‘I want to canter him to the airport’: 6 pairs to watch from the National Dressage Championships

  • As the dust settles on the National Dressage Championships, we take a look back at some of the standout combinations that particularly impressed at Stoneleigh…

    Gareth Hughes — Sintano Van Hof Olympia


    Gareth and the bouncy, elastic Sandro Hit gelding upset the formbook when they beat Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Valencia to the inter I title at the National Dressage Championships. Sintano, or Piglet as he is known at home due to his greed, is a super exciting ride for Gareth and he showed huge amounts of potential for grand prix at Stoneleigh.

    Sophie Wells — C Fatal Attraction

    Paralympic multi-medallist Sophie Wells is no stranger to the able-bodied scene, but she and her trusty partner “Jorge” proved hugely impressive at these championships, finishing fourth at prix st georges and third behind Charlotte and Gareth in the inter I, after a beautifully expressive test.

    Sadie Smith — Keystone Dynamite

    This pair made their grand prix debut earlier this year and pulled out their best performance at the level to date here, with 71% for fourth. The previously tricky Dimaggio son has given Sadie plenty of challenges over the years, but they are a combination to keep a close eye on as they continue to gain experience and confidence at the highest level.

    Dan Greenwood — SJL Baks Zacco

    This young stallion might not have claimed the five-year-old title — he finished third — but he certainly impressed ride judge Philip Hess, who declared that he felt “so comfortable that I could canter him all the way to the airport” and take him home. The son of Blue Hors Zack is definitely one to watch.

    Natasha Baker — Keystone Dawn Chorus

    Paralympic gold medallist Natasha has taken some time away from the para scene this year as she gets to know her new ride, “Lottie”. Receiving a wildcard for the novice silver championship was already cause for celebration, but to finish a close second at Stoneleigh with a test that oozed quality and harmony was more than Natasha ever dreamed.

    Alex Hardwick — Glasgow MH and Joie De Vivre Prins

    That Alex featured in the top three in no fewer than three of the gold championships is testament to the quality of her current horses. Last year’s novice gold champion Glasgow MH is shooting up the levels, making the podium at elementary and medium, while her newer ride — the five-year-old Expression son Joie De Vivre Prins (pictured) — impressed at novice to finish third.

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