British Dressage’s rising star Laura Bechtolsheimer goes from strength to strength. After becoming Britain’s youngest-ever national champion last month, the 20-year-old from Gloucestershire finished second at the CDI*** in Bremen, Germany, yesterday.
Bechtolsheimer and her national championship partner, Douglas Dorsey, achieved the notable feat of beating Germany’s Isabell Werth on home soil. Only a whiff of a difference separated the two — Bechtolsheimer ended her kür with 76.875% while Werth was on 76.400% — but it was enough for the British rider to take second place. The top spot went to another German, Hubertus Schmidt, aboard Forest Gump NRW, who notched a very respectable 77.725%.
Schmidt had already won the grand prix the previous day with 71.958%, ahead of fellow German Ellen Schulten-Baumer, who ended on 71.583% with Donatha S, and Bechtolsheimer, who was third with 71.041%.
“I think it’s fantastic that Laura finished second in Bremen,” says Jo Bagnall of British Dressage. “She is obviously a talent to watch for the future. I am sure she is going to achieve great things.”
Meanwhile, at the Dutch Equestrian Federation’s centre in Wanroij, the Netherlands, a former star of the British dressage world shone for the Dutch crowds.
Escapado — Carl Hester’s Olympic mount — made his competition debut for his new rider Hans Peter Minderhoud in an intermediare II class on Saturday 1 October.
It was the first time the combination have competed together at national level so their first place — on a fair 70.41% score — was pleasing for all involved. Runners-up Diederik Silfhout and Dallwinny’s Forum trailed behind on 65.70%, while Yasmin Kalkhuis and Arzberg were third on 63.01%.
Escapado’s seamless performance is an encouraging sign for Minderhoud, who plans to ride him at grand prix level. “Of course we are super-happy of this debut,” he writes on his website (www.hanspeterminderhoud.nl). “However, we are not there yet, we still have some homework to do.”
Over at British Dressage, Escapado’s first outing as a Dutch ride has been noted with a touch of pride and no hard feelings. “I am glad that he is doing well and settling in his new home,” says Bagnall. “I think it will be an exciting partnership and I am sure they will have great success.”