‘She’s quite rare’: exceptional mare eclipses her rivals to take PSG title at the Winter Dressage Championships

  • Sadie Smith well and truly left the opposition in her wake as she headed the Magic prix st georges (PSG) gold on day one of the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships. Sadie rode a blinder on her stunning eight-year-old Dante Weltino mare Swanmore Dantina, posting 77.06% to finish almost 5% ahead of second-placed Becky Moody on James Bond 2.

    Since winning the six-year-old national title in 2021, Dantina has gone from strength to strength under Sadie, recently scoring a small tour hat-trick at the Addington CDI, and once again she rose to the occasion in super style here. Last into the ring, their PSG test was fluent, expressive and mistake-free.

    “She’s amazing because she always goes in the ring and is the same, and just gets on with the job,” said Sadie. “She’s so quick to learn and always tries. She’s bold and brave no matter what situation you put her in, she’s level-headed too, and never gets tense in her body.

    “When I bought her she had three lovely paces but not ‘wow’ paces. But now, because of her temperament and trainability she has really learnt the suspension in trot, and she tries to use every part of her body the best way she can. That’s quite rare.”

    A former rider for Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin, Sadie says she is now relishing the opportunity to put into practise all she learned with her own young horse. “Dia” has made swift progress up the levels – it was only two years ago that the pair were runners-up here at novice – and the ultimate goal is grand prix.

    But Sadie is keen not to over campaign the mare as she builds up her strength for the higher level work.

    “It’s so lovely to have a horse like her, that I don’t want to overdo it and then spoil her,” said Sadie.

    Five-star event rider claims Winter Dressage Championships title

    Sara Squires collected her first national title when she topped the Petplan Equine prix st georges bronze championship, on day one of the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships. Sara, also an eventer who has ridden at five-star level, was aboard her own Laetitius C, a Londontime 10-year-old she bought from the Verden sales in Germany six years ago.

    “Originally I was going to sell him within six months, but he was trickier than I thought so I’ve kept him and just trained him on. He’s become a really consistent horse,” said Sara, who stepped up to small tour level for the first time herself in late 2022.

    Sara Squires and Laetitius C at the Winter Dressage Championships 2023

    Sara Squires and Laetitius C at the Winter Dressage Championships 2023

    “I’ve trained myself to do tempis and pirouettes and I’ve never sat on anything that’s done it before, so we’ve learned together. It’s really rewarding.”

    Sara explained that she was particularly pleased with getting a clear round in her test, even if Laetitius C “was a little bit tenser than I would have liked”.

    “It’s taken me quite a long time to get the clear. He made one little error at the end, but on the whole, just to go in there and do a relatively clean test was what I wanted to achieve.”

    You may also be interested in…

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...