Britain off to great start in Aachen dressage despite withdrawal of one team member

Lottie Fry holds third place for Britain at the lunchbreak of the dressage grand prix in Aachen, the Prize of Family Tesch, today (Thursday, 18 July).

The 23-year-old rode a smooth, accurate test on Dark Legend, an 11-year-old by Zucchero who belongs to his rider and Van Olst Horses. The pair scored 74.435%.

“He felt amazing and it’s especially amazing to ride in that arena and at Aachen,” said Lottie, who is making her debut at the prestigious German venue. “He’s a sharp horse, but he was really with me and concentrating and trying his hardest.”

Britain is down to just three team members for the Lambertz Nations Cup, because Germany-based Susan Pape had to withdraw last night due to Harmony’s Don Noblesse suffering from a minor infection.

“He was fine on Tuesday, but on Wednesday he was unwell. It’s bad timing on an occasion like this, but it’s better to listen to the horse,” she told H&H. “I’m here to cheer on the rest of the team.”

Team GB’s pathfinder Louise Bell was thrilled to break the 70% barrier for 70.043% on her own Into The Blue.

“He was very nervous at the beginning of the test and it didn’t feel great, but as soon as he’d done the halt and rein-back he took a deep breath and settled down,” said Louise. “The pressure was on with only three team members and when it doesn’t start well you have to tell yourself to hold it together.

“You have to ride as much as you can to your strengths and I had to bear with the weaknesses at the beginning today. The crowd loved him and that raises you up.”

Britain’s final rider, Charlotte Dujardin on Erlentanz, goes into the arena at 2.24pm local time (1.24pm British time) this afternoon.

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The lead is held by Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, whose elegant mare TSF Dalera BB — owned by Beatrice Bürchler-Keller — performed a super test for 79%. The final rider before the lunchbreak came closest to challenging Jessica when Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour scored 78.413% on the nine-year-old Bohemian.

Fry’s opening day win

Lottie Fry also celebrated victory on her first day competing in Aachen when she took yesterday’s prix st georges riding Glamourdale, another belonging to the Van Olsts, with whom she is based in the Netherlands. The pair scored 77.971% to finish more than 5% ahead of the field.

“He’s really cool — he loves the atmosphere, loves it when people are watching him and loves to show off,”  said Lottie.

Check back for more news from Aachen throughout the week, plus full reports in next week’s Horse & Hound (dated 25 July).