Charlie Hutton thrills in gala night freestyle at British Dressage Winter Championships

  • Charlie Hutton thrived in Hartpury’s electric atmosphere on Saturday night (9 April) to win the Superflex inter I freestyle championship at the NAF Five Star British Dressage Winter Championships with Judy Peploe’s Super Blue.

    Charlie sat tight as the horse showed off some impressive gymnastics in the prize giving.

    The Showstar x Floristan 12-year-old’s tight big bold extensions, super changes and balanced uphill way of going earned them 72.46% – one of their best scores at the level.

    Their test, set to a rock compilation put together by Gary Wood at Equitunes, proved a hit with the packed gala night audience.

    “I love riding here; it’s a great honour. It’s quite a daunting atmosphere with the crowd high up but also very close, but ‘Pepe’ went in tonight and really listened – I was very pleased with him,” said Charlie, who had a particularly busy evening, juggling competing alongside performing a display to music with wife Abi.

    Second-placed Maria Griffin was overcome with excitement at D-J’s performance for 71.83%.

    “He did a really fun, bouncy and energetic test tonight – he tries his heart out for me,” she said of Adrian Baker’s Diamond Hit x Sandro Song 14-year-old, whom she’s ridden since he was a four-year-old. “We’ve had a very good start to the season this year so I was hoping I might get into the prize-giving, but you really never know in an atmosphere like that – there’s nothing like it.”

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    Richard Barratt finished third aboard Mark Philpott’s 16-year-old Warkant gelding Walid 4. He also produced a fluid, mistake-free test, with just a couple of small moments of miscommunication. Their score of 71.42% matched that of fourth-placed Bryony Goodwin and Hawtins Floriana, with just one collective mark separating the two.

    “When he goes well he’s a plus-70% horse and tonight he was very good,” said Richard, who only got the music five days ago. “He’s quirky to ride but tonight he was easy to ride and we had fun. He seems to go well in the atmosphere here.”

    For a full report from the British Dressage NAF Five Star Winter Championships and the Petplan Equine Area Festival Final pick up a copy of Horse & Hound on Thursday, 14 April.

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