Hannah Biggs stole the show in the advanced medium open freestyle, scoring 75.88% to fill the top spot with her own Don Caledonia on the final day of the NAF Five Star British Dressage Winter Championships (10 April).
The pair performed to a catchy instrumental rendition of Tinie Tempah’s Written In The Stars, with an imaginative floorplan to show off this nine-year-old Don Schufro gelding’s super walk and canter.
“I didn’t set out to choose music that was slightly different to normal, but it suits him because he quite fun and funky,” said Dorset-based Hannah, who also won this title on her recently retired grand prix horse, Weltzin.
Nikki Crisp was a very worthy Albion medium open winner aboard her stunning Spielberg stallion, Durable. The huge nine-year-old has a wonderful temperament, which was obvious in his relaxed, elastic way of going and faultless performance.
Amy Woodhead and Hawtins Delicato held the lead for a long time in this very hot class, but Nikki crept in front in the closing stages with 75.77%.
“He’s such an easy horse; so light and responsive to ride and he was with me the whole time,” said a delighted Nikki.
“Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now,” said a visibly overjoyed Stephanie Sweet (pictured, top) after she and Sarah Banwell’s Dolle Jung landed the Shadow Horse elementary restricted title. The six-year-old had plenty of success in 2015, finishing second at the summer nationals at novice, and he pulled out the stops once again.
“There were a couple of areas that could have been a bit more polished, like the halts, but he really was excellent and I am so proud of him,” said Stephanie, who posted 73.8%.
Meanwhile, the final two Petplan Area Festival Championship titles were decided in Hartpury’s outdoor arena.
Lindsay Hancock and the striking 18hh Gribaldi gelding Barachiel took first place in the advanced medium restricted with a score of 68.38%.
“He absolutely loves a big atmosphere,” said Lindsay.
Less than 0.2% separated first to third in the tightly-fought class. In second was Natalie McGoldrick and Promise Me on 68.24% with Angela Gladding and Parisienne Jupiter close behind in third.
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First to fourth all scored over 70% in the final round of the prelim championship, but Charlotte Bateman and Flores L, owned by Shirley Rixon, topped the leaderboard with 73.03%.
“He is lovely, he has such a sweet nature and is so trainable,” said Charlotte.
Tamsin Dunn and Carlin were less than two-percent behind on 71.74% to take second and 70.76% put Suzie Trelawney and Chemét in third.
For a full report from the British Dressage NAF Five Star Winter Championships and the Petplan Equine Area Festival Final pick up a copy of Horse & Hound on Thursday, 14 April.