British riders continue to shine at the Barcelona CDI, with Carl Hester last night (Thursday 26 March) posting an international personal best for his own and Jane de la Mare’s 11-year-old Nip Tuck.
The pair scored 75.84% to top the 17-strong class, with all five judges unanimously placing them first.
Carl garnered nines for the canter zig-zag, one-time changes and his riding, leading to €2,045 (£1,493) prize-money for first place.
The 11-year-old KWPN gelding is by the Don Gregory son Don Ruto, out of a mare by jumping sire Animo.
“I was just delighted with his progress,” said Carl. “Especially being under lights as that was another first for him. And, although he was hot to trot, he got several nines for his canter work and was great fun to ride.”
The judges’ marks were remarkably in accordance, with the low score being 74.5% (Juan Carlos Campos Escribano, Spain) up to 76.7% (Stephen Clarke, Great Britain).
Carl’s compatriots filled two more of the top five placings.
Henriette Andersen’s 12-year-old Jazz x Farrington gelding Warlocks Charm finally cracked the magic 70% at grand prix with a performance that garnered a high score of 71.9% from Raphaël Saleh, the French judge at E.
The pair finished on 70.34% and must join the potential long-list for this year’s European championships in Aachen in August.
Hayley Watson-Greaves was fifth on WG Rubins Nite (pictured right) with 69.4%. She also won the grand prix freestyle in the CDI3* during the first week of the two-week show.
Another British pair grabbing limelight in Barcelona is Fiona Bigwood with her Gribaldi mare, Atterupgaards Orthilia, who is known at home as Tillie.
The West Sussex-based rider was making her international come-back after a nasty fall at Keysoe in April 2014, which has left her with double vision. She was sporting an eye patch in Barcelona.
During the pair’s grand prix it was windy which made the mare spooky, but she looked rock solid in the grand prix special — her first ever attempt at the test.
They were rewarded with 74.13% and have put themselves squarely on the selectors’ radar for Aachen.
“There are not many tests that I have ridden where I have tears rolling down my cheek on the last centerline, but this was one of them,” said Fiona on social media.
“Tillie was the only horse that I would ride after my accident last year and she has kept me going. I also have to say a huge thank you to Anders Dahl, who has done more for me than I can ever thank him for. What a day.”
For full report, don’t miss next week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine — out 2 April, 2015