‘I just love her’: British rider rockets into Herning freestyle lead with a personal best

  • The first of the three British riders to compete in the Blue Hors World Dressage Championships freestyle this evening (10 August) was Gareth Hughes who, with the 16-year-old mare Classic Briolinca, scored a personal best of 84.04%. This was enough to put them into the lead at the halfway stage of the World Dressage Championships results.

    Gareth and Classic Briolinca performed their freestyle to a Madonna medley.

    “We thought that music would suit her and that‘s actually the first time I’ve ridden through the whole floor plan,” Gareth explained after his test. “To go into an arena like that was really different but it was a lot of fun. I probably looked quite serious, but I was actually smiling.

    “This is only our third competition this year, because we’ve just been building her up for this show. She’s 16 and I want another couple of years out of her, so we’ve been very careful.”

    Gareth was quite emotional relaying his thoughts on his test this evening and how this mare, who he owns alongside his wife Rebecca and daughter Ruby, has performed throughout these championships.

    “She’s come out and she amazes me – she’s just stunning and she’s got so much heart. She holds a lot of tension but now she’s experienced, she knows her lines now and when she goes on those lines, she tries so hard not to make a mistake.”

    The highlights in Classic Briolinca’s work were her piaffe, passage and pirouettes and she looked to be really trying for Gareth.

    “That’s a pretty special arena and how often do you get to ride in front of that many people, who are such an enthusiastic crowd – the size and scope of it, it’s amazing. I mean, these are dreams,” he said. “I think we can still go even better, but I just love her. We’ll aim for the Europeans next year and then the Paris Olympics. Briolinca has done more than I could ever have dreamed.”

    Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Touchdown hold second place on 83.68% in the World Dressage Championships results, while fellow Swede, Therese Nilshagen and Dante Weltino OLD are in third on 83.05%.

    The two remaining British riders, Charlotte Dujardin and Lottie Fry, are due to start their freestyle performances at 9pm and 9.30pm BST respectively.

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