Rising British dressage star Lara Griffith has said she is “delighted” after securing her first international win in Florida last weekend (Saturday 21 February).
She won the grand prix special at the Global Dressage Festival aboard her partner of four years, Rubin Al Asad.
On just the second attempt at this level for the 13-year-old gelding, the combination scored 69.608% to win the class ahead of second placed American rider Sharon McCusker and her horse Wrigley on 69.098%.
The 26-year-old has been based with British Olympic dressage rider Laura Tomlinson since 2013. In an interview with H&H last year, Laura confirmed that competing on the 13 week tour in Florida should put both her and Lara on the British selector’s radar for the European Championships in Aachen during August 2015.
The pair were also second in the grand prix two days previously (19 February), narrowly beaten on a score of 71.020%.
“‘Rufus’ was slightly tired after his grand prix test two days before the grand prix special, but he still produced an awesome test with just a few mistakes,” Lara told H&H.
“He felt the best he ever has — stronger and very rideable — in the grand prix, and there was a huge improvement even on his first performances in Florida just two weeks ago.”
Rubin Al Asad will now have a two week break before his next competition.
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Laura also contested the grand prix and scored 62% with her 11-year-old mare Unique (Minnie) — who was having her first attempt at this level. Laura said that Minnie was “a little confused by so many movements so she was a little all over the place”, but that she was looking forward to having another attempt soon.
Lara and Laura are due to return to the UK in March. Providing that the horses travel well, both riders have their sights set on several European shows to try to secure their team selection.
Laura revealed in an interview with H&H in 2013 that she has big plans for her protégé.
“We want to develop a future British rider along with our horses,” she said. “The goal would be for Lara and I to ride together on the team at Rio 2016, perhaps even on home-bred horses — my parents would be beside themselves if that happened, Mum would grow to 6ft tall. Of course we’ve got a lot of work to do for that to happen, but you’ve got to dream big.”