Young rider team hopeful Emily Harris took the NAF Magic prix st georges freestyle on Friday night at the winter dressage championships, Hartpury College, Glos riding Judy Sharrock’s Washington 103.
Last to go, the 15-year-old bay gelding by Walt Disney was unfazed by the atmosphere that caused tension in other favourites for the class.
The pair have recently returned from a successful thee weeks of competition in Spain on the Sunshine Tour.
Judy said: “He’s so precise and a brilliant schoolmaster for Emily because if the rider gets it wrong he won’t do the work.”
Emily added: “He’s such a fabulous horse to ride. I do all my music and floorplan myself and have been able to make this one more and more technical over the past two years as we’ve improved.”
Former young rider team member Nicky Patrick finished second on Uglesias, her father Malcolm’s nine-year-old Dutch-bred gelding.
“That was only his third music class,” said Nicky, who trains with Rhett Bird. “He’s so genuine and easy to do.”
Earlier in the day, eventer Ruth Edge became the first rider to finish equal first with herself at the winter championship, heading the SEIB elementary open riding her own Zero and Sharone Whitfield’s Charlesfield Dante.
“This was only Dante’s fourth show, the regionals was the first time he’d seen any kind of atmosphere at all, but he took it all in his stride,” said Ruth.
“Both horses are only six, and Zero has done a bit more than Dante but he’s definitely catching him up.”
Ruth spent January concentrating on dressage training in Holland with Bert Rutten, also taking two of her event horses for schooling.
She will be riding Zero in the medium open on Sunday, after completing Weston Park one day event in the morning.
Michelle Harris won the Equissage elementary restricted music from the start on My Rubicon, a German-bred 10-year-old by Rotspon.
“I bought him at the Verden Sales having decided to take up dressage after my husband asked me if I’d stop jumping,” explained Michelle. “We had a few little mistakes and because we were first in I didn’t put any pressure on myself. He’s such a laid back horse; we had to wake him up this morning to get him out the stable for his test.”
Another of Roland Tong’s pupils had a win in the Blue Chip novice restricted — Lorraine Allan riding Dutch-bred Nouveau, a 16.2hh bay gelding.
For full report, results and pictures don’t miss Horse & Hound 15 April issue.