Ireland’s Kate Dwyer recorded the biggest win of her career at the Commercial Bank CHI5* Al Shaqab presented by Longines, in Doha, Qatar, winning the grand prix special with part-bred Shire gelding Snowdon Faberge.
Kate and ‘Fabio’, who last year helped secure Ireland’s first ever dressage team spot at the Olympics, posted their first ever plus-70% score in an international non-freestyle test, also becoming the first Irish combination ever to win a CDI5* grand prix special.
The chunky 14-year-old gelding, who has “feet like dinner plates”, according to Kate, is by Foxcourt Fabelhaft and out of Snowdon Daisy. He was bred in Wales, but Kate and her mother, dressage rider Maureen Dwyer, recently discovered that his dam was part-bred Shire.
His unconventional dressage breeding is not standing in Fabio’s way however, as he and Kate — last to go in the special — produced an accurate, rhythmical and harmonious performance to take the victory in Doha. The pair’s impressive consistency was such that they received a score of seven or above for every single movement.
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“I really had him with me every step of the way in there, and as I came up the last centre line I thought, ‘Oh my goodness — this is what it feels like’,” said Kate. “I couldn’t believe it when I looked back at the screen after coming out the arena and saw my mark — I couldn’t stop the tears. 70% has been very elusive to us until now, but I knew it was in him.
The 36-year-old also added that hearing the Irish national anthem ring out across the vast Al Shaqab dressage stadium as she stood on the podium was a very special moment.
“There were tears in my eyes then too. I’m so proud, and I’m proud for Ireland too.”
Kate and Fabio will now continue their campaign for Olympic selection ahead of Tokyo.
See 5 March issue of H&H for dressage and showjumping reports from the Commercial Bank CHI AL SHAQAB, presented by Longines.
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