Top dressage riders battle it out at Hickstead

  • Saturday’s advanced classes were a close run battle between Britain’s top riders who braved the scorching temperatures to battle for the small tour champion title.

    Intermediaire Freestyle

    The Dressage Horse International Intermediaire Freestyle looked like being another win for Carl Hester and Nereide Goodman’s consistent campaigner Wellington Laska who performed an enthusiastic and even test to score 67.93%. However, it was David Hunt and the Pidgeley’s stunning eight-year-old black stallion Art Gallery who pipped them at the post as last to go, who clinched first place with a top score of 70.55%. Over the past two days, Carl and David have dominated the small tour competitions, coming first and second in each class, but in the end it was Carl who clinched the title of small tour champion.

    Grand Prix Kur

    The Black Country Saddles Grand Prix Kur was closely contested with many of the combinations choosing to ride to music by Freddie Mercury and Queen rather than classical scores which have been the fashion in the past.

    Kirsty Mepham and her 17-year-old Olympic veteran Dikkiloo performed a pleasing test with especially good piaffe/passage that impressed the judges to win on a score of 69.53%. Carl Hester’s flamboyant test with the impressive 11-year-old stallion Donnersong earned him second place on a score of 69.02%, with Kyra Kyrklund and Dorte Semple-Neilsen’s 15-year-old Danish-bred Asterixin third place on 67.22%

    Five-year-old championship

    The Shearwater International Five-Year Old Championship was won by Sabrina O’Reilly and Wenica, an elegant dark bay mare by Weltmeyer,who was bought from her breeder in Germany as an unbroken three-year-old.

    Owned by Sabrina, a BHS Fellow and freelance instructor from Addington, Bucks, and Richard Johnson, Wenica has only contested two affiliated novice classes to date and won both times out.

    “We had high hopes of doing well, but looking at the competition didn’t expect to win,” said Sabrina, who trains with Ferdi Eilberg. “Wenica has proved an easy mare to bring on and train and has an exceptionally sweet temperament.”

    Elementary Pro-Am

    The popular Rosemary Deverall Elementary Pro-Am competitions saw a popular win for Kelly-Anne Lainsbury and Mark Ruddock with 14-year-old Irish Thoroughbred Hot Carnival.

    Kelly-Anne, who is a working pupil with Peter Storr, clocked up a commanding lead of 68.40% before handing over the reins to Mark who performed a consistent test and a mark of 65.83% which gave them a commanding overall score of 67.11%.

    Eighteen-year-old Kelly-Anne, who was given Hot Carnival, a former eventer on loan from Mark Todd has had the ride on him for the past three years and describes him as “a gentleman”.

    “Carnival was an advanced eventer until he slipped a tendon off his hock at the age of 11 and had to have a year off,” said Kelly-Anne. “Now he loves dressage and tries his heart out for me. We now plan to try advanced mediums at the end of the summers and hopefully some young rider tests too.”

    Full report and pictures in Horse & Hound (2 August)

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