Dressage highlights: ‘She gives you the world’ *H&H Plus*

  • A British-bred mare succeeds at PSG with a plus-70% score, while a “big, powerful” gelding comes into his own

    Swallowfield Equestrian, Warwickshire

    Stefanie Harrington’s British-bred mare Lorna Doone made easy work of her first competitive prix st georges (PSG), marking this milestone moment with a 72% win.

    “My only aim was to succeed in the three- and four-time changes,” explained Stefanie, who had an inkling that “Lexi” was on side after a productive warm-up. “Our first move was across the diagonal in extended trot and she just flew. The trot work was brilliant, we got our changes, and the pirouettes, while still green, were actually pretty good.”

    Stefanie has trained with Daniel Greenwood since Lexi was a youngster.

    “She’s a typical highly strung Weltmeyer mare,” she said of the 12-year-old, known as HRH. “But she loves her job. When she’s on form, she gives you the world.”

    Anya Kolleth rode Frings 2 to a solid advanced medium 98 qualifier win. The nine-year-old Floriscount gelding has been produced slowly while he fills out.

    “We’re in denial about his height, but he’s about 17hh,” said Anya, who received Frings as a Christmas present five years ago. “He was my first proper dressage horse. He is big and powerful, but he’s so forgiving.

    “We’ve been fine-tuning his advanced medium work, working with trainer Rhett Bird to bring more expression to his extended trot and canter,” she added. “That really came out in the test.”

    Morris EC, East Ayrshire

    With Scotland’s affiliated dressage scene finally given the green light, local riders were keen to apply their lockdown training in a test situation. Aimee Aspinall enjoyed a productive outing with Emma Thomas Olsen’s Dominica DL, winning at novice and also on the mare’s debut at elementary – both times with plus-75% scores.

    “Dominica has massive movement, so she was only lightly competed last year,” said Aimee of the six-year-old Damon Hill daughter, bred by Dedi Leech. “She’s talented but so trainable. There’s no rush; we’re thinking of her future.”

    Shona Leckie won at prelim with Lyrical Dancer, a 10-year-old Irish mare who is new to dressage, and scored an advanced medium double with Apart. The 15-year-old gelding was sidelined over winter after degloving a hoof on a paddock fence.

    “He was bandaged for three months and now has a heart bar shoe and acrylic on the hoof to keep it strong,” said Shona. “But he has come back better, with loads of energy. I think he enjoyed the break.”

    Shona’s sister Catrina Leckie was encouraged by an elementary win with Fleur III, the “quirky and very opinionated” Movistar mare she bought last year.

    “She had a massive distrust in the contact, but we’re starting to turn a corner,” explained Catrina. “If we can work through this, we’ll have a really smart horse.”

    Arley Moss, Cheshire

    Veteran gelding Camlough Mainstream proved he still has what it takes at the age of 23, heading both the elementary and medium freestyles.

    “He’s fit, healthy and loving it,” said Lucinda Bellis, whose partner Robert Gilsenan is currently competing the 15hh Welsh/thoroughbred gelding to gain more experience at the higher levels.

    “He was my first pony, when he was six, and we enjoyed all the Pony Club activities together. We hope to qualify him for the regionals in 2021, which would be 12 years after he first did them with me,” added Lucinda.

    Chard Equestrian, Somerset

    Tyler Bradshaw’s seven-year-old gelding Igor VIII stepped up to his first prix st georges (PSG), beating his more experienced stablemate Gijsbert to win the class. He also headed the advanced medium freestyle.

    “Igor is like the diesel engine – he does what I ask, with no flourish,” said Tyler of the Uphill son, who nearly lost his life to septic peritonitis three years ago. “He’s a strong, old-school type with a devil-may-care attitude. Gijsbert, however, is quite quirky and behaves as if he’s made of porcelain.

    “The two are polar opposites,” added Tyler, who was previously based at the Talland School of Equitation and still trains with Pammy Hutton. “I’ll be taking Gijsbert out at inter I and pushing him towards grand prix, but Igor will no doubt be hot on his heels.”

    On form

    Charlotte Dujardin competed locally at Hunters Equestrian, Gloucestershire, scoring a novice double with Peter Belshaw’s five-year-old mare Kismet and taking both advanced mediums with Imhotep.

    “Both horses show such talent,” said Charlotte. “Kismet has a heart of gold; it was a nice trip out to see where we were with her. Imhotep is a really hot, sensitive horse, with so much bounce in his paces – he’s an Everdale, and just like his dad in that sense.”

    Charlotte added: “I’ve enjoyed bringing on the young horses at home, but I’m ready for some big shows now.”

    “We knew he was the one”

    Sheila Leonard searched for the right horse for six years before buying Irish-bred gelding Moydrum Rumble. “After a string of disasters, he was the first I was brave enough to canter,” said Sheila, who had lost confidence after decades of riding.

    “I owned one horse for just a week, while another bucked me clean off at the second viewing. ‘Rummy’ had been produced to sell by Grace Durkan; as soon as my sister and I saw him, we knew he was the one.

    “We have weekly lessons with James Rooney, who has helped us enormously,” added Sheila, a prelim 17A winner at Felbridge Showground, West Sussex. “It has been one of my ambitions to appear in Horse & Hound, for the right reason!”

    Personal best for Thompson

    Just three weeks after being rushed to hospital with intermittent seizures, Araminta Thompson took the elementary 53 qualifier silver section at West Wilts EC, Wiltshire. The 16-year-old achieved a personal best of 75.44% with her German riding pony Rosewater Breant (George).

    “Minty has a huge amount to deal with, medically, so life can be incredibly tough for her,” said Katherine Thompson, explaining that her daughter suffers with health problems including cystic fibrosis and diabetes. “She and George have flourished with the support of trainer Liz Trowbridge. George can be a cheeky character and has given Minty a reason to get up every day.

    “Minty also had the opportunity to visit her idol Carl Hester’s yard,” added Katherine. “Carl was so kind that it had a profound effect on her attitude towards life, giving her the inspiration to carry on.”

    Ref Horse & Hound; 10 September 2020