1. Annabella Pidgley
News broke on Monday night that Olympic bronze team and individual medallist Gio had been sold, leaving the horseworld muttering “Have you heard about Gio?”, and “What do you know about Annabella Pidgley?” in equal measure. To the latter question, Annabella is the extremely talented 16-year-old daughter of dressage rider Sarah and her late husband the great dressage supporter Tony Pidgley. Annabella, who trains with Gio’s former rider Charlotte Dujardin and Danish Olympian Cathrine Dufour, won double individual silver at the junior European Championships earlier this year on Sultan Des Paluds. She now has this incredible opportunity to partner a young, proven senior championship medallist and to be a real contender for future championships. And she is only 16! I cannot wait to see what this new partnership achieve once they get to know each other. Yet another nod to what strength in depth British dressage has now.
2. Gio being sold
And then of course there is the very fact that Gio has been sold, weeks after picking up Olympic and European medals with Charlotte Dujardin. I think we’re toughening up as a nation of dressage enthusiasts. We all remember the heartache over whether Valegro would be sold – and the hope of a nation of dressage aficionados that he would stay with Charlotte so that this wonderful partnership could go on, and win more medals for team GB. In contrast, it is no bad thing that the sale of Gio to a brilliant new rider has provoked merely a little surprise, some conversation, and little reaction. Maybe it’s because of the certainty that Gio has gone to another talented British rider rather than being sold abroad. Maybe it’s because we are all perfectly confident that the phenomenal Charlotte will produce yet another megastar in time for Paris. Maybe it’s because Britain’s Olympic hopes and dreams do not rest on one combination but this fantastic strength in depth. Whatever the reason, we take it as a positive development.
3. A multi-tasking 14-year-old
Talking of talented young riders, how’s this for a cool back-to-back of successes? Two weeks ago, 14-year-old Isabella Beecroft-Luckett, the daughter of international showjumpers Geoff Luckett and Claire Beecroft, helped the North Warwickshire branch of the Pony Club finish second in the Prince Philip Cup mounted games at Horse of the Year Show. And then last week she notched up a hat-trick of wins at the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) in Samorin, Slovakia.
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