This is Lottie’s first time competing at a World Cup Dressage Final, and she and the 14-year-old Zucchero gelding Dark Legend produced a good test to score 73.37%, with judges’ marks ranging from 71.44% to 73.94%. Their round had plenty of highlights, including the extended trot – “it was probably the best he’s ever done” – and the trot half-passes, but a mistake in the one-time changes cost them marks, and they slotted into second behind Denmark’s Nanna Skodberg Merrald on Atterupgaards Orthilia at the halfway stage in the class.
“He was a little nervous in there – it’s a massive atmosphere and he got a little spooked,” said Lottie. “I stopped my ones after nine instead of 11, so that was a big mistake from me. I’m still kicking myself!”
Lottie said gaining a place to compete at the final was “unexpected” after she finished in 10th position in the Western European league, following her second-place finish at the London Horse Show in December, and fourth place at s’Hertogenbosch this month.
Just nine riders from the Western European League can qualify for the final, but with a maximum of three riders allowed from one country, Lottie clinched a slot in Leipzig above Germany’s Frederic Wandres, after late qualification rule change by the FEI allowed his compatriot Helen Langehananberg to take the third German spot, with Annabelle.
“It’s always incredible to compete alongside the best riders in the world,” said Lottie.
The defending World Cup champion, Germany’s Isabell Werth, enters the arena at 8.11pm (7.11pm BST) with the 17-year-old Don Schufro mare Weihegold OLD, winner of the past three World Cup Finals, who will be retired after this show.
Germany’s Olympic and European champion Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, will be last into the ring this evening, riding the 15-year-old Easy Game mare TSF Dalera BB.
This evening’s short grand prix determines the starting order of the grand prix freestyle on Saturday (9 April), from which the 2022 World Cup champion will be crowned.
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With all eyes on Tokyo, the young but talented Lottie Fry is a very real contender for the British dressage