Superstar horse adds another title to his collection at the 2024 Winter Dressage Championships

  • Dannie Morgan and Fever Tree (Foundation x Dayano) added another title to their ever-growing collection, winning the Equi-Trek Elementary Gold Winter Championship at the 2024 NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships on 74.79%.

    The combination also won the PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Gold Championship the day before (11 April), with Dannie describing “Gordon” – as he as known at home – as the best horse he’s ever sat on.

    There was a slight mistake today in the medium trot, but with consistent eights across the board – including unanimous eights from the judges for the collective mark on the rider’s seat and position – Dannie still finished more than 2% ahead of his partner Davy Harvey, who was second aboard Judy Peploe’s Benefit.

    “Gordon is a fabulous horse and he has a great temperament so I can always go in and rely on him,” said Dannie. “I know that any mistakes are my fault but I was lucky today that there were a lot of highlights in the test for him so it was still a great score.”

    The six-year-old gelding looks destined for the very top, with Dannie describing him as the whole package: “He’s an eye-catching horse, he’s a super mover and very loose in his way of going, with three good paces, and he has a lovely temperament.

    “I think that’s rare to find all of those things in the same horse – I’m very lucky.”

    As well as having Davy for support, Dannie is also close friends with fellow competitors Sadie Smith, who claimed the Superflex Intermediate I Gold Winter Championship, and Jezz Palmer, who has been one of the competitions leading riders.

    “It’s great to have that support network because we can all bounce ideas off each, even when we’re at home. They’re riders that I look up to and I think we all inspire each other a little bit.

    “It can be hard when you’re doing it at home on your own a lot, so it’s good to have friends who you can ask for advice from because sometimes we put a bit too much pressure on ourselves, and it’s good to get a second opinion, to just say ‘relax, it looks good’ – we’re all quite critical so it’s nice to be told you are doing a good job.”

    2024 Winter Dressage Championships: “I can’t put it into words”

    Hannah Luesley rode Ferdi and Geri Eilberg’s EDH Franklin Rose to edge the Horselight Medium Silver Winter Championship on 69.5% – less than 1% ahead of second-placed Sophie Chatwin and Katharine-Trix Us.

    Hannah herself was a close second earlier in the week, when she finished a remarkable 0.001% behind Amy Hose and Enrique in the Equi-Trek Elementary Silver.

    Reflecting on her win she said: “It’s amazing, it makes that second much more managable I guess – it’s my first championship win with her.”

    Hannah has been based with the Eilbergs for over a year and describes working for them on a day-to-day basis as incredible.

    “I can’t put it into words – I’m so lucky to ride horses for them, I don’t even need to be having lessons to be learning, I can just watch them ride, and listen to them explaining what they’re doing and I pick up so much.”

    Prior to working for the Eilbergs Hannah completed an equine apprenticeship which she credits with getting her into the industry straight out of school: “That was the most valuable thing for me because it’s allowed me to have opportunities like this.

    “Long-term I’d love to progress up the levels and to think about teams, that would be the ultimate dream. But short-term I’ll keep chipping away at training and then see what the summer holds.”

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