‘It’s nice to back on home ground’: Junior European medalist lands top two spots in under 21 championship

  • Junior European medalist Annabella Pidgley achieved a stunning one-two in the British Dressage Under 21 Championship at the Lemieux National Dressage Championships. Her winning ride, finishing on a total of 75.657%, was the exceptional Chestnut Sultan Des Paluds.

    Annabella, 16, and Sultan — the silver medal winner at the 2017 World Young Horse Championships — made it into the history books earlier this year when they brought home a pair of silver medals at the FEI junior European Dressage Championships held in Olivia Nova, Spain, making Annabella the first British rider to claim an individual podium place.

    The 11-year-old French-bred Hanoverian gelding, by the Sandro Hit son Soliman De Hus, joined the Pidgley family in March 2021.

    “He’s not really a two test horse,” said Annabella, who headed the Andrews Bowen Advanced Medium Gold Championship aboard Sultan earlier in the day. “He was a little tired but he’s a trier and gave me his all.”

    At the Europeans the pair produced personal-best scores in every test – topping the leaderboards in the team test on 75.45%, and going on to clinch double silver success in the individual and freestyle contests with scores of 75.38% and 80.11% respectively.

    Her second placed horse was Dibert L who nailed another impressive score of 72.929%. The Vivaldi 13-year-old is an up-and-coming ride for Annabella and the duo recently enjoyed a hat trick at the DI Grote-Brogel in Belgium, winning the junior team and individual tests as well as the freestyle, winning the latter on 79.18%. He was bought two years ago by Sarah Pidgley as a future prospect for Annabella.

    Annabella was delighted with the performance “Dibs” gave her at the National Dressage Championships and she opted to ride him during the final presentation:

    “I was so, so pleased with him,” said enthused. “His trot is a highlight and he stayed with me the whole way through. His flying changes are always so expressive and lovely to ride during a test. It’s been nice to be back on home ground.”

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