Top British grand prix horse returns after over a year out – with a personal best score

  • Laura Tomlinson’s top horse, DSP Rose Of Bavaria, has made a stunning return to the arena after 15 months away from competition.

    Laura and “Betty” last competed at Donaueschingen CDI in Germany in August 2021, where they won the grand prix and special with Laura six months pregnant with her fourth child, Tommy. The pair made their comeback earlier this week at Hartpury, Glos, where they were awarded 81.52% for a grand prix test – the highest mark the pair have achieved together.

    “It’s been a while – it feels a very long time because I took some time out to have Tommy and then just as Betty was coming back into work she needed to have surgery because of a joint issue behind,” Laura told H&H. “The surgery was very scary for me as she is such a big horse, but she was an angel. We have rehabbed her very slowly this year, and just built her up bit by bit.

    “It’s thanks to a lot of effort from my very diligent home team that she is back and she feels great. The trip to Hartpury was really just to see how she was – I knew she wasn’t at full match fitness so I planned to ride her quite low key, but she is such a professional that she went in and did a great job. On the last centre line I wondered if she was maybe tiring a bit, but then I saw on the video her legs were still half a metre off the floor in passage. It definitely put a smile on my face to have her out again.”

    Laura’s plan now is to target the 12-year-old Bordeaux x Florestan I mare towards team selection for the Europeans in 2023, and ultimately, towards the Paris Olympics in 2024.

    Laura last rode on the British team at the London Games in 2012 where she and Mistral Højris won team gold and individual bronze. She and Betty were shortlisted for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 as well as the European championships the same year. Laura was also shortlisted for the world championships in 2022 with her second grand prix horse Fallatijn.

    “It’s been a journey, and anyone in horses will know what it’s like. You have phases where you feel invincible and then other times where you just think, ‘Why?’” said Laura.

    Although she doesn’t expect to gain a spot to ride at the London International Horse Show next month with Betty, Laura will aim for an early international next year, and focus on smaller national shows in the meantime.

    “Betty is looking better than ever,” she confirmed. “We are having her checked out every step of the way by the team vet, Andre Buthe, and have been very much led by the facts. For now, I’m just really enjoying training her again.”

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