Britain’s Lottie Fry leads the freestyle at London International Horse Show

  • Britain’s Lottie Fry has shot into the lead in the London Horse Show dressage freestyle, supported by Horse & Hound. Lottie and her own and the van Olsts’s 13-year-old Zucchero gelding Dark Legend pulled off a fantastic performance of their stunning ‘Let Me Take You Dancing’ freestyle, scoring 81.95%.

    Lottie and “Darky”, with whom she was under-25 European champion in 2018, and who took her to her first senior championship the following year, got toes tapping immediately and the strength of their technical execution matched the exciting soundtrack. They produced superb passage and much improved piaffe compared with their grand prix yesterday, as well as clean, bouncy tempi changes including a fluent sequence moving directly from the two-times into the one-times.

    Lottie described the feeling in her test as “really amazing”.

    “We had one tiny blip in the first canter pirouette, but after that he really put it all together and it felt incredible. The atmosphere in there is like nothing else – it’s amazing,” she said. “The whole way through the test it is completely silent and then they go crazy, and it’s just the best feeling in the world.

    This is Lottie’s second time competing at London International Horse Show, having ridden Everdale to finish third in 2019 behind Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester – whom she would ride alongside on the British team at the Tokyo Olympics less than two years later.

    Germany’s Frederic Wandres and the British-bred Dimaggio gelding Duke Of Britain posted a chunky 80.26% to sit in second at this stage of the London Horse Show dressage freestyle.

    The pair, who won the grand prix freestyle at Olympia in 2018, presented a dramatic, high-energy routine to an eighties medley featuring Pet Shop Boys and Frankie Goes To Hollywood, with the passage and piaffe standing out as particular highlights. His attractive walk section included a piaffe fan in between the collected and extended walk sections.

    Grand prix winners from yesterday (16 December), Charlotte Dujardin and Gio, and favourites for the win tonight, ride last at 9.56pm.

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