumping cross-country and working cattle.

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