Keysoe High Profile dressage show: hot competition in chilly temperatures

  • Two horses known as Del fill the top spots at grand prix level, while a brand new combination enjoy a double win on their competitive debut together at Keysoe High Profile in Bedfordshire

    WHILE temperatures at Keysoe High Profile dressage show were chilly, the competition was seriously hot over the four-day show. Fiona Bigwood took top honours in both the grand prix and grand prix special with her top horse Hawtins Delicato, who posted scores of 69.9% and 69.34% respectively, consistently scoring sevens and 7.5s across the board.

    Fiona took the ride on this 13-year-old, who was campaigned to top level by Carl Hester, in March 2020. The change in rider came about after the postponement of the Olympics in 2020 and Carl, who trains Fiona, offering her the chance to try riding the son of Diamond Hit.

    This latest result tops off a very successful year for the pair, who have enjoyed grand prix wins both nationally and abroad. Not to be outdone, Fiona’s daughter Mette Dahl won the junior team test on Daytona Platinum.

    Anna Ross was hot on Fiona’s heels in the grand prix, coming second with Delgado on 68.79%, and won the inter II on Habouche on 71.05%.

    “‘Del’ is my pet horse and it was lovely to ride him in a test as he hasn’t been in the arena in front of judges for a couple of years,” explained Anna, referring to the fact that this 13-year-old, whom she co-owns with Beverley Brown, has been off games due to tweaking a ligament while lungeing.

    “He bust some moves like a drunk dad at a wedding on the lunge and pulled up lame. I have given him a long time to recover as he is such a good horse.”

    This was Del’s first grand prix special and he scored eights for his one-time tempi changes and half-passes.

    “There is a lot to improve on but I adore this horse and, as I have been away competing other horses over the past couple of months, full credit must go to my riders at home, Beth Bainbridge and Alex Baker, who have kept him going in my absence.”

    Anna said that she put a “white-knuckle ride” in the inter B with the nine-year-old Habouche behind her to take their impressive win in the inter II.

    “She is a very exuberant mare and thought it was thrilling to be clipped out and outside on the coldest day of the year, so added in some leaps and bounds in the inter B – it was pretty funny and the judge was laughing as we came up the final centre line,” said Anna.

    Anna Ross riding Harbouche at Keysoe High Profile dressage show

    “She is an extremely talented, exciting horse – I’ve had her since she was four and she has already produced five foals via embryo transfer. We’ve competed her sparingly with the future in mind and hopefully we’ll get some early internationals in next year.”

    “Lockdown project” pays dividends at Keysoe High Profile

    SARA-JANE LANNING said she had “a great time” winning the middle tour championship with Sigurd, as well as banking an advanced medium hat-trick with seven-year-old Hawtins Lirica, who is owned by Nicola Seale.

    “I bought him [Sigurd] the day before the first lockdown after losing my own horse,” explains Sara-Jane. “It was a great lockdown project and we have been on a nice journey together. He’s super-consistent and riding to our Madagascar music was great fun.”

    Henriette Andersen topped a prix st georges (PSG) section with Zackery II on 74.65%, with their trot work producing some strong marks.

    “He’s not had that much experience and this was his first proper indoor show,” Henriette explained of the 10-year-old by Blue Hors Zack. “He’s a big horse, who can be nervy, so we have given him plenty of time, but he is, without doubt, the best horse I’ve ever had – he just needs more mileage.”

    Henriette Andersen topped a prix st georges (PSG) section with Zackery II

    Henriette Andersen riding Zackery II to a prix st georges win.

    Davy Harvey (Rossana), Sarah Higgins (Geniaal) and Alice Oppenheimer (Headmore Dionysus) also picked up wins at PSG level over the course of the show.

    11-hour drive south pays off

    Fenella Quinn’s competitive journey with Empire B, whom she has only owned for six weeks, got off to a winning start at Keysoe High Profile when winning Friday’s inter I on 70.26% and Saturday’s inter I freestyle on 71.25%. Fenella bought the 12-year-old from Helgstrand Dressage in Denmark.

    “I’m delighted given that this was our first competition together,” said Fenella, who made the 11-hour trip from her Aberdeen base worthwhile.

    “His trot work is amazing with so much power – I’ve just been having to learn how to manage that power positively. I’m hoping he’ll be my next grand prix horse.”

    Fenella also enjoyed success with Creatzo, winning the grand prix freestyle to African-themed music on 67.91%.

    “He’s the first horse I’ve trained to grand prix and he’s really hot so I’m super-happy he held it together in the test,” she explained. “This was only the second time we’ve done a grand prix freestyle, so although we had some mistakes, it’s great he kept a lid on it.”

    Ruth Hole with Baptista-RA took inter I honours on day one of the Keysoe High Profile show, while Ruby Hughes continued her run of form by winning the junior individual test on Extra Time and Millie Caldecott took a double win in children-on-horses ranks riding Beaurepaire Frodo.

    “He no longer associates a rider on his back with pain”

    LEVI HUNT has endured a “challenging year” with his double medium winner Fandango V.

    Levi Hunt riding Fandango V

    “‘Dan’ had a saddle with a twisted tree fitted to him and in the time it took us to work out what the problem was, he lost every bit of confidence,” explained Levi. “He had a few months off and then underwent a year of rehab, which included plenty of physio and also going cantering around the Welsh hills, where we are now based, rather than taking him in the school too often. It was horrendous as he is such a genuine trier of a horse.”

    Since undergoing rehab, Dan, a nine-year-old owned by Stephanie Palmer, has completed a handful of tests.

    “Every time we have been out and about I’ve been asking Dan, ‘Are you happy? Are you confident?’ But he is taking me around the arena now, and a lot of that is thanks to the eventing-level fitness he has gained and not associating a rider getting on his back with pain – it’s been an emotional journey. I feel now that, as long as all goes to plan, his career trajectory is unstoppable.”

    • This report will also be available to read in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 16 December

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