‘He’s a superstar’: Annabella Pidgley makes grand prix debut aboard ‘best teacher’ Gio

  • British teenager Annabella Pidgley made a winning grand prix debut with an impressive +73% aboard Gio.

    The medal-winning gelding, owned by Annabella’s mother Sarah Pidgley and known as “Pumpkin”, joined the 17-year-old’s string in autumn 2021.

    Charlotte Dujardin, who partnered the 11-year-old Apache son to double Olympic bronze in Tokyo and a clutch of medals at the 2021 European Championships, was at Hunters Equestrian to support her pupil Annabella for this milestone moment.

    “Yesterday [19 September] was a very special day for Pumpkin and I because we rode our first grand prix together,” said Annabella, who has won multiple junior European medals for Britain on her other rides

    “I am so grateful that I get to learn this new level together with the best dancing partner, Pumpkin. To top it off, we won with 73% and I couldn’t have asked for more.

    “He is such a superstar and he is the best teacher. I am so proud of him and how our partnership is growing every day.

    “Thank you so much to Charlotte for all your support with Pumpkin, we couldn’t do it without you! A huge thank you also to Cathrine Dufour, who has supported me since I was a pony rider, crazy now we are training grand prix together.”

    She added she “can’t wait for 2023 with this special boy”.

    Annabella and Gio have enjoyed a successful first year together. Their highlights as a combination include taking the inter II title at the British Dressage National Championships at Somerford Park on a huge 79.12%.

    Charlotte said she was “so immensely happy” to have been there for Annabella’s first grand prix “on the lovely Pumpkin”.

    “I’m so incredibly proud of them both and at how hard she has worked to form a partnership with him and I’m looking forward to supporting their future together,” she said.

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