The entries for the CDI4* dressage at the London International Horse Show, Olympia (17-18 December) have been revealed, with Charlotte Dujardin topping the bill in her first competitive Olympia appearance since 2015. However, Charlotte won’t be riding her World Equestrian Games (WEG) individual bronze medallist Mount St John Freestyle, as previously planned, but will instead partner Carl Hester’s WEG team ride Hawtins Delicato.
The nine-year-old Fidermark mare Freestyle is currently regaining full fitness after a cough.
“Freestyle had a cough recently and had to have time off,” confirmed Carl. “She’s now back in work but Charlotte and I want to give her time to get back into full condition. We’re mindful that she’s a young horse competing at the highest level and want to give her enough time.”
With Charlotte piloting the 10-year-old Diamond Hit gelding Delicato — with whom she enjoyed much success at small tour and inter II level — Carl will not be riding at this year’s Olympia.
“I am gutted to not be competing at Olympia this year as it is one of my favourite events, however I will be there with Charlotte, who is in with a good chance on Hawtins Delicato,” he said.
Charlotte may start the competition as favourite to win, but she will have to be at the top of her game, with stiff competition coming from her fellow British riders: Richard Davison (Bubblingh), Lara Butler (Rubin Al Asad) and Hayley Watson-Greaves (Rubins Nite).
This year’s field also features some strong international contenders. Charlotte’s biggest rival is likely to be the Netherlands’ Edward Gal and the 10-year-old Blue Hors Zack stallion Glock’s Zonik NOP, who finished seventh individually at WEG on plus-77% scores.
Edward’s partner and Dutch teammate Hans Peter Minderhoud will also bring forward his WEG ride, the exciting 10-year-old Vivaldi stallion Glock’s Dream Boy NOP.
The sole German representative is an Olympia first-timer, Frederic Wandres, who has enjoyed a super first season with the 11-year-old Dimaggio gelding Duke Of Britain.
Also making his Olympia debut this year will be Spain’s Juan Matute Guimon, at 21 years old the youngest rider in the field. He will bring forward his WEG ride, the 12-year-old Fighting Fit son Quantico.
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France will send two riders: Marie Emilie Bretenoux with Quartz Of Jazz and Stephanie Brieussel on Amorak, while Portugal’s Maria Caetano (Coroado), Belgium’s David Engelen (Royal Rubinstein), Denmark’s Ulrik Moelgaard (Michigan) and Sweden’s Minna Telde (Isac) make up the remainder of the line-up.
This year’s Olympia will pilot changes to the grand prix on the first evening of competition (Monday 17 December), which decides the running order for the World Cup qualifier freestyle class the following night. A new, shorter grand prix routine will be used, as well as mounted interviews with riders directly after their test.
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