‘Charlotte Dujardin has helped our bond’: Annabella Pidgley reassures ‘spicy’ mare to win at nationals

  • At the LeMieux National Dressage Championships, Annabella Pidgley and the fabulous Espe continued their stunning run to lift the Fairfax Saddles prix st georges (PSG) freestyle gold title on 75%.

    The gold medal-winning young rider was on a mission to ensure the nine-year-old Escolar mare, who is owned by Annabella’s mother Sarah, had an improved run at Somerford Park after she had to be retired from the arena last year.

    “She’s always hot and spicy at Somerford,” Annabella said. “She really feels the atmosphere here. She was a bit naughty ahead of my test today, but she soon listened to me once I’d actually entered the arena. She’s actually really fun to ride when she’s excited as she always brings that energy

    “Everything is a highlight with her as she’s so expressive. She’s on fire at the moment and today her extended trots were so powerful.”

    Yesterday at the National Dressage Championships, Annabella Pidgley and Espe finished seventh in the straight Fairfax Saddles PSG gold, which was won by her mentor Charlotte Dujardin.

    “She got scared of the crowd during our first halt,” Annabella explained. “But, I was proud of how I managed to reassure her. I turned her around, went back up the centre line and we did a really nice test. We’ve now got the confidence in our partnership to keep going and get a big score of 72%, even with an error like that at the beginning. So I was over the moon.”

    Annabella was quick to credit Charlotte’s training and help over the past year: “Charlotte has helped us cement our partnership. Last year, Espe lit up in the arena. I just couldn’t keep her power under control and we had to retire. To come back this year with the same power and actually score what we did speaks to Charlotte’s training.

    “Not only does Charlotte train the technicalities and the movements but she brings the bond together with the horse. The improvement from last year is a win in itself; that’s all I can ask for. We’ve stepped up a level this year, too, into the PSG which is a big ask for such a young horse. This has been the best end to the amazing season we’ve had together.”

    Charlotte herself enjoyed a second win in a row on Peter Belshaw’s mare Times Kismet in the Saracen Horse Feeds inter I gold championship.

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