Gio moves to new rider Annabella Pidgley’s yard

  • The British Olympic and European medallist Gio has left Charlotte Dujardin’s base and is now living at new owner Annabella Pidgley’s Berkshire yard.

    The 11-year-old Apache x Tango gelding won team and individual bronze with Charlotte at the Tokyo Olympics in July 2021, and the pair also took team silver and individual bronze at the European Championships last September. In late October it was announced that “Pumpkin” had been sold to the Pidgley family, for 17-year-old junior medallist Annabella Pidgley to ride.

    Pumpkin initially stayed with Charlotte at Carl Hester’s Gloucestershire yard, with Annabella travelling to train with Charlotte on him once a week through the winter. Charlotte claimed a resounding World Cup victory aboard Pumpkin at the London International Horse Show, in what was expected to be the final competitive appearance for the partnership, and in February 2022 Pumpkin moved to live at the Pidgleys’ Kilbees Farm near Windsor.

    Pumpkin is not the only new arrival at Kilbees Farm; the Pidgleys’ nine-year-old Escolar x Dimaggio mare Espe, who has been in Denmark training under European silver medallist Cathrine Dufour, has also now arrived in the UK for Annabella to ride. She joins Pumpkin and Annabella’s junior Europeans double silver medallist Sultan Des Paluds in the teenager’s exciting string.

    “It’s lovely to have both horses now in our stable,” Annabella told H&H, referring to Pumpkin and Espe. “I’m taking it slow under the guidance of Cathrine and Charlotte, and look forward to a new journey with both horses.”

    Annabella is yet to make her competitive debut with Pumpkin – the pair were entered for an inter II at Sparsholt College on 20 February, but the show was cancelled due to the effects of Storm Eunice.

    Inter II will be the highest level Annabella has competed at so far – she rode one inter I test with her former junior horse Belafonte in 2020, and she stepped up to prix st georges (PSG) with Sultan in November with over 75%.

    “I’ve never ridden a grand prix horse before, so I’m learning the grand prix movements at the moment,” Annabella explained in the 20 January issue of H&H.

    “Pumpkin has so much power and energy and he is so sweet. He shows me the feeling of what I need to achieve with my other horses. Charlotte has done an amazing job with him. Piaffe-passage is one of his huge highlights and that’s amazing to ride – you can click and he piaffes,” she enthuses. “The aim for me and Pumpkin is definitely grand prix. I’ve gained so much respect for all the grand prix riders as they make it look so easy.”

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