Footage courtesy of Hartpury College

Michael Eilberg rode Woodlander Farouche into first place in the innovative Elite Stallions young horse prix st georges qualifier at Hartpury Festival of Dressage today (Thursday 9 July).

The elegant nine-year-old chestnut mare, by Furst Heinrich, scored 77.851% to head the class, which is designed to help develop horses working at prix st georges level. Alice Oppenheimer was second riding Tantoni Sir Soccrates on 75.088% while Kate Cowell took third with Dahling (70.965%)

More about Woodlander Farouche

The top eight horses go forward to the second round of this competition, which takes place during the show’s gala evening on Saturday. There is a first-round prize-pot of £350 and a fund of over £2,000, including £1,000 to the winner in the second round.

Lorna Wilson of Elite Stallions said: “These prestigious developing horse classes are so popular on the continent, but not widely on offer in the UK.

“We’re thrilled Hartpury is keen to welcome the class to their busy schedule and we believe this offers a fantastic springboard. It’s an ideal opportunity for riders to expose their horses to a championship atmosphere and for the audience to see what will hopefully become the UK’s next band of grand prix horses.”

Olympic judge Isobel Wessels has leant her support saying: “It’s wonderful we’ve got this new showcase at PSG level; it’s been missing for a long time.

“I’m really excited that Elite Stallions have made it happen as I’ve judged the final of the equivalent class in Germany and my vision would be to build up to something similar over here.”

After each test on Saturday night, there will be judges’ feedback and a mini interview with each rider to get reaction on the test and insight about their horses.

Isobel adds: “This element should enhance the whole thing for the gala evening audience.”

Full report from Hartpury Festival of Dressage will be published in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 16 July