British Olympic medallist Fiona Bigwood has taken over the ride on Carl Hester’s former top horse Hawtins Delicato. Fiona, who was a member of Britain’s silver medal-winning dressage team at the Rio Olympics, took over riding Delicato in 2020, and now owns the 13-year-old Diamond Hit son, known as “Del”.
“When the Olympics were postponed last March, I offered Fiona the chance to have a sit on Del, and she got on really well with him so I said she could take him on,” Carl told H&H.
“It’s working really well, because I teach Fiona so I can help her with him, and it means he continues to be kept in the lifestyle he is used to with a similar routine and lots of turnout. As far as I’m concerned, it’s an ideal situation.”
With Carl, Del has been one of Britain’s most successful top horses in recent years – having become national prix st georges champion under Charlotte Dujardin in 2016 and taking the national inter II title a year later, he and Carl helped Britain win bronze at the World Equestrian Games in 2018, the gelding’s first year at grand prix. They also finished ninth in the special.
A year later at the 2019 European Dressage Championships in Rotterdam, the pair again finished ninth in the special, and sixth individually in the grand prix.
The British-bred gelding’s most recent international appearance was at Olympia in 2019, where he and Carl finished second to Charlotte and Mount St John Freestyle, scoring 84.47%.
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In February 2020 Carl took over the ride on Charlotte’s Jazz gelding En Vogue, whom he is aiming for the Tokyo Olympics.
“I am winding down now and I want to concentrate on En Vogue rather than having lots of horses to compete – I feel I have done as much as I can with Del,” said Carl, who bought Del from his breeder Judith Davis as a four-year-old.
“Competing is not one of my top priorities now – I love the training and producing side – whereas Fiona is a great rider and mad keen to get out again, and Del is ready to go.
“This is good for Britain as it strengthens our chances for further good team riders, and I know they will make a really great partnership.”
Fiona Bigwood and Hawtins Delicato made their competition debut together at Hunters Equestrian yesterday (7 April), scoring 69.9% in the grand prix.
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