The Lemieux National Dressage Championships kick off tomorrow (16 September) at Somerford Park Farm – we round up some of the reasons we’re excited…
1, Charlotte Dujardin’s stars of the future
Fresh from her medals at the Tokyo Olympics and at the European Dressage Championships, Charlotte Dujardin will be riding Imhotep in both the prix st georges and inter I championships at Somerford. Imhotep, an eight-year-old gelding by Everdale x Vivaldi, scooped the advanced medium gold winter title earlier this year under Charlotte and will now be strutting his stuff at the higher levels. Catch them in the Fairfax Saddles PSG gold at 3.30pm on Thursday (16 September), and in the Saracen Horse Feeds inter I gold at 11.27am on Friday (17 September). Charlotte will also campaign her young star Mon Amour in the four-year-old class – they will be in action during the pre-assessment round at 2.24pm on Saturday.
2, A slick new venue
This is the first time the National Dressage Championships has been held at its new home of Somerford Park Farm, with the 2020 edition of the championships having been cancelled due to the pandemic. Expect things to be bigger and better than ever, with three arenas of action and over 700 combinations taking part across the levels during the four days.
3, Top-notch masterclasses – with the fun factor thrown in
Visitors to the show will be treated to masterclasses from non other than Olympic silver medallist Spencer Wilton on the Saturday and Sunday, and international rider and trainer Anna Ross on Thursday and Friday. If Anna’s previous masterclasses are anything to go by, you can expect expertise aplenty as well as lots of laughs.
4, Some of Britain’s top riders battling it out at grand prix
The grand prix line-up includes Gareth Hughes – fresh from winning team silver at the Europeans just last week – riding his exciting stallion KK Dominant, and Emile Faurie aboard his world bronze medallist and Olympic shortlisted ride Dono Di Maggio. They’ll have their work cut out trying to achieve the prestigious title of national champion, though, with strong competition set to come from the likes of Becky Moody (Carinso and Famke PF), Anna Ross (Newton Domino), Alice Oppenheimer (Headmore Diffinity), Nikki Barker (Durable) and Louise Bell (Into The Blue).
5, Britain’s best young dressage horses
Some of Britain’s most exciting upcoming equine stars will be contesting the age group finals, with a pre-assessment round followed by a final for the top four horses in each category. Ones to watch in the six-year-old class include Sadie Smith’s Swanmore Dantina, five-year-old champion in 2020, and Greg sims on Waverley Fellini, who impressed earlier this summer at the World Breeding Championships. Among the five-year-olds, don’t miss Loves Black STH I, who was crowned prelim champion at the Winter Dressage Championships this year with Luis Vilhena, as well as Tiger, another fresh from the World Breeding Championships, here ridden by Beth Bainbridge. Hot favourite in the four-year-old category would be Mon Amour, ridden by Charlotte Dujardin, but they will also have plenty of quality horses to beat.
6, Retail therapy galore
If you’re looking to get your fix of horsey shopping, look no further than the 44 tradestands at the National Dressage Championships, offering the sort of retail therapy we’ve all missed over the past 18 months. If you can drag yourself away from the action in the arenas, you can browse everything from feed to clothing, and jewellery to horseboxes.
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Don’t miss the 23 September issue of H&H for the full report from the Lemieux National Dressage Championships – and stay up to date with our daily online coverage.
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