Charlotte Dujardin’s double world bronze medallist Mount St John Freestyle made her long-awaited comeback at the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show today (12 June). The 10-year-old Fidermark mare showed no sign of being away from competition for nine months, producing a phenomenal performance in testing conditions to score a grand prix personal best of more than 80%.
With a mistake-free test that was full of energy and expression, Charlotte and Emma and Jill Blundell’s Freestyle topped the leaderboard by almost 5% with 80.35%.
“I actually felt a bit nervous going in, having not been in a ring with her since WEG [World Equestrian Games],” Charlotte admitted to H&H. “It’s so great to have her back performing and she was amazing. She was very enthusiastic and I overrode her a bit at the beginning, but the canter work felt very secure.
“Alan [Davies] and I actually had a bit of a cry afterwards — it was just so emotional to be back with her and to score our first 80% too.”
Charlotte also finished third with Sonnar Murray-Brown’s uber-talented 12-year-old gelding Erlentanz, with just a couple of mistakes in the changes dropping their score to 75.72%.
Gareth Hughes slotted into second with Classic Briolinca, the Trento B mare he recently won the grand prix special with at Compiègne CDIO5*. Their test was fluid and confident, and earned 75.76% to finish just marginally ahead of Erlentanz.
“She was great, very calm and relaxed which was the opposite to how she was in Compiègne a few weeks ago,” said Gareth. “She’s very consistent now through the test, which gives us both a lot of confidence.”
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The top of the leaderboard was incredibly close, with just 0.16% covering second to fourth places, and it was Carl Hester who finished fourth with Hawtins Delicato. The 11-year-old Diamond Hit son produced many highlights, including super rein-back, piaffe and passage, but a mistake in his otherwise lovely one-time changes dropped his marks to 75.6%.
Carl and Del, Gareth and Briolinca and Charlotte with Freestyle will return to the International Arena tomorrow for the grand prix special, which begins at 9.50am, and Charlotte will ride Erlentanz in the freestyle, which will get underway at 11.35am.
After significant heavy rainfall, organisers were forced to close the entire show to spectators. All dressage competition, however, will go ahead as planned.
Don’t miss the 20 June issue of H&H, for a full report from Bolesworth International.