Winter Dressage Championships: Trainer enjoys success with client’s horse after broken ankle forces change

  • Fourteen-year-old gelding Fiorello proved he’s still got what it takes when winning the Horselight medium silver with 71.17% at the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships at Hartpury today (15 April)under Michael Bates.

    Trainer and full-time chiropodist Michael, took on the ride of his client Julie Martin after she sadly broke her wrist just before the regional finals.

    “She rang and asked if I would take the ride, so our first show together was at Merrist Wood where he won the regionals, and the Winter Dressage Championships was only our second show, so I couldn’t be prouder of him,” said Michael. “I’ve trained Julie for a long time, and for three years with this horse. It’s a happy relationship, so hopefully we’ve got him to a point where she can now get on and recreate what he’s done today.”

    Fiorello was third in this class three years ago, alongside winning the medium music title.

    “He’s maybe on the small side for me, but I’m not going to turn down the ride to come here – I’m not going to deny the glory when it doesn’t happen very often, you’ve got to soak it up and enjoy it,” he said. “He does everything that anyone would want, but at the end of the day, he’s not my ride – he’s there to make it happen for someone else, but I’ll enjoy it while I can.

    “He’s a talented horse to ride and he knows when to operate and when not to. I always believed in the horse and I believe in how we train, and it’s nice to show Julie that what we’re trying to get her to do is working.”

    Stunning black mare Faside Simply Amour pulled off a flawless performance under Sonnar Murray-Brown to take the Equi-Trek elementary gold at the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships with 71.72%.

    Sonnar didn’t compete the seven-year-old until the end of last year for the first time.

    “She did two elementaries, then she did the regionals and now she’s done nationals, so she is very lightly competed,” said Sonnar. “She coped so well and really listened to me. She can sometimes get nervous and lose a bit of relaxation, but today she really tried her hardest for me and was on my aids. There were bits that could have been better, but I was so proud of her.

    Sonnar has owned the mare since a three-year-old and has take his time with her.

    “I‘ve always believed in her and it’s taken time because she was a bit of an ugly duckling as a three-year-old, but she’s stunning now and I absolutely adore her,” he said. “The plan is to keep training and hopefully do a few more competitions.”

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