Winter Dressage Championships day four: hot competition, first timers and amazing comebacks

  • Sonnar Murray-Brown produced a super test in very strong company to take the Charles Owen advanced medium open title with his own Erlentanz on day four of the NAF Five Star British Dressage Winter Championships.

    The nine-year-old Trakehner by Latimer showed some lovely work in all paces to score 73.95% with a mistake-free performance.

    “I was so happy with the horse today – the win is just the icing on the cake. He coped and listened, and the trot work really flowed,” said Sonnar.

    Sadie Smith added another title to River Rise Escarla’s collection when she won the Spillers medium open freestyle with just under 75%. Sadie and Sarah Tyler Evans’ seven-year-old Lord Leatherdale mare were double champions at last year’s winter champions, at novice.

    “She feels so amazing to sit on; I’ve never ridden another horse like her,” said Sadie. “She felt very confident in her test today.”

    The pair will be looking to make it another double when they contest the straight Albion medium open tomorrow.

    Mount Pleasant San Lorenzo looked to be one for the future, winning the KBIS British Equestrian prelim championship with 72.95% under Tracy Fall. The six-year-old Sarkozy gelding was almost put to sleep after an injury sustained in the field as a youngster, but is now going from strength to strength.

    “I was worried after the very crowded arena walk, which wasn’t the most relaxing start, but when he got in the arena for the test he really focused,” said Tracy. “I feel like I’m in a dream – this is my first ever nationals so I can’t believe it.”

    The much-coveted winners’ rug in the highly competitive medium open Petplan Area Festival final was taken by Theresa Smyth, riding Louise Danton’s Brownscombe Fransisco (pictured, top).

    “I was not expecting to come here and win,” said Theresa, who trains with Maria Eilberg. “It hasn’t sunk in yet.”

    The pair won with a score of 69.80%, ahead of Tiggi Bentley and Santaire on 68.94%. Alice Hurley and Resuelto XX were third.

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    It was first time lucky for Olivia Sealy and A Leonidas in the novice restricted Petplan Area Festival final.

    This was the first British Dressage championships for the 17-year-old, who could not stop smiling.

    “He was amazing,” added Olivia.

    After finishing third in their arena in the first round, the combination broke through the 70% barrier in their second test to win the final.

    For a full report from the British Dressage NAF Five Star Winter Championships and the Petplan Equine Area Festival Final pick up a copy of Horse & Hound on Thursday, 14 April.

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