British-born dressage rider Lynn Al-Redha scored two wins at the FEI World Dressage Challenge in the United Arab Emirates last week (22 November).
The competition, formulated by the FEI, is run in emerging dressage nations who do not have an established dressage competition circuit. The series offers the opportunity for riders – who, under normal circumstances, cannot take part in international dressage competitions – to compete internationally without leaving their country.
For the purpose of the competition, the world is divided into 12 zones, each made up of between four and six countries. It covers five levels: prelim, elementary, medium advanced and prix st georges (PSG).
All riders in each zone are judged by the same judges and all ride the same tests.
With her 15-year-old Scottish Sport Horse Tartan Special (pictured), Lynn Al-Redha, who is based in the UAE, led the PSG on 67.93%.
The stallion had only been back in work for five weeks following an eight month break due to an over-reach injury which became infected.
“The warm-up didn’t go particularly well,” admitted Lynn, who co-owns Lynaire Sport Horses in the UK with her daughter Claire. “But as soon as we started cantering round the edge before our test, he said ‘come on, let’s do this’.”
The son of Dutch Falco only began his dressage career five years ago.
“A friend told me about him and I bought him unseen,” said Lynn. “The first time I saw him was when he arrived in quarantine in Dubai. He did his first dressage test – a prelim – as a 10-year-old.”
Training by video
Lynn does not have a regular trainer or mirrors in her arena so she has to rely on persuading her daughters to visit and filming her sessions. But that does not perturb her.
With her other ride, a 10-year-old Hanoverian mare by Rotspon, she led the medium with a commanding 71.13% – picking up some nines on the way.
“She’s still young in her competition creer,” said Lynn, whose sister bought the horse from Brightwells as a four-year-old. “She’s a nicely sharp mare but she was super relaxed and focused in the test. We’ve only got the changes to work on before she can go advanced.”
On the strength of her performances, Lynn currently sits at fourth in the FEI World Dressage Challenge rankings at PSG and second at medium level.
The series also serves an educational purpose by linking the competition with coaching and the ground jury offers practical and theoretical instructions to competitors during a clinic following the event.
The FEI World Dressage Challenge is held between 1 January and 31 December each year.