Laura Tomlinson’s stunning mare turned plenty of heads at the 2020 National Grand Prix Championships. Polly Bryan hears more about her
Need to know
DSP Rose Of Bavaria
Breeding: Bordeaux x Florestan I
Studbook: DSP (BAVAR)
Breeders: Rainer and Heidi Heuschmann
Rider: Laura Tomlinson
Owners: rider and Ursula Bechtolsheimer
Greatest achievements: winner, grand prix special at Le Mans CDI3* February 2020; fourth with 75.46% in the grand prix, fifth with 79.95% in freestyle at National Grand Prix Championships, December 2020
Rider Laura Tomlinson
“‘Betty’ is a real one-person horse, but we understand each other – with her I have something I didn’t think I would have again with a horse after Alf [Laura’s Olympic gold medallist Mistral Højris]. She is a workaholic, so she has to trust her rider as she puts 110% into everything every day. And if you were to take advantage of this, it wouldn’t go well – you have to know when to back off with her, as she never will.
“Her collected work is phenomenal and it probably looks even more impressive because of her size – she is 1.80m [nearly 18hh]. She has a great piaffe and pirouettes, but her biggest strength is that she doesn’t make mistakes. We were at a test riding event recently and a tractor went off with a huge bang next door just as we were riding our extended trot down the long side in the grand prix special, but she didn’t react. She is very sensitive, though – I ride her in tiny spurs and almost never carry a whip.
“The only thing that has held her back slightly is that she can be a little difficult in the mouth – you don’t notice it on top, but when she gets tense she can look a little messy in the contact and it disturbs the picture. But as this improves, I think her scores will be limitless – I’d say she’s a podium horse.
“It’s a work in progress and to be honest, if her mouth was perfect, it would almost be too easy – I’d feel like we were cheating!”
Groom Bea Snudden Burnham
“Betty is pretty easy to work with; she is sensitive, but not overly mare-ish. And she is incredibly clever — she is always two thoughts in front of you. At competitions, she is a dream to do — so polite and willing, and dead cuddly, too.
“In the ring, she is unreal to watch as she is so powerful and athletic, so you don’t think ‘Wow, look at her legs.’ You think, ‘Wow, look at her whole body.’
“She does have a real phobia of water, though, and hates walking through it. If we are out hacking and there is a puddle half a mile away, Betty knows about it! But when she goes into the arena, she is so focused and doesn’t bat an eyelid.
“We went to a World Class training day at Hartpury in 2020 and it was such a wet day that Laura was pouring inches of water out of her boots afterwards, but Betty still gave it everything in the ring. She will do anything for Laura.”
Judge Stephen Clarke
“I judged Rose Of Bavaria athe the National Grand Prix Championships in December, and I think this mare is such a wonderful horse, I really do.
“She has so much power and athleticism and there is nothing she can’t do when it comes to the grand prix work. She has plenty of ability for all the exercises, especially the pirouettes.
“She has a lot of enthusiasm, and it is this enthusiasm to go that sometimes brings her a little bit against the rider’s hand, which does produce some contact issues that draws the eye. But Laura is well aware of this and it is a work in progress.
“To me, once the horse’s balance and self-carriage becomes more established, there’ll be some high scores waiting in the wings for her.
“It’s exciting and I wish them good luck.”
Ref: 21 January 2021
You might also be interested in…
Laura Tomlinson’s current top ride is the eight-year-old mare Rose Of Bavaria, whom Laura is hoping to campaign for British
The sport of dressage often comes with certain stereotypes, but outside the pristine white boards of the arena, there are