A Carl Hester double bill, top horses’ comebacks and fresh faces stepping up: here’s what to expect from Hickstead CDI

  • International dressage makes its return to Hickstead this week, with Carl Hester among the top riders heading to West Sussex. The I.C.E Horseboxes All England Dressage Festival encompasses international dressage, international para dressage and national level Premier League dressage. That’s a lot of dressage – but we bring you the most exciting combinations to look out for and the highlights that could emerge.

    1. Carl Hester with TWO top grand prix horses

    Get set for a Carl Hester double act as he takes to the Hickstead dressage arena with not one but two hopefuls for this year’s European Dressage Championships. Very excitingly, we’re set to to see the return of En Vogue – Carl’s Tokyo Olympics and 2021 Europeans medallist – who has been out of the limelight since being withdrawn from this very show in 2022. Carl has been building the Jazz gelding up slowly towards his return and he is head of the line-up for the Premier League grand prix.

    Carl’s slot among the CDI grand prix line-up has been reserved for Fame, the hugely exciting 13-year-old Bordeaux stallion Carl has already enjoyed international success with this year. Fame is proving himself to be a bit of star – earlier this month he and Carl recorded a plus-79% grand prix win at Wellington. What could they achieve at Hickstead?

    Carl Hester and En vogue at the European Dressage Championships 2021

    Carl Hester and En Vogue riding the freestyle at the 2021 European Dressage Championships.

    2. Top British horse makes international comeback

    Hickstead will mark the return of Laura Tomlinson’s top horse, DSP Rose Of Bavaria, to international competition. The pair competed last November for the first time in over a year, but this is their first international since the mare’s lengthy spell away from the limelight. Olympic gold medallist Laura thinks the world of “Betty” and if they’re on form at Hickstead they could be top contenders for the Europeans team later this year.

    3. Small tour superstar steps up

    Becky Moody and Jagerbomb swept the board at small tour, with the Dante Weltino son proving to be one of the most exciting horses in the UK in 2022  – not bad for a horse Becky almost sold as a youngster because she wasn’t sure he had what it takes to be a star. This year, it’s time for him to step up to the big time – he already made a successful debut at grand prix level this spring, but this will be his international grand prix debut.


    Becky Moody and Jagerbomb in action at Hartpury CDI3* 2022

    4. An Olympic event horse in his new career

    The uber eagle-eyed might have spotted a familiar name on the start lists for the junior international classes – Don Geniro. The two-time Olympic event horse – who went to both Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 with China’s Alex Hua Tian – made his international dressage debut last month with British junior rider Isabella Caldwell. Now they’re heading to Hickstead.

    5. Recent national champions back in action

    Want to catch some of the headliners from the recent Winter Dressage Championships? Hickstead will be a great place to see some of the horses who made our hearts sing at Hartpury, such as Dannie Morgan’s double champion Fever Tree, Sadie Smith and the delightful Swanmore Dantina and Davy Harvey on Hawtins Rossana just to name a few.

    Dannie Morgan and Fever Tree at the Winter Dressage Championships 2023

    Dannie Morgan and Fever Tree at the Winter Dressage Championships 2023

    6. Licensed stallions on show

    If you’re keeping your eye out for the perfect match for your mare, it’s ideal if you can see stallions standing in Britain out and about competing. Not only do you get a chance to see their skills, but observing them at a show can give you an idea of their temperament and how they cope with atmosphere – all key considerations for choosing a stallion.

    Stallions in action at Hickstead include Blue Hors Viconte, the six-year-old Vivaldi son competing in the age classes with Beth Bainbridge, Timolin, the 12-year-old Totilas son competing at grand prix with Lizzie Murray, Ketcher B, an eight-year-old by Negro in action at PSG with Jezz Palmer, and MFS Cayden HH, a 13-year-old Contender son ridden by Davy Harvey at PSG.

    7. A Tokyo gold medallist in action

    Big names among the para dressage contenders for the Hickstead CPEDI, happening alongside the CDI and Premier League, include Sophie Wells on Don Cara M. This pair were members of the British gold medal-winning Paralympic team out in Tokyo in 2021, with fellow Tokyo medallists Georgia Wilson and Sakura also competing.

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