Charlotte Dujardin scored more than 81% to win tonight’s grand prix at Olympia Horse Show, riding Mount St John Freestyle.
Charlotte rode a fault-free round in the pilot edition of this short grand prix, which received generally positive feedback from riders. She and the 10-year-old Fidermark mare pulled in big marks across the board, with nines for her pirouettes, canter zig-zag and one-time changes, which are ridden up the centre line between the pirouettes in this new floorplan.
“This is only her second indoor competition, and coming in here takes a lot of nerve to cope with the atmosphere, especially for younger horses. Trotting round the edge I can hear everyone saying, ‘Good luck Charlotte’ — that’s how close they are,” said Charlotte, who won the grand prix at the Lyon World Cup qualifier with Freestyle in November.
“In Lyon she was a bit overwhelmed as there was so much going on, and it was all a new adventure for her. But here the feeling in there was fantastic, and she felt very similar in the ring to how she did outside,” Charlotte, who is aiming to compete at April’s World Cup in Las Vegas, told H&H.
“I actually really liked the short floorplan and enjoyed riding it. Everything does come up very quickly but it flowed much better than last year’s test, and for Freestyle at least it was really good.”
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Carl Hester finished second with the British-bred 11-year-old Hawtins Delicato, beating Olympia debutante Lottie Fry with the 10-year-old Lord Leatherdale stallion Everdale by just 0.4%.
Mistakes in the two-time changes and the collected walk marred what was otherwise a soft and fluent test from Carl and Delicato, who has not competed since his super performances at the European Championships in Rotterdam in August.
“He can do a much better test, but he hasn’t been out since August and it does show when you’re not in test mode,” said Carl.
For Lottie and Everdale (below) on the other hand, their 75.37% was the combination’s best grand prix score to date, the stallion having made his debut at the level earlier this year.
“I’m really proud of him — this is the biggest atmosphere he has competed in, and it has been a long trip to get here. He’s not used to going abroad,” said Lottie, who is based in the Netherlands with Van Olst Horses. “He did an amazing test — his best yet!”
Lara Butler completed a British top four with a super test full of poise and class, posting plus0-74% on the 17-year-old Rubin Al Asad.
Tonight’s grand prix determines the starting order for tomorrow night’s grand prix freestyle, which forms the World Cup qualifier (17 December) and gets underway at 7.25pm.
Don’t miss the full report from Olympia in next week’s Horse & Hound, on sale Friday 27 December