Dressage highlights: Quivantos makes a winning return *H&H Plus*

  • A sleepy “surprise” proves successful, while a Paralympic champion is back in action after an accident

    Northallerton EC, North Yorks

    Hannah Grummett’s Quivantos returned to the arena for the first time since 2017 with a double win at advanced medium. The 13-year-old Quidam De Revel gelding, whom Hannah has produced from prelim, enjoyed an extended period of downtime doing farm and beach rides while Hannah concentrated on running her livery yard. The pair were ready to return to competition earlier this year, but then lockdown interfered.

    “We haven’t been out for ages, so we were a bit rusty,” said Hannah, who trains with Gilly Hinnigan and Chris Pugh, and says that Quivantos has come back fresher and stronger after the break.

    “He’s an easy lad to have around and pretty consistent. It would be lovely to work up the levels from here, but I really just want to enjoy him. He’s my horse of a lifetime.”

    Sonnenschein OLD sparkled under Bobby Hayler, heading the prix st georges on the pair’s first attempt at the level.

    “He is quick to learn and incredibly willing,” said Bobby of the 10-year-old gelding she is currently campaigning for Switzerland’s Nerine Niessen. “Nerine is aiming for young riders with him and we’re not far from the grand prix work at home now. He always performs with expression and enthusiasm.”

    Bobby also debuted her new “surprise horse”, Woodcroft Je Suis Rocky. The six-year-old Rock Forever gelding, a winner at novice, arrived on the lorry two months ago as an unexpected gift from her parents.

    “Rocky is adorable,” said Bobby. “He spends so much time sleeping that we even have to muck out around him. He’s quite sharp and very quick to the aids, though, which suits me.”

    It was a successful day for Team Hayler, with wins from various clients as well as Bobby’s father, Paul, and her fiancé Andrew Wright – he took the medium 73 silver section with Diamond Asscher.

    “We have some nice horses in training at the moment,” Bobby added. “It was a busy week for me, as I was also commentating from home on the youth European championships in Hungary.”

    Prestige Equestrian, Glos

    Darren Hicks dominated at the lower levels with Samantha Britton’s promising pair, Woodcroft Django Mon Ami and Duchess Calina.

    Django, who scored 81.53% in the novice 39 qualifier, was successful with Samantha as a four-year-old and will contest the Nexgen Young Horse Series six-year-old classes with Darren this autumn.

    “He tries all the time – almost too much,” said Darren of “gentle giant” Django.

    Duchess Calina, also six, who notched up another high-scoring elementary double to add to her tally, is described as the more headstrong of the two.

    “She has some thoroughbred in her and is quite feisty,” said Darren. “We have a nice relationship now that we have each learnt to make a few compromises.”

    Wells is back in business

    Sophie Wells is back on track after recovering from an accident two months ago, when she parted company with her top horse C Fatal Attraction.

    “He has never been cold-backed, but when I got on him he bronced across the school,” explained the Paralympian, whose pelvic muscle tear has improved with rest and rehab. “It was out of character for him, but they are horses and not machines.”

    Riding in the grade V para classes at Hill House EC, Lincs, Sophie was pleased with Don Cara M’s improved self-carriage, having worked on this during lockdown.

    After an “amazing” individual test with six-year-old Classic Jillz Geuzenhof, however, scores for the pair’s team test ranged from one to nine.

    “He rather lost concentration,” said Sophie, explaining that “JZ” was busy calling to his friends and reared a few times after cantering in a trot half-pass. “He can’t neigh and trot at the same time.”

    Soraya shreds the veils

    Dumfries florist Marita Dobson credited the input of her coach Charlie Hutton after winning an elementary freestyle with Soraya III, at Myerscough College, Lancashire.

    “Soraya can hold a lot of tension, but Charlie soon realised that she was very sensitive and suggested plenty of suppleness and relaxation work,” said Marita, who started lessons with the Ayrshire-based trainer earlier this year. “There’s now no spookiness or sharpness, and she no longer needs to wear her ear veils.”

    The pair has had little chance to practise to a new Scottish-themed soundtrack, which includes The Skye Boat Song and Donald Where’s Your Troosers?

    “Our music was put together by Gaynor Colbourn at her first-ever Scottish clinic, back in February,” explained Marita, who travelled 100 miles home from the show before learning about her unexpected victory.

    “My husband also won his pro-am golf weekend, so we were both celebrating.”

    “He was given a 20% chance of coming right”

    After recovering from a career-threatening injury, Kate Heap’s nine-year-old gelding San Francisco PR returned to competition with a double elementary win at Topthorn EC, Suffolk.

    The Swarovski son suffered a meniscal tear in his right stifle when he slipped while trotting on damp grass last autumn, just days after finishing second at the Codham Park Area Festival finals.

    “Cisco was treated at Newmarket Equine Hospital and given just a 20% chance of coming right,” said Kate. “Rehab was a slow process, with many a hiccup, so it was a bitter-sweet moment for him to go so well – and to win.

    “He might not be the sharpest tool in the box but he’s amenable and quite unflappable,” she added.”

    “Once I’d sat on him, I couldn’t stop smiling”

    Pinching her husband’s jumping horse proved a wise move for Verity Corbett, who partnered the Kannan 10 year-old gelding Glasgow to a 75% prelim 19 win at Radfords EC, Powys.

    “I had nothing to ride during lockdown, so I gave him a try,” said Verity, who trains with Jane Critchley. “Once I’d sat on him, I couldn’t stop smiling. There’s a lot to work on, but he was amazing for his first-ever British Dressage outing. He’s on my team for the foreseeable future.”

    “We’ve had a number of false starts”

    Leanne Dudhill and her six-year-old Ampère gelding AM Dynamo (Joe) are on a roll after a challenging two years. The pair’s double at Epworth Equestrian, South Yorkshire, brings their prelim gold section wins to a total of eight in a row.

    “I backed Joe early last year, but I was then diagnosed with an illness and he suffered a rectal prolapse,” said Leanne, who trains with Gill Liggins and bought Joe as a two-year-old.

    “What with Covid-19 this year, we’ve had a number of false starts,” Leanne added, “but so far, so good.Joe has a great brain and is working beautifully at home – he now just needs some mileage.”

    Ref Horse & Hound; 3 September 2020