‘He was on fire in there’: British pair head London Horse Show freestyle leaderboard at halfway stage

  • Britain’s Lara Butler is in the lead at the halfway stage of the London Horse Show dressage grand prix freestyle, supported by Horse & Hound, riding the 16-year-old gelding Kristjan.

    Lara and the Bechtolsheimers’ Polarion gelding scored 76.3% with a really lovely test, to lead ahead of Gareth Hughes on KK Dominant, who posted 75.85%.

    Lara’s test at the London International Horse Show was fluent, elegant and mistake-free other than an unfortunate break in their final extended trot. Using the Celtic style soundtrack she rode to with her former top horse Rubin Al Asad, but adapted to a new floorplan, the pair pulled in good marks for their tempi changes – riding two lines of very straight and clean one-times – as well as their rhythmic piaffe-passage work, which remained bang on the beat of the music.

    “He was amazing; he was on fire in there,” said Lara. “That’s the first time he has been in that sort of atmosphere and when we went in I could feel him saying, ‘Oh my goodness’, but he just came into his own.

    “He floats across the arena and he looks like a little ballerina I think.”

    Gareth and the 12-year-old Diamond Hit stallion Dominant, who opened the London Horse Show dressage yesterday (16 December), looked as though they might creep ahead of Lara, with a delightful routine to a new Beatles medley, until mistakes in both lines of one-time changes dropped their marks just below Lara’s.

    “We had a great time, with new music, fun music to ride to. I’ve never ridden to it before so that was cool,” said Gareth. “We didn’t get the one-tempis unfortunately, which was expensive as we had two goes and failed both times. But you know what? He’s a young horse, he’s inexperienced. It’s a big arena, it’s a big atmosphere. It was a lot of fun.”

    In third place at the halfway stage is Spain’s Alejandro Asencio Mendez riding Focus, just ahead of Britain’s Louise Bell and Into The Blue.

    The top riders from yesterday’s grand prix compete later this evening in the London Horse Show dressage freestyle. Germany’s Frederic Wandres and Duke Of Britain FRH, second, in the grand prix ride at 9.20pm, followed by Denmark’s Nanna Skodborg Merrald and Atterupgaards Orthilia at 9.29pm. Britain’s Lottie Fry and Dark Legend enter the arena at 9.38pm while grand prix winners Charlotte Dujardin and Gio, and favourites for the win tonight, ride last at 9.56pm.

    You may also be interested in…

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...