The Rio 2016 Paralympic gold medal-winning combination rode to the same Tom Hunt soundtrack as last year’s Games, but with a more technical floorplan on this occasion.
The pair scored 75.83% – a clear three percent above second placed Lara Griffith and Kristjan.
“I almost cried when I found out I had won,” said Sophie, who won yesterday’s PSG freestyle with C Fatal Attraction.
“I didn’t expect to win last night either. It is so nice to win and prove that para is no different to able bodied dressage.”
Lara and the Bechtolsheimer’s talented 12-year-old gelding treated the audience to a flowing routine accompanied by a J-Lo compilation set to a Latin best.
A highlight was the two-time flying changes, which were exactly in time.
“He loves a party, which makes him a fun horse to ride,” said Lara.
Taking third was Nathalie Kayal with her own DHI Homerun (“Jojo”) on a score of 72%.
“I’m really surprised,” said Nathalie. “It was a really hot class tonight — I followed Sophie in and I could see she was going to do a lovely test.
“The horses have really felt the atmosphere tonight.”
Article continues below…
You might also be interested in:
The Paralympic dressage rider brings us the second…
The multiple Olympic medallist was delighted with how…
Nathalie, who trains with Roland Tong, Carl Hester and Debbie Childs, said she worked with several people to put together the dramatic soundtrack for her test.
“He has been here twice before, so it was third time lucky,” she laughed.
She added Jojo “absolutely loves” people and gets so excited when getting ready for a show he does what is affectionately known as his “Disney dance” – likening his enthusiasm to that of a child going to Disneyland.
“If there was an award for cuddliest horse, he would beat Valegro,” she added.
“He really wanted to show everybody his moves tonight.”
Don’t miss this week’s issue of Horse & Hound – out Thursday (20 April) for a full report from the Winter Dressage Championships and Area Festival finals