Abbie and Seagry Firstamour overcame the imposing atmosphere in the Hartpury Arena to land the Nupafeed Advanced Medium freestyle silver with 70.22%. It was the first time the eight-year-old mare had been in an atmosphere such as that, yet she held it together to complete a fluent and relaxed test.
“She was really chilled out,” said Abbie, who has had the ride on the Keith Taylor-owned mare for four years. “She’s never seen anything like that before, so I’m absolutely thrilled with her.”
The mare competed at the Winter Dressage Championships last year, but due to Covid, the atmosphere was very different.
“We didn’t get to do the arena walk this time either, so she really did go in completely fresh,” added Abbie. “She was just brilliant.”
Abbie explained that the mare “tries very hard and likes to get things right”.
“We’re just really excited to keep training her and see where we go,” said Abbie, who trains with Tessa Thorne. “Her flying changes are a work in progress but they’re so much better. I ride and compete her in a snaffle because she’s just so good. She does go in the double, but she’s just so beautiful in the contact.”
Charlotte Dujardin lands Winter Dressage Championships title
Despite his relative inexperience, the five-year-old showed maturity beyond his years in the main arena.
“He’s never been in that sort of environment before, and it’s quite a difficult test because it’s twisty and turny, but for a five-year-old to do those tiny 10m circles was quite a test of balance,” said Charlotte. “I was really pleased it was mistake-free because he was quite hot, so I just sat there and tried to ride what I had to give him the confidence.”
Charlotte will now give the 2021 four-year-old champion young horse a break.
“He’s already qualified for novice and elementary at the regionals, so I’ll definitely give him a break now,” she said.
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