‘We’re just getting started’: mistake-free test tops Royal Windsor freestyle podium

  • Emile Faurie won the Defender CDI4* freestyle at the Royal Windsor Horse Show riding Diana Rose’s 13-year-old mare Bellevue (Bordeaux x Brentano II).

    The pair scored a mistake-free 76.28% – with their scores only once dropping below 7 – to finish ahead of popular combination Lewis Carrier and Diego V (75.16%) who placed second and Olympic-bound Caroline Chew aboard her promising stallion Blue Hors Zatchmo in third (74.99%).

    “She was great,” said Emile, “I kept the programme quite simple for her because she’s not really done many freestyles but she just grew in confidence from yesterday and she was a much more relaxed horse.”

    Emile’s music was composed by Tom Hunt and the floorplan comfortably scored the highest artistic mark of the day with 80.16%.

    “She’s so elegant and she’s such a beautiful horse, that you can’t have anything too dramatic because it will overpower her. So I wanted something with a cinematic feel that created a bit of emotion but that was still light – and Tom delivered.”

    The combination were second in the grand prix behind Gareth Hughes and Classic Goldstrike after a mistake in the passage, but Emile feels there’s much more to come from the mare: “We’ve not scratched the surface with her, there’s a lot more to come.

    “We’ve had a tough year – I was diagnosed with cancer and had to have some time off – and for the last 16 months it’s been a bit on and off, so I haven’t even begun to see what she can do – she’s so willing and she loves her work.”

    With the top combinations quite tightly packed it did come down to mistakes in the end, with Gareth having errors in the half-pass and changes, while Lewis also had a mistake in the changes and in the first halt.

    However, Lewis was still thrilled with Diego’s two tests. “Riding in this arena is an absolute privilege,” he said. “He did London in December and now Windsor, but I think he needs to do some smaller shows because he’s coming into the halts think it’s a party!

    “He was a bit overexcited and we had a couple of little blips, but to get that score and still come second was fantastic.”

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