Female riders steal the show at NAF Five Star BD Winter Championships

  • Day two of the NAF Five Star British Dressage Winter Championships once again saw lady riders take the lion’s share of sashes.

    Today’s lone male winner was Michael Bates with Dorothy Lamont’s superb six-year-old gelding Samphire II.

    Their 75.63% score in the GFS elementary open music inched ahead of Ben Martin and the expressive but opinionated Dimaggio mare Dimaggic.

    “It’s just about doing him justice really,” said Michael. “He’s got three very good paces and he gave me a great feeling in there.”

    The day’s most excited winner was Baileys Horse Feeds novice restricted music winner Sarha Hartnett, who scored 69.81%. Her coloured gelding Okey Dokey was only affiliated in October but has never been placed below third.

    “What a boy!” she said, jumping up and down with excitement. “We were hoping for top 10, but to win is unbelievable. I was really chuffed with the score.”

    In the Albion medium restricted championship, the sash went to Rachael Clark and Urionetta, an 11-year-old mare by Welt Hit II (pictured).

    Rachael and her father Bruce found the mare at a small private yard in Holland.

    “We saw moments of brilliance,” said Rachael, who converted to dressage from eventing two years ago and was picking up her first national title.

    “I am over the moon – she felt amazing today.”

    As is customary for April, the day was punctuated by sunshine and showers – none more so than for eventer Hannah Jones, who started her winning Petplan Equine elementary restricted test in a hail storm and finished in brilliant sunshine.

    “I was surprised he didn’t swing his bum in the first halt,” she said. “To win was quite a shock as we’ve not done a huge amount of dressage – we just do it for the [eventing] practice.”

    With help from Maria Eilberg to perfect their flying changes, Lara Dyson and Cyden Perplex, by Pik Labonics, topped the Petplan Equine advanced medium restricted with 71.47% – the only plus-70% score in the class.

    “I want to go all the way with this one,” said Lara, whose horses get their Cyden prefix from her brother’s property business where she works.

    “I actually bought him to event but my trainer at the time, Elke Funk-Hess, said ‘Plex’ had too much talent for dressage. Plus he’s a bit of a wimp.”

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    Full report on the NAF Five Star British Dressage Winter Championships will be published in Horse & Hound (26 April, 2012)

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