‘We keep pinching ourselves’: top British dressage pony teams up with new rider

  • The prolific British team pony Le Chiffre has been leased to 13-year-old dressage rider Elizabeth Hart.

    The 13-year-old Ceaser x Donnerwetter gelding, known at home as Peanut, is still owned by his breeders, Bev and Samantha Brown of Godrics Stud.

    Le Chiffre represented Britain at the 2016 European Pony Championships under Lara Kuropatwa, finishing eighth individually, and has also been successfully competed on the international circuit by Chloe Vell, Charlotte McDowell and Sophie Taylor, as well as nationally by Ruby Hughes, with whom he has been based since 2018.

    Suffolk-based Elizabeth, who trains with Charlotte Drakey and is aiming for a place on the British Dressage pony prime squad, said: “Peanut is a very challenging ride at first but when you’ve managed to convince him you’re up to the job, then he really works with you and starts to give you his absolute best.

    “I am so humbled and grateful to Bev and Sam for letting me, a relatively unknown rider, have the ride on such an incredibly talented pony, and everyone at Hughes Dressage who helped to make this happen and of course my family who work super hard to support me in this sport.”

    “Elizabeth is in love with Peanut already,” added her mother Rickie. “She lives and breathes dressage, and works really hard while also always putting her ponies’ welfare first.

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    “She is very analytical and has created spreadsheets to track her scores and her progress. Having the opportunity for her to ride Peanut is a dream come true, for all of us – we keep pinching ourselves.”

    Le Chiffre’s co-owner Samantha Brown of Godrics Stud added: “We knew Peanut was special when he was born and to see him as a six-year-old compete internationally and then to continue with four different riders is beyond our expectations.”

    Elizabeth got into dressage after losing some confidence with jumping, and aged nine was taken under the wing of German trainer Gerda Warner, later acquiring her first dressage pony, Poppy, a former ride of British youth team rider Holly Kerslake.

    With Poppy, Elizabeth was selected for the British Dressage Eastern County Championships as well as the BD Youth inter-regionals.

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