The recent Bicton Horse Trials five-star winner took over the ride on Pru Dawes’ smart grey this season because his former rider, Liz Halliday-Sharp, decided to base herself full time in the US and Pru wanted to be able to see the horse more than would have been possible had he stayed with the US rider.
“We’re still building a partnership and he’s a bit green still in his flying changes, but today we managed to get a good clean one each way – they were just a bit green,” said Gemma. “I was so pleased with this trot work, I thought that was really solid.”
Gemma said the nine-year-old Flash Cooley’s attitude in the arena is particularly exciting for his future.
She explained: “He did the best work he’s done all week in the arena and that’s a really good sign that he can go in there, in that atmosphere, as a young horse and not bat an eyelid. He was completely relaxed and I don’t think he’ll ever change either because he’s just not bothered at all by any sort of atmosphere.
“He seems to go in and actually do better work in the arena than he does outside, which is amazing. He goes in and lifts and shows off a bit, which is really nice.”
Gemma added: “He’s quite little, but he’s actually got a really good step. He’s got really good scope for his stride, which is what matters if you’ve got a slightly small one – they’ve got to have a big stride and he has, so it doesn’t matter that he’s small.”
Two nine-year-old mares hold second and third in the Blenheim Horse Trials dressage for this class – Caroline Harris currently sits second on Rebecca Stones’ Miss Pepperpot (30.4), with Grace Taylor in third for the USA on Hiarado (32.7), who belongs to Katie and Penelope Cabourne.
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