British dressage team for Hickstead Nations Cup revealed

  • The British team for the sole leg of the Nations Cup to take place on home soil has been announced.

    The team will be made up of Hayley Watson-Greaves on Rubins Nite, Alice Oppenheimer on Headmore Delegate, Henriette Andersen on Warlocks Charm and Spencer Wilton aboard Numberto.

    Hickstead’s international meeting takes place from 16-18 July and is the last chance for riders to prove themselves in front of selectors ahead of the European Championships at Aachen, Germany, in August.

    The Nations Cup result will comprise team riders’ results from the grand prix and the special or freestyle: all riders contest the grand prix, then Hayley and Henrietta will ride the kür, while Alice and Spencer will compete in the special. The results of the rider with the lowest placings will be dropped.

    But from a selection perspective, the grand prix results will be crucial, as it is this test which determines the team medals at the Europeans.

    Hayley Watson-Greaves has had a cracking second international grand prix season with her 11-year-old Gribaldi gelding Rubins Nite.

    Their scores peaked last weekend at Hartpury, culminating with 72.75% in the kür for third place behind Carl Hester (Nip Tuck) and Henriette Andersen (Warlocks Charm).

    In turn, Henriette has been slowly building Warlocks Charm’s confidence and the results have been inching up to prove it. Their 75% at Hartpury was by far their best yet at the level — and only the second time they had broken the 70% barrier in the freestyle at the level.

    Alice Oppenheimer’s home-bred Headmore Delegate has quite a bit to prove to catch selectors’ eye; the pair have only topped 70% at international grand prix once.

    Spencer Wilton is still getting to know the 14-year-old Negro gelding Numberto, but the horse doubtless has talent; he scored a perfect 10 for his one-time changes at Aachen’s five-star show in 2013 under his former Spanish rider Severo Jurado Lopez. No pressure, Spencer…

    Barring incident, the British dressage team for the Europeans is expected to be announced on Monday (20 July).

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