Britain’s Gareth Hughes takes early lead in the dressage at London International Horse Show

  • The London Horse Show dressage is underway at the show’s new home of the ExCeL Centre in London (pictured), and Britain’s Gareth Hughes holds the top spot at the halfway point in the grand prix, supported by Horse & Hound. The dressage begins with the short grand prix test, which will qualify riders for the grand prix freestyle tomorrow, which forms the London leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup.

    Gareth and the 12-year-old Diamond Hit stallion KK Dominant scored 69.6% to head what has been a very close class so far.

    “I’m very happy with him; he hasn’t done anything like this before so he is very inexperienced,” said Gareth.

    “We had two unfortunate little mistakes: in the last change in the zig-zag he went ahead of me which is so expensive, and canter to trot apparently is very difficult – we can do one tempis and two tempis but we can’t do canter to trot,” he joked.

    “But it’s an amazing venue, it looks great and the arena seemed to ride very well.”

    Gareth explained that the Kroll family’s “Danny” has had to take something of a backseat this year, while he has focused on going to the Tokyo Olympics and European Championships with his top horse Sintano Van Hof Olympia.

    “Danny’s owners have been amazing. He went to the nationals and did very well there, and it has been nice for him to come here.

    “He is not very spooky, but he was a bit spooky in the working in, and then through the test he decided to start whinnying,” Gareth added. “I came down the centre line doing my ones and he spotted a gentleman in a yellow jacket walking out at the back and he started whinnying through the middle of the test. But even when he’s nervous he keeps going. You can feel him hold his breath but he sits on the lines and he holds and he walks and that’s massive.”

    Britain’s Lara Butler currently sits second with Kristjan on 69.37%, ahead of Hayley Wtson-Greaves and Rubins Nite on 67.89% making it a British one-two-three.

    Still to come is Charlotte Dujardin riding the Olympic and European medallist Gio at 9.54am, as well as Lottie Fry with Dark Legend at 10.08am and former London Horse Show dressage winner Frederic Wandres of Germany, riding Duke Of Britain to close out the class at 10.22am.

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