Charlotte Dujardin took the roof off at the Hartpury Festival of Dressage CDI3* as she and Mount St John Freestyle finally rode their much-anticipated kür.
Having been denied the chance to ride her new music routine at the World Equestrian Games in September last year, this opportunity has been a long time coming, but Charlotte and the 10-year-old Fidermark mare made the most of it in the Superflex grand prix freestyle with a huge score of 87.6%. No judge had her below 86%, with two marking as high as 89%.
“That was my first time riding to that music,” admitted Charlotte, who also dedicated her ride to Roy Burek, the late chairman of Charles Owen, whose memorial service was held the same day.
Emma and Jill Blundell’s lovely mare was on top form, pulling off beautiful changes and super pirouettes — of which Charlotte rode two sets of doubles and two singles. They concluded the performance with a dramatic extended trot down the centre line as their Frozen-inspired music reached its crescendo.
“I’m absolutely thrilled because the degree of difficulty is immense; it is one thing another another and there is no room for error at all. On the last centre line I really didn’t know if I was going to stop — was was still raring to go,” laughed Charlotte.
“I don’t know what it is about that horse but she makes me cry every time, and that music feels so magical to ride to.”
Hayley Watson-Greaves took second after posting an international personal best score of 77.96% with her 15-year-old Rubin Royal gelding Rubins Nite. The pair produced a beautiful routine, and their highlights included smooth changes, rhythmic passage and their trademark extended trot.
Also achieving a personal best was the KK Woodstock, the ride of Gareth Hughes, who finished third on 75.93%. The elegant 13-year-old danced through the floorplan with just a mistake in their one-time changes pulling their marks down.
Lara Butler slotted into fourth with Kristjan, posting 72.99%.
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Earlier in the evening, Jayne Turney rode Shirley Rixon’s nine-year-old Starnberg gelding Penhaligon’s Jupiter to victory in the hotly-contested Elite Stallions young horse prix st georges championship.
“Neither of us have ever done anything this big, so I’m speechless,” said Jayne, who has trained this horse since he was a five-year-old, and is still fairly new to the level herself. “He went in and thought it was a bit scary, but even when he feels like that I can still put my leg on, and he lets me help him.”
Don’t miss the 11 July issue of H&H for the full report from Hartpury CDI3* and Premier League.